Is Distance Learning Driving You Nuts?

Join us on September 12 for a Q&A with Educators

xMindsWire September 2020

Including More Autistic Voices in xMinds Programming


The mission of xMinds is to improve education for students on the autism spectrum. To achieve that goal, xMinds is now committing to increase dramatically the input we get from individuals on the autism spectrum. What better way to make meaningful progress than to hear from the individuals directly impacted by our work? Students and former students on the autism spectrum will be part of each of our speaker events this year, and we will continue to seek their input in all our other programming. We believe that by including autistic individuals' voices in our programming, we will help educators more effectively respond to the needs of autistic students, and we will promote inclusion, respect, and acceptance of the entire autism spectrum in our community.  

Navigating Online Instruction: Saturday Q & A Series


This strange new school year is here, and you may have some questions about how to make virtual learning work for your ASD student. To meet that need xMinds is offering parents and students the opportunity to ask educators about specific issues you’re having with distance learning –– issues like actively participating in synchronous learning, virtually connecting with classmates, executive function supports, optimal use of AAC devices, etc. Click here for registration details and to learn about the guest educators who will be answering your questions.


Our Q&A series will continue with Education Attorney Kimberly Glassman who will answer your questions about hot legal topics in distance learning, including Distance Learning Plans, virtual IEP meetings, compensatory education, and opting out of distance learning.


Our Q&A series will finish with two MCPS high school students who are on the autism spectrum, along with research psychologist, special needs navigator, and parent coach Sarah Wayland, Ph.D. Together they will answer parents’ and students’ questions about distance learning and offer insights from these students' perspectives. One of our autistic panelists will communicate with the assistance of an AAC device.

Have You Considered a Tutor for Your Student? 

Even if your student has the best teacher in the world, you may still feel distance learning is leaving gaps in their education. xMinds compiled a list of parent-recommended tutors and tutoring services with special education experience. We hope this information might help you find a tutor who can provide academic support for your student during distance learning--and after. Visit our Tutoring Services page for more information. 

Distance Learning Resources at

The xMinds website has a variety distance learning resources. We recently added a webinar produced by Suzanne Keith Blattner, ED.S. & Associates and the latest MCPS Autism Unit parent training webinars. Our site also contains all MCPS Community Updates during distance learning, independent distance learning resources for both ALO and diploma-bound students, and guidance for parents on special education advocacy during distance learning.

This Year's Annual Innovators in Education Conference is Focused on Emotions -- It's Soooooo Important

xMinds encourages educators and parents in Montgomery County to register for the one day online Innovators in Education conference hosted by the Center for Communication and Learning on October 17. This year the Conference will focus on the important topic of social-emotional learning, and the speakers will be amazing!

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 to attend this Conference, and continuing education credits are also available. If you’re interested in an xMinds grant, please apply here. 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

Welcome, New xMinds Board Members!

Bonita Williams and Kim Pinckney-Lewis were recently elected to the Partnership for Extraordinary Minds Board of Directors! xMinds is delighted and excited to have them!

Upcoming xMinds Virtual Events 

Saturday, September 12 at 11am
Navigating Online Instruction: Q & A with Educators
See details and register here

Saturday, September 26 at 11am
Online Instruction and the Law: Q & A with Education Attorney Kimberly Glassman, Esq. 
See details here.

Saturday, October 10 at 11am 

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

See details here.

Community Events 

Fall is Full of Events!
You can find many programs offered by our professional members on the xMinds calendar
. In September and October you'll find offerings from Bass Educational Services, 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 MCPS workshops) 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:

Ivymount Outreach is accepting applications for their Self-Advocacy GroupSecrets of Friendship, and Unstuck and On Target Programs, all starting in September.

Center for Communication and Learning encourages parents to complete an interest form to join any of their Be Social Kids social skills programs in the fall 2020. 

Center for Assessment and Treatment is still accepting applications for Unstuck and On Target, which starts on September 30.

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.

Spotlight on Professional Members

This month, xMinds would like to welcome the following new Professional Member: 

Bass Educational Services
Judy Bass;; 301.774.5211

3403 Olanwood Court, Ste 101, Olney, MD. 20832 
Educational consulting, academic tutoring and coaching, college placement assistance

Bass Educational Services, LLC provides an array of educational services for students with learning differences, ADHD, ASD, and other special needs. Our educational consultants offer guidance and structure throughout the college and post-secondary planning process, provide assistance in gap year programming, and assist families in facilitating local K-12 school placements. Our trained, experienced tutors provide online and in-home, one-on-one SAT/ACT test prep and subject tutoring. Additionally, we provide assistance in obtaining SAT/ACT accommodations when appropriate.

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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For more information, call 301-444-5225, email or visit


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