Tag: Autism therapy

Episode #111 Soar Behavioral

Episode #111 Soar Behavioral

In this episode of ISAAC’S Autism in the Wild Podcast Holly was joined by Jim Matthews, Executive Director of SOAR Behavior Services. SOAR is a prominent ABA provider in Spokane with locations across the state of Washington, in Idaho, and Nevada.  We discuss how SOAR was founded and the services they provide. We also delve into issues concerning wait lists, staff turnover, and the politics involved in home vs school ABA settings.

About Jim Matthews





Jim Matthews holds four Bachelor’s degrees from the University of California, Irvine and two Masters degrees in Educational Psychology and School Psychology from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA. Jim is also a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP). Throughout his two decades of working in ABA, he has worked with thousands of children and families both in schools and in private practice. Jim lives in Spokane WA. Professionally, Jim has dedicated his life to helping all people with disabilities. He is deeply passionate about helping people who are most in need during the time when they most need it. He feels strongly that ABA can confer meaningful lifelong skills that both enrich and enhance the quality of life for individuals with disabilities.







Episode #108 | The ABA Debate with Self-Advocate John Lemus

Episode #108 | The ABA Debate with Self-Advocate John Lemus

In this episode our host, Holly is joined by Self-Advocate John Lemus. John is an experienced Outreach Coordinator and has worked extensively in the non-profit industry, specifically in disability relations. John is a strong community and social services professional and a 2015 Graduate of Leadership Spokane. We are excited to have him, and his friend/ally/advocate, Katrina Boik on our show today to discuss the highly debated topic of ABA Therapy.
Over the past few years stories of abusive practices in ABA therapies have gained attention on social media, and as a result, a percentage of the Self-Advocate community are now fierce opponents to this and other therapies/interventions used to aid in behavior modification in children with autism and related conditions. Admittedly our panel has fallen on different sides of this argument over years as they have deciphered through stories/articles, learned about the current delivery of therapy methods, and determined if their sources were based on fact or misinformation.
Listen in to hear the evolution of beliefs for John as a self-advocate; Katrina as an advocate and disabilities professional, and Holly as the parent to children on alternate sides of the spectrum as well as a disabilities professional.
References from John:
These two books are responsible for changing me from a bulldog advocate to a  more compassionate and empathic person who can see things from multiple viewpoints not just within my work but in life.
I think your wrong but I’m listening (a guide to Grace-Filled Political Conversations)
by Sarah Steward Holland and Beth Silvers
These amazing ladies also run https://www.pantsuitpoliticsshow.com/
I believe I mentioned 12 steps to a compassionate life
by Karen Armstrong.

One last book that I’ve been pushing is: Divergent mind thriving in a world that wasn’t designed for you

by Jenara Nerenbeg who is a female autistic author

(this book is currently $1.99 on iBooks)
A really great blog post from my amazingly incredible BFF Katrina Boik https://soarbehaviorwa.com/inclusive-language/
Lastly I’ve been sharing this video from Simon Sinek with some autistics that talks about stop championing blunt honesty. It talks about how to adapt  and how to still be honest without being an asshole https://fb.watch/7udTXgeBNU/
Episode #105 | Executive Function Q&A with Becky Gardner

Episode #105 | Executive Function Q&A with Becky Gardner

In this episode of ISAAC’S Autism in the Wild we are joined again by our friend Becky Gardner of “A Life of My Own” Executive Function Coaching. Several parents have also joined us to ask her questions about executive function as it relates to their own children.  Listen in and learn along with our parents, some strategies to help launch our children successfully!

Episode 99 | Lack of Motivation

Episode 99 | Lack of Motivation

This week we are joined again by Becky Gardner, Executive Function Coach at A Life of My Own. We previously discussed finding and maintaining motivation for your loved ones with autism or other special needs (See Episode 89-Motivation)to help them set and achieve goals.  In this episode we take the conversation a bit deeper and discuss the reasons they may be getting stuck and how that is not a reflection of their motivation, and more so a manifestation of their frustration. Listen in to learn strategies for determining what is holding them back from making progress and how to get “un-stuck”


Episode 94 | Sabita Finds Her Voice: Advocacy for the nonverbal

Episode 94 | Sabita Finds Her Voice: Advocacy for the nonverbal

This week on ISAAC’S Autism in the Wild podcast Holly is joined by an amazing mother, entrepreneur, and advocate for the nonverbal community, Dr Stephanie Vavilala.  We were honored to zoom chat with Dr Stephanie about the amazing facility she is opening as well as the services she is currently offering in St. Augustine Florida through her LMH practice Therapeutic Expressions and her nonprofit organization Sabita Speaks. Listen in as we discuss important programs that have been created to fill the many gaps in special needs care across the country and the release of Dr. Stephanie’s book, Sabita Finds Her Voice which serves as a flagship for educating the youth about AAC Speech Devices and how they can better bridge the gap between the verbal and non-verbal populations.
Dr. Stephanie Vavilala, Ed.D, LMHC, BCBA, RPT-S is the CEO and founder of Therapeutic Expressions and Awetism Wonderland (an autism therapy center), as well as the author of the children’s book Sabita Finds Her Voice. She is the mother of a daughter who has autism and is non verbal, Sabita. Stephanie’s daughter inspired her to become a leader in the space of special needs. Her therapeutic style is holistic, empowering, and action-oriented. She and her daughter reside in St. Augustine, Florida.
Episode 89 | Motivation

Episode 89 | Motivation

In this episode of ISAAC’s Autism in the Wild, we are joined again by Becky Gardner, Executive Function Coach at: A Life of My Own to discuss motivation.  Finding and maintaining motivation is a tricky task in a nuerotypical brain–so for our loved ones on the autism spectrum we have to really dial in to determine which means of motivation will be successful.  It is a process and can be discouraging, however the benefits to finding a sustainable intrinsic motivation can be life changing.


Self-Determination Theory of Motivation: Why Intrinsic Motivation Matters

Courtney E. Ackerman, MA., 2-15-2021 (Synopsis of Ryan and Deci’s work on Self-Determination Theory and Intrinsic Motivation)



Drive. By Daniel Pink (book)

Key Concepts-

– Autonomy: “Control leads to compliance; autonomy leads to engagement.” Control is by others, from outside (extrinsic motivators) – in some situations this leads to compliance but does not lead to desire. Autonomy is from within (intrinsic) – by definition it leads to a true desire to engage with the activity.

– Mastery: “One source of frustration … is the frequent mismatch between what people must do and what people can do. When what they must do exceeds their capabilities, the result is anxiety. When what they must do falls short of their capabilities, the result is boredom. But when the match is just right, the results can be glorious.”

– Purpose: “Human beings have an innate inner drive to be autonomous, self‐determined, and connected to one another. And when that drive is liberated, people achieve more and live richer lives.”


TED Talk: “The Puzzle of Motivation” By Dan Pink

Although used in a different context, the science is valid and the research applies.



Executive Functioning  –

Smarts: Are We Hardwired for Success? (Book) by Chuck Martin , Peg Dawson, Richard Guare

Smart but Scattered: The Revolutionary “Executive Skills” Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential (Book) by Peg Dawson and Richard Guare


Collaborative Problem Solving –

> Rethinking Challenging Kids: Where There’s a Skill There’s a Way, Stuart Ablon https://youtu.be/wgNpGThLl2U

Changeable: How Collaborative Problem Solving Changes Lives at Home, at School, and at Work (Book) by J. Stuart Ablon

Episode 85 | Building and Maintaining Self Esteem

Episode 85 | Building and Maintaining Self Esteem

We know that on the whole, our children on the spectrum receive many more corrections each day than a nuero-typical child. In a world of “don’t do that” and “it is better if you do it this way” it is hard to achieve a high sense of self esteem and maintain confidence in yourself.  We have discussed building self esteem in passing while recording other episodes but wanted a chance to discuss this topic as a whole.  So, we invited a panel of parents that discuss the challenges their children-on all ends of the spectrum have faced regarding growing and maintaining self esteem.

Episode 83 | Choosing A Therapy Provider

Episode 83 | Choosing A Therapy Provider

In this episode of ISAAC’s Autism in the Wild we discuss choosing a therapy provider.  Generally therapy providers are on a long waitlist and you take what you can get.  With Covid-19 shaking up schedules we have a rare opportunity to access providers and appointments that were not previously available. With this new opportunity comes its own challenges.  How do you choose between several therapy clinic options? We are joined by two autism moms with different therapy needs and backgrounds who discuss the path they took to formulate their child’s therapy schedule.


Previous Podcast: Episode#66 Navigating Wait Lists

Episode 80 | Receptive, Expressive, and Body Language

Episode 80 | Receptive, Expressive, and Body Language

On todays episode of ISAAC’S Autism in the Wild Podcast we are joined again by Alecia Weeks of Niche Therapy.  She is the current speech therapist for Holly’s son Caleb.  Alecia brings a wealth of knowledge to the table as we discuss Receptive, Expressive, and Body language and what barriers may be keeping your child from reaching their communication goals.  We discuss the semantics of language disorders, and how therapy can benefit your child and help them to reach those communication goals.
  • Here is a link to the social thinking website. It is a great resource for providers and parents for helping build pragmatics. https://www.socialthinking.com/
  • Duffy, J. R. (2013). Motor speech disorders: Substrates, differential diagnosis, and management. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
  • The Out of Sync Child: available anywhere books are sold: AMAZON LINK
About Alecia with Niche Therapy:
Insta@ nichetherapyllc 
Episode 78 | De-stigmatizing Group Homes

Episode 78 | De-stigmatizing Group Homes

On this episode of ISAAC’s Autism in the Wild we discuss group homes.  Over the years we have heard many polarized conversations regarding the care of those with disabilities.  Often times a group setting is the most beneficial placement for a child with behavioral issues. We are happy to talk with Judi, from Visions for a New Beginning, who has started group home facilities in the Spokane area that find that happy medium between structured group home and a happy loving family home.  Visions for a New Beginning has 5 locations in the Spokane area, all housing children that needed more support to address their behavioral and emotional needs. Judi is there with open arms to take in these children and help them find the structure and comfort they need to excel.

Listen in as we discuss some of the stigmas surrounding group care facilities and learn how Judi has seen these obstacles and worked to provide loving caring support teams to assist these children.

Visions For A New Beginning