11th Annual Extraordinary Minds in MCPS Forum

Our annual “Extraordinary Minds in Montgomery County Public Schools” (MCPS) Forum informs parents about public school placements and services for students across the autism spectrum in Montgomery County, Maryland, a county that supports roughly 2,300 autistic students. Our Forum is an important service that helps parents participate meaningfully as members of their child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) team.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019; 6:30 - 9:00 p.m.
Location
: Julius West Middle School, 651 Great Falls Rd., Rockville, MD 20850
Cost: Free
Registration: Registration is recommended. Registration for childcare and/or interpretation services is required.

Agenda

6:00 – 6:25 Registration
6:30 – 7:00 Welcome and Introduction to Autism Services
7:05 – 8:00 Breakout Session 1
8:05 – 9:00 Breakout Session 2

Session 1 Breakout Topic Descriptions

Elementary Home School Model

Parents will learn what special education resources and services are available in all neighborhood elementary schools. In addition, parents will learn how to navigate MCPS resources to get their child’s specific needs met. Some resources to be discussed will include Autism Consult, High Incidence Assistive Technology Consult, and occupational therapy evaluations, among others.

Presenters: Kelly Jiron, Instructional Specialist · Eric Kuhn, Supervisor, Department of Special Education Services · William McGrath, Instructional Specialist

Organizational Strategies for Everyone

This session will present commonly used organizational strategies for students with executive function challenges. Parents will gain an understanding of what types of accommodations may benefit their child.

Presenters: Melissa Brunson, Supervisor, Department of Special Education Services · Lora Johnson, Special Education Resource Teacher · Claire Lanham, Special Education Teacher

Introduction to “Zones of Regulation” 

What is the Zones of Regulation framework? How is it used in elementary classrooms to address management of emotions and increase students’ self-control? Parents will gain an understanding of the vocabulary used in classrooms as well as ideas about how to request that specific strategies be incorporated into their child’s IEP. Target audience is parents of elementary school students.

Presenters: Dr. Meghan Green, Psychologist · Paige Niemeyer, Special Education Teacher

Montgomery County Police Department Strategies for Keeping Kids on the Spectrum Safe

Montgomery County Police Department’s Officer Laurie Reyes will discuss a layered approach to preventing autistic children from wandering and eloping and for keeping them safe in the community.  Details about the Police Department’s Project Lifesaver and Community Safety programs will also be provided.

Presenter: Laurie Reyes, Montgomery County Police Department

Differences between Diplomas and Certificates

What are the potential post-secondary outcomes for students pursuing a diploma and for those pursuing alternative learning outcomes? What factors should families consider regarding which learning outcome is appropriate for their student? Target audience is parents of middle and high school students.

Presenters: Margie Parrott, Instructional Specialist · Domenick Fabii, Transition Special Education Teacher · Claudette Smith, Supervisor, Department of Special Education Services

Introduction to PEERS® Social Skills Curriculum

Learn about the Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS) and how some MCPS teams are implementing its principles in their programs. Parents will gain an understanding of the basic concepts of this intervention as well as how to request that specific strategies be incorporated into their child’s IEP.  Target audience is parents of middle and high school students.

Presenters: Jana Coffey, Special Education Teacher · Sarah Lobien, Special Education Teacher · Megan Sullivan, Special Education Teacher

Session 2 Breakout Topic Descriptions

Diploma-track Elementary School Programs

Non-Home School Model Elementary special education services available to support students with autism who participate in the general education curriculum and are expected to earn a high school diploma: School-Based Learning Centers, Asperger Program, GT/LD, and Social & Emotional Support Services.

Presenters: Robin Daisey, Special Education Elementary Program Specialist · Melissa Grant, Special Education Teacher · Bryan Hunter, Instructional Specialist

Organizational Strategies for Everyone

This session will present commonly used organizational strategies for students with executive function challenges. Parents will gain an understanding of what types of accommodations may benefit their child.

Presenters: Melissa Brunson, Supervisor, Department of Special Education Services · Lora Johnson, Special Education Resource Teacher · Claire Lanham, Special Education Teacher

Reading Comprehension Strategies

Presenters: Dr. Susan Mason, Instructional Specialist · Jackie Loso Hongladarom, Instructional Specialist

Introduction to “Unstuck and On Target”

How does the Unstuck and On Target curriculum support students with executive function challenges? How is this curriculum used in particular programs in MCPS? Parents will gain an understanding of the vocabulary used in this intervention as well as ideas about how to request that specific strategies be incorporated into their child’s IEP. Target audience is parents of elementary and middle school students.

Presenters: Mary Guliano, Special Education Teacher · Kristin Rattan, Teacher

Functional Behavior Assessments (FBAs) and Behavior Intervention Plans (BIPs)

This session will review information about the definition, components and purposes of Functional Behavior Assessments (FBAs) and Behavioral Intervention Plans (BIPs). You will also learn about the process for requesting an FBA and how BIPs are implemented and incorporated into a student’s IEP.

Presenters: Sarah Melchior, Psychologist · Emily Stanley, Instructional Specialist

Transition 101 Curriculum

Participants will receive an overview of the new Transition 101 online course designed for Grade 9 and 10 students. The course, being piloted in Summer 2019, focuses on developing self-advocacy and employment-readiness skills.

Presenters: Lauren Corlett, Transition Special Education Teacher · Simone Geness, Supervisor, Transition Services Unit

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