Tag: Autism Inclusion

Episode #70 | Unexpected Wins in Virtual Learning

Episode #70 | Unexpected Wins in Virtual Learning

In this COVID-19 world we live in we are forced to accept a lot of “new-normals.” One of the challenges that affects a lot of our families is online schooling.  Online school has been tough for a lot of us, but despite the issues we are looking to discuss hidden little gems of wisdom we have learned over the past few months.  Hidden inside the uprooted schedules, changes in scenery, and endless questions presented to the parents who are now teacher aides…we have found MANY unexpected “WINNING” moments.  Listen in as Holly, of the ISAAC Foundation, discusses these bright points with a few parents of children with special needs.


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Episode #64 | Autism & Friendship

Episode #64 | Autism & Friendship

This week we have a great panel of parents discussing the ins and outs of friendship as it relates to their kiddos with autism.  There is a common myth that children with autism generally do not crave the attention of peers and will not seek out friendship.  Although that may be true to some capacity for some of our children, it is most definitely not the case for all children with autism.  Many of our children still enjoy and seek meaningful friendship with their peers, it just may not always look the same as it does with our neurotypical children.

Listen in to hear us discuss the Friendship Algorithm which was brought to us through the TV sitcom “The Big Bang Theory.” Although this algorithm was written to be comical, it is actually a great tool to approach friendship and learning the boundaries and intent of your actions to make and maintain friends.

Finally we share stories of friendships gone well…and not so well, and how these particular parents handled these situations.

Episode #63 | Extra-Curricular Activities

Episode #63 | Extra-Curricular Activities

Extra-curricular activities are often an important outlet for all children to take part in during their school year.  These opportunities bring about the benefit of physical activity, social and emotional communication with peers, a sense of community and more.  But are all special needs extra curricular activities created equal?  And how do we find activities our kiddos are actually interested in participating in?  Today we discuss with a few autism parents what activities they have tried, which were successful, and which were duds!

Contact Info for some of the programs we discussed:

  • Bambino Buddy-Ball | bambinobballmom1@yahoo.com | (509) 251-2588
  • Adaptive Skiing & Snowboarding | Spokaneparks.org | mtspokane.com/specialty-programs
  • Spokane Powderhounds | (509) 999-8586 Downhill skiing and snowboarding program for individuals with special needs.
  • Adaptive Skiing: (509)714-7654 for individuals with mobiity challenges.
  • Blue Waxers | Cross Country Skiing | (509) 953-6062.
  • iCan Shine Bike Camp | icanshine.org/ican-bike-spokane-wa/ | (509) 999-9603 Contact Casey Traver: icanshine.spokane@comcast.net
  • Lilac City Warriors | Lilac City Warriors’ Facebook Page, A Youth Special Olympics’ track and field team
  • PASS Soccer | monaca.pass@gmail.com | (509) 862-8065 PASS (Player Adaptive Soccer Skills) is an organization that provides soccer to children and adults with physical and/or cognitive challenges.
  • Gonzaga Exceptional Bulldogs Hockey Team | gonzagaexceptionalbulldogs@gmail.com Any child, 5 years–High School who is Differently Abled. Sponsored by Gonzaga University. Coach Mark Derby: (509) 590-9926
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 #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 #43 | Pros and Cons of Full General Education Integration

Episode #43 | Pros and Cons of Full General Education Integration

A group of parents joined me to discuss some of their experiences with their special needs child and integration in the general education setting. In this episode we discuss:

  • The positive experiences and advantages of time spent in the general education setting;
  • Where parents feel they had more input in the time spent in general education;
  • Challenges of time spent in general education settings;
  • Changed perspectives over time…
  • Other considerations and options for integrating special needs children with their peers.
Episode #36 | School Administration Conflict

Episode #36 | School Administration Conflict

In this episode of ISAAC’s Autism in the Wild, we talk about different ways parents have experienced conflict with school administrators and ways they handled and potentially resolved these conflicts. We wrap up the episode with some words of wisdom learned through these conflicting encounters.

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.