Monday, October 25, 2010

Event Summary for the Week of October 25, 2010

Check out the AutMont Calendar to see all of the activities for this week as well as those coming up!

Monday, October 25:

October 26

October 27

Thursday, October 28:

October 29

Saturday, October 30:

Sunday, October 31:

Happy Halloween! Be safe!

AutMont reader, friend, and very cool autism blogger Sunday mentioned a 2 p.m. autism-friendly performance of "Spot's Birthday" at Adventure Theater. See her comment in the comment section below.

Up for Discussion on AutMont:


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

Friday, October 22, 2010

Check out the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Challenge This Saturday

Here's a last minute idea for some Saturday fun. Head down to the National Mall to cheer on athletes, both with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities, as they take on the 1st Annual Eunice Kennedy Shriver Challenge benefitting Special Olympics and Best Buddies International.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Spotlight on Pathfinders for Autism

When people think of organizations helping individuals with autism there are a couple of big names that jump to mind. Autism Speaks is probably the first one. Maybe the Autism Society is on the radar. But for every one of these big organizations, there are many smaller groups working diligently to help people in their community.

Pathfinders for Autism is one such organization. Based in Maryland, this group was established way back in February 2000, a full five years before Autism Speaks. A group of parents of children with autism, frustrated by the lack of information and guidance available from physicians and educators, partnered with Dr. Rebecca Landa of the Kennedy Krieger Institute to create Pathfinders.

"Our primary goal was to find a path for our children through two key elements: researching resources to create a repository of information and hiring a caring professional who would be available to answer questions personally," says founding board member Becky Galli. "We felt strongly that parents of children with autism needed someone to talk to, not just a packet of information or a website link."

This goal has led to the creation of a service-oriented group that operates a help line as well as a walk-in center where people can get free advice and resources. Mostly focused on Maryland resources and services, Pathfinders gets calls from all over the state, the country, and sometimes the world. They are able to assist people in Maryland and the DC metro area, but they refer callers from outside the area to national or local-to-the-caller resource centers.

Most of Pathfinders' assistance is done via email or phone call, responding to requests for help with everything from funding for therapies and basic necessities to information about special education and employment support. The walk-in resource center offers a lending library and specialized computer software as well as a resource exchange, where families donate items and equipment they no longer need.

In addition, Pathfinders' website offers a provider search function, along with a wealth of information accessed by 22,000 visitors monthly. The group also offers several workshop series covering issues ranging from transitions, sexuality, employment, finances, co-morbidity, executive function and more. They also feature sessions targeted to adults with autism, a demographic left out of a conversation all too often focused solely on children.

Through outreach to local businesses, civic groups, and schools, Pathfinders promotes autism awareness by sending staff or volunteers to schools and by working with child care associations. School visits include talks about autism and other differences, as well as experiential sensory and social exercises designed to give kids an idea of how their peers with autism may experience life.

They have also partnered with the Maryland chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Parents' Place of Maryland to provide developmental screening trainings to local pediatricians. Pathfinders has been able to provide pediatricians with AAP Autism Tool Kits as well as information on local resources they can share with their clients.

From that original frustration felt by the founders of Pathfinders for Autism has come a vibrant organization working to help parents of children with autism, individuals with autism, and the general public to bring them autism services, awareness, and respect.

"It is important when we encounter anyone with a disability or difference that we always presume intellect," says Pathfinders' executive director, Rebecca Rienzi. "All individuals with autism are just that, an individual with likes, dislikes, personality, and thoughts of their own, and should be treated as such."

Pathfinders is supported by fundraising events, grassroots-driven fundraisers, corporate sponsors, private donations, and foundation grants. Their biennial Celebrity Fashion Show takes place on November 6.

To contact Pathfinders for Autism's help line, call 866-806-8400 or 443-330-5341. You can also email the resource center at info@pathfindersforautism. The walk-in center is located at 303 International Circle, Suite 110, in Hunt Valley, Maryland. They are open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and by appointment.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Event Summary for the Week of October 18, 2010

Check out the AutMont Calendar to see all of the activities for this week as well as those coming up!

Tuesday, October 19:

Kennedy Krieger Adolescent Transition Lecture Series

Kennedy Krieger Institute's Fall 2010 Adolescent Transition Lecture Series includes lectures in Baltimore on October 20, November 10, and December 15.

Intended for adolescents and young adults with disabilities, parents, educators, and community and health care providers, these lectures are intended to provoke and facilitate discussion.

October 20: Community Works: Finding and Funding Respite Care with Mary Anne Kane Breschi of Maggie's Light Foundation.

November 10: Working Together to Prevent Bullying and Harassment with Sharon Boettinger, former Supervising Counselor, Frederick County Public Schools (retired).

December 15: DDA Waiver with Rhonda Workman of the Developmental Disabilities Administration

Each lecture will take place from 7-8:30 p.m. at Kennedy Krieger's Greenspring Campus, in the Bowles Building Board Room on the 4th Floor (3825 Greenspring Avenue) in Baltimore.

For more information or to RSVP, call Jenny Jones at 443-923-2790 or 800-390-3372 or email

Sunday, October 17, 2010

IACC Full Committee Meeting

The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) will hold a Full Committee Meeting on October 22 from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Invited speakers will give presentations on various aspects of autism spectrum disorder research and services and the IACC will discuss plans for the annual update of the IACC Strategic Plan for Autism Spectrum Disorder Research.

The meeting, which takes place in the William H. Natcher Conference Center at the National Institutes of Health (45 Center Drive, conference rooms E1/E2) in Bethesda, is open to the public. Online pre-registration is recommended. Seating is on a first come, first serve basis with expedited check-in for those who are pre-registered.

The meeting will also be accessible via videocast ( and conference call (888-577-8995, access code: 1991506). For more information, email

Empower Your Children with Technology

Explore top apps and free online technology tools to make learning fun and to develop your child's cognitive and literacy skills at a workshop held at the Rockville Library.

Joan L. Green, M.A. CCC-SLP of Innovative Speech Therapy, and Susan M. Abrams, M.A. CCC-SLP of Early Intervention Therapists, will present this workshop.

The workshop will be held twice, once on November 14 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. and again on November 17 from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

Cost for the workshop is $20. Register online at If you are registered for Parent University 2010-2011, enter code "parentuniversity" for a 50% discount.

The workshops will be held in the meeting room of the library, located at 21 Maryland Avenue in Rockville.

Pick Two: The Experts on the Issues

Three local organizations will present an afternoon of presentations about issues of critical importance to those with ADHD and/or learning differences on November 6.

CHADD, the GTLD Network, and LDAMC are offering two sessions of each of these issues of interest. The schedule is as follows:

1:15 p.m.:

1:30-2:45 p.m.:
A. Executive Functioning/Organization with Kathleen Nadeau, Ph.D.
B. Resiliency and Motivation with Dr. Lance Clawson
C. Helping Students Learn at School and at Home through Multiple Intelligences with Katherine Keith, M.A., Addison Helmke, and Michele Witiak, M.A.

3-4:15 p.m.:
A. Executive Functioning/Organization with Laurie Dietzel, Ph.D.
B. Resiliency and Motivation with Mary Alvord, Ph.D.
C. Helping Students Learn at School and at Home through Multiple Intelligences with Katherine Keith, M.A., Addison Helmke, and Michele Witiak, M.A.

4:15-4:45 p.m.:

The sessions will take place at the McLean School of Maryland (8224 Lochinver Lane) in Potomac. Please RSVP to

GTLD Students: Sharing What We Learned the Hard Way

The Gifted with Learning Differences Educational Network will hold their monthly educational and support meeting on October 21 from 6:30 t0 9 p.m.

A panel of GTLD high school students will share their thoughts and strategies for success. Montgomery County GTLD Specialist Marisa Stemple will moderate this program.

Each speaker will describe his or her school-related strengths and weaknesses, recount the programs and schools they have attended, and comment on relevant issues for GTLD students.

Also learn about the SKIP Peer Mentoring Program (Smart Kids Invoking Potential).

The meeting will take place at the Walter Johnson High School cafeteria (6400 Rock Spring Drive) in Bethesda. For more information, contact Joan Wittan at

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Extraordinary Parents Night

The Partnership for Extraordinary Minds will hold an Extraordinary Parents Night on October 14 from 7-9 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.

Workshop: How To Be a Successful Advocate for Your Child

The Arc of Montgomery County Education Committee; The Autism Society Montgomery County, Maryland; and The Down Syndrome Network of Montgomery County will offer a workshop on October 7 from 7 to 9 p.m. about how to be a successful advocate for your child.

The workshop will be held at The Arc of Montgomery County (11600 Nebel Street) in Rockville. Call or email to RSVP to ensure that information will be available for you.

Call Haydee De Paula at 301-984-5792 x1275 or email

Next Steps Workshops

MCPS Transition Services will hold two School-to-Adult Living Transition workshops this fall. The target audience for each workshop will be families of students with IEPs ages 14-21.

Both workshops will be held from 7-9 p.m. at Earle B. Wood Middle School (14615 Bauer Drive) in Rockville.

October 12—Montgomery College Night: Representatives from Montgomery College will present an overview of the wide range of programs the college offers.

November 11—Postsecondary Education Night: School system representatives will share planning tools and resources to assist students transitioning to postsecondary education.

Event Summary for the Week of October 4, 2010

Check out the AutMont Calendar to see all of the activities for this week as well as those coming up!

Monday, October 4:

Tuesday, October 5:

Dream Team Sports Class for 2-4 Year Olds

The Montgomery County Infants & Toddler Program, the Montgomery County Recreation Department, and the Montgomery County chapter of Special Olympics Maryland Young Athletes will offer a foundational sports skill class for 2-4 year olds this fall.

The "Dream Team" class will take place Wednesdays beginning October 6 and ending October 24 from 11 a.m to 12:30 p.m. each week.

The free class will be held at the Long Branch Community Center (8700 Piney Branch Road) in Silver Spring.

To register, call 240-777-3997. If the class is full, express your interest for a spring program.

Webinar: SSI, Medical Assistance, and Paying Jobs

The Maryland Department of Disabilities will hold several free webinars about "SSI (Supplemental Security Income) for Students: How to Get SSI and Medical Assistance, Go to Work...and Live to Tell About It."

This webinar will cover the issue of students receiving public benefits and how a paying job might affect those benefits. Also learn how to qualify for SSI and Medical Assistance, how "work incentives" can protect benefits while you work, and have a chance to ask questions.

The webinar is open to all, but designed for parents of transition-aged students and professionals who serve them. More more information, contact Michael Dalto at or 443-514-5922 or 800-637-4113.

The webinar will be held several times, on the following dates:

October 26, 6:30-8:30 p.m.: Register online by October 19

November 18, 6:30-8:30 p.m.: Register online by November 11

January 13, 6:30-8:30 p.m.: Register online by January 6

April 12, 6:30-8:30 p.m.: Register online by April 5

To register, click on the following link: Type "SSI" into the search box and click on the link for the date you wish to register for.

October 2010 SEAC Meeting

This month's meeting of MCPS' Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) will be October 28 from 7 to 9 p.m.

These meetings, usually held on the 4th Thursday of the month, include a period of public comments, Department of Special Education updates, and a speaker or discussion.

Meetings are held at the Carver Educational Services Center (850 Hungerford Drive, Room 127) in Rockville. All are welcome.

Anyone wishing to give public comments must bring five copies of your testimony and contact one of the co-chairs prior to the meeting. Co-chairs are Joan Sabaka (, Anne Turner (, and Laura Swerdlin (

For Our Kids, For Ourselves Support Group

The For Our Kids, For Ourselves parent support group will meet October 10 from 7:15 to 9:30 p.m. in Potomac.

The group is intended for parents of children with ADHD, sensory processing disorders, or related diagnoses who would like to connect with parents who share similar experiences.

The meeting will take place at Summerville Senior Living (11215 Seven Locks Road) in Potomac.

For more information, email Jaime at

Exceptional Schools for Exceptional Students School Fair 2010

Explore many of the educational options available at the Exceptional Schools for Exceptional Students School Fair on October 17 from noon to 2 p.m.

This fair will showcase many of the school choices available to families of children with learning differences. The fair is sponsored by the American University School of Education, Teaching & Health and will take place at the Katzen Art Center (Massachusetts Avenue and Nebraska Avenue NW, DC) at American University.

Admission is free and open to the public. Parking is free in the Katzen Center. For more information, contact Bekah Atkinson at 301-592-0567 x12 or or Lois McCabe at 301-299-4602 or

Participating schools include: Accotink Alternative Learning Center, Alexandria Friends, The Auburn School, Chelsea School, Commonwealth Academy, The Diener School, Ivymount School Model Asperger Program, The Maddux School, Kingsbury Day School, The Lab School of Washington, Landmark School, MANSEF, McLean School, The Newton School, the Nora School, The Norbel School, Oakwood School, Parkmont School, The Siena School, The Summit School, and The Katherine Thomas School.

Developmental Disabilities Administration Webinar

The Maryland Coalition of Families for Children's Mental Health will offer a webinar on Developmental Disability Services and Eligibility on October 7.

Diane Dressler, a statewide training coordinator and housing specialist for the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration, will present the webinar, which will take place from noon to 1 p.m. Eastern time.

The Developmental Disabilities Administration provides a coordinated service delivery system so that individuals with developmental disabilities receive appropriate services oriented toward the goal of integration into the community. Participants will learn what these services are, who is eligible to receive them, and how they are provided in the community.

Register online for the webinar.

Catching Kids Before They Fall: Helping "Out of Sync" Children

Carol Stock Kranowitz, the acclaimed author of The Out-of-Sync Child and other books, and who is a sensory processing expert, will lead a three-hour CEU training on October 5 from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

The training, Catching Kids Before They Fall: Helping "Out of Sync" Children with Sensory Processing Disorder, will take place at JSSA's offices (200 Wood Hill Road) in Rockville. The cost is $60 for the session.

For more information, call 301-816-2645.