Author: isaac-autism-in-the-wild

Episode #54 | Executive Function: A Life of My Own

Episode #54 | Executive Function: A Life of My Own

In this podcast, executive function extraordinaire, Becky Gardner, joins us to talk about the challenges that executive function deficits can pose for our children; and I don’t just mean our kids with autism. If you have felt concern about any of your kids’ ability to focus, initiate tasks, plan and prioritize tasks, manage time, define and achieve goals, then you DEFINITELY need to listen to this podcast.  Executive function challenges affects just as many neuro-typical kids as those with special needs.

Becky shares about her professional background as an Occupational Therapist and how this lead her down the road to becoming an executive function coach.

Interested in learning more about Executive Function and how Becky can help your child use their strengths to over come their challenging areas of executive function?

Becky Gardner comes to A Life of my Own with a holistic, collaborative approach created from a unique and varied background.

  • With a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy, which has its roots in purposeful, meaningful work to increase independence in Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), she brings a student-focus and student-driven approach to this work.

  • Having a deep Social justice / Neurodiversity core belief system brings a focus of self-determination and self-advocacy. This was further developed during work at Bellevue College’s Disability Resource Center, determining individualized college accommodations for students with disabilities so that they may have equal access to course materials.

  • Operating from a strengths-based educational model brings emphasis in student empowerment and nurturing their belief in their own self-efficacy. This was developed / enhanced while working with Sara Gardner (no relation, autistic creator of the current Neurodiversity Navigators program), and from working in and around the Autism Spectrum Navigators program at Bellevue College since its conception, Becky was the adjunct faculty for the Executive Functioning course, and co-taught other courses including Self-Advocacy.

  • Having experience working through her own disability / executive functioning deficits, and having two neurodiverse adult children, brings an understanding of the day-to-day events and efforts that go with these experiences.

  • Working with college, high school, and middle school students at varying stages on the continuum of independence, brings rich and varied experience to this work.

A Life of my Own is the natural culmination of this prior work and life experience.

Becky is excited to offer her skills and experience to a wider group of young adults to improve their understanding of what ”adulting” / independent living looks like, and to assist with increasing abilities in necessary areas leading to independence – and their feeling of A Life of my Own.

A Life of My Own



Episode #53 | Wandering and Eloping (Part 2)

Episode #53 | Wandering and Eloping (Part 2)

In this week’s episode, I was able to interview three amazing local first responders: 911 dispatcher Raegan Hays, Lt. Matt Cowles of the Spokane Police Department and Lt. John Goodman of the Spokane Fire Department.  John and Raegan are not only first responders, they are also parents of wandering children with autism. In this episode our first responders walk us through a call reporting an eloping child from the time the call is placed to the time a child is located and reunited with their family. Lt. Matt Cowles also lets us know how and when CPS becomes involved.

Episode #52 | Wandering and Eloping (Part 1)

Episode #52 | Wandering and Eloping (Part 1)

In this week’s podcast a group of parents joined me to talk about their experiences when their children have wandered from home and required the assistance of first responders to bring them safely home. Tune in to hear:

  • How long parents wait before calling 911 for help
  • Strategies parents use to help keep their children safe in their home and play areas
  • Phone tree strategies
  • Angel Sense GPS tracking
  • Lessons learned from these terrifying experiences

Stay tuned for Part 2  interview with first responder interviews with:  911 dispatcher Raegan Hays, Lt. Matt Cowles of the Spokane Police Department and Lt. John Goodman of the Spokane Fire Department.

Episode #51 | Teacher gifts

Episode #51 | Teacher gifts

Are you a parent who religiously gives gifts to your child(ren)’s teachers each year? In this podcast, a group of parents join me to discuss how they handle Christmas, Teacher Appreciation Day, and end of the school year gift giving.  I won’t lie. This year, I felt that the only appropriate gift for these poor teachers was WINE!

I asked my guest parents:

  • How many of your child’s specialists (speech, OT, PT) do you give gifts?
  • How much do you generally gift to each teacher/specialist per year?
  • Do you gift the same amount to each person?
  • Do you gift for each specific event (Christmas, Teacher Appreciation Day, End of School)?

The best part of this episode is that two of our guest parents are also teachers so were willing to answer all of my other burning questions:

  • Am I a bad parent for gifting BOOZE?
  • Are teachers afraid to eat homemade cookies and treats from their students?
  • Do teachers compare gifts with other teachers who are also part of the special education team?
  • Do teachers roll their eyes or cringe when they receive certain types of gifts?
  • Do teachers swap gifts received with each other in the teacher lounge on the last day of school?
Episode #50 | Autism Language Debate

Episode #50 | Autism Language Debate

In this podcast, we discuss the language and symbols most commonly used within our autism community and how it relates to our loved ones touched by autism.  We discuss why parents choose certain language and how it can help and, at times, hinder our ability to effectively communicate information about our loved ones; specifically when engaging in discussions with individuals in our community who may have less knowledge of the disorder.

We discuss:

  • Autistic vs. Person with autism (AKA people first language)
  • Heavily touched vs. low functioning
  • High functioning vs. Aspergers
  • Autistic vs. Neuro-Diverse
  • Touched by autism vs. impacted by autism
  • Disabled vs. Differently-Abled


Episode #49 | Descalation Strategies with Jeff Kalles (Lilac City Behavioral Services)

Episode #49 | Descalation Strategies with Jeff Kalles (Lilac City Behavioral Services)

Ever wonder why things seem to escalate so quickly at home right now? With routines and structure changing so radically during our Stay Home, Stay Safe order, I asked my friend Jeff Kalles (BCBA) from Lilac City Behavioral Services to join me to discuss some general concepts that might help parents navigate escalation at home.

You can find Jeff Kalles at Lilac City Behavioral Services. His clinic is located on the north side of Spokane at 318 E. Rowan Avenue. If you are interested in getting on LCBS’s wait list for ABA services, please click here.

If you enjoyed this podcast, check out our LIVE @ Lunch interview that Jeff Kalles on YouTube.

Episode #48 | If autism was curable, would you?

Episode #48 | If autism was curable, would you?

In this episode of ISAAC’s Autism in the Wild, a group of autism parents join me to discuss this very emotionally charged topic: if you could cure your child from autism, would you? It was a fantastic discussion of parents respectfully sharing their thoughts and feelings on this sensitive topic. Our hope is that this podcast sheds light on both sides of this discussion and may help individuals who sit at one end of these two extremes to hopefully see the perspectives of those who live in the middle or even the other end of this debate. Our hope is that we can all grow in empathy and compassion of others within our autism tribe.

*This podcast is intended to be a respectful discussion. Rude and hurtful comments will be removed out of respect for our guests who were brave enough to openly share their perspective in this podcast.

Episode #46 | Dealing with explosive language and behavior

Episode #46 | Dealing with explosive language and behavior

This is a jam packed episode filled with amazing content. The first half is a group of parents who joined me to tell us how they deal with explosive language and behavior as well as ways we use self-care to decompress.

For the second-half of the episode, Roni Gross, special education teacher and Sibling Spotlight extraordinaire, shares with us: