Category: Therapy

Episode #67 | ABA Therapy with Lilac City Behavioral

Episode #67 | ABA Therapy with Lilac City Behavioral

After receiving an autism diagnosis one of the “go-to” therapy interventions that will be suggested for your child will likely be ABA therapy.  But what is ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis)?  How does it work?  What benefits will it have for your child?  These are a few of the questions we discuss in this episode of ISAAC’s Autism in the Wild today while chatting with Jeff Kalles of Lilac City Behavioral.

Center of Excellence Providers by county in Washington State:

Provider List:


Lilac City Behavior Services, PLLC

318 E Rowan Ave STE 201

Spokane, WA 99207

Phone: (509) 844–2429


Episode #66 | Navigating Wait Lists

Episode #66 | Navigating Wait Lists

Join us as we talk with a fellow autism mama that has made her way through the sometimes disheartening game of waitlist navigation. We discuss strategies for getting therapy while waiting for the “perfect” therapy regimen to fall in to place.  We also cover ways to work your way up the list, how COVID-19 has affected the local wait lists, share stories of our experiences, and find the humor in our missteps.


Episode #65 | Music Therapy with Carla Carnegie, MT-BC

Episode #65 | Music Therapy with Carla Carnegie, MT-BC

There are so many therapy options available for our children with autism. Over the next few months we are will be interviewing local providers that offer each of these services to give you a better understanding of what each of these therapy options are and how they can benefit your children.

In this episode of ISAAC’s Autism in the Wild we are delving in to Music Therapy with Carla Carnegie of Willow Song Music Therapy in Otis Orchards, WA.

About Carla

Carla is the primary manager and therapist for Willow Song Music Therapy Services. She is an experienced board-certified music therapist as well as a musician. She is trained on the violin, accordion, guitar, piano, percussive instruments, as well as vocals.

She has extensive experience working with older adults, individuals with neurologic disorders, individuals with mental illness, and military veterans. Carla holds high standards for the practice of music therapy and has based her work on the latest evidence-based techniques.

Carla received her degree from Marylhurst University in Portland, Oregon with her Bachelor’s of Music in music therapy. She also holds a Bachelor’s of Music & Composition degree from Whitworth University in Spokane WA. She completed her 7 month clinical internship with Earthtones Music Therapy Services of Portland.  She has recently completed her Neurologic Music Therapy training. Carla, wife and mother of 4 grown children, resides in Otis Orchards, WA and is dedicated to providing Music Therapy services to individuals and organizations in the Inland Empire area.

Beyond her experience as a Music Therapist, Carla is an active composer and is dedicated to her community. She serves as a pianist at two local churches as well as at the Brighton Court Assisted Living facility. She volunteers for VASA Lodge and is an active member of St. Andrew’s Society and Spokane Folklore Society. She is also a member of the band Crooked Kilt, a celtic band, where she lends her violin and accordion playing talents.

Willow Song Music Therapy

E. 21101 Wellesley, #102-103, Otis Orchards WA 99027

Phone: 509.592.7875

In addition to Music Therapy Services Willow Song Music Therapy offers:
  • Adaptive music lessons including: piano, drum, guitar, voice
  • Family drumming experiences/ general music experiences
  • Drums Alive! a unique full body workout using drumsticks on large body balls to music

Please check out this video detailing a functional mri that shows just how much your brain responds to music to understand visually the impact of music on your brain.

Episode #59 | Sibling Spotlight

Episode #59 | Sibling Spotlight

This week we are talking with Roni, our Sibling Spotlight Facilitator at the ISAAC Foundation. Sibling Spotlight is a specially designed program for kids of all ages who all have one thing in common. They each have a sibling touched by autism or other special needs. The goal of the program is to provide a healthy support system and coping skills through fun and engaging activities that ultimately help them navigate this complicated journey. This is a monthly program, offered exclusively by the ISAAC Foundation, where young people come together in a fun and safe environment to interact with peers, mentors and program facilitators.

We are discussing the importance of sibling support and how to determine if your neuro-typical children are struggling with living  in an autism household.

To view details about our Sibling Spotlight program or to register your child for the 2020-2021 session visit the ISAAC Foundation’s site here:

Episode #55 | Twelve areas of Executive Function (Part 2)

Episode #55 | Twelve areas of Executive Function (Part 2)

Becky Gardner joins us for another episode to walk us through all twelve areas of executive function and how they impact the success of our children.

As Becky shares, Executive Functions are complex, higher level of thought processes that allow a person to accomplish higher level tasks throughout their day. Everyone has them and everyone has executive functioning strengths and weaknesses. The different combinations of these make us unique and different in how we go about things.

In this podcast, we learn about all twelve executive function areas and how they impact our kids.

  • Self-Restraint
  • Working Memory
  • Emotional Control
  • Focus
  • Task Initiation
  • Planning/Prioritizing
  • Organization
  • Time Management
  • Defining and Achieving Goals
  • Flexibility
  • Observation/Metacongition
  • Stress Tolerance

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.

If you believe your loved one would benefit from the expertise of Becky Gardner, she can be reached at

A Life of Your Own


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 #39 | Should Parent’s Participate in Weekly Therapy

Episode #39 | Should Parent’s Participate in Weekly Therapy

In this unique episode, we virtually connected our guests (due to the need for social distancing) to discuss the pros and cons of participating in weekly therapy visits. In this episode, we talk about:

  • the benefits and potential gains when parents participate in weekly therapy;
  • the challenges associated with participating in weekly therapy;
  • how to keep partners/spouses involved in therapy when they work outside the home;
  • Using therapy time as self-care time;
  • What to do if your provider prevents you from participating in therapy.
Episode #35 | Regression

Episode #35 | Regression

As special needs parents, we celebrate milestones that other parents might take for granted when raising a neuro-typical child. However, with progress often comes periods of regression which can be heart wrenching and depressing to endure.  In this episode of ISAAC’s Autism in the Wild we talk about regression and how it looks for different families AS WELL as some positive experiences that parents have encountered from periods of regression.

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 #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.