Author: isaac-autism-in-the-wild

Episode #17 | Parent Guilt

Episode #17 | Parent Guilt

I think that all parents feel guilt in some capacity when it comes to raising children.  Unfortunately, the feeling of guilt sometimes runs a little deeper when your child has special needs. In this podcast, a very authentic group of parents joined me to discuss ways that parent guilt (and a bit of rage) has manifested in their lives. We hope that this podcast helps normalize any feelings of guilt you may be feeling. We will continue to podcast on this important topic moving forward as we discuss other ways guilt manifests within a family. In the meantime, we hope this podcast episode helps you feel that you are not alone.

*we apologize for the poor audio quality of this podcast.

Episode #16 | Independent Living

Episode #16 | Independent Living

In this episode, I sat down with Rachael Leonard who not only is a parent to two amazing young people with an autism spectrum disorder, she also has spent the majority of her carrier working to support clients in a supported living environment.  Rachael shares with us:

  • The importance for all individuals, regardless of abilities, to have the opportunity to live independently (with supports) outside of the family home
  • Why, at times, parents can be an obstacle for young people to reach their full potential
  • Instances where supported living environments failed her pasts clients
  • Long-term consequences for not implementing a transitional living plan for your loved with one a disability
Episode #15 | CBD Debate

Episode #15 | CBD Debate

Our goal as parents is to help our special needs loved one become the best they can be.  CBD has been a hot debate for many years.  In this podcast we discuss why some parents have elected to give it a try.  Here’s what you’ll find:

  • Difference between CBD and THC varieties
  • Why parents consider using CBD
  • Parent testimonials of using CBD with pharmaceuticals
  • ‘Autism Buffet’ analogy used by Dr. Lauren Swineford
  • Comfort parents feel for being able to try something that might help their child
Episode #14 | Strategies for Picky Eaters

Episode #14 | Strategies for Picky Eaters

This is one of my favorite podcast recordings so far.  In this laugh-out-loud episode, a group of autism parents joined me to commiserate about the challenges of  having a picky eater. We shared a variety of stories and strategies such as:

  • The ‘wonderful’ advice people have given us over the years about correcting picky eater behaviors.
  • Successful strategies for expanding the diets of picky eaters
  • What not to do when you have a picky eater
  • How to handle advise from those well-meaning friends and family members.
  • Parent guilt for accommodating strong food preferences
  • How picky eaters effect the dynamic with other children at home.

If you listen to the end, I shared a recent account of my last family dining debacle in at Denny’s.

Episode #13 | Extended Family Conflict

Episode #13 | Extended Family Conflict

Conflict is never easy, especially when it arises within your own family.  In this podcast a couple of dads spent time with me talking about how conflict within their extended family arose related to:

  • Denial of the autism diagnosis by extended family members;
  • How family members dealt with food aversions and limitations of their child’s diet;
  • Adjustments family members had to learn in their interactions with their child with autism;
  • Therapies and diets that family members didn’t agree with;
  • Regrets in how these conflicts were handled; and
  • Suggestions shared for how better to navigate these conflicts within the extended family.
Episode #12 | Family Activities

Episode #12 | Family Activities

We set a new guest attendance record for this fun podcast recording where we all shared stories about family activities that may not have gone exactly as expected.  Trust us, it does get better with time and some therapy interventions under your belt.  In this podcast you will find some insight into some family activities that you might find will work for your special needs family such as:

  • Geocaching
  • Food Courts and Mall Activities
  • Barnes & Nobles
  • Swimming
  • Biking
  • Sporting Events
  • Family friendly restaurants
  • AMC Sensory Friendly Movies


Episode #11 | Caregiver Self-Care

Episode #11 | Caregiver Self-Care

Our focus this week is on caregiver self-care.  Self-care is difficult for any parent to fit into their day – but it often becomes more challenging for parents of special needs kids when respite care is hard to come by.  In this week’s episode of ISAAC’s Autism in the Wild Podcast, a small group of moms joined me for a lunch hour to discuss:

  • What does caregiver self-care look like?
  • Reconciling mommy guilt.
  • Creative ways these moms have been able to sneak self-care into their day.
  • Dad vs. mom self-care.
  • Setting boundaries to protect your self-care activities.
  • How much self-care is needed per week.
Episode #10 | AAC Speech Output Devices for Communication

Episode #10 | AAC Speech Output Devices for Communication

My special guest this week is Lauren Swineford, research professor at Washington State University. Dr. Laurie (as we like to call her) is a speech-language pathologist and assistant professor at Washington State University. She earned her PhD at Florida State University and completed her post-doctoral training in the Pediatric and Developmental Neuroscience Branch at the National Institute of Health. She has conducted extensive, longitudinal studies with children with ASD and her clinical and research interests involve the prelinguistic and language development for individuals with ASD.

Dr. Laurie and I dived into the confusing world of AAC communication and what this means for our kids with language disorders.  You’ll learn:

  • What exactly AAC stands for.
  • Why AAC is such a hot topic.
  • The difference between “unaided” systems vs. “aided” systems.
  • Deep discussion on the messy state of research with regard to effectiveness of AAC (specifically with regard to technology based communication programs.)
  • Importance of early intervention and emphasis on functional use of spontaneous communication.
  • Discussion of the National Autism Center report (2015) that evaluated the state of treatment research for individuals with autism and it’s assessment of AAC.
  • Recommendations to parents for what to look for when seeking an AAC assessment.
  • Myths about who would benefit from AAC.
  • Takeaways recommendations for parents on how to view AAC.

***The second half of this podcast is dedicated to specific information regarding Dr. Laurie’s current research projects at WSU. Families with young children starting as early as 9 months of age (with and without concerns of ASD) can be part of her program to help further research on language development in young children. The second project focuses on developing a screen process for assessing language in young children, once it it is present.  This program is for children ages 2 to 12 years of age.

This post will be updated with contact information for research program participation as soon as it is available.

Episode #9 | When Parents Limit or Shelter Their Child

Episode #9 | When Parents Limit or Shelter Their Child

As parents, we are our child’s strongest advocate.  But what happens when our fears and expectations fall lower than what our child’s true capabilities may be?  A fantastic group of parents joined me to share stories about asking too little or too much of their child with special needs as well as:

  • finding a balance between getting things done efficiently and capitalizing on teachable moments for independence
  • ways to measure and assess your child’s functional living skills
  • how to let go and let them try (and possibly fail)
  • the benefit of finding skills that make them feel valued
  • encouragement to just keep going
  • finding your season and trying again after failure
  • strategies to shoot higher

*we apologize for the poor audio quality of this recording.

Episode #8 | IEP Accommodations

Episode #8 | IEP Accommodations

We all want what’s best for our kids, especially when it comes to education. In this podcast we talk in depth about IEP accommodations and whether it’s possible to ask for too much of our teachers and schools.  In this podcast, a group of parents joined me to discuss:

  • Strategies for “how to ask” for what we need for our special needs kids.
  • Whether schools are “reactive” instead of “proactive”.
  • What an “appropriate” education looks like for kids with more needs.
  • How to step back and respect feedback from schools.
  • Differences between an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) and a BIP (Behavior Intervention Plan).
  • Differences between educational IEP goals and IEP accommodations.
  • Parent’s responsibility in the IEP process.
  • Power of connecting with other parents within your district and creating/participating in a special needs PTG/PTO.