Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Kennedy Krieger Research Study on the Brain

Kennedy Krieger is currently recruiting children to participate in an MRI research study to learn if there are differences between the brain's structure and its function in children with and without autism spectrum disorders.

They are looking for boys and girls between the ages of 8 and 12. Both children with ASDs and without (to participate as comparison subjects) are invited to participate.

The study will consist of an eligibility screening phone interview with the parent. Participants will then take part in two days of computer games, paper and pencil tasks, transcrannial direct current stimulation (tDCS), and an MRI scan of the brain. Study participants will receive free IQ testing and report, plus a picture of their brain. There is $50 compensation to participate in the study.

The study will take place at Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins Hospital. They say there is no significant risk or direct medical benefit to participating in the study. The study has been approved by the John Hopkins Institutional Review Board.

If you are interested, please contact Lindsay Koenig at 443-923-9254 or

Sensory Friendly Theater: Go Dog, Go!

Update: The date of this performance has been changed to October 24th at 1:30 p.m.

If you'd love to take your kids to the theater, but are afraid that it would be too intense for them, you're in luck! The Adventure Theatre in Glen Echo Park is holding a sensory friendly showing of "Go Dog, Go!" based on the popular children's book by P.D. Eastman.

The performance on October 24 at 1:30 p.m. is set up specifically for families of children with autism and other special needs. The lights in the theater will stay on and the sound will be turned down.

You can book your tickets online at the Adventure Theater website. Be sure to enter the presale code SPFAM when you order. Let's make this event a success so the theater will continue to offer these special performances.

The Adventure Theatre is located at 7300 MacArthur Blvd in Glen Echo. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for children 12 and under.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Zev on the Amazing Race

I'm a longtime fan of The Amazing Race for many reasons, not least of which is because it is a television show on which you can watch Harlem Globetrotters herd ducks into a chute. Hilarious.

But the show also lets you follow teams as they travel the world and visit amazing places. (Granted, many of them bicker their way through said amazing places, but it's reality television, so your standards can't be too high.)

For those of you who don't know, the Amazing Race is a round-the-world race in which teams of two compete in hours-long legs made up of more-than-entertaining challenges.

But there is another reason for me (and you) to watch this season. One of the teams is a pair of male friends, Zev and Justin. And Zev has Asperger's Syndrome. (Click here to see video of Zev and Justin introducing themselves.) The first episode aired Sunday, and it was a good one. I'm not going to spoil the ending for you DVRers out there, but suffice it to say, we'll be seeing more of Zev and Justin.

I'm happy to see that they are one of the calmest, most likable teams and a lovely way to introduce Asperger's to a mass audience. The first episode shows Zev cracking wry jokes, giving the jacket off of his back to a complete stranger, and calmly herding those ducks mentioned above, causing Justin to call him the Duck Whisperer.

I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next week. Did you watch? What did you think?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

MCASA Parent Support Group Meeting

The Montgomery County chapter of the Autism Society of America holds monthly parent support group during the school year on the second Thursday of each month.

These informal meetings are on a drop in basis and intended for parents to share stories, concerns, and questions. Two MCASA board members are there to assist, and may be able to answer your questions as parents of individuals (child or adult) with autism. The number of participants varies monthly.

The meetings are held from 7:30-9 p.m. at the Twinbrook Recreational Center at 12920 Twinbrook Parkway in Rockville.

Occasionally meeting dates change, and meetings are not held during the summer. Confirm meeting dates on MCASA's website. These meetings follow MCPS inclement weather closings. Call Liz at 301-924-2211 for more information.

NAMI MC's Heroes Celebration

NAMI MC will hold its annual Heroes Celebration on October 21 at 6 p.m. The event also includes a silent auction that raises money for NAMI MC.

The celebration is an opportunity for NAMI to honor individuals who make a difference to their organization, community, and those who make a difference in the field of mental illness through research, advocacy, or educating others to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.

This year's honoree and keynote speaker is researcher Dr. Judith Rapoport, author of The Boy Who Couldn't Stop Washing. Other honorees include volunteer of the year Wicca Davidson and the 3rd annual Dr. Wayne Fenton Memorial Award honoree.

The celebration will be held at the Hilton Rockville Hotel (1750 Rockville Pike). Space is limited, so register online. Tickets start at $75 for members and $85 for non-members..

Golf for NAMI

The 5th Annual Charity Golf Outing sponsored by Tom Rosato to benefit NAMI Montgomery County will be held in Glenwood on October 12 at 11 a.m.

Player participation is limited, and registration is required by October 5th for this event at the Cattail Creek Country Club (3600 Cattail Creek Drive).

Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place foursomes. There will be hole-in-one prizes, a longest drive contest, door prizes, a thank-you gift, and a 50/50 raffle.

Call or email Lisa Rosato at 410-423-7423 or to register.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Special Needs Advocacy Training

The Special Needs Advocacy, LLC, is offering a 4-session course for parents and professionals interested in pursuing careers as advocates or who are looking for a deeper understanding of special education law.

The course, "Special Needs Advocacy Training Institute: Everything an Advocate Needs to Know" runs for four Saturdays: October 3, October 17, November 7, and November 21. (There are also planned winter and spring 2010 courses.)

Participants can receive CEU credit for the course, which is based on Rich Weinfeld and Michelle Davis' Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book. All sessions take place at Montgomery College. There is limited financial aid available for the $1500 course. For information on financial assistance, email or call 301-593-5166 or 301-688-6233. Also call those numbers with your general questions about the course.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I Am Autism?

One of the many things I hope to accomplish with AutMont is to create a space for people with autism and families of people with autism to gather and discuss ideas. I would like for this to be a safe spot for people new to autism, as well as old hands, to hear different ideas and make up their minds about what autism means to them.

With this in mind, I have decided to embed the new I Am Autism video put together by Autism Speaks. My hope is that there will be some discussion here about why or why not this video makes you feel heard or makes you angry. Sharing different points of view and ideas is a powerful thing. I hope that we can learn from each other.

I do, however, insist that the discussion remain civil. If you submit a disrespectful or hateful comment, it will be deleted. It is at the discretion of AutMont to determine what is considered disrespectful.

I'd like to get the conversation started by giving my opinion. My opinion is my own, and I do not claim to know the experience of anyone other than myself. I have a child diagnosed with PDD-NOS, and can only speak to the experience of parenting him.

I watched I Am Autism and saw negativity and anger. I saw a dismissal of autistic individuals as wrong and "less than." When I look at my child with autism, I do not see any of the things that Autism Speaks sees. Instead I see joy, intelligence, and curiosity. I don't see autism as something that is wrecking my family. Rather I see it as something that has broadened my horizons and will hopefully do the same for my neurotypical children. Yes, autism can make life hard, but it can also add some incredible layers.

What do you think? Spout off in the comments section or in the AutMont Forum. (Quick, free registration is required to post in the forum.)

IACC Scientific Workshop

The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee is holding a scientific workshop on September 30 and October 1. The workshop, which will take place in Bethesda, will feature presentations by panelists as well as discussions by the panelists, the public, and members of the IACC.

It will focus on noted research gaps, new opportunities for advancing research and knowledge about ASD, and the prioritization of short-term and long-term objectives in the strategic plan.

The meeting is free and open to the public, although pre-registration is recommended because space is first come, first served, with expedited check-in for those who have pre-registered. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on September 30 and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on October 1.

The workshop will be webcast as well as available to the public through a listen-only conference call (phone number 888-455-2920; access code 4173827). You can register for the workshop online.

The workshop takes place at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center at 5701 Marinelli Road. For more information, email

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Support People with Disabilities by Eating Out

Eat at Joe's Crab Shack in Gaithersburg this Thursday, September 24 from 4-9 p.m. to help support Community Support Services, a non-profit agency that provides services to children and adults with disabilities.

You can dine in or take out, and 10% of your check will go to support CSS. CSS' programs include day programs, residential programs, summer day camps, spring break camp, supported employment, and more.

Download the coupon at this link and give it to your server to make sure that CSS gets your donation.

Joe's Crab Shack is located at 221 Rio Blvd. in Gaithersburg.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

College Success Teleconference

Sign up for a free hour-long teleseminar on conquering college with LD/ADD on Thursday, September 24 at 8:30 p.m.

Joan Azarva, an expert College Learning Speicalist and parent of a son with LD/ADD who successfully graduated college, will lead the seminar.

Board of Education Meeting

The MCPS Board of Education will be meeting Monday, September 21 at 6 p.m. Meetings take place at the Carver Educational Services Center at 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville.

You can find the agenda online. Video of BOE meetings is always posted on the MCPS website after the meeting takes place. You can also read the minutes.

30 minutes of each meeting are set aside for public comment. Read the guidelines for public participation on MCPS' website if you are interested in commenting.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

MCPS Adult Services Workshop

MCPS Transition Services is offering five school-to-adult living transition workshops this fall and winter, with the first one, focused on Adult Services, taking place on September 22.

Representatives from state and county agencies and the school system will present information about the Maryland Transitioning Youth Initiative for eligible students with significant disabilities. Local adult agencies will give information regarding the services they provide to eligible gradates.

The workshop will take place at Earle B. Wood Middle School (14615 Bauer Drive in Rockville) from 7-9 p.m.

The target audience for these workshops are families of students with IEPs, ages 14-21. Upcoming workshops are Montgomery College Night, Postsecondary Education, Integrated Employment and Vocational Training, and Independent Living, Community Participation, Continuing and Adult Education.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Teleconference About Disability Rights

The National Youth Leadership Network will be hosting a teleconference on independent media and disability rights on September 21 at 8 p.m.

The teleconference will focus on using blogs, video, and free media tools to revolutionize and remix a powerful disability rights message.

Speakers will include Moya Bailey, the founder of Quirky Black Girls; Anita Cameron, Adapt media maker; Cripchick, a feminist blogger; and Ari Ne'eman and Melanie Yergueau, organizers with the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.

You can register for this teleconference/webcast online at the NYLN site. Captioning will be provided via the web. After registering, you will get an email with the link.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Lecture on Succeeding at College

The Ivymount School will be hosting a lecture on Succeeding at College: What Works for Us on September 22. Ari Ne'eman, Founding President of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, and Alex Plank, creator of, will be speaking.

The lecture will begin at 7 p.m. and run until 9 p.m. Doors will be open at 6:30 p.m. for networking and refreshments.

Ne'eman is a member of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County's class of 2010 and Plank is a 2009 graduate of George Mason University.

RSVP to Ivymount (11614 Seven Locks Road in Rockville) online or by calling 301-469-0223. Admission is free (unless for CEU).

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Metro Access Meeting

Come to a meeting to learn about and provide input on Metro Access Services and Programs on September 16 at The Arc of Montgomery County.

Cherie Leporatti, Metro System Orientation Specialist with the Washington Area Transit Authority (Department of Access Services), will be presenting a 20-minute overview of the Metro Public Transit System.

She will be discussing Metro's Access Services Programs and Services, paratransit, reduced fare program, travel training, Metro's accessible bus and rail systems, accessible bus shelter and stops, and community outreach projects. She welcomes questions and feedback.

The meeting will be held in the MC Baughman Conference Center at The Arc (11600 Nebel Street in Rockville) from 7:30-9 p.m.

Car Seat Safety Check

Keep your precious little ones safe in the car by heading to Fitzgerald Auto Mall on September 17 to have your car seat checked for free between 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Appointments aren't needed for this first come, first serve event at 5501 Nicholson Lane near White Flint on Rockville Pike. If you do want to make an appointment, you can do so online.

You can find information on current Maryland car seat laws on the Family Health Administration website.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

MCCPTA Special Education Committee Annual Kickoff Meeting

Various special education advocacy groups will present information at the MCCPTA Special Education Committee Annual Kickoff Meeting on October 5.

The meeting, which begins at 7:30 p.m., will be attended by Gwendolyn Mason and Judy Pattik, Directors for Special Education for MCPS.

Presenters will speak about how advocates from around the county provide support for various special needs populations.

The event will take place in the auditorium of the Carver Educational Services Center (850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville).

For more information, contact Jeanne Taylor at 301-879-9539 or

Adaptive Tech Saturday

The Rockville Library will be holding Adaptive Tech Saturday to showcase adaptive technology at libraries on October 3.

The event, which will take place in the PC Lab of the Rockville Library (21 Maryland Avenue, 2nd Floor), will offer hands-on training and answers to general questions.

The open house will be available from 1-3 p.m.

For more information, contact

Disability Resource Center Open House

The Rockville Library will be holding a meeting to share what Montgomery County Public Libraries has for people with disabilities. Activities will include tours, demonstrations in the PC Lab, and updates on services available.

The meeting will take place at the Rockville Library (21 Maryland Avenue) in the first floor meeting room on September 26. The open house will be available from 1-5 p.m.

For more information, contact

MCPS Special Education Advisory Meeting

Montgomery County Public Schools will be holding its monthly Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) meeting on September 24 at 7 p.m.

The meeting, which takes place at Carver Educational Services Center (850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville), is open to the public.

The meeting begins with an open forum from 7 to 7:30 p.m. and is followed by speakers from 7:30-9:30 p.m.

For more information, contact Joan Sabaka at

School Success for Kids with ADHD

Drs Stephan Silverman and Jacqueline Iseman, authors of School Success for Kids with ADHD, will be speaking on September 23 at the Twinbrook Library in Rockville.

The authors will discuss a 12-point action plan for teachers and parents. CHADD of Montgomery County is sponsoring the event, which will take place from 7:30-9:15 p.m. Registration begins at 7:15 p.m.

The Twinbrook Library is located at 202 Meadow Hall Drive. For more information, contact CHADD at

Saturday, September 12, 2009

End the Wait Town Hall Meeting

There will be a town hall meeting to discuss "the developmental disabilities waiting list crisis and the underfunding of community programs."

This meeting will be held on October 5 from 7-9 p.m. at the Universities at Shady Grove (9630 Gudelsky Drive, Bldg. 2, in Rockville)

The purpose of the meeting is to meet legislators and state and local officials, network with other families on the waiting list, to share your stories, to learn about the campaign, let your legislators know that you want them to act, and find out about opportunities to advocate in your community.

End the Wait says there are more than 19,000 children and adults with developmental disabilities on the DDA Wait List for Community Services and 20,000 people with developmental disabilities who currently receive insufficiently funded services.

Happy Hour for Kids on the Autism Spectrum

There will be a couple of Happy Hours for kids on the autism spectrum at Chloe's Coffee and Gallery this fall. These events are intended for kids to socialize with their peers.

Younger children, ages approximately 4-10 years old are meeting on October 24 from 4-6 p.m. for Arts and Crafts with Jessie and Susie Snow. Children must come with a responsible adult.

High school and college-aged young adults are welcome on November 14 from 4-6 p.m. for "Dub-A-Thonic with Chad," which will feature gentle but cool popular music. If the young adult needs assistance, a responsible adult should accompany him or her.

These events are free, and drinks are half price for all participants. The coffee shop is located at 224 Main Street in Gaithersburg. Look for the white building with the red facade and outdoor tables. There are autism awareness puzzle ribbons all over the windows.

Email Chloe's manager, JB, with any questions at

ADHD & LD: Neither Separate Nor Equal Lecture

The GT/LD Network is offering a lecture titled "ADHD and LD: Neither Separate Nor Equal" addressing the current understanding of these two conditions and how they relate to each other both academically and socially. This event also serves as the fall kick-off meeting for their membership campaign.

The speaker at this event will be Dr. Martha Bridge Denckla, Director of Developmental Cognitive Neurology, Kennedy Krieger Institute and Professor of Neurology, Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the John Hopkins School of Medicine.

The event, which will take place at the Walter Johnson High School Media Center (6400 Rock Spring Drive in Bethesda), will begin at 6:30 p.m. with an open discussion. The speaker presentation will take place from 7:30-9 p.m.

JSSA Support Group for Parents

The Jewish Social Service Agency offers a free, ongoing monthly support group for parents of children with disabilities.

The group is non-sectarian and open to all. Family members of children with disabilities share their joys and sorrows, hopes and fears, coping mechanisms, and strategies for living for today and planning for the future.

The support group meets the first Wednesday of each month (upcoming dates include: October 7, November 4, December 2, and January 6) from 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Pre-registration is required by calling 301-610-8357. The group mets at JSSA, 200 Wood Hill Road in Rockville and is led by Ruth Berger, LGSW.

JSSA Family Support Group

The Jewish Social Service Agency offers a free, ongoing monthly support group for parents and family members of children with disabilities.

The group is non-sectarian and open to all. Family members of children with disabilities share their joys and sorrows, hopes and fears, coping mechanisms, and strategies for living for today and planning for the future.

The support group meets the third Tuesday of each month (upcoming dates include: September 15, October 20, November 17, December 15, and January 19) from 7:15 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.

Pre-registration is required by calling 301-610-8371. The group mets at JSSA, 6123 Montrose Road in Rockville and is led by Martha Mervis, LCSW-C.

Walk Now for Autism Speaks

Autism Speaks will hold its DC Walk Now for Autism on Saturday, October 31. Registration opens at 9 a.m. and the walk starts at 10 a.m.

The three-mile walk begins at 7th Street NW at Madison Drive on the National Mall.

There will be activities for children, resources for families, light refreshments, and entertainment.

MCPS Community Forums

Montgomery County Public Schools are encouraging parents, staff, students, and community members to testify at community forums sponsored by the Board of Education this fall.

There are two forums scheduled this fall to address the question: "During difficult economic times, what priorities in the Montgomery County Public Schools' strategic plan should we focus on for the 2010-2011 school year to improve achievement for all students?"

The first forum is scheduled for Thursday, September 17 at 7 p.m. at Quince Orchard High School (15800 Quince Orchard Road, Gaithersburg, MD 20878).

The second forum is scheduled for Thursday, October 15 at 7 p.m. at John F. Kennedy High School (1901 Randolph Road, Silver Spring, MD 20902).

The public has to sign up to testify. There are several ways to do this:

1. Call to sign up: Call the Board of Education office at 301-279-3617 or 800-735-2258 beginning three weeks prior to the forum date.

2. Submit written testimony: Submit a copy of your testimony to the Board of Education office by noon on the day of the forum so it can be included in a packet of testimonies the night of the forum. Testimony can be hand delivered, mailed, emailed (to or faxed (to 301-279-3860).

3. Bring copies with you: Bring 25 copies of your testimony to the forum and give it to the staffer at the speaker registration table.

Does special education matter to you? Attend one of these forums to speak about this—or any other issue that is important to you.

Applied Autism Research and Intervention Conference

The Organization for Autism Research will present a two-day forum on autism research and intervention. The 7th Annual Applied Autism Research and Intervention Conference will take place October 23-24 in Arlington, VA.

The conference, which will be held at the Westin Arlington Gateway at 801 N. Glebe Road, will feature presentations and workshops by professionals and researchers on various subjects related to education and intervention across the lifespan for individuals with autism and their families.

Early bird registration is available until September 23. Fees are waived for persons with autism. Scholarships are available. You can register online here.

For more information, call 703-243-9710 or 866-366-9710 or email

King of the Road Run, Walk, and Kids' Fun Run

TLC's Katherine Thomas School presents the 5th Annual King of the Road 5K Run/1 Mile Walk/Kids' Fun Run on Sunday, November 15.

The race starts and ends at The Katherine Thomas School, 9975 Medical Center Drive, Rockville, MD 20850. The Kids' Fun Run begins at 8:30 a.m. Both the 5K run and the 1-mile walk begin at 9 a.m.

There is also a Post Race Merchant Expo featuring giveaways from event sponsors. There are cash prizes for the top three finishers in both male and female categories.

Proceeds from the race benefit TLC and the more than 2000 individuals with special needs who take part in their diagnostic, therapeutic, vocational, and special education programs.

For more information, contact Debbie Ezrin, at or call 301-424-5200, ext. 155.

Transitioning Youth Resource Fair

The Katherine Thomas School will host the Montgomery County Transitioning Youth Resource Fair on Saturday, October 17 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

There will be exhibits by more than 30 vendors and providers as well as drop-in workshops on social security, selecting adult providers, preparing for college or career and more.

This is a free event held at the Katherine Thomas School at 9975 Medical Center Drive, Rockville, MD 20850.

For more information, accommodations, or translation, call 24-777-1216 or email

Autism Expo

Free tickets are available now for the 2009 Autism Expo to be held at the Jim Rouse Theatre in Columbia on October 10th.

The event is held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and features many speakers and exhibitors. Admission is free, but you must register online in order to attend. No tickets will be available at the door. There is a two-ticket maximum per registration.

The Jim Rouse Theatre is located at 5460 Trumpeter Road in Columbia.

Sensory Friendly Film: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

AMC Entertainment and the Autism Society have teamed up to bring Sensory Friendly Film environments to families affected by autism and other disabilities.

On September 19 at 10 a.m. and September 26 at 10 a.m., AMC Rio Cinemas 18 (9811 Washingtonian Blvd, Gaithersburg, MD 20878) will present Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs in a sensory friendly environment.

Movie auditoriums will have their lights brought up and sound turned down, families can bring in their own gluten-free, casein-free snacks, and no previews or advertisements will be shown before the movie.

Audience members are also welcome to get up and dance, walk, shout or sing (and perhaps twirl?) unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

Tickets are $4-6 depending on location, and can be purchased on the day of the event.

Upcoming sensory friendly film showings include Where the Wild Things Are (Oct. 17), A Christmas Carol (Nov. 21), and Planet 51 (Dec. 5).

NAMI Grand Opening Event on September 10

The NAMI Montgomery County Office has moved to a new location at 11718 Parklawn Drive in Rockville. Their new, expanded thrift shop has opened at 11720 Parklawn Drive.

Donations are now being accepted at the new location: furniture, clothing, shoes, housewares, knickknacks, board games, books, jewelry, and artwork. NAMI's donation guidelines and hours are online.

The NAMI office will be holing a Grand Opening event on Thursday, September 10th at 6:30 p.m. At this event you can tour the office, sample hors d'oeuvres, and shop at the new Thrift Shop.

At 7:30 p.m., NAMI will hold its monthly Education Meeting, featuring Dr. Loren Amdursky, a psychiatrist in private practice, who will speak on "More Than Just Medication: A Psychological and Therapeutic Perspective." There will be time for questions before the meeting ends at 9 p.m.

Contact NAMI (The National Alliance on Mental Illness) at 301-949-5731 or

All Kids Count Picnic on September 13

All are invited to attend the third annual All Kids Count Picnic on Sunday, September 13th from 3-6 p.m.

This event for all who care about special education is at Rock Creek Church at 19100 Muncaster Road in Derwood.

This is a free event, although donations are welcome. Please RSVP for the picnic and bring a side dish to share.

There will be a moonbounce, sno cones, hot dogs, face painting, games, crafts, activities for teens and young adults, and fun for people of all ages.

There will also be a special tribute to Blair Ewing at 4:30 p.m. in the church sanctuary. Ewing, was a past member of the County Council and State and County Boards of Education. Officials and advocates will pay tribute to Ewing.