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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

Speaker Events

Fall 2016 - Spring 2017

Sunday, September 18; 2:00-4:00 pm
Understanding Children on the Autism Spectrum: An Afternoon for Friends and Family to Learn about Autism
Speakers: Eve Megargel, author of Learning to Kiss and Monica Adler Werner, Director of the Model Asperger Program, The Ivymount School

Is someone in your extended family on the autism spectrum, maybe a grandchild, niece, nephew, or cousin? Do you have a friend with an autistic child? Do you wish that you understood the challenges and strengths of autism? Do you want to help an autistic child you love, but don’t know how?

Partnership for Extraordinary Minds (xMinds) is happy to share information about autism and answer your questions. xMinds will be hosting this event for friends, families, and community members who want to learn more about the full range of autism spectrum disorders.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016; 7:00–9:00 p.m.
Book Club Discussion of Lost at School: Why Our Kids with Behavioral Challenges are Falling Through the Cracks and How We Can Help Them
Sarah Wayland, Ph.D., Guiding Exceptional Parents and Holly F., xMinds Secretary

Please join us for an xMinds Book Club discussion of Lost at School: Why Our Kids with Behavioral Challenges are Falling Through the Cracks and How We Can Help Them, by Ross Greene (author of The Explosive Child). Dr. Greene describes a respectful approach to understanding and addressing challenging behaviors in school and at home that he calls Collaborative and Proactive Solutions (formerly known as Collaborative Problem Solving). He believes that "kids do well when they can", and his book describes a method where adults and children work together to reduce problem behaviors and teach self-regulation. This approach helps kids identify and develop the skills they need to successfully navigate life at school and at home. Please note a second edition of Lost at School came out in September, 2014; however members can read either edition to participate.

This discussion will be facilitated by Holly F. and Sarah Wayland, Ph.D. Holly is an xMinds board member. Sarah is a Special Needs Care Navigator and certified Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) Consultant at Guiding Exceptional Parents.

Saturday, October 22; 1:00–3:30 p.m.
IEP Round Robin
Speaker: Rich Weinfeld
Consult Participants: Suzanne Keith Blattner; Jennifer Engel Fisher; Brian Gruber, Esq.; and Anjali Prakash, Esq.

Join us for “What I’ve Learned in 42 Years on Both Sides of the Table” by Rich Weinfeld. Mr. Weinfeld, who spent 30 years in MCPS in a variety of special education positions and now serves as Executive Director of Weinfeld Education Group, will speak about the IEP process. He will highlight the areas that he thinks are most essential for parents to know as they advocate for their own children. 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. Bring your child’s most recent IEP and your questions!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016; 7:00–9:00 p.m.
Transitions Night!
Preparing for Kindergarten
Speakers: Lisa Grant, MCPS Special Education Program Specialist
Jennifer Strouble, Preschool Special Education Instructional Specialist, MCPS

Learn about preparing your child for the kindergarten transition. Participants will hear about the transition process from preschool special education into kindergarten. We will discuss the continuum of kindergarten services in Montgomery County Public Schools as well as the role of the parent in this process.

Preparing for College
Speaker: Janet Price, College Living Experience

Learn about the independent living skills, self-advocacy skills and executive function skills that you should begin to help your student on the autism spectrum develop during their high school years in order to have a successful post-secondary transition. Attendees will learn about:

  • The difference between accommodations in college vs. those in high school and the increased expectations that will come with them.
  • Strategies that empower vs. those that enable
  • Keys to successful self-advocacy skills in high school, college, and beyond.

Monday, December 5, 2016; 7:00–9:00 p.m.
What Comes Next? Preparing Young Adults on the Autism Spectrum for the Path of Life
Speaker: Dr. David Black, Ph.D., Center for Assessment and Treatment

With rising rates of autism and with increasingly effective early intervention, larger numbers of individuals with ASDs are reaching adulthood with the potential to lead independent, productive, and fulfilling lives. Yet, many find themselves stuck - socially isolated, lonely, and struggling academically and vocationally. We take a strength-based, optimistic view by defining the problems, identifying common strengths, and focusing on practical, workable and empirically supported, and neuropsychologically informed solutions to those problems.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017; 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
An Evening with Self-Advocate Joel Carver
Speaker: Joel Carver, Co-Chair, Neurodiversity Student Group, College of William and Mary

Joel Carver is a Junior at the College of William and Mary and a Neurodiversity advocate. Joel was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in elementary school and explored his condition in depth during his senior year of high school. Joel will share his personal experience about life as an autistic person and discuss strategies and approaches that worked for him as well as those that did not. While each autistic person is different, it is Joel’s hope that parents and autistic people will hear his stories and be able to use them as a starting point for conversation or parenting techniques to better engage with the autistic people in their lives. This meeting is intended for parents, educators, professionals, and students age 13 and older.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017; 7:00–9:00 p.m.
Our Child Just Got an Autism Diagnosis: Now What?
Speakers: Susan Abrams, M.A. CCC-SLP, Center for Communication and Learning
Teri Kozlowski, OTR, ITS-Developmental Therapy Services
Sarah Wayland, Ph.D., Guiding Exceptional Parents

Learning that their child has autism can be an overwhelming experience for many parents. In addition to understanding what the autism spectrum is, parents struggle to figure out what, if any, therapies may improve their child’s quality of life. This speaker meeting will give you an overview of some of the most common therapies that benefit autistic children. This meeting is appropriate for families whose child, regardless of age, has just been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder as well as parents who are looking for new ideas.

Friday, March 10, 2017; 6:30–9:00 p.m.
Interactive Screening of Be Safe
Pathfinders for Autism
Montgomery County Police Department, Autism/IDD Outreach Unit

This 2.5 hour training brings local police together with up to 20 teens and adults with ASD, plus their parents or caregivers. The training uses video modeling to show viewers how to interact with the police in everyday encounters. Seven episodes demonstrate skills ranging from following instructions to invoking the right to remain silent. This event is appropriate for students age 13 and older.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017; 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Parent Panel on Services and Programs for Autistic Students in Montgomery County

You've attended the xMinds in MCPS Forum and heard from educators and administrators about services and programs available to autistic students in Montgomery County. Now get the inside scoop from parents who have been there.

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

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