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Improving K-12 education for students on the autism spectrum in Montgomery County, MD

Autism Guides, Webinars and Trainings

Deciphering Students with Autism

The Deciphering Students with Autism guide was written by xMinds Professional Member Sarah Wayland, Ph.D, founder of Guiding Exceptional Parents, with the help of xMinds Executive Director Susan Keisler, and Monica Adler Warner, former director of the Model Asperger Program at Ivymount. This document translates perceptions teachers and others may have of students on the autism spectrum into possible explanations of what might actually be happening for the autistic student.

Autism Internet Modules (AIM)

Autism Internet Modules (AIM) are being developed by the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders in collaboration with Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI) and other partners. AIM is designed to provide high-quality information and professional development for anyone who supports, instructs, works with, or lives with someone with autism. Each module guides you through case studies, instructional videos, pre- and post-assessments, a glossary, and much more. AIM modules are available at no cost. If you would like to receive credit for your time on AIM, certificate and credit options are available for a fee.

New York University ASD Nest Support Project

The NYU ASD Nest Support Project provides training and support for educators working with students with ASD, including those in the NYC ASD Nest Program. The goal of the ASD Nest Support Project is to advance the development and implementation of educational solutions for children living with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Professors from NYU and Hunter College who are affiliated with the Nest Program have written two texts that MCPS educators may find helpful:

Cohen, Shirley and Lauren Hough. The ASD Nest Model: A Framework for Inclusive Education for Higher Functioning Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Bleiweiss, Jamie PhD, Lauren Hough, MsEd, and Shirley Cohen, PhD. Everyday Classroom Strategies and Practices for Supporting Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

In addition to these texts, the ASD Nest Support Project has made a number of resources available for free online. The Nest Egg Blog is particularly helpful in terms of providing practical strategies for common classroom issues.

Organization for Autism Research

The local Organization for Autism Research has also published two guides for educators as well as an entire curriculum for fostering autism awareness in schools:

An Educator's Guide to Autism helps educators prepare for having a student with autism in the classroom; emphasizes the importance of collaborating with the parents; supports the creation of an inclusive environment; and helps educators collaborate with the team supporting the child with autism, including therapists and special educators.

An Educator's Guide to Asperger's Syndrome is designed to give teachers and other professionals an introduction to Asperger Syndrome, some of its characteristics, and several teaching strategies that can be employed in the classroom. It is meant to serve as a starting point for further learning.

The Kit for Kids program is designed to teach elementary and middle school students about their peers with autism. The kit is centered around an illustrated booklet entitled “What’s Up with Nick?”. This colorful, kid-friendly booklet tells the story about a new student, a boy with autism named Nick, through the eyes of a typical peer. The story teaches children that students with autism may think differently or need some accommodations, but all students are of equal worth and should be treated as such.

Organization for Autism Research

Website: https://researchautism.org/news-events/webinars/

Target Audience: General Educators, Special Education Teachers, Paraeducators

Description: Several webinars centered around helping students on the spectrum secure their futures and further develop their social skills, along with various other helpful topics that have not yet been released.

Cost: Free

Length: Varies for each webinar, approximately an hour

Maryland Coalition for Inclusive Education

Website: http://www.mcie.org/mod/pages/resources/inclusive-early-childhood-education

Target Audience: General Educators, Special Education Teachers, Paraeducators

Description: This online course is made up of various webinars(5) on the first steps to preschool inclusion, how to teach preschoolers with special needs, and how to make preschool inclusion work. The link to the webinar(s) will be emailed to the recipent after purchasing.

Cost: $5 for each webinar

Length: Varies for each webinar, approximately an hour

Website: http://www.mcie.org/mod/pages/resources/transition-webinar-series

Target Audience: General Educators, Special Education Teachers, Paraeducators

Description: This online course is made up of 6 webinars about making the transition from secondary school more seamless for students with disabilities. Webinars cover the following topics: Evidence-Based Instructional Strategies for Transition with David Test, Self-Determination and Transition for Students with Disabilities with Karrie Shogren, Demystifying Transition Assessment with Colleen Thoma, Transition Planning for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) Youth with Disabilities with Gary Greene, and Best Practices in Transition Planning to Promote the Employment of Youth with Significant Disabilities with Paul Wehman.

Cost: $5 for each webinar

Length: Varies for each webinar, approximately an hour

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