Join us on Wednesday, May 19, to hear from our panel of Autistic Self-Advocates

xMindsWire May 2021

Autistic Self-Advocates Panel: What We Want You to Understand

Join xMinds on Wednesday, May 19, at 7:00 PM for our Autistic Self-Advocates Panel. Our panel of four adult, autistic self-advocates will discuss “What We Want Parents and Educators to Understand.”

Reflecting on their own experiences, panelists will highlight key ways in which their teachers and families may have misunderstood their needs in the areas of education, social life, and transition to employment. Their perspectives will offer valuable insights for parents and educators.

The panel will be moderated by Scott Robertson, co-founder of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN). The event will be held online over Zoom. To register, click here.

Spanish interpretation will be provided.

Presenters Ben McGann, Zosia Zaks, and Allie Sayre

You Oughta Be in Pictures: Submit Your Thank-You Video


Celebrate Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week by having your children submit a short thank-you video. Teachers and staff have worked tirelessly this year, under extraordinary circumstances. Now’s your chance to thank them and tell them you appreciate them for all they do.

xMinds is inviting every K-12 student in a Montgomery County school who has an autism diagnosis to submit a 10-second video by Monday, May 10. We’ll compile the videos into a longer tribute video for faculty and staff. The tribute video will be distributed to the many MoCo educators, occupational therapists, paraeducators, speech language pathologists, and support personnel who help autistic students.

All the details are on our website here.  It's easy and fun to do! Feel free to get creative!  

Recognizing our Extraordinary xMinds Intern 


We want to recognize the outstanding contributions of our intern Saanvi Shashikiran who joined the xMinds team for the 2020-21 school year. Saanvi, a 10th grader at Walter Johnson High School, has been a valuable member of the xMinds team all through this year of virtual learning.

xMinds was fortunate to be the beneficiary of Saanvi’s research skills and technical know-how. In the course of her 60 hours of service to xMinds, Saanvi helped to develop online resources such as interactive maps of MCPS special education programs and a useful listing of a wide range of autism trainings. She maintained the xMinds online community calendar by posting events and programs that are important to families with an autistic student, and she assisted with tech run-throughs before our webinars. 

This work has been a great way for Saanvi to get some real-world experience while improving and expanding the important resources xMinds provides to families and educators. Saanvi has taken a break to study for AP exams, but plans to rejoin the xMinds team this summer. We’re looking forward to having her back!  

We hope to offer more internship opportunities next school year. Stay tuned!

Reminder: Check out the xMinds Camp Guide


Planning your family's summer? Check out the xMinds Summer Camp Guide. The guide has been updated with new offerings, including information on MCPS Summer School Programs. Whether you are planning for in-person or virtual summer fun, there's a camp for your child!

Team xMinds Is Training and Raising Funds


Participating in the Bike to the Beach ride is a great way to get in shape and to build friendships with other xMinds parents while raising money to support xMinds. Bike to the Beach is a nonprofit that organizes bike rides around the country to help local autism organizations like xMinds raise money. The local ride this year will be on July 30, with 25-, 50-, and 100-mile options.

Our fourth training ride is scheduled for Sunday, May 16 at Haines Point. We'll cover 30-ish miles. Find the details for future rides here

Our fundraising goal this year is $20,000!  With your support, we can reach this goal. If you want to support this fundraiser with a donation rather than biking, we absolutely welcome that too! You can make a donation or join the team here

How can I find out more?  Go to the xMinds website.


Team xMinds enjoying a training ride on a beautiful day!

Upcoming xMinds Events

Sunday, May 16, in the am 

Sunday, May 30, in the am

Bike to the Beach Training Rides with Team xMinds

Contact team captain Patrick Quigley

Find more details here

Wednesday, May 19, 7 PM – 8:30 PM

Autistic Self-Advocates Panel: What We Want You to Understand

(Online) Register here

Community Events 

The xMinds May calendar is FULL of great offerings! Check out the programs and many free events listed on our Events Calendar.

Plan Ahead

Our Events Calendar shows events on their start date, but some programs require you to apply before the start date, so please look ahead! 

Did you miss the April Webinar Navigating Special Education for Autistic Students in Maryland?

A video recording of the presentation is available on our website and on our new YouTube channel, both in English and Spanish.

Professional Member Spotlight

This month, xMinds would like to highlight the following new and renewing Professional Members:


8401 Connecticut Ave, #1230 Chevy Chase, MD 20815


Contact: Heller An Shapiro;

Services: Social skills, recreational support, performing arts support

ArtStream offers performance opportunities to people with intellectual or developmental disabilities – including autism – of all ages. Classes, workshops, and performances are available throughout the DMV. ArtStream’s programs encourage collaboration and engage people in lifelong learning opportunities. Through ArtStream’s classes, performances, social-skills workshops, and other programming, participants gain skills and confidence to engage with the world. We welcome everyone to work together, learn from each other, and be valued for their creative contributions.

Integrated Living Opportunities

5603 Potomac Avenue NW, North Entrance, Washington DC 20015


Contact: Maedi Tanham Carney;

Services: Independent living support

Integrated Living Opportunities (ILO) is a non-profit organization that is devoted to helping families with special needs build supportive, integrated communities that enable safe, productive, independent living options for their young adults with developmental disabilities. ILO does this by developing a team of paid and unpaid individuals who serve as a support network for self-advocates as they move out of their family houses into their own homes.

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