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.
Episode #7 | Sharing the Autism Diagnosis

Episode #7 | Sharing the Autism Diagnosis

A fantastic group of parents joined me for this emotional podcast on sharing the autism diagnosis.  This is one of my favorite episodes as we conversed on a variety of aspects of sharing the autism diagnosis. Here’s some of what you’ll hear this week:

  • Heartwarming stories of acceptance and understanding when parents have shared their child’s diagnosis.
  • Why sharing the diagnosis is easier today.
  • Misunderstandings and unforeseen consequences of not sharing the diagnosis.
  • Sharing from a dad’s perspective.
  • Why parents hesitate to share.
  • When it becomes your child’s choice whether to share this information.
  • Conversation around the difference between a diagnosis and a label.
Episode #6 | Making it Fair Among Your Children

Episode #6 | Making it Fair Among Your Children

In this episode, a group of parents joined me to debate whether its possible to make it “fair” when raising both neuro-typical and neuro-diverse kids.   Join us for:

  • Deeper discussion on how to treat each child equal, which may not seem fair.
  • What constitutes fair?
  • The benefits of one-on-one time with each child separately.
  • Fairness between the sexes (boys vs. girls).
  • Fairness meter among siblings.
Episode #5 | Parent Isolation

Episode #5 | Parent Isolation

The feeling of isolation is real for many parents who have a loved one touched by autism.  In this episode of ISAAC’s Autism in the Wild a group of parents joined me to discuss:

  • Types of isolation parents feel;
  • Strategies, both series and funny, for reducing the feeling of isolation;
  • How the age of your child often affects the feeling of isolation
  • Social media impact, both positive and negative, on the feeling of isolation

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

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.