Autism conferences and trainings in Montana

The Montana Office of Public Instruction will have trainings this month for teachers of students with autism.

Here is the schedule:

How to Build and Implement Programs for Students with Autism


January 25 and 26, 2017

9:00 am. to 4:00 p.m.

Big Horn Resort

Day 1: How To Build A Program For a Student With Autism

What to look for in the diagnosis report

Examine programs and assessments to gather meaningful data

How to conduct an ER for a child with Autism

Develop an IEP with meaningful goals based on data

How to create a daily schedule and integrate IEP goals

Examine 4 profiles for children with autism and how their programs differ

Discuss/Create visual supports that may be helpful with your students

Day 2: How To Implement a Program For a Student With Autism

How to take data on goals from the IEP every day

How to integrate IEP goals throughout the day

How to help the student generalize skills

How to conduct a reinforcer assessment

How to implement a token economy

How to use a visual schedule

How to create a task analysis

How to use visual supports throughout the day

Twelve OPI renewal units will be available for this training. This training is FREE from the OPI Montana Autism Education Project.

* Attendance is limited to 45 people.*

This workshop is intended for paraeducators and special education teachers. You can request to attend the workshop here. You will be informed on January 11th if you have been chosen to attend the workshop. A block of sleeping rooms are available at the hotel.


Lorri Coulter has been an itinerant school psychologist for 14 years. Currently she provides services to the Prairie View Special Service cooperative in Glendive, Montana. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and is now part of an Evaluation & Diagnostic Team and the Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale (ADOS) team in eastern Montana. When she is not on the road she lives with her husband Rod on the family ranch in Brusett and spends every other minute in her art studio.

Chelsea Phipps is a ranch wife, mother, and speech language pathologist. She currently runs her own private practice. One of her favorite things about being an SLP is helping kids learn to communicate with AAC devices.

OTHER news from the Montana Autism Education Project – January 2017

Upcoming Trainings:

How to Build and Implement Programs for Students with Autism

Billings January 25 and 26

Day 1: How To Build A Program For a Student With Autism

Day 2: How To Implement a Program For a Student With Autism

Find more information and request to attend here.

Beyond Compliance – Writing Quality Transition Plans

Missoula January 17

This interactive session will:

• Review the state and federal requirements, including Indicator 13, related to writing transition plans for students with disabilities.

• Highlight transition assessment strategies that support the development of quality transition plans.

• Present strategies for increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of writing transition plans.

• Provide opportunities for evaluating and writing transition plans using learned strategies.

CEC Conference

Missoula February 15-17

The conference schedule and other information can be viewed here.

Positive Behavior Strategies for Students with Autism

Great Falls March 3

Discussion will center around types of behaviors; task avoidance, escape motivated, attention-seeking, behaviors that produce sensory consequences, and the role motivation plays in behavioral success in many settings-school, home, and community. The training will also contain discussions about setting limits that work and the application of positive interventions. We will examine the common pitfalls that sabotage behavioral intervention plans and what to avoid when wanting to make significant behavioral changes. Discussion of how to conduct a Functional Behavioral Assessment, write a Positive Behavioral Plan and use an Antecedent/Behavior/Consequence chart will be presented to the conference attendees

The Birds and the Bees - Puberty, Hygiene, Safety and Sexuality for Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Billings, March

Youth with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities are twice as likely as their typically developing peers to be victims of physical or sexual abuse. Information regarding puberty, hygiene, and sexuality relates to keeping children with ASD safe. Areas covered in this workshop can easily become target behaviors, objectives for IEPs, or treatment goals for youth with ASD. Leave with dozens of great ideas. This workshop was highly rated in Kalispell and Missoula.

Look for registration information in our February newsletter.

Save The Date – August 17 and 18 Missoula

Social Thinking will present the following workshops:

Zooming In: Strategies for Concrete Learners

Zooming In: Strategies for Individuals with Subtle but Significant Social Problems

Registration will open in May.

You can also view trainings as they are added on the OPI Montana Autism Education Project blog

Online Training in Autism Spectrum Disorders and Behavior Interventions

We offer subscriptions to a highly-rated online training in autism spectrum disorders and behavioral interventions. The training provides 55+ hours of instruction in autism spectrum disorders and behavioral interventions. The training must be completed in 90 days. OPI renewal units are available. New groups start the middle of each month.

If you are interested in the training please go here to register.

Montana Autism Education Project recent blog posts of interest:

Cinemark 8 in Helena is now showing sensory-friendly movies.

In a sensory friendly showing there are low lights, low volume, and few trailers. Feel free to move around or talk if needed. You can find a schedule on the Facebook page of The Alex Foundation.

15 Tips for Helping Children with Sensory Sensitivity Brush Their Teeth

2. A toothbrush that can get the job done faster. For example, a three-sided toothbrush such as DenTrust cleans faster and gets all three sides with just one brush motion. The bristles are super soft to gently clean the gum tissue.

3. Experiment with different toothpastes. Some kids don’t like the taste of the mint and can perceive it to be a painful, burning sensation. Try different flavors of toothpaste, such as bubblegum, strawberry, orange, etc.

Find more tips here. Also, there is a whole area of our blog with resources on sensory issues.

How To Prepare for a Life Transition

Create a social narrative about the change. You can create a video or written social narrative. This should be written at the appropriate level for the individual. For younger children or older individuals with ASD who need more significant support, the narrative may include few words and lots of pictures. For others, the narrative may read more like a newspaper article.

Why Parents Try Fringe Therapies for Autism

When it comes to alternative interventions, there’s a seemingly endless array of diets, supplements, high-tech therapies and other options. This abundance is a reflection of both the huge spike in autism diagnoses in recent years and the lack of good treatment options.

To an expert, dismissing pseudo-scientific alternatives or weighing the risks of potentially promising yet unproven treatments may be second nature. For parents, it’s much more complicated.

Read the full article at Spectrum.

The Important Difference Between Communication and Conversation with Autism

1. Communication is about reciprocity

It is not about one person dominating the conversation, and it is certainly not about word production or the number of words being used. Communication is about how effectively those words are used in a back-and-forth exchange. It is about being interested in what your partner shares; it’s about reciprocity.

One of my students was in the habit of asking the mothers who came to our center what they had cooked that day. The delighted mothers would answer elaborately. But he was not interested in their answers. In fact, he didn’t even wait for them! He probably had been taught to ask certain questions to increase his ‘wh’ repertoire.

Upcoming and Archived Webinars

Advances in Autism Diagnosis – January 25th, 1:00 p.m.

You can register here. Little information was provided.

Including Assistive Technology in the IEP – January 18th

In this workshop, we will provide families, teachers, and other professionals a way to be intentional about the process of considering assistive technology and ensure it is included in the IFSP/IEP document. Participants will learn how to use the TIKES Project’s Child-Centered AT Plan to consider and document assistive technology for children ages birth to five.

You can register here with the Pacer Center.

Archived Webinar – Anxiety and Autism, What You Need To Know

You can view the webinar here.

You can find many, many more upcoming and archived webinars here.

Other items

Consultation Visits

Staff from the Montana Autism Education Project are available to provide on-site trainings, classroom-level consultations or consultations on individual students. These services are available for no charge. Please contact Doug Doty at if you are interested in scheduling a consultation visit.

OPI Has Behavioral Consultants

The Office of Public Instruction (OPI) wishes to announce the availability of Behavioral Consultants for districts needing help in developing functional behavioral assessments (FBA) and behavioral intervention plans (BIP) for individual special education students without autism. If you are in need of a consultant, please contact Dale Kimmet via e-mail (

Doug Doty, Statewide Coordinator

OPI Montana Autism Education Project 459-5303

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