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Upcoming Conference Calls of the IACC's Strategic Plan Update Working Groups

Agenda: To discuss updates of the IACC Strategic Plan on autism spectrum disorder (ASD) research and services activities.
Remote Access: The meetings will be remotely accessible by conference call.  Members of the public who participate using the conference call phone number will be in listen-only mode.

Please visit the IACC Meetings page for the latest information about the meeting, remote access information, the agenda, materials and information.

Fall Prevention Awareness Day 2016

MonTECH Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities

Falls Free National Council on Aging

Come learn how to prevent falls!
Each year, 1 in 3 adults aged 65+ fall. Most falls ARE preventable. Come learn about your individual fall risk factors and how to prevent falls for YOU!

Missoula Senior Center

Thursday, September 22

2PM - 4PM

Barclay - "Be yourself, and Enjoy Life"

Barclay - Featured Emerging Leader

Meet Tansisiton and Employment project - Featured Emerging Leader
BARCLAY - "Be yourself, and Enjoy Life"
By Lauren Beyer, Rural Institute Project Assistant

Barclay leads a life which is full of meaning. He is active, talented, and kind. I asked about his dreams, and he told me he wanted to keep enjoying his life and his freedom. When I asked what advice he would like to pass along to readers and others with disabilities, he said, emphatically: "Be yourself, and enjoy life."

Continue reading about Barclay

Autism Research

The Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities has been asked by our partners at the University of Washington to help them learn more about ASD and what causes it.

For additional information on how your family can help, please visit the SPARK website for questions and assistance.

The Rural Institute receives no fee or royalty for Montana participation. Our sole purpose is to share information and to be part of the solution.

Please visit the Montana Autism Center for more information about ASD in Montana,

Montana Children’s Special Health Services Survey

young boy with mouth guardThe Montana Children’s Special Health Services Survey is mailed to a sample of families with a child(ren) or youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) in Montana. This survey is about the current care families and their child(ren) or youth with special healthcare needs receive in the healthcare setting, with particular focus within the medical home and transition to adulthood systems of care.

The information collected by the Survey will be used to identify the following among families of CYSHCN:

  1. Important health concerns for children and adolescents with special health care needs;
  2. Input to ascertain design criteria for intervention procedures and establishing sustainable health care supports;
  3. Criteria for judging the significance and satisfaction of the systems of care that families of CYSHCN currently experience; and what families recommend to improve the current system.

Received the Survey? If you have received a Survey in the mail and want to learn more, please follow this web link to read the FAQs for Survey Respondents (PDF)

The Montana Children’s Special Health Services (CSHS) Survey was mailed to a sample of families with a child(ren) or youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) in Montana. Deadline to submit the Survey is May 15th, 2017. If you intend to mail-in your survey please do so no later than 4-5 business days prior to the May 15th deadline.

Community Discussion Forums

We are in our final phase of the CSHS Project and will be hosting Community Discussion Forums across Montana in April and May, 2017. During these forums parents and primary caregivers of CYSHCN will be asked to discuss and interpret the Montana Children’s Special Health Services Survey current findings.

"Children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) are a diverse group of children ranging from children with chronic conditions such as asthma or diabetes, to children with autism, to those with more medically complex health issues such as spina bifida or other congenital disorders, to children with behavioral or emotional conditions." (More information is available at:

When and where

Helena: Wednesday, May 4th, 2017, TBD
Butte: Wednesday, May 4th, 2017, 4:00pm – 5:30pm at MILP and 6:30-7:30 at 4cs
Great Falls: TBA
Missoula: TBD, Headwaters Park and Rec Meeting Room, Currents Aquatics Center in McCormick Park, 600 Cregg Ln, Missoula 59801
Kalispell: TBA
Billings: Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017,

  • 9:30-11:00 A.M. LIFTT, Address: 1201 Grand Ave, Billings, MT 59102, Phone: (406) 259-5181
  • 12pm – 1:00 P.M. at Billings Clinic
  • 1:30-3:00 P.M. LIFTT, Address: 1201 Grand Ave, Billings, MT 59102, Phone: (406) 259-5181

Miles City: Wednesday, May 24th, 2017, 4:30pm – 6pm, TBD


We are able to provide families with a $25 reimbursement for expenses related to taking part in the discussion forum. If you would need to travel more than 50 miles to attend the event, or if you need accommodations or an interpreter, please contact Severin Studer from the Rural Institute at the University of Montana (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). For interpreters especially, please try to give us at least 1 week before the scheduled event to schedule an interpreter. Food and refreshments will be provided.

Unable to attend?

In the event that you will not be able to attend the forum but would still like to be involved and receive the information provided, please contact Severin Studer (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

More info

If you have received a Survey in the mail and/or want to learn more, or you want more information on this phase of the project or how you may be eligible to participate in the Forums, please visit Montana Children’s Special Health Services Survey

Contact Us

If you have questions about the survey methodology, please contact Dr. Meg Traci, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 406-243-4956.

If you have questions about the Montana Children’s Special Health Services Program, please contact Rachel Donahoe, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , 406-444-3617.


Amy - Living Life to the Fullest

Meet Our Featured Emerging Leader

By Lauren Beyer, Rural Institute Project Assistant

amy emerging leaderAmy was featured as an Emerging Leader six years ago. She just celebrated her 40th birthday and is constantly changing and growing as a compassionate and independent adult.
Amy's parents live outside of Bozeman, Montana in the Gallatin Gateway. Upon her graduation from Bozeman High School, Amy decided she would like to stay in the area. Her parents bought her a house so she could have her own space. The house is a split-level duplex. Amy rents the first floor, and her family rents out the upstairs. Amy's self-sufficiency goes much further than her ability to live independently. She operates her own vehicle and her driving skills, paired with her GPS, make her unstoppable.

You can read more about Amy on the Transition and Employment Projects newsletter.

Wheels Across Montana

Wheels Across Montana MonTECH

Wheels Across Montana is a grant-funded health promotion project, made possible by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, to promote physical activity, physical and mental health and quality of life for Montanans living with a variety of disabilities.

Through the selection, purchase and distribution of adaptive bikes and trikes in 4 key areas of Montana, and working with select community partners to assure creative outreach and all-inclusive recreational programs, we will increase physical activity and social interaction. Program sites will include Fort Peck Tribes, Billings, Dillon and Missoula. In each region, one medical center/provider is partnered with a recreation program provider to assure that people with disabilities are aware of the program and able to access the recreational equipment that is best suited for their needs.

Transition & Employment Projects - Emerging Leader Update

Molly Black Emerging Leader with tennis coach"Happiness in life and being in the now..."
By Lauren Beyer, Rural Institute Project Assistant

Molly Black was featured as an Emerging Leader in 2010. In the years since, certain aspects of her life have remained the same, but she has experienced changes as well. In fact, these days Molly is really "branching out." She is making strides to broaden her horizons in several areas of her life, including diet and beliefs.

Read Molly's story to learn what she's doing now and her plans for the future.

Montana Alzheimer’s State Plan

Montana Alzheimer's & Dementia state planMontana to build dementia-capable programs for the growing number of people with Alzheimer's and related dementias.

On Monday, June 20, 2016, the Montana Alzheimer’s/Dementia Work Group is joining with Governor Bullock to introduce the Montana’s Alzheimer’s and Dementia State Plan: Addressing the Current and Future Needs of Individuals and Families with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias. This is a thorough examination and set of recommendations to confront the sweeping economic and social impact of Alzheimer’s disease for Montanans. A companion website housing the Montana’s Alzheimer’s and Dementia State Plan with links to available resources and added information is at

Visit to learn more.

Movin’ On in MT Summer Camp- 4 spots just opened up!

Movin On Logo

Movin’ On in Montana, a transition seminar for high school students with disabilities will be taking place on the University of Montana campus. This year, we are doing 2 sessions, serving 40 students total.  We just had a few more spots open up, and we are hopeful you may know someone to refer.

First session: June 27-30, accepting 3 additional students.

Second session: July 11- 14, accepting 1 additional student.

Cost: Free!

Eligibility: Montana high school students, sophomore-senior year, with a disability.

Continue reading about Movin' On

Transition and Employment Featured Emerging Leader

chris hayes

Perfection Is Impossible, So Go with It
By Chris Hayes

I'm Chris and I'm writing my own story, so I'm choosing to go off script in terms of the interview questions. My life was affected by a traumatic brain injury. An injury that left me unable to see, speak or move. Over time and with therapy I was able to recover these abilities to a degree, bur still nowhere close to the Chris I once was. My vision has mostly returned, but I track things more slowly. My voice is a constant struggle as my mouth is unable to say the things my brain wants to say. This makes communication very difficult for me, but eventually I can get my point across, just not in the way I want.

Continue reading Chris's story

Aging Out: Autism in Montana

aging out autism in Montana

You can watch this PBS program "Aging Out: Autism in Montana" if you missed it on TV.

"Each year, more children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, but the framework of care drastically changes for them after adolescence. The tidal wave of children transitioning into adulthood leaves many families on a search for help and structure. Follow Montana families as they recognize their fears and explore their options for the future."

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