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

Past Events

2019-2020 | 2018-2019 | 2017-2018 | 2016-2017 | 2015-2016 | 2014-2015 | 2013-2014

2019-2020 Program Year

July 23, 2020

Racial Justice in Special Education: A Panel Discussion

Moderator:  Kim Pinckney-Lewis

Panelists: Selene Almazan, Dr. Delarious Stewart, Joy F. Johnson, Cheryl Poe, and Candace Strickland

Flyer: xMindsRacialJusticeJuly23.pdf

Video recording:  Video-- July 23, 2020 Panel

Audio recording: Audio file of Racial Justice in Special Education_July 23 2020.m4a


Child Trends (2017) -- 5 Things to Know about Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Special Education;

GAO Report (2018) on Discipline Disparities for Black Students, Boys, and Students with Disabilities;

Research from the Center for Promise (2018) highlights how exclusionary discipline leads students to disconnect from school; Hechinger Report (2019) sites two studies finding black students are under-identified for disabilities at school;  

Future Teachers More Likely to View Black Children as Angry, Even When They Are Not (2020)

May 27, 2020

Autistic Self-Advocates Panel: Exploring Paths After High School

Panelists: Alanna Van Valkenburgh, Benjamin Haar, Lisa Vallado, and Nicholas Jennings-Corrales

Moderator:  Scott Michael Robertson, Ph.D.   

Video of this online discussion (password 7p&?%=6S): Self-Advocates Panel 5-27-20

April 30, 2020

Understanding and Managing Challenging Behavior during Distance Learning: Focusing on ASD Students

Speaker: Jaclyn Halpern, Psy.D.

Video of this online webinarApril 30, 2020 Webinar

Presentation Outline and Resources: Outline and Resources from Webinar 4-30-20.pdf

April 23, 2020

Virtual Speech and OT:  Making It Work for ASD Students

Speaker: Chistina Morrissey, M.S., CCC-SLP

Video of this online webinar (password 3T*S^%n1): April 23, 2020 Webinar

Audio of this online webinar: GMT20200423-230456_Virtual-Sp.m4a

Power Point slide show:  Virtual Speech-language and OT therapies.pdf

April 16, 2020

Special Education in the Time of Distance Learning -- Take Two

Speaker: Kimberly Glassman, Esq., Education Attorney

Video of this online webinar (password K2=.1122): April 16, 2020 Webinar

Audio of this online webinar: GMT20200416-230325_SPED-in-th.m4a

Power Point slide show, which is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be understood as legal advice: SpecialEducation Covid-19 MD.pdf

April 7, 2020

SPED and FAPE in the Time of Distance Learning

Speaker: Michael Gerton, Esq., Education Attorney

Video of this online webinar:  April 7, 2020 Webinar

Audio of this online webinar:  GMT20200407-230217_SPED-and-F(3).m4a

Documents referenced in the webinar: xMinds 4-7-20 Webinar Supporting Documents

February 26, 2020

Academics We Can Use:  Making the Most of the Alternate Learning Outcomes ("ALO") Curriculum

Speaker:  Jean Hickey, M.Ed, Educational Therapist

February 1 & 8, 2020

Teen Self-Advocacy Workshop

Facilitators:  Jamell White, PhD, LCSW-C; Sue Keisler, Executive Director xMinds; Monica Martinez, Special Education Advocate

January 2020

Getting Organized for School: A Make-and-Take Workshop

Workshop Leader:  Jean Hickey, M.Ed, Educational Therapist

December 2019

Plugged-In Parents: Keeping Kids Safe, Healthy, and Happy in the Digital Age

Speaker: Barbara Huth, Education Program Manager, Common Sense
Handouts: Age-Based Media Use Advice; Apps to Keep Track of What Your Kids Are Doing Online; Family Media Agreement

November 19, 2019

Providing Lifelong Financial Support to Your Family Member with Autism

Speakers: Mark Friese, Wealth Management Advisor, Merrill Lynch
Chase Phillips, Wealth Management Advisor, Merrill Lynch
Matthew Bogin, Estate Planning and Probate Attorney
Presentation Slides: Families of Children with Disabilities
Handouts: Planning Considerations for Parents of Children with Disabilities; Frequently Used Terms

November 9, 2019

Workshop for Parents of Newly Diagnosed Children or Adolescents

Facilitator: Caron Starobin, LCSW-C

October 2019

IEP Clinic

Keynote Speaker:  Monica Martinez, Special Education Advocate, Writing Measurable IEP Goals


Dr. Sheila Iseman, SCI Education Consulting

Elizabeth Stoff, M.Ed.

Katherine Thomas, Esq., Family Legal Advocacy Group, LLC
Sarah Wayland, Ph.D., Guiding Exceptional Parents
Mariela Pijem, Parents Place of Maryland (
Spanish Speaking)

September 2019

Prepared, Proactive, and Positive: The 3Ps to Getting Your Child with ASD Ready for School Success
Speaker: Jean E. Hickey, M. Ed., Educational Therapist
Presentation Slides: Prepared, Proactive, and Positive: The 3Ps to Getting Your Child with ASD Ready for School Success

2018-2019 Program Year

June 2019

Summer Safety
Speaker: Officer Laurie Reyes of the Montgomery County Police Department’s Autism, IID, and Alzheimers Outreach Unit
Presentation Slides: Montgomery County Police Department Autism/IID, Alzheimers/Dementia Outreach Presentation

May 2019

Ask An #ActuallyAutistic Adult
Panelists: Joel Carver, Deef Chuang, Annie K., Scott Robertson, speaking about their experiences as students and adults on the autism spectrum and about their insights on self advocacy and neurodiversity
Resources: List of Resources Handout (Dr. Scott Robertson); Resources from "Little Miss Precise" (Annie K.); Graphic and Written Narrative Form of Deef Chuang's Presentation; Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network (AWN); National Institutes of Health Videocast "Autism in Girls and Women," 19 Sept. 2017

April 2019

11th Annual Extraordinary Minds in MCPS Forum

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 Individualized Education Program (IEP) team.

March 2019

Community Safety And Interactions with Law Enforcement
Speakers: Officers from the Montgomery County Police Department’s Autism/IDD Outreach unit

February 2019

Growing Up with A Sibling on The Autism Spectrum
Speakers: Cornelia and Walter Suskind, whose family was featured in the book and documentary Life Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism
Handouts: SibStrong Information

January 2019

The Importance of Self Advocacy to Success
Speakers: Julia Bascom, Executive Director, Autistic Self Advocacy Network
Presentation Slides: The Importance of Self Advocacy to Success

December 2018

How to Help Your Teen with ASD Find A College Where They will be Happy and Successful
Speakers: Sue Cook Christakos, College Consulting Collaborative
Handouts: College Support Programs for Students with ASD; College Planning Guidelines for Students Who Learn Differently

November 2018

Roadmap to Dating And Relationships on The Spectrum: For Autistic Teens, Young Adults, And Their Parents
Speakers: Jonathan Rhoads, LCSW-C; JMR Counseling
Handouts: Meeting People

October 2018

IEP Clinic
Speakers: Rene Averitt-Sanzone, Executive Director of Parents’ Place of Maryland (PPMD)
Consultants: Brian Gruber, Esq., Law Office of Brian K. Gruber, P.C.
Sheila Iseman
Hayley Jacobson, Weinfeld Education Group
Ali Lackey, Weinfeld Education Group
Mariela Pijem, PPMD
Katherine Thomas, Esq., Family Legal Advocacy Group, LLC
Presentation Slides: PPMD Presentation

September 2018

Setting Up Your Child for School Success
Speaker: Monica Martinez, President, Partnership for Extraordinary Minds
Presentation Slides: Setting Up Your Child for School Success
Handouts: Back to School Kit; Back to School Checklist; Behavior Contract Example 1; Behavior Contract Example 2; Student Snapshot Template; MCPS Reorganization Explained; MCPS Reorg. explicada en español

2017-2018 Program Year

June 2018

Special Needs Trusts and ABLE Accounts
Speakers: Eric Jorgensen, CFP, Turning Point Financial
Tia Marsili, Director of Trusts, The ARC of Northern Virginia

May 2018

Parent Panel and IEP Clinic
Consultants: Stacey Dworin, M.S., HLD Advocates, LLC
Amy Mounce, M.A., M.Ed.
Elizabeth Stoff, M.Ed.

March 2018

Community Safety and Interactions with Law Enforcement
Speakers: Officers from Montgomery County Police Department's Autism/IDD Outreach Unit

February 2018

Little Miss Precise: One Autistic Woman’s Journey of Self-Discovery
Handouts: Little Miss Precise Resources

January 2018

Growing Up on the Autism Spectrum: A Family Experience
Speaker: Caron Starobin, LCSW-C
Handouts: Stages of Raising a Family with a Child on The Autism Spectrum; Parents Together Resource Packet for Young Adults and Youth with Autism

December 2017

Supports for Autistic Students at the University of Maryland, College Park
Speakers: Kathy Dow-Burger, M.A., CCC-SLP, Co-Director, University of Maryland Autism Research Consortium (UMARC)
Nancy Forsythe, M.A., Ed.S, Career Development Specialist, UMD
Nan Bernstein Ratner, Ed.D.-SLP, Director, University of Maryland Autism Research Consortium (UMARC)
Presentation Slides: Forsythe Employment Presentation; UMARC Presentation

November 2017

Maryland Online IEP System
Speaker: Philip A. Lynch, Director, Special Education Services, MCPS
Presentation Slides: Overview of Maryland Online IEP

October 2017

IEP Clinic
Speakers: Suzanne Keith Blattner, M.S. Ed., ITS-PALSS How to Write a Good Parent Report
Molly Whalen, Executive Director, District of Columbia Association for Special Education 5 Things Parents Should Know, Think and Care About in IEP Meetings
Consultants: Stacey Dworin, M.S., HLD Advocates, LLC
Lisa Morris, M.S. Ed., Weinfeld Education Group
Katherine F. Thomas, ESQ., Family Legal Advocacy Group
Sarah Wayland, Ph.D., Guiding Exceptional Parents, LLC

September 2017

Back2School: Get Organized!
Speakers: Wendy Taylor, M. Ed. Executive Director, Learning Essentials

2016-2017 Program Year

May 2017

Parent Panel on Services and Programs for Autistic Students in Montgomery County

March 2017

Interactive Screening of Be Safe
Speakers: Pathfinders for Autism
Montgomery County Police Department, Autism/IDD Outreach Unit

February 2017

Our Child Just Got an Autism Diagnosis: Now What?
Speakers: Susan Abrams, M.A. CCC-SLP, Center for Communication and Learning
Teri Kozlowski, OTR, ITS-Developmental Therapy Services
Sarah Wayland, Ph.D., Guiding Exceptional Parents
Presentation Slides: Our Child Just Got An Autism Diagnosis. Now What?

January 2017

An Evening with Self-Advocate Joel Carver
Speakers: Joel Carver, Co-Chair, Neurodiversity Student Group, College of William and Mary

December 2016

What Comes Next? Preparing Young Adults on the Autism Spectrum for the Path of Life
Speakers: Dr. David Black, Ph.D., Center for Assessment and Treatment

November 2016

Preparing for Kindergarten
Speakers: Lisa Grant, MCPS Special Education Program Specialist
Jennifer Strouble, Preschool Special Education Instructional Specialist, MCPS
Presentation Slides: Transition to Kindergarten

Preparing for College
Speakers: Janet Price, College Living Experience
Presentation Slides: College Living Experience Presentation

October 2016

IEP Clinic
Speakers: Rich Weinfeld, Executive Director, Weinfeld Education Group
Consultants: Suzanne Keith Blattner, M.S. Ed., ITS-PALSS
Michael Gerton, Esq.
Amy Mounce, M.A., M.Ed.
Anjali Prakash, Esq.

September 2016

Understanding Children on the Autism Spectrum: An Afternoon for Friends and Family to Learn about Autism
Speakers: Eve Megargel, author of Learning to Kiss
Monica Adler Werner, Director of the Model Asperger Program, The Ivymount School

Book Club Discussion of Lost at School: Why Our Kids with Behavioral Challenges are Falling Through the Cracks and How We Can Help Them
Speakers: Sarah Wayland, Ph.D., Guiding Exceptional Parents
Holly F., xMinds Secretary

2015-2016 Program Year

May 2016

Verbal Behavior Programs for Students on the Autism Spectrum
Speakers: Cynthia Onder, MA., CCC-SLP/BCBA

March 2016

Financial Planning for Autism Families
Speakers: Eric Jorgensen, CFP

February 2016

How to Talk to your Child about His/Her Diagnosis
Speakers: Amy Alvord, M.Ed.
Jean Winegardner, Autistic Self-Advocacy Network
Handouts: "You Have Autism" by Shelly McLaughlin, Pathfinders for Autism; Why -- and How -- to Talk to Your Kid About Their Autism; I'm Determined!

Using the STAR Curriculum to Talk about Sex with your Adolescents on the Spectrum
Speakers: Dr. Cara Pugliese, Ph.D.
Dr. Yael Granader, Ph.D.

December 2015

Opportunities at Montgomery College for Students Across the Autism Spectrum
Speakers: Sue Haddad, Montgomery College Chair of Disability Support Services
Shalawn Childs, Montgomery College Assistant Professor of Student Development

November 2015

Meet Glen Finland, Author of Next Stop: An Autistic Son Grows Up
Speakers: Glen Finland, MFA
Handouts: Glenn's Resources

October 2015

Discover How Your Child Learns: Neuropsychological Evaluations
Speakers: Dr. Rebecca Resnik, PsyD

September 2015

Get Organized! Get Involved!
Speakers: Alison Hoffman (Parent, Carderock Springs ES)
Amy Marella-Carpenter (Parent, xMinds and Sligo Creek ES)
Monica Martinez (Parent, xMinds and Sligo Creek ES)
Bryan Osborn (Parent, Flora Singer ES)
Kara Tymon (Coordinator, Learning Center, Flora Singer ES)

May 2015

Public Safety for Autistic Children and Youth
Speaker: Scott Campbell, Board Member, Parents of Autistic Children of Northern Virginia (POAC)

March 2015

Math Strategies for Students on the Autism Spectrum
Speaker: Jean Hickey, M.Ed.

February 2015

Sensory Processing and the Autistic Student
Speakers: Julie Schade, MA, OTR/L
Colette Silver, MS, OTR/L; ITS-Developmental Therapy Services
Presentation Slides: Challenges with Sensory Processing in Children with ASD

December 2014

Affective Collaboration and Dispute Resolution
Speakers: Brian Gruber, Esq., and Ashley Van Cleef, Esq.

November 2014

Safeguarding Your Child's Experience on the Internet
Speakers: Dr. Jamell White, Ph.D., and Andrew McGahan, JSSA

October 2014

Helping Students with Written Expression
Speakers: Esther Goetz, M.A., CCC/SLP
Katherine Hartley, The Katherine Thomas School

Technology Tools to Enhance Independence and Learning
Speakers: Dr. Katharina Boser, Ph.D.

September 2014

Organize and Connect for Success
Speakers: xMinds Board Members

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