Join us Tuesday, November 16, to learn how trauma is affecting our students

xMindsWire November 2021

Many Students Re-Entering School Have Suffered Trauma


Join xMinds on Tuesday, November 16, at 7:30 PM, to learn about "trauma-informed" educational practices, and why they are so important right now. 

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and recent social justice tensions, many autistic students and Black and Brown students have suffered heightened levels of trauma. Stresses from the effects of long–term distance learning and the events of racial reckoning have added to the stress of living as an autistic person in a world designed for neurotypicals. As students pivot back to in-person learning, for some these experiences are affecting their mental health, academic work, and behavior. In order to support these students in school and at home, educators and families need to understand how to recognize the effects of trauma and learn the best practices for addressing them.

xMinds advisor Kim Pinckney-Lewis will moderate the discussion with our three panelists, all mental health specialists: Eric Rossen, director of professional development and standards for the National Association of School Psychologists; Alondra Anderson, MCPS School Psychologist with Services for Students with the Autism Spectrum Disorders program; and Maxwell Schneider, an autistic self-advocate and therapist, who uses trauma-informed practices in their work with neurodivergent youth.

Eric Rossen, Ph.D.

Alondra Anderson, Ed.S, NCSP 

Maxwell Schneider, MHC–LP

Join Our Free Monthly Online Parent Discussion Groups

Our monthly parent discussion groups are in full swing! These online gatherings help families with autistic children connect with other MoCo families with similar interests and concerns. Each group is geared toward a specific segment of our community. Participants enjoy the opportunity to chat and share experiences.

These are drop-in sessions—so join us whenever you can. There's never a cost! November's meet-up dates have been adjusted due to the Thanksgiving weekend. Here's the lineup for the upcoming group meetings:

Let’s Talk Transitions. Discussion group for MoCo parents/guardians of an autistic child in middle or high school, approaching the transition to adulthood. Next meeting date will be Wednesday, November 17, at 7:00 PM. Register here. 

People of the Global Majority. Discussion group for MoCo parents/guardians of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) students. The next meeting date will be Sunday, November 21, at 7:00 PM. Register here

Hablemos Educación Especial. Discussion group for Spanish-speaking MoCo parents/guardians of an autistic child. Hosted the first Wednesday of each month by the xMinds Spanish-Language Outreach Committee. Next meeting date will be Wednesday, December 1, at 7:00 PM. Register here. 

Expressing Our Attitude of Gratitude


With Thanksgiving around the corner, we want to thank all those who help improve education for autistic students in Montgomery County. We’re grateful for our board members, committee members, and other volunteers, who put in countless hours planning speaker events, developing our website resources, processing grants to educators, and providing advice and guidance for parents of autistic students. We're also grateful to all our financial supporters who make it possible for us to offer all our programs and resources for free. If you want to join our volunteers or financial contributers, we welcome your support! You can contact us at or donate here.

Special thanks to Raha Murtuza, our summer intern who continued her volunteer work well into October so as to help train her successor. Raha, a sophomore at Richard Montgomery High School, did an excellent job maintaining the xMinds online Community Events calendar, created beautiful, informative flyers, and helped parents at our in-person IEP Clinic in September. We wish Raha all the best in her school year and hope to see her back again next summer!

Raha Murtuza

And of course, we’re thankful for the MoCo educators who help autistic students, day-in and day-out. Check out our video tribute to educators, starring MoCo students. Parents, you are welcome to share this video with your students’ educational team to let them know you appreciate all they do.

Did You Miss Our October Events?

If you missed our fascinating interview with Jordyn Zimmerman, you can watch it on the xMinds YouTube channel in English or in Spanish. Featured in the documentary "This Is Not About Me," Jordyn is a nonspeaking autistic graduate student who communicates using Augmentative and Alternative Communication. You can watch the film here.

Last month, we also welcomed education attorney Kimberly Glassman, who answered questions about the compensatory services that MCPS offers to students who lost access to services during virtual learning. View the recording on YouTube; a Spanish translation is also available. Remember, all our recent webinars are posted on the xMinds YouTube channel.

Kimberly Glassman, Esq.

Jordyn Zimmerman

Upcoming xMinds Events

Tuesday, Nov. 16, 7:30 – 9:00 PM

Supporting Re-Entry to School for Autistic Students: A Trauma-Informed Approach

See the description above for more information about this webinar. Register here.

Wednesday, Nov. 17, 7:00 – 7:45 PM

Let's Talk Transitions

Online discussion group for MoCo parents/guardians of an autistic child in middle or high school. Register here.

Sunday, Nov. 21, 7:00 – 7:45 PM

People of the Global Majority 

Online discussion group for MoCo parents/guardians of an autistic BIPOC child. Register here

Wednesday, Dec. 1, 7:00 – 7:45 PM

Hablemos Educación Especial

Online discussion group for Spanish-speaking MoCo parents/guardians of an autistic child. Register here.

Community Calendar

The November calendar is FULL of great offerings. Check out the programs and many free events posted on our Events Calendar.

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

Professional Member Spotlight

As a benefit to both our families and professional members, xMinds publishes information about our professional members here in the xMindsWire as well as on our website. Inclusion does not constitute our endorsement. This month, xMinds would like to highlight the following new and renewing Professional Members:

Brian K. Gruber, P.C., Law Office

6110 Executive Blvd., Ste. 220, Rockville, MD 20852

Contact: Brian K. Gruber, Esq.;

Services: Special education law including consultation, representation at IEP meetings, conflict resolution, mediation, and due process hearings; educational consulting; financial and trust management.

The Law Office of Brian K. Gruber, P.C., represents students and their parents in matters related to special education, access to appropriate accommodations under Section 504, and students who are facing long-term suspension or expulsion. By developing and maintaining strong relationships with public school agencies in Maryland and DC, the office is often able to help achieve a positive outcome for clients without the need for litigation. Our staff of attorneys has handled hundreds of due process hearings and mediations across Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Martinez Advocacy

10605 Concord St., Ste. 102, Kensington, MD 20895

Contact: Monica Martinez;

Services: Special Education Advocacy

Monica Martinez is a special education advocate working with families in Montgomery County, MD. Through her seven-plus years of involvement in Partnership for Extraordinary Minds (xMinds), Monica developed an in-depth understanding of how Montgomery County Public Schools educates students on the autism spectrum and how to navigate the district’s special education system. Monica’s areas of expertise are services and accommodations for students on the autism spectrum, as well as those with ADHD and/or co-morbid mental health issues. Monica also works to help parents and guardians understand the educational rights of their children. Monica has attended Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy Training and completed the yearlong Special Education Advocate Training (SEAT) 2.0 through the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA).

Spectrum Transition Coaching, LLC


Contact: Beth Felsen;

Services: Coaching; College assistance; Grades 9–12 and transition ages (18–21)

Spectrum Transition Coaching, LLC provides college readiness coaching for autistic high school students and their parents as well as one-on-one coaching for autistic young adult clients 18 and older. College readiness for autistic high school students focuses on the non-academic skills needed for college success: self-advocacy, executive function, social communication, and life skills. One-on-one coaching after high school can focus on academic, social, organizational, life, and employment goals. Services are provided virtually. Private pay only. Navigating life with autism can be really difficult – working with a coach can make it easier.

Washington Behavioral Medicine Associates, LL/SOAR Program for Psychotherapy & Testing

5480 Wisconsin Ave #223  Chevy Chase, MD 20815

Contact: Jaclyn Halpern, Psy.D., Director/Co-Founder;

Services: Medical/medicine management; Psychological counseling; Social skills therapy; Behavioral therapy; Educational consulting; Educational testing; Neuropsychological testing; Academic tutoring/coaching

We believe in providing empathic, personalized science-based treatments and supports. Our providers seek to accurately identify strengths, vulnerabilities, neurodiversity, and diagnoses. Our supports and treatments rely upon a thorough understanding of each individual’s medical and developmental history, and identified needs. They may include the integration of medication, neuromodulation (TMS, eTNS, tDCS, and others), comprehensive psychological testing, a range of supportive psychotherapies, expressive arts therapies, coaching, psychiatric genetics and pharmacogenetics, personal and family-based care, diet and supplements, adequate sleep, and reasonable exercise. Treatment and support plans are based on each individual’s needs.

Our practice is unique in its integration of traditional psychiatry and psychology, genetics, neuroscience, and holistic, whole-person approaches to care. We help you achieve your treatment goals through our collaborative wellness model. We know reaching out is not easy, and we are dedicated to creating the most helpful path toward wellness for each and every person and family. Our patient population is diverse, we are neurodiversity affirmative, and we are inclusive and welcoming to all. Telehealth is available.

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