2018-2019 xMinds Program Year Highlights

In addition to our monthly speaker meetings and xMindsWire newsletter, we accomplished the following this program year:

Priority 1: Deepening parent empowerment by providing families with information and resources
  • Held an IEP Clinic, where parents received advice from educational consultants on their most pressing IEP questions (October)
  • Co-hosted the 11th annual “Extraordinary Minds in MCPS Forum,” where parents heard from MCPS educators about the special education services they provide (April)
  • Completed a three-tier advocacy training program for five members of our Volunteer Parent Advocate Cadre (Training provided by Pete Wright of Wrightslaw, Megan Berger from Disability Rights Maryland, and Brian Gruber, private practice attorney)
  • Advised and assisted numerous parents who requested individual help navigating the IEP process
Priority 2: Increasing and diversifying xMinds’ reach to Montgomery County families
  • Provided Spanish language interpretation at the IEP Clinic and the "Extraordinary Minds in MCPS Forum"
  • Translated portions of the website into Spanish and Chinese
  • Introduced our organization to Chinese-speaking families at the Caring Village Initiative Special Education Resource Seminar sponsored by the Chinese Culture and Community Service Center (March)
  • Introduced our organization at the Galway Elementary School PTA Special Education Event in an effort to reach more families in East County (April)
Priority 3: Promoting improved educational experiences for ASD students in MCPS through teacher and staff training and through advocacy concerning systemic problems
  • Provided funding for three MCPS educators to attend training in "Unstuck and On Target" and "Conversation Club," two approaches that improve social and executive functioning skills of elementary school students (August)
  • Wrote and submitted to MCPS a comprehensive report detailing our findings and recommendations for improving communication between educators and caregivers, based on data gathered through our parent survey (April)
Priority 4: Preparing ASD students in Montgomery County for life
  • Provided a summer internship to one student on the autism spectrum (August)
  • Piloted a highly successful two-session teen self-advocacy workshop (October)
  • Hosted a speaker event targeting autistic teens (as wells as their parents) on the topic of dating and relationships (November)
  • Hosted a workshop where autistic teens met with Montgomery County police officers and learned how to safely interact with law enforcement (March)
  • Hosted two events at which adult autistic self-advocates spoke to students (and their parents) about their life experiences and insights (January and May)
Priority 5: Growing our Organization
  • Raised almost $30,000 in donations from generous donors and Bike to the Beach supporters, as well as $12,000 in grants from Sidley Austin, LLP and the Mizrahi Family Charitable Fund
  • Created and filled an Executive Director position
  • Added committee members to the Communication, Events, and Spanish Language Committees
  • Launched our new website developed by our dedicated former employee, Russ Jowell (September)
  • Moved to a lower rent (and sunnier) office (November)
  • Participated in a "needs assessment" of our organization, research conducted by Kim Pinckney-Lewis, an xMinds member and Doctoral student

You can see our past accomplishments here.

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