Category: Therapy

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.

Episode #4 | Changing Therapists

Episode #4 | Changing Therapists

A therapist is a pivotal part of a child’s development.  In this episode, a group of parents join me to discuss the circumstances of when changing therapists becomes appropriate.  We cover in this podcast:

  • Changing therapists when it is not by your choice;
  • When therapy creates trauma;
  • What happens when a therapist’s skills don’t pace with your child’s development;
  • Parent vs therapist personality conflicts;
  • Emotional attachments to a provider vs. the quality of therapy for the needs of the child.

*We apologize for the poor audio quality of this podcast.  Thank you for bearing with us as we upgrade our audio recording equipment.

Episode #2 | How Much Therapy is Enough?

Episode #2 | How Much Therapy is Enough?

Have you ever wondered if you are accessing enough therapy for your child? A group of diverse parents joined me to discuss:

  • Traditional and non-traditional options and why they chose that modality
  • When parents have stopped therapy and why?
  • What constitutes therapy?
  • Timing and finding your therapy season