Upcoming events

    • 20 Oct 2018
    • 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    • Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville


    Location: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville, 100 Welsh Park Dr., Rockville, MD 20850

    Cost: Free for members; $20 for non-members

    xMinds is excited to announce that Rene Averitt-Sanzone, Executive Director of the Parents' Place of Maryland (PPMD), will be our keynote speaker this year. Ms. Averitt-Sanzone will review some useful tips and strategies that families can use in their child’s next IEP meeting, and will provide the historical context for the legal rights, established in the IDEA, that parents exercise every time they advocate for their child in the IEP process. Ms. Averitt-Sanzone will also highlight some Maryland State resources from which special education students can benefit.

    After the presentation by Ms. Averitt-Sanzone, parents THAT HAVE REGISTERED will have an opportunity to meet with an educational advocate or attorney for a 15-minute consultation regarding the most urgent concern you have about your child's IEP. Registration for a consultation is required due to anticipated waitlists.

    PPMD has graciously provided headsets to allow for the simultaneous interpretation of this presentation into Spanish. The number of headsets is limited, so registration is required. PPMD's Latino Outreach Coordinator, Mariela Pijem, will be available to hold consultations with Spanish-speaking families about any concerns they have regarding their child's IEP.

    xMinds se complace en anunciar que Rene Averitt-Sanzone, Directora Ejecutiva de Parent's Place of Maryland (PPMD), será nuestro orador principal este año. La Sra. Averitt-Sanzone revisará algunos consejos y estrategias útiles que las familias pueden usar en la próxima reunión del IEP de sus hijos, y proporcionará el contexto histórico de los derechos legales, establecidos en IDEA, de los cuales los padres hacen ejercicio cada vez que abogan por su hijo en el proceso del IEP. La Sra. Averitt-Sanzone también destacará algunos recursos del Estado de Maryland de los que los estudiantes de educación especial pueden beneficiarse.

    PPMD ha proporcionado gentilmente auriculares para permitir la interpretación simultánea de esta presentación al Español. El número de auriculares es limitado, por lo que es necesario registrarse. La Coordinadora de Enlace Latina del PPMD, Mariela Pijem, estará disponible para hablar con las familias de habla hispana sobre cualquier inquietud que tengan con respecto al IEP de su hijo durante la parte de consulta de la Clínica.

    Rene Averitt-Sanzone, Parents' Place of Maryland (PPMD)

    Rene Averitt-Sanzone has been the Executive Director at Parents’ Place of Maryland( PPMD) since June 2017. Prior to joining PPMD, Rene worked as the Regional Technical Assistance Co-Director for the mid-south region of parent centers funded by the US Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs. Rene has held a variety of roles in the field of special education – Parent Educator, Early Childhood Behavior Specialist, Evaluator, and Charter School Administrator. Rene has a undergraduate degree in Psychology and a masters in Organizational Change Management. She is the parent of two grown daughters who are deaf.

    Rene Averitt-Sanzone ha sido Directora Ejecutiva en Parent's Place of Maryland (PPMD) desde junio de 2017. Antes de unirse al PPMD, Rene trabajó como Co-Director Regional de Asistencia Técnica para la Oficina de Programas de Educación Especial del Departamento de Educación de EE.UU.-Centros de padres en la región medio sur. Rene ha ocupado diversos puestos en el campo de la educación especial: educador de padres, especialista en comportamiento de la primera infancia, evaluador y administrador de la escuela autónoma. René tiene una licenciatura en Psicología y una maestría en Gestión del Cambio Organizacional. Ella es madre de dos hijas mayores que son sordas.

    Brian Gruber, Esq., Law Office of Brian K. Gruber, P.C.

    Sheila Iseman

    Hayley Jacobson, Weinfeld Education Group

    Ali Lackey, Weinfeld Education Group

    Mariela Pijem, PPMD
    Mariela Pijem, Coordinadora de Enlace Latina del PPMD, nos visita desde Puerto Rico a través de Kansas y Nuevo México donde ha trabajado extensamente con alcance, capacitación y apoyo de familias de habla hispana en materia de educación especial y sistemas de atención médica para sus niños con discapacidades. Ha trabajado en el campo de la discapacidad durante más de diez años ayudando a las familias donde sea que estén en su viaje, brindándoles información y apoyo para que puedan convertirse en las mejores defensoras de sus hijos. Mariela tiene un B.A. en Humanidades, una Certificación Post-Graduación en Intervención Temprana en Discapacidades del Desarrollo y una Maestría en Educación Especial - Transición. Ella también aporta la perspectiva personal ya que tiene una hermana con Síndrome de Down y otra con Epilepsia.

    Katherine Thomas, Esq., Family Legal Advocacy Group, LLC

     This event is intended
    for Parents only
     This is a
    Workshop-style event

    • 08 Nov 2018
    • 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    • Bullis School
    • 12

    Location: Bullis School, 10601 Falls Rd., Potomac, MD 20854

    Cost: $25

    Join xMinds parents for a night out to see Intelligent Lives, the latest film by award-winning filmmaker and disability advocate Dan Habib. Intelligent Lives stars three pioneering young adults with intellectual disabilities – Micah, Naieer and Naomie – who challenge perceptions of intelligence as they navigate high school, college and the workforce. The film points to a future in which people of all abilities can fully participate in higher education, meaningful employment and intimate relationships.

    xMinds has secured 15 tickets for this event, which is likely to sell out. Join xMinds Board members and other parents at 6:00 p.m. for light refreshments and some much needed time to catch up and get to know each other better. After the film, there will be a panel discussion with the filmmaker, Dan Habib; Micah, one of the self-advocates featured in the film; Jill Ortman-Fouse, MCPS Board of Education Member at Large; and Sara Portman Milner, Co-founder and Director of Student Services at Sunflower Bakery and Sunflower Cafe.

    You can learn more about the film and see a trailer here.

    • 14 Nov 2018
    • 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    • Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville

    Location: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville, 100 Welsh Park Dr., Rockville, MD 20850

    Cost: Free for members; $15 for non-members

    This event aims to cover the following questions from both the kid’s and parent’s perspective:

    • Are you ready to date?
    • Whom do you want to date?
    • What are your personal boundaries?
    • Where do you meet people?
    • How does online dating work?
    • Are you prepared to meet IRL (in real life)?
    • What happens next?
    Parents can submit their questions when registering at the xMinds website. We will hand out index cards to youth at the event so that they can pose their questions anonymously.

    Speakers: Jonathan Rhoads, LCSW-C; JMR Counseling
    Jonathan Rhoads is a licensed clinical social worker specializing in working with children, adolescents, and young adults with autism spectrum disorders. His specific areas of focus include dating and relationships, online safety, and social media anxiety management, as well as appropriate use of social media platforms as they pertain to building healthy social relationships.

    Sam Smith, Self-Advocate
    Sam Smith is an advocate for individuals with autism and was born and raised in the DC area.  He is very involved in the local community with several organizations including SPIRIT Club, an organization dedicated to increasing health and wellness in individuals with and without developmental disabilities.  He is also an active member in Neuro Diversity, a music group of individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

     This is a
    Workshop-style event


Speaker Events

Our monthly speaker events give the Montgomery County community a chance to hear from local experts who specialize in improving the educational experience for students on the autism spectrum.


Our workshops offer families of students on the autism spectrum interactive experiences that educate and inform about strategies for succeeding in school and life.

Annual xMinds in MCPS Forum

Our annual "Extraordinary Minds in MCPS Forum" informs parents about public school placements and services for students across the autism spectrum in Montgomery County. Our Forum is an important service that helps parents participate meaningfully as members of their child's Individual Education Program (IEP) team.

Events Guide

These symbols help provide guidance on the format and style of xMinds events.


This is a lecture style event; the audience will primarily be listening to a speaker.


This event is interactive; there will be active participation from attendees.


This is an informal social gathering intended to foster community and networking.


This event is intended
for Parents Only.


Children are welcome
at this event.
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