New Years resolutions: Improve Self-Advocacy; Get more Involved in xMinds. Learn how in the January 2020 xMindsWire.

xMindsWire January 2020

Sign Up Your Teen for the Self-Advocacy Workshop Now!

xMinds will host its second annual Self-Advocacy Workshop for Teens on February 1 and February 8. If you are the parent of a diploma-bound autistic teenager ages 13 through 15, we encourage you to enroll your child in our two-day workshop.  Participants will gain a deeper understanding of their individual challenges and related IEP accommodations. After learning about the structure of an IEP meeting, teens will have the opportunity to role play participating in an IEP meeting.  All participants will walk away from the workshop with a personalized script they can use in their next IEP meeting. Apply today and we'll schedule a screening phone call with you to make sure we can support your child's self-advocacy needs. The application deadline is January 17, so act now!

You can find more details about the workshop by visiting the xMinds calendar.

xMinds News

Announcing the New xMinds Advisory Council
xMinds has just added to our leadership team an Advisory Council with ten advisors who are passionate about our mission. Each advisor has an area of expertise that is important to our organization, and the Advisory Council as a whole represents an exciting new resource for xMinds. We are grateful to each of these individuals for volunteering their time to advance our work.

The members of the xMinds Advisory Council include:

Nancy Coor, Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) Workgroup;

Kristin King, General and Special Educator (MCPS), Special Olympics Coach;

Monica Martinez, Special Education Advocate, former xMinds Executive Director;

Karen Paul, Founder and Principal at Catalyzing Philanthropy;

Kim Pickney-Lewis, Doctoral Student in Instructional Design and Technology;

Scott Robertson, Ph.D., Self-Advocate, Office of Disability Employment Policy, US Department of Labor;

Anne Stewart, M.A. Special Education, Special Educator, Lee Montessori, DC Public Charter School;

Sarah Wayland, Ph.D., Guiding Exceptional Parents;

Molly Whalen, Special Education Parent Advocate, DCASE Executive Director;

Jamell White, Ph.D., LCSW-C, Professor, College of Education, Early Childhood Education at the University of Maryland

We're Looking for a Few Good Volunteers

xMinds has expanded its work, and we need to expand our team of volunteers to keep up with it! If you would like to get more involved with xMinds, and connect with other parents of students with ASD, we would love to hear from you.

Here are some opportunities:

  • Join our communications committee and help produce our monthly newsletter (4 hours/month)
  • Join our communications committee and input events into our community events calendar (4 hours/month)
  • Join our communications committee and help maintain our social media presence on Facebook and Twitter (4 hours/month)
  • Join our communications committee and help maintain the xMinds website (5 hours/month)
  • Volunteer to be your school’s xMinds Representative, responsible for forwarding announcements of xMinds events to your child's PTA listserve (30 minutes/month)
  • Join the events committee to identify and invite speakers for next year’s programming, plan a social event, or host a book group discussion (2 hours/month to attend committee meeting)
  • Join the xMinds Bike to the Beach team. This is a fun way to get to know other parents and support our biggest annual fundraising event! Our team bikes on monthly weekend training rides during the spring, and will ultimately participate in the Bike to the Beach fundraising ride on July 31, 2020, where we bike 25, 50 or all 100 miles of the route from DC to Rehoboth (3 hours/month).
If you are interested in any of these opportunities, just click on the link to reach the right contact in the xMinds leadership. If you have another idea that’s not listed here, contact Sue Keisler at  

Upcoming Community Events

Check the xMinds Calendar!

All xMinds, professional member, and other autism-related free community events (including MCPS workshops) are now published in the xMinds calendar. 

Upcoming Events Hosted by xMinds

Saturday, Jan. 11; 10 a.m.–12 p.m.
Getting Organized for School: A Make-and-Take Workshop
See details and register here.

Saturdays, Feb. 1 and 8; 2–4 p.m.
Teen Self-Advocacy Workshop
See details and register here.

Executive Director, Sue Keisler and

Board President, Laura Gordon

Spotlight on Professional Members

xMinds publishes information about our new and renewing professional member service providers here in the xMindsWire. This month, we want to let you know that Alliance Pediatrics in conjunction with the Center for Communication and Learning, as well as the Center for Assessment and Treatment are accepting applications for their spring social skills groups.  You can learn more about PEERS Flex, PEERS for Teens, and PEERS for Young Adults on our events calendar.

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Become a Member
xMinds is run entirely by parents, and all membership fees are used to further our mission. Visit our website to learn about memberships for families, educators and education students, and other professionals who work with autistic students.

Partnership for Extraordinary Minds is a 501(c)3 based in Montgomery County Maryland working to improve the educational experiences and outcomes of students on the autism spectrum. For more information or to volunteer, call 301-444-5225, email or visit


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