Monday, January 31, 2011

Summer Opportunities for Children with Special Needs

Tips on Trips and Camps will hold a Summer Opportunities Fair on February 27 from 1-3:30 p.m.

The fair will feature sleep-away camps and local options for exceptional childrenages 7-21. Representatives from a dozen summer camps will be available. The camps represented will support mainstream and special needs children with challenges such as LD, ADD/ADHD, HFA, PDD-NOS, mild social and emotional disorders, cognitive disabilities, and sensory integration issues.

If you are unable to attend or want more information, contact Meg Smith at 703-345-0722 or

The fair will be held at Ivymount School (11614 Seven Locks Road) in Potomac.

Pizza Fundraiser for SEEC

SEEC (Seeking Equality, Empowerment, and Community for People with Developmental Disabilities) is holding a Dining Out fundraiser in conjunction with Flippin' Pizza in downtown Silver Spring on February 9.

Dine in or carry out at Flippin' Pizza between 4 and 8 p.m. and 50% of your bill will go to SEEC. Make sure to mention SEEC so they will get credit for your order. (Delivery doesn't qualify for the fundraiser.) The restaurant is located at 8517 Colesville Road, Suite 1-B.

SEEC is a non-profit organization in downtown Silver Spring whose mission is to enable persons with developmental disabilities who have significant needs to live and work as contributing members of the community through individual advocacy and support.

Yoga Workshop for Young Adults with Asperger's

Thrive Yoga will offer a parent/child yoga workshop for young adults with Asperger's syndrome on February 12 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The workshop will include an introduction and is intended to introduce yoga to young adults with Asperger's and to make a connection from grounding strategies on the mat to outside life as well as to enjoy a social event with other students and parents.

The suggested donation for the workshop is $10. All proceeds go to the Special Olympics Maryland. Please register by February 11 at Thrive Yoga's website or by calling 301-294-9642.

Thrive Yoga is located at 1321 Rockville Pike in Rockville.

Just Chill for Girls Anxiety Group at JSSA

JSSA will hold a group called Just Chill for Girls, for girls ages 9-12 using a cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to help manage anxiety and learn to cope more effectively with stress.

Girls will work on developing positive self-talk, challenging irrational and anxiety-producing thoughts, and learning relaxation techniques. The goal in coping with anxiety is not to eliminate it altogether, but to make it manageable. Girls can gain a sense of empowerment over worries through the support of the group and new friendships with one another.

The group will meet on Wednesdays from March 2 to June 1 from 4:10-5 p.m. at JSSA's building (200 Wood Hill Road) in Rockville. The cost is $65 per session, as well as a one-time $30 materials fee. Pre-registration is required by calling 301-816-2633. Jennifer Flajser, LCPC, will facilitate the group.

MCTrans Meeting: All About MSDE Department of Rehabilitative Services

MCTransitions will hold its next meeting featuring a presentation all about MSDE Department of Rehabilitative Services (DORS) on February 10 from 7:30-9 p.m.

At the meeting, Tom Laverty, DORS Staff Specialist with the Client Assistance Program (CAP), will speak about how to get services to support employment and independence for our adult children.

Please RSVP to Reda Sheinberg at The meeting will take place at the Arc of Montgomery County (11600 Nebel Street) in Rockville. In the event of an MCPS school closure, the meeting will be cancelled.

Lecture on Implementing Home ABA or VB Programs

Autism Outreach Incorporated will hold a lecture about how to implement a home Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) or Verbal Behavior (VB) program on February 3 from 7-9 p.m.

This free lecture, hosted by TACA, will include a presentation and question and answer session.

The lecture will be held at Bethesda Library (7400 Arlington Road) in Bethesda. For more information, please contact Alison Hoffman at

Public Forums Regarding MCPS Superintendent Search

MCPS will hold a number of public forums this week designed to gather community comment on the educational priorities and desired leadership qualities of the next superintendent of the Montgomery Public Schools.

The forums will be held throughout the county on three consecutive evenings at two locations each evening. Representatives of the executive search firm Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA), employed by the Montgomery County Board of Education to assist in the superintendent search, will facilitate the forums and receive community comment.

Monday, January 31 at 7 p.m.:

Northwest High School (13501 Richter Farm Road) in Germantown. Translation in Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.

White Oak Middle School (12201 New Hampshire Avenue) in Silver Spring. Translation in Spanish.

Tuesday, February 1 at 7 p.m.:

Bethesda Elementary School (7600 Arlington Road) in Bethesda. Translation in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.

Montgomery Village Middle School (19300 Watkins Mill Road) in Montgomery Village. Translation in Spanish.

Wednesday, February 2 at 7 p.m.:

Wheaton High School (12601 Dalewood Drive) in Silver Spring. Translation in Spanish.

Carver Educational Services Center (850 Hungerford Drive) in Rockville. Translation in Spanish, French, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.

Additional information about the search process can be found on the Superintendent Search pages of the MCPS website. If you are unable to attend a forum, you can give your input by filling out an online survey, available until Friday, February 4.

Sensory Friendly Movie: Gnomeo & Juliet

Enjoy a screening of Gnomeo & Juliet in a sensory friendly environment on February 12 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.

Event Summary for the Week of January 31, 2011

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

Monday, January 31:

Tuesday, February 1:

Deducting Tuition as a Medical Expense

The Siena School will host a tax seminar on deducting tuition as a medical expense on February 3 from 7-8:30 p.m.

Matt Miller, CPA, MBA, will present information about deducting tuition as a medical expense for students with diagnosed learning disabilities and who attend a school that is specifically designed to meet their learning needs.

There is a $10 charge for the seminar, which will be held at the Siena School (9727 Georgia Avenue) in Silver Spring. You can register online.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Event Summary for the Week of January 24, 2011

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

Thursday, January 27:

Up for Discussion on AutMont:

Port Discovery's "Celebrating Who I Am" Exhibit opens on January 29. This exhibit features artwork by special needs children.


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

LD/ADHD 24/7

The LDAMC and CHADD will co-sponsor "LD/ADHD 24/7," a free lecture about learning disabilities and ADHD on March 10 from 7:15-9:15 p.m. (Rescheduled from January.)

Robert Chase, Ph.D., a provider of clinical psychology, neuropsychology, and psycho-educational services to children, adolescents and adults, will speak at the event.

Attendees will learn to understand how attention, executive functioning, and information processing impacts a child both in and outside the classroom.

RSVP for this free event by emailing or calling 301-933-1076. The event will take place at Davis Community Library (6400 Democracy Blvd.) in Bethesda.

RSVP by emailing or by calling 301-933-1076.

Fitness for Health Open House

Pediatric fitness facility Fitness for Health, which helps special needs kids remain physically active, will hold an open house on February 6 from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

For more information about the open house or their programs, please call 301-231-7138.

Fitness for Health is located at 11140 Rockville Pike, Suite 303, in Rockville.

Workshop: The IEP Process

The Arc of Montgomery County Education Committee, the Autism Society Montgomery County Maryland, and the Down Syndrome Network of Montgomery County will present a workshop about the IEP Process on February 3 from 7-9 p.m.

Selene A. Almazan of the Maryland Coalition for Inclusive Education and a panel of experienced parent-advocates will present the workshop.

Participants will learn to understand the rights of parents and responsibilities of educators in the IEP process, learn what an IEP should look like in order to ensure that a student's needs are met, understand team member roles in the IEP meeting and process, and learn how to use goals and objectives to deliver instruction in the least restrictive environment.

The workshop will take place at the Arc of Montgomery County (11600 Nebel Street) in Rockville. Call or email Haydee De Paula to register for this free presentation at 301-984-5792 ext. 1275 or

Diamonds in the Rough: Special Learning Needs Sampler

The Weinfeld Education Group will present their Diamonds in the Rough Special Learning Needs Sampler on March 6 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The event is a day of seminars and resources especially for families of children and young adults with special learning needs.

Attendees will learn about advocacy, assessments, related services, and transition issues in the DC area. The event will also feature "ask an expert" panels, visits with special-needs related vendors and exhibitors, door prizes and more.

The cost for the day-long event is $10 before February 28 and $25 at the door. It will be held at the National 4-H Center (7100 Connecticut Avenue) in Chevy Chase. Register online.

For more information, call 301-681-6233 or email

Next Steps: School to Adult Living Transition Workshops

MCPS Transition Services will offer two Next Steps: School to Adult Living Transition Workshops this February.

The target audience for each workshop is families of students with IEPs ages 14-21. Both upcoming workshops will take place from 7-9 p.m. at Earle B. Wood Middle School (14615 Bauer Drive) in Rockville.

February 2: Integrated Employment, Vocational Training, Independent Living, Community Participation, Continuing and Adult Education—Breakout sessions will include independent living options, community organizations and activities, continuing education at Montgomery College, and integrated employment.

February 15: Special Topics Night—This workshop will cover special needs planning, self advocacy SSI application and timeline, and introduction to transition.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Event Summary for the Week of January 17, 2011

Helping the Child with Sensory Processing Disorders

The Ivymount Outreach Program will hold a lecture on Helping the Child with Sensory Processing Disorders on January 27 from 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Judi Greenberg, co-author of Is It a Big Problem or a Little Problem? When to Worry, When Not to Worry and What to Do, will speak at the seminar. Participants will learn how sensory systems affect learning and behavior in the young child, strategies to support different energy levels (from very active to very subdued), and calming techniques to help children minimize behavior challenges.

The cost for this lecture is $60. You can register online. The lecture will take place at the Ivymount School (11614 Seven Locks Road) in Rockville.

Preparing Accommodations for High-Stakes Exams

The GTLD Network will host a lecture called "Caution: Testing Ahead—How to Prepare Accommodations Requests for High-Stakes Exams" at their monthly educational and support meeting on January 20 from 6:30-9 p.m.

Dr. Marla Shapiro, a developmental neuropsychologist and certified school psychologist will speak about high-stakes tests such as the SAT and ACT. Dr. Shapiro is also a consultant to the College Board and the Director of Testing Accommodations for the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Dr. Shapiro will present an overview of the testing accommodations process from kindergarten through graduate school, including common myths and misconceptions, and provide parents with a roadmap for accommodations applications. She will emphasize the kinds of records and documentation that are helpful to collect at elementary, middle, high school, and college levels, and for applications at any level.

The meeting will take place in the cafeteria of Walter Johnson High School (6400 Rock Spring Drive) in Bethesda. Open discussion and advocacy (bring your dinner) will take place for the first hour of the meeting, followed by the speaker.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Port Discovery's Exhibit of Special Needs Children's Art

Port Discovery Children's Museum will be showing a new exhibit from January 29 through May 31 called Celebrating Who I Am, exhibiting artwork from special needs children.

From their description:
When children are presented with art materials, they are given an opportunity to harness their creativity into something tangible, offering a sense of satisfaction and success. VSA and CVS Caremark All Kids Can asked students with special needs, ages 5 through 15, to consider what makes them unique and to share with us their interests, talents, and dreams through art. This collection of artwork provides a glimpse into young artists’ lives from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Through their visual stories, we are reminded of the richness of the arts and that all kids can and want to create.
Port Discovery is located at 35 Market Place in Baltimore. Admission for each person ages 2 and up is $12.95. They are open Tuesday-Friday, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Sunday, 12 p.m.-5 p.m.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Event Summary for the Week of January 10, 2011

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

Tuesday, January 11:

MCASA Parent Support Group

The Autism Society of Montgomery County Maryland holds a monthly parent support group on the second Thursday of each month from 7:30-9 p.m.

The meetings are informal and members of the public are welcome to drop in. Two board members will be there to assist, listen, and facilitate talks if necessary.

The number of participants varies monthly. Be sure to check the MCASA calendar prior to attending to confirm the date of the meeting, as they occasionally are moved. Upcoming meeting dates are January 13, February 10, March 10, April 14, May 12, and June 9.

Meetings are held at the Twinbrook Recreational Center (12920 Twinbrook Parkway) in Rockville. For more information, call Liz at 301-924-2211.

Financial Planning for Families with Special Needs

The Silver Spring campus of the Auburn School will host a lecture on Financial Planning for Families with Special Needs on January 20 from 6-8 p.m.

Christopher and Theresa Waddell will speak at the session, which will take place at the Auburn School (9545 Georgia Avenue) in Silver Spring.

Extraordinary Parents Night

The Partnership for Extraordinary Minds will hold its monthly Extraordinary Parents Night on January 11 from 7-9 p.m.

This month the meeting will focus on the concerns that parents would like to see addressed by administrators at the annual Placements Forum, which explains the services and placements in public education for diploma-bound students on the autism spectrum.

The meeting will be held in the Rockville Library Meeting Room (21 Maryland Avenue) in Rockville.

Wrightslaw Conference in Waldorf, MD

Wrightslaw will hold one of their Special Education Law and Advocacy training conferences in Waldorf, Maryland, on February 10 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The one-day conference focuses on four areas:

• Special education law, rights, and responsibilities
• Tests and measurements to measure progress and regression
• Introduction to tactics and strategies for effective advocacy

Individual registrations are $125, and a couple can register for $175. Each registration includes a set of three Wrightslaw books. You can register online for the conference.

The conference will be held at the Greater Waldorf Jaycees Community Center (3090 Crain Highway) in Waldorf.

One-Day Special Needs Advocacy Workshop

The Special Needs Advocacy Training Institute will present a one-day special needs advocacy workshop on how to Understand Special Education Law and Policy on January 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Participants will obtain an understanding of current laws and policies that specifically relate to IEPs and 504 plans. They will also increase their knowledge base in order to work effectively for children with special needs.

The workshop will be presented by Rich Weinfeld and Michelle Davis and is intended for parents, teachers, principals, mental health providers, and related service providers. The workshop will be held at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center (7100 Connecticut Avenue) in Chevy Chase.

Early bird registration is $75. For more information, call 301-681-6233 or email

LDAMC Parent Connection Support Meetings

The LDAMC will hold Parent Connection support meetings January 12, February 9, and March 9 from 7-8:30 p.m.

Join other parents to discuss issues about your child's learning disabilities, such as understanding your child's strengths and challenges, what accommodations or modifications fit your child's needs, how to work with schools so they understand your child's needs, and much more.

Bonnie Massimino, professional educational therapist, learning specialist, and MD certified reading specialist and special education teacher, will facilitate the group.

The meeting will be held at Flower Valley Elementary School (4615 Sunflower Drive) in Rockville. For more information or to RSVP, email Limited childcare is available.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Information Session for Preschool & Early Intervention Center

Capital Schools is in the planning process for Little Leaves Preschool and Early Intervention Center, scheduled to open in 2011. There will be several information sessions this winter at which they will discuss their plans.

Little Leaves will provide high quality early intervention programs designed to nurture the growth and development of young children with social and/or language challenges. The program will combine best-practice early childhood instruction with research-based interventions for social and language development in a play-based natural learning environment.

All sessions will take place at the Auburn School (9545 Georgia Avenue) in Silver Spring. They will be held January 13 at 7 p.m., February 10 at 10 a.m., and March 10 at 7 p.m. You can register for the information sessions online.

There will also be Washington, DC sessions.

New MCPS Special Education Website

Montgomery County Public Schools has created a new section of their website, specifically designed for parents. This new section will answer frequently asked questions about the special education process and who to contact if you have specific questions about how decisions are made.

Inclusive Classes at the Imagination Stage

Imagination Stage offers classes each session specifically for individuals with developmental disabilities. These classes are listed below.

Staff will work with students and their families to identify and provide the most successful experience for each student. For more information, contact Elizabeth Broder-Oldach, Access Coordinator at or 301-280-1627.

Creative Drama Across the Spectrum (Sundays, 10:30-11:30 a.m., January 22-March 27): For students grades 2-4. Designed specifically for students with autism and autism spectrum related disorders, this class uses drama, music, movement, and art to help students explore new and familiar stories using their body, voice, mind, and imagination. Students will develop their self-esteem and social skills, while further expanding their creativity. Class #8616 $250

Access the Actor's Tools (Sundays, 12-1 p.m., January 23-March, 27): For grades 5-7. This class, deigned for students with autism and autism spectrum related disorders, will introduce students to techniques for creating sustainable and believable characters on stage through the use of the actor's tools of body, voice, mind, and imagination. Students will enhance their self-esteem as they focus on building ensemble, listening skills, and expanding their creativity. Class #8617 $250

Access Improvisation (Mondays, 5-6:30 p.m., January 24-March 7): For ages 14-21 (students 18-21 must be enrolled in high school or high school equivalency program). This workshop, designed for teens with cognitive or developmental disabilities, will introduce students to a style of acting that encourages spontaneous character and situation choices. Students will use the actor's tools of body, voice, mind, and imagination, while working in theatre games and short scenes to develop important skills of listening, clarity, confidence, timing, and team-work. Class #8618 $185

Access Musical Theatre Workshop (Wednesdays, 4:30-6 p.m., March 16-May 11): For ages 14-21 (students 18-21 must be enrolled in high school or high school equivalency program). In this workshop, designed specifically for teens with cognitive or developmental disabilities, students will work with musical theatre professionals to develop musicianship skills that are applies to basic scene and song work. Students will increase their self-awareness, creativity, and self-esteem as they further develop their fundamental skills of acting, voice, and movement to clearly communicate a story to their audience. Class #8619 $250

Access Adventures (Saturdays, 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m., January 22-February 26): For students grades K-2. Designed specifically for students with Down syndrome, this class takes an adventurous, new journey each week, using drama, music, movement, and art. Students use their body, voice, mind, and imagination, while expanding their creative expression and self-confidence, and developing the important life-skills of cooperation and active listening. Class #8615 $150

Information Session for Ivymount/GMU ABA Certification Program

The Ivymount School, in partnership with George Mason University, will be offering a certificate program in Applied Behavioral Analysis in Spring 2011. Ivymount will host a public information session on January 18 at 4:30 p.m. to discuss the program.

UPDATE: There will be an additional informational session February 8 at 4:30 p.m.

The ABA Certificate Program will provide professional training for those responsible for designing, implementing, and monitoring behavioral treatment programs for individuals with disabilities. It is also appropriate for those who wish to apply behavior analysis in their work, school, or home. The program is designed to prepare students to become competent practitioners of and contributors to the discipline of behavior analysis. The program will prepare students for the Behavior Analyst Certification Exam.

If you are interested in attending the information session, please register online.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all the wonderful readers of AutMont. I am so happy to be part of the wonderful Montgomery County autism community, as well as the online autism community. Thanks for reading here!

I wish you and your families nothing but the best in 2011.

Happy New Year!