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

xMindsWire Newsletter
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
Extraordinary Speaker Meetings


Fall 2015 - Spring 2016

Tuesday, September 29, 2015; 7:00–9:00 p.m.

Get Organized! Get Involved!
Location
Rockville Memorial Library, 21 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD 
This meeting is FREE for members and nonmembers.
Speakers: Alison Hoffman (Parent, Carderock Springs ES); Amy Marella-Carpenter (Parent, xMinds and Sligo Creek ES); Monica Martinez (Parent, xMinds and Sligo Creek ES); Bryan Osborn (Parent, Flora Singer ES); Kara Tymon (Coordinator, Learning Center, Flora Singer ES)

Join xMinds’ president, Monica Martinez, and long-time member, Amy Marella-Carpenter, for a presentation on organizing your child’s educational records. Handouts will be available with contact information for key offices and administrators within Montgomery County Public Schools, as well as forms for you to use to summarize your child’s school information and to create communication and discipline journals. Then, we’ll hear how parents promoted autism acceptance at their child’s school by working with their school’s PTA.


Thursday, October 22, 2015; 7:00–9:00 p.m.
Discover How Your Child Learns: Neuropsychological Evaluations
Speaker: Dr. Rebecca Resnik, PsyD

If your child has learning differences, at some point you will consider having a neuropsychological or psychoeducational assessment done. As veteran parents know, the process of psychological testing can be anything from affirming, to confusing, to downright frustrating (never mind expensive!). Once you get the report, it can be difficult to figure out how to use the data to advocate for your child. Dr. Resnik’s presentation will teach you how to understand and use your psychological testing report to make things better for your child. This talk will address specific concerns of parents who want to use psychological test data to understand their child’s needs. In this presentation, Dr. Resnik will focus on three practical areas: what psychological tests do and don’t tell us; how to ensure you get a “very useful” report; and how to connect test data with IEP/504/BIP goals.

Dr. Rebecca Resnik, Licensed Psychologist, is founder of Rebecca Resnik and Associates PC. Dr. Resnik specializes in neuropsychological and psychoeducational assessment of children and adults. Prior to becoming a psychologist, Dr. Resnik was a special education teacher in both public and private settings. She uses her special education experience to bridge the gap between psychological testing data and practical, evidence-based interventions for individuals with learning differences. She is also mother of three boys.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015; 7:00–9:00 p.m.
Special Event: Meet Glen Finland, author of Next Stop: An Autistic Son Grows Up

Join us for an evening with Glen Finland, who will discuss her book Next Stop: An Autistic Son Grows Up. In her book, Ms. Finland provides a candid portrait of her son, David, and the complex relationship between a child with autism and his family as he steps out into the real world alone for the first time. This personal narrative of a mother’s perpetually tested hope is a universal story of how our children grow up and how we learn to let go and reclaim our lives, no matter how hard that may be. Ms. Finland will answer questions from parents.

Glen Finland lives in the Washington, D.C. area. A former reporter, she received her MFA from American University, where she has taught writing. She is the 2012 recipient of the University of Georgia Henry Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication’s Medal of Excellence in Communication for Next Stop. NEXT STOP was Penguin’s 2012 Pick for Disability Employment Awareness Month.


Monday, December 7, 2015; 7:00–9:00 p.m.
Opportunities at Montgomery College for Students Across the Autism Spectrum
Speakers: 
Sue Haddad, Montgomery College Chair of Disability Support Services; Shalawn Childs, Montgomery College Assistant Professor of Student Development

Many of our young adult children will attend Montgomery College at some time after they graduate high school. Whether they take classes for credit or pleasure, the college has expectations that all students must meet, as well as services to support students with disabilities in achieving their goals. We strongly recommend that parents bring high school-age (or older) children to learn what to expect as well as opportunities available. Topics presented will include:
   1) Understanding entitlement (K-12) vs. eligibility (post-secondary settings)
   2) Common college transition issues for students on the spectrum
   3) The range of services available at Montgomery College for students with disabilities 
   4) The changing role of  the student, DSS counselor, faculty, and parent in the college setting
   5) Programs available for students on the spectrum at Montgomery College (non-credit and credit programs)


Thursday, February 4; 7:00-9:00 p.m.
How to Talk to your Child about His/Her Diagnosis
Speakers
: Amy Alvord, M.Ed., and Jean Winegardner

Has your child started to notice that he is different from his peers? Does she wonder why certain things are more challenging for her than for other kids? Has your child heard you discussing autism with other adults and asked you what the word means? Many parents struggle with the questions of when and how to talk to their child about his or her autism diagnosis. If you find yourself grappling with this issue, please come learn some tips and strategies from Amy Alvord, Education Director of the Ivymount School and hear some practical advice from local blogger, autistic self-advocate, and mom of two kids on the spectrum, Jean Winegardner.


Wednesday, February 24; 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Using the STAR Curriculum to Talk about Sex with your Adolescents on the Spectrum
Speakers:
Dr. Cara Pugliese, Ph.D. and Dr. Yael Granader, Ph.D.

Drs. Pugliese and Granader will lead an interactive workshop on Supporting Teens with Autism on Relationships (STAR) curriculum, a newly-available, parent-mediated educational curriculum from Danya International, Inc. Our speakers will also discuss their findings from the research they conducted to develop the curriculum. Parents are encouraged to bring their questions and to download a copy of the curriculum from the 
Autism Online website.

Yael Granader, PhD is a pediatric neuropsychologist at the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at Children’s National Health System. Dr. Granader received her doctorate in clinical psychology for the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Yeshiva University and then completed her postdoctoral fellowship in pediatric neuropsychology at Children’s National. Her clinical training focused on children with developmental and medical conditions, including autism spectrum disorders and epilepsy. Dr. Granader has published research projects on social skills interventions, enhancing emotional recognition, and executive functioning deficits in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Cara Pugliese, PhD is a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at Children’s National Health System. Dr. Pugliese received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Virginia Tech, and then completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Children’s National. Her clinical training focused on children with developmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorders, as well as other disorders of childhood. Dr. Pugliese has published research projects on executive functioning, adaptive behavior skills, and anxiety in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. She is particularly interested in the development of school-based treatments to bridge the transition to adulthood in ASD through enhancing executive function skills in the high school years. 


Monday, March 7; 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Financial Planning for Autism Families
Speaker:
Eric Jorgensen, CFP

The lives of autism families can often focus on the immediate needs of individuals on the autism spectrum at the expense of long-term planning. What are some of the financial issues you will need to consider as you plan for your child's future? Come learn from a father of an autistic child and certified financial planner on how you can prepare now for a better future for your child. xMinds member Eric Jorgensen will discuss trusts and estates planning for your child, as well as the benefits and limitations of 529 plans for postsecondary education. Finally, Mr. Jorgensen will touch on the current state of Maryland's plans to implement the federal Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act.

Eric Jorgensen was widowed and retired from the Navy in the same year, unexpectedly becoming a single parent of a son with autism. Over the last 3 years he and his son have adapted and overcome many challenges, with his son increasingly becoming more independent. Eric has made it his mission to ensure other families are better prepared than he was in the event of the unthinkable.


Tuesday, May 10; 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Verbal Behavior Programs for Students on the Autism Spectrum
Speaker:
Cynthia Onder, MA., CCC-SLP/BCBA

What is Verbal Behavior (sometimes also called Applied Behavior Analysis)? What skills can a verbal behavior program help children on the autism spectrum develop? How can verbal behavior teaching procedures be incorporated into your child’s home and school settings? Is there an ideal age for pursuing a verbal behavior program for your child?

Cynthia Onder is President and founder of ICAN of Washington. She is a nationally certified Speech Language Pathologist, as well as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Cynthia has been serving children diagnosed with Autism, Down Syndrome, and other language-based learning difficulties for over 16 years. Ms. Onder is responsible for implementing and monitoring ABA/VB programs including conducting assessments, writing goals and objectives as well as training home instructors, school staff, and family members. She also supervises those working towards BCBA certification. Cynthia has been invited to speak at a variety of organizations, educating parents and professionals on ABA/Verbal Behavior in the Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia areas.


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

 
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