Webinar - Self-Management Strategies for People to Live and Work Independently

Join us for a Webinar on May 13, 2014

Self-Management Strategies for People to Live and Work Independently

Space is limited. There is no cost to register for this webinar.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

This session will illustrate strategies to help youth and adults be as independent as possible in their daily lives. Instead of jumping straight to the conclusion that someone "needs one-to-one support" or they "can't be independent" let's get creative and find ways for them to "do for themselves." We can teach self-management strategies that support people to live and work as independently as possible.

During this webinar, our three presenters will address:

  • Planning to incorporate assistive technology and other self-management tools and strategies into daily life
  • High, low and no-tech solutions
  • Keeping up-to-date...as assistive technology changes, so do the choices and options

There will be time allotted for audience members to ask questions of the presenters.

Webinar - Thriving With Autism from Adolescence to Adulthood, Preparing for Independence and Growth!

Saturday,April 26th- Sunday April 27th

Saturday (Pacific Time Zone)

  • 8:00am-9:30am
  • Chantal Sicile-Kira
  • Preparing For Transition to Adulthood
  • Go Now
  • 10am-11:30am
  • Van Hatchell
  • Social Entrepreneurism in the Community
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  • 12pm-1:30pm
  • Nathan DeCorpo
  • Autism, Independence and the Law
  • Go Now
  • 2:00pm-3:30pm
  • Brian King
  • Building a Support Community for Interdependence and Growth
  • Go Now
  • 4:00pm-5:30pm
  • Janet Lawson and Dan Swearingen
  • Autistry Studios - building a working ASD community
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  • 8:00am-9:30am
  • Wendy Kross-Partridge
  • Work Incentives Planning and Assistance-Taking the next step on your Employment Journey!
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  • 10am-11:30am
  • Greg Zibricky
  • From our F.A.M.I.L.Y. to Yours - Creating a Financial Blueprint for Autism
  • Go Now
  • 12pm-1:30pm
  • Denise Cavadias
  • Lifelong Learning Consulting
  • Go Now
  • 2:00pm-3:30pm
  • Marguerite Cohn
  • Utilizing the DIR(R) Methodology to Prepare Teens with Autism for Adulthood
  • Go Now
  • 4:00pm-5:30pm
  • Mitchell Weisbrot CLU, ChSNC
  • How to Protect Your Child Legally and Financially
  • Go Now

11 things never to say to parents of a child with autism (and 11 you should)

We know they mean well. Or at least we hope they do. All of the family, friends, co-workers and even strangers who approach parents of children on the autism spectrum with words that really should never have left their mouths in the first place. Words that often unintentionally hurt or upset family members who are affected by autism.

So, in the spirit of National Autism Awareness Month, some of my friends and clients who have children on the autism spectrum decided to brainstorm a list of statements they wish people would and wouldn’t say.

1. Don’t say: “Is your child an artistic or musical genius? What special gifts does your child have?”

We’ve all seen “Rain Man” and know about the extraordinary artistic and musical gifts that some individuals on the autism spectrum possess. But the truth is that most on the spectrum do not have these gifts. In fact, only about 10 percent have savant qualities.

Do say: “How is your child doing?”

This is what you’d say to the parent of a typical child, right? It’s perfectly acceptable to say this to the parent of a child on the spectrum. They can share with you what’s going on in terms of their child’s treatment and/or educational experience.

2. Don’t say: “You’d never know by looking at her that she has autism! She looks so normal.”

Read more here.

Summary of Advances in Autism Spectrum Disorder Research: Calendar Year 2013

Each year, the IACC releases its annual list of scientific advances that represent significant progress in the field. The 20 studies selected have given new insight into the complex causes of autism and potential risk factors, studied clues that could lead to earlier diagnosis, and evaluated promising early intervention strategies. The advances also address the prevalence of ASD both in the United States and internationally, as well as the service needs of people with ASD across the lifespan. The 2013 Summary of Advances provides short, plain language synopses of the top research breakthroughs selected by the IACC from a pool of peer-reviewed articles nominated by the members. Articles are grouped according to the questions of the IACC Strategic Plan for ASD Research. Citations for the articles selected for the Summary of Advances, as well as a complete listing of those nominated, are included at the end of the document.

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Number of Montana Public School Students with Autism 2005-2013 School Years

An increase of 96% in nine years.

An increase of 159% in nine years.

An increase of 152% in nine years.

Simple questionnaire may improve early detection of autism

To detect signs of autism in toddlers, pediatricians routinely rely on parent-completed questionnaires about the child’s behavior. But parents’ answers may be influenced as much by their own bias about their child’s possible diagnosis as by their child’s actions.

A set of six questions about child development can identify parents who tend to overreport or underreport their child’s symptoms.

The researchers then shortened their general development questionnaire to include these six questions and 14 others. They gave it along with the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT), a standard screen for the disorder, to 145 parents with a child who had been referred for psychological evaluation at an autism center at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

In the study, the M-CHAT alone accurately classified 107 of the 145 children, and missed 12 children with the disorder. The general development questions flagged six of those 12 children’s parents as underreporters. In addition, the M-CHAT wrongly classified 26 children as having autism, and the questions identified nine of their parents as overreporters.

Read more here.

Autism Tied to Increased Connectivity in Brain Networks

Adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) show atypically increased functional connectivity involving the mentalizing and mirror neuron brain networks, according to a study published online April 16 in JAMA Psychiatry.

The researchers found that participants with ASD showed a mixed pattern of both over- and underconnectivity in the theory of mind (ToM) network, which is associated with greater social impairment, compared to the controls. This increased connectivity was seen primarily between the regions of the mirror neuron system (MNS) and ToM. The connectivity increase was correlated with sociocommunicative measures, suggesting that excessive ToM-MNS cross talk might be associated with social impairment. A subset of the 15 participants with ASD with the most severe symptomology showed exclusive overconnectivity effects in both ToM and MNS networks, which were also associated with greater social dysfunction compared to a tightly matched subset of 15 typically developing controls.

Read more here.

2013 Count of Montana Public School Students with Autism. Gender and Race

Age Graphs on Montana Public School Students with Autism

A note on the following two graphs:

1. 1993 was the third year that autism was a distinct disability category in Montana education rules. Prior to 1991, students with autism had been labeled as having an intellectual disability.

2. 2000 was the first year that students with Asperger's were eligible to be identified as having autism. Previous eligibility criteria had specifically excluded students who had Aspergers.

3. 2001 was the first year that students aged 3-5 could be labeled as having autism. Previous to that year, all students aged 3-5 could only be labeled, "Child With a Disability."

Presentation on Aspergers for Parents and Others

The Missoula Adult Aspergers Group will present information on growing up and thriving with Aspergers.
May 18th
Missoula Public Library - Large Basement Meeting Room
1:15 - 4:00 p.m.

Home videos could be powerful tool for diagnosing autism, researcher says

Short home videos, such as those posted on YouTube, may become a powerful tool for diagnosing autism, according to a study whose senior author is a scientist at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

With only brief training, research assistants were able to accurately score autistic-type behaviors in home videos of children in natural settings, the study found. "Our new paper supports the hypothesis that we can detect autism quickly in very short home videos with high accuracy," said Dennis Wall, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics in systems medicine and the senior author of the paper, published April 16 in PLOS ONE. Vincent Fusaro, PhD, a research associate at Harvard, is the lead author. The finding has the potential to improve the speed and availability of .

Read more here.

Stop Combating Autism

New Screening Method Could Detect Autism In 9 Month Old Infants

The identification of two new biomarkers could help medical researchers identify autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in children as young as nine months old – one year earlier than the average screening age.

According to lead author Carole A. Samango-Sprouse, an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at George Washington University, head circumference and head tilting reflex are reliable ways to determine whether or not children between the ages of 9 and 12 months could be autistic.

Read more at http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/1113122246/autism-biomarkers-for-infants-041614/#rreltW2Zxduj6Wp1.99

Speakmod iPad Communication App

What is PANDAS? How Is It Different from Autism?

PANDAS may be quite rare. But some evidence suggests it could account for as many as 1 in 10 new cases of OCD in children each year. We simply don’t know for certain, as the majority of cases may go undiagnosed.

Typically, children affected by PANDAS have a dramatic – even overnight – onset of symptoms. This can include one or more new movement or vocal tics, as well as obsessions or compulsions or both. Some affected children become noticeably moody and irritable, have more difficulty separating from loved ones, experience a change in eating patterns or begin having trouble sleeping or controlling the bladder.

Read more here.

Autism Speaks Announces New Tools for Successful Vision Exams

Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network (AS-ATN) is pleased to announce the release of its latest resource for families from the ATN/AIR-P: a video and accompanying social narrative to help prepare individuals with autism for visits to the eye doctor, which can often be very difficult and uncomfortable experiences.

The video Vision Exams for Individuals with Autism and accompanying social narrative lead families and caregivers through a visit to the optometrist’s office and a full, step-by-step vision exam. These tools can also provide insight into preparing ahead of time to make the visit as smooth, anxiety-free and productive as possible. This video is also appropriate for optometrists who are not familiar with autism.

Read more here.

Could dads' obesity raise autism risk for kids?

Children born to obese fathers, but not obese mothers, may have a slightly higher risk of autism than kids with thinner dads, a large new study suggests.

Researchers found that of nearly 93,000 Norwegian children they followed, those born to obese dads had double the risk of developing autism. But the odds were still small: just under 0.3 percent were diagnosed with autism, versus 0.14 percent of kids with normal-weight fathers.

Read more here.

Autism Awareness: Diagnostic Criteria

On March 27, 2014, the centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 1 in 68 children in the US has an autism spectrum disorder. Chances are you or someone you know has been touched by autism in a very personal way. April is Autism Awareness Month. As part of our continuing effort to promote global awareness for autism, we are making our Training Video "An Introduction to Autism" available for family members, friends, educators and anyone who is interested in learning more about autism and the things they can do to screen young children for autism. In the first of this 3 part installment, we look at the Diagnostic Criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorders.

See the video here.

Assistive Technology Webinars

April 17, 2014
3:30 PM Pacific, 6:30 PM Eastern

MITS presents a process for looking at data gathered over the course of the past school year and what steps need to be taken for AT to be in place for individual students in the fall. 30 min.

Tuesday, April 22 2014
11 AM Pacific, 2 PM Eastern

AbleNet presents what you need to provide in FAPE, LRE, according to IDEA.

Tuesday, April 22 2014
12 PM Pacific, 3 PM Eastern

Georgia's Tools for Life presents a range of apps.

Thursday, May 1, 2014
11 AM Pacific, 2 PM Eastern

AbleNet presents the basics of an Assistive Technology Implementation plan.

Thursday, May 8th, 2014
12 PM Pacific, 3 PM Eastern

Georgia's Tools for Life presents ways of adapting lessons to allow students access to the core standards.

Webinar - Autism Spectrum Disorder: From Numbers to Know-How

Tuesday, April 22, at 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. (Eastern Time?)

Please join us to discuss the challenges of understanding and diagnosing this complex disorder and the opportunities for early identification and screening. This session of Grand Rounds will also explore some of the evidence-based interventions that can help individuals with autism make gains in their development.

Watch the live broadcast at either of the following links: