Sunday, March 28, 2010

Event Summary for the Week of March 29, 2010

Check out all of the amazing events on the AutMont Calendar for this week!

Tuesday, March 30:

Wednesday, March 31:

Thursday, April 1:

April is Autism Awareness Month. Let's get out there and spread some positivity and awareness about our wonderful kids and adults with autism.

Up for Discussion on AutMont:


Do you know of another event? Leave details in the comments!

Empowered Parenting Support Group

Montgomery County Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health presents their new support group for parents and guardians of children with challenging behavior due to emotional or mental health issues. The next meeting will take place April 7 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. with the topic of breaking the negative cycle.

This group seeks to educate and support families and people struggling to cope due to mental and emotional health issues. This particular group is aimed at families in the Silver Spring, Wheaton, and Takoma Park areas.

Please contact Michelle Banks at 301-681-8929 or Sheri Verdonk at if you are planning on attending. The meeting will take place at the Federation offices at 13321 New Hampshire Avenue, Terrace Level Suite B, in Silver Spring.

World of Possibilities Expo

The 7th annual World of Possibilities Expo Maryland 2010 will take place May 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, Maryland.

Come to the expo for a career fair, crafts, food, and entertainment. The Expo provides an opportunity for attendees to explore a vast array of products and services, including free wheelchair repair, adaptive and assistive technology, medical equipment, computer software, mobility products, living aides and more.

Admission is $3 per person.

For more information on attending, including free admission passes, contact Caring Communities at 866-227-4644 or email

The Arc Announces its Spring Book Sale

If you're in the market for some used books and would like to help The Arc of Montgomery County, check out The Arc's Spring Book Sale from April 9-11.

The sale will feature thousands of used hardback and paperback books, including rare collectible titles. There will be a bake sale as well.

The sale will take place at 11600 Nebel Street in Rockville. Sale hours are as follows:

Friday, April 9: 5-8 p.m.
Saturday, April 10: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Sunday, April 11: 12-4 p.m.

If you have unwanted books at home, you can donate them to the Arc. For more information, call The Arc at 301-984-5777.

Inclusive Park Playdate Brought to You By P2P

SEEC's Parent 2 Parent mentoring program will host an inclusive playdate on Saturday April 24 from 3- 5 p.m. at MLK park in Silver Spring.

Families, friends, and relatives are welcome for a fun day in this accessible park. P2P will provide snacks, updated community resource guides, and opportunities to meet other P2P parents and their kids.

MLK Park is located at 1120 Jackson Road in Silver Spring. The rain date for this event will be April 25.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Kids' Show Arthur Introduces a Character with AS

Kids' TV show Arthur is starting a new season and in one of its upcoming episodes, George (who is evidently some sort of moose) discovers that his new friend Carl, who knows a whole lot of cool things, has Asperger's Syndrome.

The episode is called "George and the Missing Puzzle Piece" and should air soon. Check your PBS station for air times. It looks like WETA will be airing the episode on April 5 at 4 p.m. and April 6 at 7:30 p.m.

Check out this clip in the meantime:

Still, after all of this, I have no idea what kind of animal Arthur is.*

* Upon further research, it seems that he's an aardvark. Who knew?

Sports Plus Offer Swim & Soccer for Kids with Developmental Disabilities

Sports Plus, a non-profit organization providing sports programs for children ages 5-14 with mild to moderate developmental disabilities, has posted their new schedule, including many new programs beginning in April.

Check out their website for more information on their teams and classes, including soccer and swimming.

For more information, contact Sports Plus at

Information Session on New Auburn School Locations

The Auburn School is planning to open new schools in Montgomery County and Baltimore this fall and is currently holding information sessions for interested parents and professionals in the coming months.

At these sessions, attendees will learn about the Auburn School's education program, the admissions process, and their financial aid and scholarship options.

These information sessions will take place at the Calvary Lutheran Church (9545 Georgia Ave) in Silver Spring on the following Wednesdays at 10 a.m.: April 7, April 21, May 5, and May 19. You can register online.

Sensory Friendly Film: Shrek 4

Enjoy a screening of Shrek 4 in a sensory friendly environment on May 22 at 10 a.m.

AMC Entertainment and the Autism Society have teamed up to provide a mellower setting for families affected by autism and other disabilities. The movie auditorium will have its lights brought up and the sound turned down, families can bring in their own GFCF snacks, and no previews or ads will be shown before the movies. Audience members are also welcome to get up and move or vocalize. (Unless the safety of the audience is questioned.)

Tickets cost between $4 and $6 depending on the theater. The AMC Rio Cinemas 18 in Gaithersburg (9811 Washingtonian Blvd.) is one of the theaters that participates.

Sensory Friendly Film: How to Train Your Dragon

Enjoy a screening of How to Train Your Dragon in a sensory friendly environment on April 10 at 10 a.m.

AMC Entertainment and the Autism Society have teamed up to provide a mellower setting for families affected by autism and other disabilities. The movie auditorium will have its lights brought up and the sound turned down, families can bring in their own GFCF snacks, and no previews or ads will be shown before the movies. Audience members are also welcome to get up and move or vocalize. (Unless the safety of the audience is questioned.)

Tickets cost between $4 and $6 depending on the theater. The AMC Rio Cinemas 18 in Gaithersburg (9811 Washingtonian Blvd.) is one of the theaters that participates.

You're Going to Love This Kid: Autism in Inclusive Schools

The Maryland Coalition for Inclusive Education will be holding "You're Going to Love this Kid: Educating Students with Autism in Inclusive Schools," a seminar on inclusive education on April 14.

Dr. Paula Kluth will be presenting at the seminar, which is intended for general and special educators, parents, related service providers, and others interested in autism spectrum disorders.

In this interactive session, participants will learn practical ways of supporting students with autism and other disabilities within a general education classroom. Topics will include: defining (and redefining) autism, listening to the voices of those with autism, differentiating instruction, creating more active and responsive lessons, making the classroom comfortable, and providing opportunities for communication and social skill development.

The session will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Chase Suite Hotel Rockville (1380 Piccard Drive). You must register for this event by April 8. For more information, call 410-859-5400. A fee of $125 covers tuition, breakfast, lunch, and materials.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Event Summary for the Week of March 23, 2010

McTrans Meeting: Behavior Challenges

MCTransitions will be holding their April meeting on April 8 from 7:30-9 p.m. This meeting will feature Lauren Thomas, Director of The GUIDE Independence Project in Montgomery County, speaking about behavior challenges.

This talk will benefit parents of children who are transitioning youths or young adults with mental illness and behavior challenges who need support in housing, living skills, vocational, and recreational skills. Ms. Thomas will talk about GUIDE's programs in Montgomery County to support these young adults and help them live successfully in the community.

This meeting will take place at The Arc of Montgomery County (11600 Nebel Street) in Rockville. For more information or to RSVP, contact Reda Sheinberg at

Monday, March 15, 2010

Try for Free This Weekend is a childcare and housesitting service that helps people find local caregivers and facilitates interviews, reference checking, and background checks. This weekend, March 19-21, they are offering a free weekend of access.

During the free weekend, all visitors to can check out the benefits of a premium membership at no charge. You'll be able to see full profiles for nearby care providers, contact them for interviews, check references, and request background checks.

Not only do they list babysitters, nannies, senior caregivers, tutors, pet sitters, and housekeepers, but they also have an entire section set up for special needs care providers.

I haven't tried, but if you're looking for a place to research care for your special needs family, this could be a great place to start.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Event Summary for the Week of March 15, 2010

Teleconference: Extended School Year Services (ESY)

The Parents' Place of Maryland will be hosting a teleconference on Extended School Year Services (ESY) on March 30 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Debbie DiPaolo will present. Have your child's IEP handy to review federal and state ESY regulations and determine your child's eligibility for these services.

The teleconference is free, but requires pre-registration. For more information, contact Rochelle Howell at 800-394-5694 ext. 109 or

MCCPTA Special Education Meeting: Status on the Closing of Secondary Learning Centers

The MCCPTA Special Education Committee will hold a meeting on March 23 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. to discuss the status on the closing of secondary learning centers and other program updates.

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

All are welcome to attend this free meeting.

Processing Speed: Impact on Learning and Social Skills

The Gifted with Learning Differences Educational Network will be presenting a lecture by Dr. Maureen Donnelly on Processing Speed: Impact on Learning and Social Skills on March 18 from 7:30-9 p.m.

Processing speed is an often invisible but key factor in learning and socializing, and is one of the indices on intelligence tests. Many students with learning disabilities have weaknesses in processing speed which can contribute to a variety of subtle and overt consequences. Dr. Maureen Donnelly works with youngsters and adolescents who have processing problems and will describe the multiple effects of slow processing and what strategies can help students cope.

This lecture will take place at the Walter Johnson High School cafeteria (6400 Rock Spring Drive) in Bethesda.

AT:LAST Trainings

The Maryland Assistive Technology Cooperative will be presenting several trainings this spring on a variety of subjects. Unless otherwise specified, all trainings will take place at 7050 Oakland Mills Road, Suite 160, in Columbia. You can register and pay online for the trainings or call Laura at 410-381-2667. Details on individual trainings are below. Find more information on each training at AT:LAST's training calendar.

March 17: An Introduction to Computer Access Solutions Learn about he many ways individuals with disabilities can access a computer. This hands-on, part lab, part lecture-style session highlights accessibility features already available on your computer: from specialized input devices for those with multiple physical challenges to speech recognition software and products for those with low vision or blindness.

March 23: Device Differentiation: How It Impacts "Consideration" It’s tricky to fulfill the “Consideration” component of IEP’s if service providers and families are familiar with only a few available devices. Come explore a wide variety of low to high tech devices and brain-storm possible options for case study clients, giving thoughtful consideration to finding a best-fit—whether child, adult, or senior.

March 24: Boardmaker: Out of the Box Basics Boardmaker Software enables you to easily and quickly generate Picture Communication Symbols (PCS), no-tech communication boards, overlays for mid-tech devices, and instructional materials to help facilitate language development and communication skills as well as to support learning. Learn strategies and tips to begin assisting the student who is unable to communicate orally now.

April 1: Adapting Board and Card Games In this combination hands-on and brainstorming workshop, you will learn a variety of strategies for adapting board and card games. Games are a fun way to support educational goals, and they make great leisure or indoor recess activities while supporting language pragmatics related to social interactions. Adaptive options will be appropriate for clients of all ages and across a variety of disabilities.

April 14: Technology in Tough Times: Maximizing Features in MS Word/Office to Differentiate Instruction for All Learning Styles This hands-on workshop will be extremely useful for any parent or educational professional who wants to utilize technology in their classroom but are inhibited from purchasing new software by budgetary constraints.

April 20: Promoting Young Children's Participation by Adapting Routines and Activities Add ideas to your “bag of tricks” with the lively “20 Ideas in 20 Minutes” segment. Learn to analyze how to select toys and other materials that are “Universally Designed” for all children for use in inclusive environments. Also learn to adapt toys and activities so they will fit a range of aptitudes, personalities and play circumstances. Have fun in the hands-on “make it and take it” segment.

April 28: Writing Letters of Medical Necessity Be a part of the first local opportunity to learn how to write successful Letters of Medical Necessity! Don’t waste time and money struggling with how to figure it out yourself—learn how to get it done right the first time! School-based S/LPs can also stretch their device budgets.

May 6: Access to Communication You’ve recommended access methods. You’ve taught clients to use them. Have you ever tried them yourself? In spite of the wonders of technology, do you understand the frustrations and challenges these “miracles” impart? This workshop will investigate light tech to high tech communication access from the client’s view.

May 26: Let's Go Digital Integrating appropriate writing tools can help alleviate the stress frequently associated with the daunting task of legible handwriting. Let’s get students focused on the task at hand—learning the material—and allow technology to help support the often difficult and time-consuming task of notetaking.

Teleconference: Putting the Positives in Your Child's IEP

The Parents' Place of Maryland will be hosting a teleconference titled "Putting the Positives in Your Child's IEP: Functional Behavior Assessments and Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports" on March 16 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

This workshop is for parents of children with disabilities and professionals. Participants will learn what the phrase "positive behavior interventions and supports" means for children, will become familiar with the process of functional behavior assessments, learn about developing effective behavior interventions/support plans for children with disabilities, and get prepared to be proactive in meeting the needs of children whose behavior interferes with their education.

Parent educator Missy Alexander will lead this conversation. The teleconference is free, but requires pre-registration. For more information, contact Rochelle Howell at 800-394-5694 ext. 104 or

Understanding SSI/Medicaid and SSDI/Medicare

M&L Special Needs Planning will be offering a workshop on understanding SSI/Medicaid and SSDI/Medicare on April 6 from 7-8:30 p.m.

Michael Dalto will explain these programs in a language everyone can understand. He will go into detail about what the government benefits and programs are, their importance, when to apply, how to qualify, and how much money the special needs person will receive.

Register online for this event, which will take place at the Katherine Thomas School (9975 Medical Center Drive) in Rockville.

Estate Planning for the Special Needs Family

M&L Special Needs Planning will be offering another workshop on Estate Planning for the Special Needs Family on April 20 from 7-8:30 p.m.

Tanya Harvey, Esq. will be presenting on the essentials of comprehensive special needs life planning. She will discuss the key elements of estate planning for the special needs child with particular attention on guardianship and special needs trusts.

Register online for this event, which will take place at the Katherine Thomas School (9975 Medical Center Drive) in Rockville.

Transition Services in Middle & High School

Transition Times will be presenting a program all about transition services in middle and high school on March 17 from 7:30-9 p.m.

Dr. Kathy Kolan, Supervisor of MCPS Transition Services Unit will be presenting on a variety of topics and answering questions. Those topics will include:

• What are transition services?
• How are they delivered in MCPS?
• What does it look like in middle and high school?
• What are the options after four or five years in high school?
• What are the curriculum areas covered in high school?

The event will take place at The Arc of Montgomery County (11600 Nebel Street) in Rockville. For more information, contact The Arc at 301-984-5777 or

Career Expo for People with Disabilities

Careers & the disABLED Magazine will be holding two career expos for people with disabilities in Washington, DC this year. There will be many companies at the job fairs, including Fortune 500 companies and government agencies looking to recruit new talent.

Admission is free, but you must be 18 years of age or older. You must pre-register to attend.

The first expo will be March 26 and the second will be November 19.

The career expos will both take place from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center (1300 Pennsylvania Ave, NW) in DC.

DDA Meeting About Employment

The Developmental Disabilities Administration will holding a public meeting on March 23 from 6-9 p.m. featuring Marie Parker.

She will discuss job development, the county internship option, and customized employment.

Pre-registration is encouraged due to capacity limitations. For more information and to register, call 301-362-5100. The meeting will be held at the County Executive Office Building's auditorium (101 Monroe Street) in Rockville.

Families Together Upcoming Webinars

Families Together has just published their upcoming schedule of webinars. Each webinar costs $10. You can register online for each of them. See below for information on each autism-related online seminar.

Anger and Anxiety, March 24, 5:30-6:30 p.m. ET—Dealing with anger and anxiety in your child can be tough. Come to this webinar and Chris Curry will help. You will be able to ask questions and get the answers you need. Register online.

Teaching Children to Transition, March 31, 5-6 p.m. ET—Sometimes children have a hard time stopping one activity to start another. Chris Curry leads this webinar, which features practical ideas of how to help. Register online.

Sensory Integration, April 7, 5-6 p.m. ET—Chris Curry leads this webinar that will cover issues of sensory integration. Why will your child only wear certain clothes? Why do certain sounds seem to cause him pain? Learn all about it at this online seminar. Register online.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Event Summary for the Week of March 8, 2010

Montgomery College Disability Support Services Info Session

Students, parents, teachers, and counselors are invited to an Information Session to learn about Montgomery College's Disability Support Services (DSS).

The session will take place on March 9 from 7-9 p.m. at Montgomery College's Technical Center Building Room 136 (51 Mannakee Street) in Rockville.

Topics to be covered include the application process, documentation requirements, appropriate course placement, expectations of college students, and the types of services provided by DSS.

For more information, call 240-567-5058.

Autism Training Seminar

The Madison House Foundation, Montgomery College, and the Montgomery County Department of Health & Human Service Aging and Disability Services will present an Autism Training Seminar that will take place on April 8-9.

This two-day intensive training seminar is designed to increase understanding and awareness among community members and families about autism and other developmental disabilities. It is intended for family members of people with autism, educators, and direct support professionals, as well as medical practitioners, emergency personnel, community leaders, and advocates.

Speakers will include highly recognized leaders in the field of autism and other developmental disabilities.

The cost for the seminar is $55 per day. It will be held at the Theatre Arts Building at Montgomery College (51 Mannakee Street) in Rockville. Lunch will be provided if you register before April 2nd.

For more information or to register, contact Megan K. Farrelly at 301-330-8532 or or Karla Nabors at 240-567-1660 or You can also register online.

Extraordinary Parents Night

The Partnership for Extraordinary Minds will hold an Extraordinary Parents Night on March 17 from 7-8:30 p.m. for parents who have children on the autism spectrum.

At the event, parents will have a chance to share opportunities, promote constructive ideas, and share concerns so that their students can maximize their educational experiences and outcomes.

The meeting will take place at the Rockville Library Meeting Room (21 Maryland Avenue) in Rockville. Register online for this free event.

Wrightslaw Conference in Bowie

If you are interested in getting a deeper understanding of how to advocate for your child, consider attending a Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy Conference with Pete Wright. The Parents' Place of Maryland will be sponsoring a Wrightslaw conference held on April 22 in Bowie.

Attendance at the conference includes lunch and three crucial Wrightslaw books: Special Eduction Law, From Emotions to Advocacy*, and All About IEPs. Registration is $100 for a parent, $150 for a couple (includes one set of books), and $150 for professionals.

The full-day Bowie conference will be held at the Comfort Inn Conference Center (4500 Crain Highway) in Bowie. You can register online for the event.

* As a personal aside, this is possibly the best book I've read to help me prepare for an IEP meeting and learn about the special education process.

Free Carnival for Kids with Special Needs

The Project Change Community Service Club at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School will present a free carnival for children with special needs on March 20 from 1-4 p.m.

The carnival is intended for elementary-age children with special needs and will feature several activities, including a moon bounce, arts and crafts, music, pony rides and face painting.

Our Lady of Good Counsel High School is located at 17301 Old Vic Boulevard in Olney. Register for the event online.

Autism Resource Fair

The public is invited to attend a free Autism Resource Fair to learn more about programs and services for children with autism. The fair will be held on Friday, April 9 from 3-7 p.m. at Montgomery College's PE Main Gymnasium Building (51 Mannakee Street) in Rockville.

More than 50 organizations will be at the fair to share information about recreation, employment, behavior management services, family supports and respite, and other support services for individuals with autism and their families.

For more information, call 240-777-1216. There will be free parking available in the students-only lots.

DDA Public Meeting

The Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) is hosting a series of public meetings pertaining to the DDA's work plan including resource coordination, Medicaid waivers, regulations and more.

There are several dates and locations, but the Montgomery County meeting will take place on March 23 from 6-9 p.m. at the Executive Office Building Auditorium (101 Monroe Street) in Rockville.

During the meetings, the DDA will share information, gather public input, and solicit volunteers for workgroups related to these topics.

Pre-registration is encouraged due to capacity limitations. Register by calling 301-362-5100.

Image by Svilen Milev

ROAR for Autism Supports Research and Treatment Programs

Every year the Kennedy Krieger Institute holds ROAR for Autism, a bike ride, nature walk, and festival organized to raise funds for their autism research and treatment programs.

There are many ways to support this event, which will take place on April 25 this year. If you're a bicyclist, you can opt for a 5-, 10-, 25-, or 50-mile bike ride through Baltimore. There is also a low-mileage ride for kids. There is also a walking course on nature trails in Oregon Ridge Park (13401 Beaver Dam Road) in Cockeysville.

You can even support the event by sleeping in through their Snore for ROAR program.

You must register for the event and can then begin fundraising and preparing for the bike or walk (or snore). For more information, check the ROAR FAQ page, call 443-923-7300, or email

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Coffee, Bagels, and Autism Insurance Reform in Maryland

Are you interested in autism insurance reform in Maryland? Do you like coffee? Or bagels? Or at least one of the above? Then come to one of three meetings about autism insurance reform.

Montgomery County: March 6 8:30-10 a.m. at 422 Lakelands Drive in Gaithersburg. For more information and to RSVP email

Annapolis: March 9 at noon at Purple Cherry Architects (1 Melvin Ave on the corner of Rowe Blvd and Melvin; Mapquest directions can be misleading) in Annapolis. Bring your own brown bag lunch to this meeting. For more information and to RSVP,, email Susie Huckelbery at

Area-wide: March 10 at 6:30 p.m. in the Neiman-Marcus Cafe at Tysons' Galleria Mall in Virginia. This is the regularly scheduled Autism Speaks National Capital Area monthly chapter meeting open to the public. For more information and to RSVP, contact

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

John Elder Robison to Speak at Ivymount

John Elder Robison, author and adult with Asperger's, will be speaking on March 11 from 7-9 p.m. at the Ivymount School.

Robison is the author of Look Me In the Eye, the story of his life with Asperger's, which was undiagnosed until he was an adult.

RSVPs are requested for this free event, but no one will be turned away. The Ivymount School is located at 11614 Seven Locks Road in Rockville. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for networking and refreshments.