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"... the most important considerations in devising educational programs for children with autistic spectrum disorders have to do with recognition of the autism spectrum as a whole, with the concomitant implications for social, communicative, and behavioral development and learning, and with the understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the individual child across areas of development."
—Educating Children with Autism2001



Events

Extraordinary Minds in MCPS 2018

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 Individual Education Program (IEP) team.  

Tuesday, April 10, 2018


Agenda

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

Special thanks to Kids Being Kids for providing recreation for children of all abilities, ages 4 and up, during the event.

Kids Being Kids specializes in play-based learning for children with special needs that increases communication, builds friendships, self-regulation skills, lifetime wellness, and more. Our programs are led by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and special educators with low child-to-staff ratios. We believe kids learn and generalize their learning best through play! www.kidsbeingkids.org

Spanish language interpretation will be available. Registration for interpretation is required. Interpretation in other languages is available for those who notify xMinds at mmartinez@xminds.org by Friday, March 23.


7:05–8:00: Session 1 Breakouts

Home School Model
What is the "home school model" and how does it work? Learn how Weller Road Elementary School adopted this new model that emphasizes co-teaching students with and without disabilities.

Presenters:
Deborah Fox, special education resource teacher, Weller Road Elementary; Amanda McNally, teacher, Weller Road Elementary; Alexa Ritchie, special education resource teacher, Weller Road Elementary; Jennifer Strouble, instructional specialist

Prekindergarten Curriculum, Kindergarten Readiness, and Kindergarten Services
Parents of pre-K students will hear an overview of pre-K instruction and its relationship to kindergarten success for students with autism. A brief overview of kindergarten services will also be provided.

Presenters: Lisa Grant, program specialist; Dr. Elizabeth Nehrbass, instructional specialist; Kathy Van de Poll, PEP parent educator

Executive Function Supports across Diploma-track Secondary School Services
How do various secondary school special education services support the executive functioning needs of students with autism who participate in the general education curriculum and are expected to earn a high school diploma? This session will discuss what strategies are used in Autism Resources Services, and the Bridge program, as well as what types of supports students receive during Resource.

Presenters:  Lora Johnson, RTSE Watkins Mill High School; Claire Lanham, special education teacher, Gaithersburg Middle School; Dr. Mary Lou Tucker, psychologist

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?

Presenters: Margaret Parrott, instructional specialist, transition services; Rori Silver, teacher, transition services

Staying Safe Online
This session will cover current Internet safety trends and concerns. Officer Laurie Reyes, coordinator of the Montgomery County Police Department's Autism/IDD Outreach Unit, will also address other safety questions or concerns particular to autism families.

Presenters:
Sgt. Kenneth Sanger, Supervisor, Child Exploitation Unit, Special Victims Investigations Division, Montgomery County Police; Officer Laurie Reyes, Special Operations Division, Montgomery County Police

8:05–9:00: Session 2 Breakouts

Diploma-track Elementary School Services
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:
Joanna Dwin, Special Education Cluster Supervisor; Laurie Kelderman, program specialist; Jenna Landy, instructional specialist; Susan Silverberg, behavior support teacher

Functional Behavior Assessments and Behavior Intervention Plans
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.

Presenters:
Sarah Melchior, psychologist; Emily Stanley, instructional specialist

Reading Comprehension Strategies
This session will present an overview of the characteristics of autism. We will discuss how social emotional interaction, imagination and flexibility of thought, as well as social communication and language difficulties faced by learners with autism affects their ability to read and comprehend. We will provide parents and caregivers with an introductory overview to strategies they can use to help their child acquire reading comprehension skills.

Presenters:
Jackie Loso Hongladarom, instructional specialist; Susan Mason, instructional specialist; Candace Strickland, Itinerant Resource Teacher

Fostering Self-Advocacy Skills
This session will discuss the self-advocacy curriculum that MCPS has developed in collaboration with the Maryland Coalition for Inclusive Education (MCIE).

Presenters:
Simone Geness, supervisor, transition services; Margaret Parrott, transition services

Staying Safe Online
This session will cover current Internet safety trends and concerns. Officer Laurie Reyes, coordinator of the Montgomery County Police Department's Autism/IDD Outreach Unit, will also address other safety questions or concerns particular to autism families.

Presenters: Sgt. Kenneth Sanger, Supervisor, Child Exploitation Unit, Special Victims Investigations Division, Montgomery County Police; Officer Laurie Reyes, Special Operations Division, Montgomery County Police

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Improving the educational experiences and outcomes of students on the autism spectrum in grades K-12

 
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