Location: Julius West Middle School, 651 Great Falls Rd., Rockville, MD 20850
Our annual “Extraordinary Minds in Montgomery County Public Schools” (MCPS) Forum informs parents about public school placements and services for students across the autism spectrum in Montgomery County, Maryland, a county that supports roughly 2,300 autistic students. Our Forum is an important service that helps parents participate meaningfully as members of their child’s Individual Education Program (IEP) team.
6:00 – 6:30 Registration
6:30 – 7:45 Welcome and Introduction to Autism Services
6:55 – 7:55 Breakout Session 1
8:05 – 9:00 Breakout Session 2
Session 1 Breakout Topic Descriptions
Reading Comprehension Strategies
Estrategias de Comprensión de Lectura
This session will review specific characteristics and challenges common to autistic students, identify how those challenges affect the development and demonstration of reading comprehension skills, and explore a variety of strategies that can be used to facilitate reading comprehension with students at home.
Target audience: Those supporting early readers or students struggling with comprehension issues.
Organizational Strategies for Elementary School
Habilidades Organizacionales para la Escuela Primaria
This session will present commonly used organizational strategies for elementary school students with executive function challenges. Parents will learn what types of accommodations may benefit their student.
Target audience: Those supporting an elementary student with executive function challenges.
Organizational Strategies for Middle and High School
Habilidades organizacionales para la Escuela Intermedia y Secundaria
This session will present commonly used organizational strategies for middle and high school students with executive function challenges. Parents will gain an understanding of what types of accommodations may benefit their student.
Target audience: Those supporting a middle or high school student with executive function challenges.
Functional Behavior Assessments (FBAs) and Behavior Intervention Plans (BIPs)
Evaluaciones de Conducta Funcional (FBA) y Planes de Intervención de Conducta (BIP)
This session will review information about the definition, components and purposes of Functional Behavior Assessments (FBAs) and Behavioral Intervention Plans (BIPs). You will also learn about the process for requesting an FBA and how BIPs are implemented and incorporated into a student’s IEP.
Target audience: Those supporting a student of any age struggling with ongoing behaviors that interfere with their ability to access the curriculum.
Functional Communication Plans
Planes de Comunicación Funcional
Learn what a Functional Communication Plan is and how it is developed and implemented for non-speaking autistic students. What is the process for getting a non-speaking student evaluated? What is the role of InterACT (Interdisciplinary Augmentative Communication and Technology Team)?
Target audience: Those supporting non-speaking autistic students.
Planificación para Transición
Learn the basics of the transition planning process in MCPS. What is the role of the Transition Services Team? When should you start planning for your child's high school or post high school life? How can transition staff help you? Self-advocacy and employment skills will be addressed in this session.
Target audience: Those supporting students on both diploma and certificate tracks who will be transitioning out of MCPS within the next 5–7 years.
Session 2 Breakout Topic Descriptions
Applying for Funding and Resources Outside MCPS
Recursos y Oportunidades de Financiación
Autistic students may be eligible for funding and a variety of services from county and state programs like Social Security Income, Respite Services and Low Intensity Support Services (LISS). Come find out more about how to apply and what opportunities are available to those who qualify.
Target audience: Those supporting students of any age who want to learn more about receiving funding or services from outside sources.
Alternative Learning Outcomes: A Parent Perspective
Currículo del Programa de Aprendizaje Alternativo (Certificado)
Hear directly from parents the reasons they chose the Alternative Learning Outcomes (ALO) curriculum for their children and what they view as the benefits and limitations of that decision. Learn about post-graduation options available to students who graduate with a certificate.
Target audience: Those supporting a student in a non-diploma program or considering a non-diploma program.
Elementary Home School Model: A Day in the Life
Modelo de Escuela Primaria (Home School Model): Un Día en la Vida
The Home School Model refers to the MCPS approach of providing special education services within general education classes at neighborhood elementary schools, instead of educating the special education students separately. Hear about real life examples of what the MCPS Home School Model looks like for several representative special education students. Follow their daily schedule and see the supports they receive. Come and find out what special education resources and services are available in neighborhood elementary schools.
Target audience: Those supporting a students currently in the Home School Model, or who are considering placing their student in the Home School Model.
Introduction to PEERS® Social Skills Curriculum
Introducción Currículo de Habilidades Sociales de PEERS®
Learn about the Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS) and how some MCPS teams are implementing its principles in their programs. Parents will gain an understanding of the basic concepts of this intervention as well as how to request that specific strategies be incorporated into their child’s IEP.
Target audience: Those supporting middle or high school students struggling to form relationships with peers.
Introduction to “Unstuck and On Target,” a Program for Improving Executive Functioning
Introducción a "Unstuck and On Target", un Programa para Mejorar el Funcionamiento Ejecutivo
How does the Unstuck and On Target curriculum support students with executive function challenges? How is this curriculum used in particular programs in MCPS? Parents will gain an understanding of the vocabulary used in this intervention as well as ideas about how to request that specific strategies be incorporated into their child’s IEP.
Target audience: Those supporting students ages 8-11 who get "stuck" or are find it challenging to work toward a realistic goal in school.
Introduction to “Zones of Regulation,” a Program for Improving Self-Regulation
Introducción a las "Zonas de Regulación", un Programa para Mejorar la Autorregulación
What is the Zones of Regulation framework? How is it used in elementary classrooms to address management of emotions and increase students’ self-control? Parents will gain an understanding of the vocabulary used in classrooms as well as ideas about how to request that specific strategies be incorporated into their child’s IEP.
Target audience: Those supporting elementary-aged students.