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

xMinds Services For Parents

Monthly Speaker Events

xMinds hosts speaker events once a month during the school year. Speakers cover a range of topics of interest to parents of students on the autism spectrum, including for example, evidence-based approaches for promoting academic success (e.g. executive function or behavior strategies), and how to provide future financial security for a special needs child. To see a list of previous speakers click here. To see upcoming speakers click here. These events typically run from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on weekday evenings, and are located in Rockville during the first half of the school year, and in Silver Spring during the second half of the school year. These events are free for xMinds members, $15 for non-members.

Special Education Advocacy Assistance

A small group of xMinds parents who have both experience and training navigating the MCPS special needs system provides help to parents who are new to the system or who need guidance or support in finding a school placement or advocating within the IEP process. These volunteers provide advice, support, and can connect parents with resources (including educational consultants and lawyers, if needed) but these volunteers do not provide legal advice. If you are an xMinds member and you want to speak to one of our volunteer advocates, please contact us. This service is free of charge and only available to xMinds members.

Annual Extraordinary Minds in MCPS Forum

Once a year, xMinds co-hosts with MCPS an event for parents that we call the “Forum,” where MCPS teachers and administrators present an overview of the programs and services available to support students on the autism spectrum in MCPS. This event is always held on a weekday evening in April in one of the MCPS schools, and runs from 6:30-9:00 p.m. This event is open and free of charge to all.

Annual IEP Clinic

In October each year xMinds hosts an event where educational consultants and/or attorneys make themselves available to parents for 15 minute individual appointments. Parents bring their child’s IEP and most pressing questions. This event is held on a Saturday in October in Rockville. Discounted price for xMinds members, $20 for non-members.

Annual Parent Panel

Once a year, xMinds hosts a panel of elementary, middle and high school parents from a range of MCPS programs that serve autistic students. The panelists speak about their experiences in these programs – both the good and the bad – and parents have the chance to ask the panelists questions. This event is paired with the spring IEP Clinic (for no extra cost), so parents can listen to the parent panel and meet with an educational consultant at the same event.

Annual Autistic Self-Advocate Speaker

xMinds hosts an adult “self-advocate” speaker to share his or her experiences of living on the autism spectrum and answer questions from our students. These events are eye-opening and inspiring for parents. Weekday evening in January or February, Silver Spring location. Free for members, $15 for non-members.

Social Events

From time to time xMinds holds social events to strengthen connections within our community. Through book discussions, movie viewings, bike rides, picnics, and Imagination Stage sensory friendly shows, we provide opportunities for families to network, exchange ideas, find support, and share their stories. Some of these events are for parents only, and some include children.

Monthly Newsletter “xMindsWire”

Every month xMinds distributes an electronic newsletter with information about upcoming events in Montgomery County that are of interest to families with an autistic child. Members and non-members may subscribe for free.

Website Resources

xMinds maintains a website that contains original resources valuable to parents, including information concerning the IEP process, the educational programs and services in MCPS, as well as links to other information of value to parents of autistic students. Open to anyone.

Members-Only Forum

xMinds hosts an online private forum for parents to share experiences and gain insights from other parents without fear that school faculty or administrators are reading. Open to xMinds Member families only.

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