Tag: Life after high school

Episode #54 | Executive Function: A Life of My Own

Episode #54 | Executive Function: A Life of My Own

In this podcast, executive function extraordinaire, Becky Gardner, joins us to talk about the challenges that executive function deficits can pose for our children; and I don’t just mean our kids with autism. If you have felt concern about any of your kids’ ability to focus, initiate tasks, plan and prioritize tasks, manage time, define and achieve goals, then you DEFINITELY need to listen to this podcast.  Executive function challenges affects just as many neuro-typical kids as those with special needs.

Becky shares about her professional background as an Occupational Therapist and how this lead her down the road to becoming an executive function coach.

Interested in learning more about Executive Function and how Becky can help your child use their strengths to over come their challenging areas of executive function?

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.

A Life of My Own



Episode #29 | Pepping Kids with ASD for College

Episode #29 | Pepping Kids with ASD for College

15 years ago, college opportunities for individuals affected by autism spectrum disorders was practically unheard of.  In the few cases I came across, the opportunity was made possible by a dedicated parent who attended each class with their loved one to help provide the one-on-one support their child needed.  Thankfully, this is no longer the case.  There are many universities within Washington and throughout the United States that are either specifically for students with special needs or universities who have added programs that support these individuals.

In this podcast episode Doug Piehl, retired national director of college planning for Thrivent Financial, joined me to discuss the options he saw in his position with Thrivent and things parents can be doing to help prepare not just their child with ASD but also their neuro-typical child for post secondary education.  Believe it or not – you can start planning as early as 8th GRADE!

Doug Piehl, while retired, may be reached at Piehldouglas@gmail.com for specific college planning questions.

Episode #26 | Long-Term Care Estate Planning Discussion

Episode #26 | Long-Term Care Estate Planning Discussion

I believe that one of the most difficult conversations that a parent must have is on the topic of planning for a life-long special needs dependent upon your death. In this episode of ISAAC’s Autism in the Wild, a group of parents joined me with our special guest Randi Johnson, Attorney at Law, to discuss a variety of issues such as:

  • Structuring special needs trusts for life-long dependents
  • Protecting assets for your special needs child so that they do not compromise edibility with social security.
  • The benefits of choosing an outside representative to oversee the special needs trust rather than a sibling or other family member.
  • Differences between guardianship and limited guardianship
  • Age when guardianship process should be initiated
  • When a special needs trust should be created

As promised, our guest Randi Johnson of Lilac City Law may be reached for further questions or to schedule a consultation at (509) 624-1610.