Subscribe to stay informed of xMinds events, opportunities for advocacy, relevant news articles, and regional programs, lectures, and workshops to help parents and educators improve the educational experiences of students on the autism spectrum.

"... 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

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Subscribe to stay informed of xMinds events, opportunities for advocacy, relevant news articles, and regional programs, lectures, and workshops to help parents and educators improve the educational experiences of students on the autism spectrum.

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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
Speaker Meetings


Fall 2017

Wednesday, September 27, 2017; 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Back2School: Get Organized!
Speaker: Wendy Taylor, M.Ed., Executive Director, Learning Essentials
Location: 
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville, 100 Welsh Park Dr., Rockville, MD 20850 (enter Building 1 through the courtyard entrance)
Cost: Free for members; $15 for non-members.
Registration: Registration is recommended. Register online.

Organizational strategies and supports will be presented to help parents start their kids off on the right foot this year. Strategies for managing homework, organizing backpacks and school supplies at home, developing before school and after school routines are a few of the topics that we will cover. After the presentation, xMinds will provide materials and guidance for parents to make their own visual supports such as visual schedules, task breakdown flow charts, routine checklists, etc. to use at home.

Wendy Taylor is the founder and executive director of Learning Essentials. A certified educator and qualified diagnostician, she is passionate about helping students of all abilities, especially those with learning differences and disabilities, to attain their academic goals.

Saturday, October 21, 2017; 1:00–4:00 p.m.
IEP Clinic
Speakers: Suzanne Keith Blattner, M.S. Ed., ITS-PALSS
Molly Whalen, Executive Director, District of Columbia Association for Special Education
Consult participants: Suzanne Keith Blattner, M.S. Ed.
Stacey Dworin, M.S., HLD Advocates, LLC
Lisa Morris, M.S. Ed., Weinfeld Education Group
Katherine F. Thomas, ESQ., Family Legal Advocacy Group
Sarah Wayland, Ph.D., Guiding Exceptional Parents, LLC
Location: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville, 100 Welsh Park Dr., Rockville, MD 20850 (enter Building 1 through the courtyard entrance)
Cost: Free for members; $15 for non-members.
Registration: Registration is required. Only registered participants will be given a consultation slot. Register online.

When your child’s annual IEP review approaches, do you wonder what you should write in your parent report? How can you use the parent report to shape the discussion about your child’s goals and strategies for supporting those goals? Join us for some sage advice about how to write an effective parent report from educational consultant, Suzanne Keith Blattner. After the presentation, parents will have an opportunity to meet with an educational consultant or attorney for a 15 minute review of your child’s IEP. Molly Whalen will also be presenting "5 Things Parents Should Know, Think and Care About in IEP Meetings" for parents who are waiting for their consultation.

Bring your child’s most recent IEP and one specific question to discuss during the consultation.

You can access Suzanne Blattner's presentation here and Molly Whalen's presentation here. In addition, please find an annotated copy of the IEP Parent Report here.

About our participants:
Suzanne Keith Blattner, M.S.Ed. is a special education consultant who has worked in various capacities in special education for 29 years. For the past 16 years, Ms. Blattner has served as a consultant for families who are seeking expert counsel regarding the process of evaluating their child's needs and securing school and services options that best meet those needs. Ms. Blattner's educational background brings in-depth training not only in special education, but also in child development and neurodevelopment.

Stacey Dworin, M.S., HLD Associates, LLC

Lisa Morris, M.S. Ed. is a child development specialist, parent educator and educational consultant. She received her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, elementary and special education from the American University and a master’s degree in clinical education and communication disorders from the Johns Hopkins University. Lisa’s unique combination of knowledge, insight, and empathy has enriched the lives of many families. She blends her training and knowledge with a pragmatic and supportive style to provide invaluable guidance, encouragement and positive outcomes.

Katherine F. Thomas, ESQ is a family law and special education attorney at Family Legal Advocacy Group, LLC. As a mother to a child with complex medical and developmental needs, she understands the delicacy of relationships between parents and school systems from both a parent’s and attorney’s perspectives.

Sarah Wayland, Ph.D. is a certified RDI consultant and a special needs care navigator at Guiding Exceptional Parents, LLC. Her Special Needs Navigation Services are designed to help parents learn how to access resources and knowledge so they can confidently and effectively help their children. As an RDI™ consultant, Dr. Wayland works with parents to show them how to teach their children the essential skills that make relationships work.

Molly Whalen is a results-driven nonprofit leader and seasoned facilitator & public speaker with nearly 30 years of experience. As a long-time consultant with the dynamic company, Leadership Outfitters, Molly has presented hundreds of leadership development workshops nationwide and led strategic planning, mission clarification and development analysis discussions for numerous nonprofits. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia, and is most proud of her role as the Director of Development & Communications for The Ivymount School & Programs; where she led all development, communications and external relations efforts during a time of incredible growth for the school. She is currently leading all advocacy and engagement work as the Executive Director of the District of Columbia Association for Special Education (DCASE).

Wednesday, November 15, 2017; 7:00–9:00 p.m.
Maryland Online IEP System
Speaker: Philip A. Lynch, Director, Special Education Services, MCPS
Location: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville, 100 Welsh Park Dr., Rockville, MD 20850 (enter Building 1 through the courtyard entrance)
Cost: 
Free for members; $15 for non-members.
Registration:
Registration is recommended. Register here.

Join us for a special opportunity to hear from Philip Lynch about MCPS’s implementation of the Maryland Online IEP System. Learn who will have access to this statewide system, how it is similar to what MCPS has used in the past and how it differs, and where parents might encounter some growing pains as IEP teams adapt to the new system. Mr. Lynch will highlight features of the statewide system that will benefit parents in the long run and how parents can better collaborate with the IEP team in developing measurable, quantifiable IEP goals, since the new system supports closer monitoring of student progress on IEP goals.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017; 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Supports for Autistic Students at the University of Maryland, College Park
Speakers:
Kathy Dow-Burger, M.A., CCC-SLP, Co-Director, University of Maryland Autism Research Consortium (UMARC);
Nan Bernstein Ratner, Ed.D.-SLP, Director, University of Maryland Autism Research Consortium (UMARC)
Location:
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville, 100 Welsh Park Dr., Rockville, MD 20850 (enter Building 1 through the courtyard entrance)
Cost: 
Free for members; $15 for non-members.
Registration:
Registration is recommended. Register here.

Are you interested in learning what services and supports UMD offers to autistic students, autism families, and educators? Faculty from the University of Maryland’s Autism Research Consortium (UMARC) will share information about the Consortium’s Community-wide Learning about Autism Speaker Series (CLASS), PEERS and EFFECT programs for high school teens, and SIGNA, a social interaction group for autistic UMD students.


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

 
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