Ask an autistic! Join us on May 27 for our self-advocate panel webinar. 

xMindsWire May 2020

xMinds Autistic Self-Advocates Panel on May 27


In the last month parents have been inundated with helpful – but potentially overwhelming – resources and advice on how to manage their kids, distance learning, and entirely new dynamics in their homes. xMinds jumped right in with lots of information, too (see below for more on our April webinar series), but on May 27 we want to give you something a bit more upbeat!    

We will have a panel of young adult autistic individuals who will talk about their experiences and challenges in the years after graduating from high school. This is not an instructional or educational webinar, so it's a chance to just watch, listen, and appreciate the discussion.  Your kids are welcome to join in, too. You will hear from panelists with a range of support needs, including one accomplished young woman who uses a letter board to communicate. And college is not the path for everyone--we'll hear from one young man who is pursuing his passion for cooking. See details and register here.

xMinds Steps Up During COVID-19   


xMinds successfully completed four consecutive weekly webinars in April, informing parents on topics that were of immediate concern. Education Attorneys Michael Gerton of Fierst & Fink in Rockville and Kimberly Glassman of the Law Office of Brian K. Gruber in Rockville (and xMinds professional member) presented in separate webinars on April 7 and 16, respectively, about the topic of FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education) and Distance Learning. A few themes arose from those two webinars: 

  • Compensatory Education, if awarded, is usually delivered as a program or service intended to address educational regression or loss of skills arising from the current learning environment in which typical special education benefits and accommodations may not be available.
  • Individual Distance Learning Plans do NOT negate the original IEP. Signing an IDLP doesn't waive your right to future compensatory education or any services stipulated in the original IEP. 
  • IEP meetings can be done virtually, and IEP timeline requirements remain the same with distance learning (meeting requests, notice of meeting, final copy of IEP, etc.). 

On April 23, Tina Morrisey, Director of Outpatient Speech Language Pathology at The Treatment and Learning Centers talked about ways to support virtual speech and occupational therapy. Jaclyn Halpern, Psy.D. presented at our April 30 webinar, offering guidance and resources to help families deal with challenging behaviors precipitated by current events. Please visit our Past Events page to access all of the recorded webinars and related resources. 

Planning and executing webinars takes time, money and a lot of volunteer energy. Please consider donating to xMinds so we can continue to offer valuable resources and information to Montgomery County families. 


Did you know you can find all MCPS communication updates in one place on our website?Additionally, we're still maintaining distance learning resources on our ALO Students at Home and Diploma Bound Students at Home pages. xMinds also has a page dedicated to Parent Guidance on Special Education Advocacy During COVID-19 where you can find useful information from the Maryland State Department of Education, Disability Rights Maryland and Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates. 

Stay Informed about Autism-Related Events & Discussions 


Did you know xMinds has a Google Group you can join for free? There are some great reasons to join: 

  • Never miss another local autism event! This week there's a free Facebook Live event with awesome child psychologist, Ross Greene. You'd already know about if you were part of our Google Group!
  • Hear recommendations and shared experiences from other families with autistic students. For example, if you want to know what other parents think about a specific MCPS program, just post your question and you'll hear back from knowledgeable community members. 

A growing online community of families are sharing their posts on the xMinds Google Group. It’s a great way to connect with other local parents of autistic students and share information and experiences online. Click here to join! (Go ahead -- it’s easy to unsubscribe if you change your mind! And you don't need a Google account.)

Upcoming xMinds Virtual Events

Wednesday, May 27; 7 - 8:30 p.m.
Autistic Self Advocate Panel: Exploring Paths after High School.
See details and register for the webinar here.

Virtual Community Events & Services

Thursday, May 21, 6pm and 7:35pm
Parents Together Support Group
Starobin Counseling

Opportunities for parents of children on the autism spectrum to enhance coping skills and connect with other parents. Hosted by Starobin Counseling on the 3rd Thursday of every month. 

Starting Tuesday, May 19 
Virtual Social Groups and More
Center for Communication and Learning

Center for Communication and Learning offers virtual social groups for pre-K to upper elementary school ages starting on May 19 (5 week session). CCL also offers virtual speech therapy and parent coaching.


Caron Starobin of Starobin Counseling offers a monthly Parents Together Support Group

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

Spotlight on Professional Members

This month, xMinds would like to acknowledge the following renewing professional members

ArtStream, Inc. 
ArtStream offers performance opportunities to people with IDDs 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

Integrated Living Opportunities 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 facilitates networks of support by developing teams of paid and unpaid individuals for self-advocates as they move our of their family houses into their own homes.

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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