All xMinds Speaker Events Now Include Autistic Voices!

xMindsWire October 2020

Nonspeaking Students: A New Resource 

xMinds is excited to announce we have a new website page dedicated to supporting nonspeaking and minimally speaking autistic students! Did you know that about one-third of individuals on the autism spectrum are minimally or nonspeaking? Find out about this significant segment of the autistic population on our new webpage.

The webpage includes links to blogs, books, and articles written by non- or minimally speaking autistic individuals; videos featuring nonspeakers; information about Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices; information about therapies and methodologies to assist with communication; research on the connection between speech and intelligence; and much more. Check it out!

If you are looking for even more in-depth information, join us for a panel discussion about Functional Communication Plans on October 21. See below!

Navigating Online Instruction: Saturday Q & A Series


Our three-part Q&A series will finish this Saturday at 11am with a discussion of the experience and impact of distance learning on students who are on the autism spectrum. Our guests will be two MCPS high school students on the autism spectrum: Jack Allnutt (12th grade) who will communicate with the assistance of an AAC device, and Cree Costello (9th grade). Renowned speaker Sarah Wayland, Ph.D. will moderate the discussion and also answer questions, drawing on her expertise as a parent coach and research psychologist. This will not be recorded, so don't miss it!

Functional Communication Plans: What Do You Know?


The ability to communicate is essential for all students. Are you satisfied with how your student is developing communication skills? Do you feel there is more that could be done to help your student express their thoughts, make requests, and demonstrate what they know? Join us on October 21 for an online panel discussion to learn about Functional Communication Plans (FCPs), a tool that many parents are unaware they can request.

Our guest panelists will be: speech–language pathologist Lesley Fontana, educational consultant Paul Livelli, and behaviorist and autism advocate, Joy JohnsonEach panelist has extensive experience working with students who have communication challenges, and Joy Johnson brings the unique perspective of someone who was nonspeaking as a child. 

The panelists will discuss the best practices for creating and implementing FCPs, as well as how to overcome common pitfalls, monitor the FCP,  and make course-corrections along the way in order to reach the goal of meaningful, functional communication -- not just at school, but also at home and in the community. 

xMinds Grants for Educators and Para-Educators

xMinds believes that one of the best ways to improve the educational outcomes for students on the autism spectrum is to give their teachers, para-educators, and related service providers all the tools they need. That's why we have given out 12 grants, so far, to professionals and para-professionals to attend this year's Annual Innovators in Education Conference, hosted by the Center for Communication and Learning on October 17. The focus this year is social-emotional learning, a topic we believe is especially important for students on the autism spectrum. 

There's still time to register for this one-day online conference. For educators and related service providers who support students on the autism spectrum, xMinds is offering a limited number of grants to attend the Conference. Each xMinds grant is for $75, which covers most of the cost for professionals to attend and receive continuing education credits. If you’re interested in an xMinds grant, please apply here. Para-educators should email to request a grant. Parents are also encouraged to attend, and the Center for Communication and Learning is offering a limited number of parent scholarships, which you can apply for here

Upcoming xMinds Virtual Events

Saturday, October 10, 11am-12:30pm 

The Impact and Experience of Online Instruction: Q & A with Sarah Wayland, Ph.D. and Students on the Spectrum

See details and register here.

Saturday, October 21, 7pm– 8:30pm 

Functional Communication Plans: An Essential Tool For Supporting Non or Minimally Speaking Students

See details and register here.

Community Events 

Fall is Full of Events!
You can find many programs offered by our professional members on the xMinds calendar

In October you'll find offerings from Starobin Counseling, Ivymount Outreach, Pat Webbink, Center for Assessment and Treatment, Guiding Exceptional Parents, The Center for Communication and Learning, and The Treatment and Learning Centers. Other autism-related free community events (including SEAC and MCPS Transition Services meetings) are also included on our calendar.

Plan Ahead

Our xMinds calendar shows events on their start date, but some programs require you to apply before the start date. 
Here are some of the offerings that require you plan ahead:

Sarah Wayland, Ph.D. will lead a discussion group for Dr. Dan Shapiro's Parent Child Journey class. Register and receive online course materials before the first discussion on Oct. 8.

Starobin Counseling and Jamell White are accepting applications for their 2021 MoCo PEERS® program for young adults, which starts March 1, 2021.


Are you an Amazon shopper? You can make a difference while you shop Amazon Prime Day deals on October 13 & 14. Simply shop at or with AmazonSmile ON in the Amazon Shopping app and AmazonSmile donates to Partnership for Extraordinary Minds--on Prime Day and throughout the entire year!

Amazon Smile for xMinds

Spotlight on Professional Members

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

Stephanie Frumkin;; 724.320.9026

701 Hyde Road, Silver Spring, MD 20902
Services: Educational consulting

Exceptional Educational Solutions offers educational consulting to help parents of Pre-K to grade 12 students find the best school options, whether traditional or alternative, that work for the whole family. We specialize in working with bright students with learning differences including ADHD, autism, anxiety, behavioral challenges, and learning disabilities.  

Sarah Wayland;; 301.768.8503

4711 Sheridan Street, Riverdale Park, MD 20737
Services: Social Skills Therapy; Behavioral Therapy; Educational Consulting;Coaching  

Sarah Wayland, Ph.D., is a parenting coach, certified RDI consultant, and a special needs care navigator at Guiding Exceptional Parents, LLC. Her work as a parenting coach involves working closely with families to figure out which parenting strategies are best suited to their family - taking the profiles of both the caregivers and the child into account.

As an RDI™ consultant, Dr. Wayland works with parents to show them how to teach their children the essential skills that make relationships work. She teaches them how to identify problems, and through a highly customized program that takes both their profile and their child’s profile into account, they learn how to teach the missing skills. She also work with teens and adults to help them learn the skills necessary for making and maintaining meaningful relationships.

Her Special Needs Navigation Services are designed to help parents learn how to access resources and knowledge so they can confidently and effectively help their children. She knows how to effectively navigate clinical care and educational systems, how to evaluate reports, and how to help prioritize.

Carolyn Leskowitz Woodham;; 301.469.0223

11614 Seven Locks Road, Rockville, MD 20854
Services: Private school; Nonprofit organization; Occupational therapy; Speech/language therapy; Social skills therapy; Behavioral therapy; Educational consulting; Athletics/recreational support 

Ivymount School and Programs provides school- and community-based services for children and young adults with special needs from throughout the Washington metropolitan area. The school program serves more than 200 students, ages 4–21, with speech and language impairments, learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, health impairments, and Autism Spectrum Disorders. The classrooms are structured to serve students with a range of academic and cognitive abilities, including, in some cases, those who have the potential to obtain a high school diploma.

Ivymount Outreach Programs serve students, teachers, and parents to support children with learning and developmental challenges in the community through assessments, evaluations, therapies and professional development. The goal in all of the programs is to help children and young adults achieve their highest level of development and independence to live with dignity and self-respect. Ivymount School has been twice recognized as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education. Founded in 1961, Ivymount celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011.

Caron Starobin, LCSW-C;; 301.524.4450

413 Olandwood Court, Ste 104, Olney, MD 20832
Services: Psychological counseling; Social skills therapy. 

Starobin Counseling offers individual, couples, family, and group therapy. In individual & family counseling for people on the autism spectrum, individuals learn relationship skills and tools for thinking with greater flexibility, and family members learn to interact with greater ease and compassion with their loved ones. Starobin Counseling provides the MoCo PEERS® social skills program for teens and young adults in collaboration with Jamell White, Ph.D., LCSW-C. The MoCo PEERS® groups help participants practice and generalize relationship skills with their peers, families, and communities. Starobin Counseling also facilitates a parent support group program, called Parents Together. The parent groups offer parents information, resources, emotional support, and connection to other parents with similar experiences and aims to strengthen the capacity of parents to navigate the maze of services for their children, adolescents, and young adults.

As a benefit to both our families and professional members, xMinds publishes information about our professional member service providers here in the xMindsWire as well as in a Professional Member Services Directory on our website. Inclusion in the directory is voluntary and does not constitute our endorsement.

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