114. The Holidays Look Different in our House
Sometimes, in our autism homes, the holidays are as stressful as they are joyful but much of that comes back to you and how willing you are to do things differently. Most people assume that everyone enjoys receiving gifts, especially children right? But if your child exhibits more stress and difficult behaviors when they receive gifts, maybe it is time to try something new this year. I spent way too many years, expecting Jordan to show his excitement in a way I believed was typical and how I thought he should and being so disappointed when he didn’t react to his gifts the way I thought he should. What if instead of following traditions or having unrealistic expectations you explore ways to help your child learn to enjoy this special time? I think it is important to not leave gift-giving from your family open to random gifts. Take time to communicate with the people in your life who will be buying gifts for your child. Taking the time to do this ahead of time will make gift giving and receiving so much better for not just your child but also for those family members or friends who are giving the gifts. Each of our children have individual characteristics and while the holidays and gift giving and receiving may not be what you imagined, like so many other things along this unique autism parenting journey we are all on, it is important that you don’t get fixated on how things should be or what normal looks like and instead accepting your child and your family just as they are and most important, being willing to do the holidays different and in a way that works for you and your family without worrying about what anyone else thinks it should or shouldn’t be. Additional Resources: 109. Why Waiting is so Difficult 67. Changing your Script in the New Year If there is a specific topic that you would like us to talk about on the podcast, email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org If you want to change your life and become Not Your Average Autism Mom, get all the details at www.notyouraverageautismmom.com We would love to walk alongside you on your unique autism parenting journey.
December 08, 2022
113. Helpful Holiday Reminders
The holidays can be a magical time, but for us who are parenting a child on the spectrum, there is often additional pressure from so many different directions. We all likely have family members who don’t understand, right? In this episode, I am going to focus on giving you permission to do the Holidays however it works for you and your family. There are no rules… the holidays can be whatever you want them to be and whatever is best for your child and you. You don’t have to say yes. You don’t have to go. I believe that as their parent, it is our job to control the small things that we do have control over so when the things that we can’t control happen it makes it easier for them to deal with. What if you decide ahead of time that your child is counting on you to set boundaries that help them feel safe what if you decide to make the holidays about what they can do right now, at this moment? You cannot control what other people in your family think about your decisions and it’s important that you don’t create more stories in your head about what they do or don’t think. You don’t owe anyone an explanation. Sometimes, you might choose to tell people what to expect. You aren’t asking for approval or disapproval, you are just giving them insight into what they might expect, and in doing so, let them know that it is ok, you know how to handle it and it is no big deal. Think about what your expectations are and whether or not they are realistic and I encourage you to question if they are REALLY that important. Is it that important to make them be in the picture? This journey is different, it isn’t bad, it’s just different, and accepting life as it is right now in this moment is the best thing that you can do for your child or your children and for you. If you want to learn strategies and tools that you can use to improve your life along this autism parenting journey, becoming Not Your Average Autism Mom is your answer. Is the educational journey overwhelming and confusing for you? Our member portal has an array of training and resources with everything you need to know about Special Education and you can join LIVE ZOOM calls with an Advocate to get any of your specific questions answered. Maybe you are feeling alone on your journey or maybe you are looking for other moms to connect with in a PRIVATE community who understand your day-to-day challenges, be sure that you check out ALL THE BENEFITS available for you when you BECOME Not Your Average Autism Mom. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com Additional Resources: Episode 100. Lessons I have Learned Along our Journey
December 01, 2022
112. Special Education Edition
Today I am talking about placement decisions on an IEP, Least Restrictive Environment, and Prior Written Notice. I also side note on supplementary aids and services as it pertains to the placement in the gen ed setting. A child’s placement in a general education classroom is always the first placement that should be considered when the IEP team is determining placement. The primary goal is that the student has the maximum opportunity to learn with children who do not have disabilities, in academic, nonacademic, and extracurricular activities. . This is what IDEA calls Least Restrictive Environment, or LRE for short. A student's placement needs to be considered annually for their IEP and it should always be the last thing the team determines after determining what the student needs to be successful in their educational setting. The student's needs drive the placement decision so those should always be developed in the IEP prior to determining placement. What if you don’t agree with the placement decision? What can you do? As outlined in IDEA procedural safeguards, you can request mediation or file a Due Process case and in many states, you can also file a State Complaint. During your child’s educational path, there may be times when the school makes decisions about your child’s education that you don’t agree with. When this happens, you have the right to request what is called a Prior Written Notice. This is a written communication from the school outlining its decisions and the reasons for their decisions. Prior Written Notice letters are always beneficial for you to have if you end up pursuing mediation, a State Complaint, or Due Process. Additional Resources: PRIVATE SISTERHOOD - Become part of a COMMUNITY that understands this parenting journey because we live it every day, just like you. Autism vs Autistic, A Mom's Perspective Special Education Things That You Should Know The Evaluation Process of Special Education The Eligibility Determination Meeting & The Differences of a 504 Plan and an IEP What is an FBA and Why Your Child Might Need One
November 17, 2022
111. Experiencing Loss and Grief
Grief can be complex for all of us. Everyone responds to grief differently. Some may be angry, some may be sad, others may withdraw and some might seem totally unaffected. For our kids with autism, there could be a variety of emotional, behavioral, or physical reactions to grief. There might also be a delayed response because of their processing delays so their reactions are delayed or they may have either a more or less intense response. When you have expectations of how your child or children should act or react and they don’t do it in the way you expected, you create your own feelings of sadness or disappointment, right? What if you just believe that they will grieve in their own way and you pay extra attention to the coming days to see if they might be somehow internalizing their grief and experiencing it differently than you do? If they want to talk, talk with them. If they want to cry, acknowledge that their feelings of sadness are normal. Most of our children will be resistant to questions about how they feel and I think a lot of that is because emotions are hard to understand, even for neurotypical people. I think that any of us, including our children, while we know about death, we aren’t prepared for the intensity of grief when death takes someone from us, even if that is our animals. Keep your discussions consistent with their level of development and what they will understand. Let them know that you are there to answer their questions if they have any, and be patient, there is no timeline for grief, no matter how big or small. Keep their routines as normal as possible, we know that predictability goes a long way to help our kiddos feel safe and secure. Loss and death and grief are difficult subjects to discuss and even more so with our kids who already struggle with talking about how they feel. If you want to learn strategies and tools that you can use to improve your life along this autism parenting journey, becoming Not Your Average Autism Mom is your answer. Is the educational journey overwhelming and confusing for you? Our member portal has an array of training and resources with everything you need to know about Special Education and you can join LIVE ZOOM calls with an Advocate to get any of your specific questions answered. Maybe you are feeling alone on your journey or maybe you are looking for other moms to connect with in a PRIVATE community who understand your day-to-day challenges, be sure that you check out ALL THE BENEFITS available for you when you BECOME Not Your Average Autism Mom. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com Additional Resources: Episode 45. Strategies for Talking about Tragedy and Death
November 10, 2022
110. Have you ever Secretly Hated Autism?
Being Not Your Average Autism Mom means we embrace our lives as they are right now. Whatever that looks like for each of us, we accept that this is our life. What about you? Do you embrace your life as it is? Even in the chaotic and uncertain times or do you find yourself still wishing and hoping and dreaming it was different? So the question is when you should accept what is? If you are putting all of your energy into focusing on wishing that something or someone was different when you can’t change it, you are wasting your time and energy. Here is what you should be doing…. Ask this question… When you accept the reality, the truth of what is, then what is possible? As a society, we have to realize that our internal anger will never change things. We think that our frustration or resentment or anger is actually doing something, but here is the truth, the situation or the other person has NO IDEA of what you are internalizing, so the truth is, you are causing your own pain. When you are angry about something, whether that is that your child is autistic and life isn’t as you expected it to be or maybe it’s how someone treated you or something that happened in the past, you just carry it around with you. No one else is carrying it, just you. Wanting reality to be different is hopeless. I don’t think it is a question of when you should accept reality and when you shouldn’t. I believe we should always accept what is without emotionally resisting it. The truth is that when you think something shouldn’t have happened, it is not true, because it did and no amount of thinking you do can change it. If you want to be Not Your Average Autism Mom, get all the details at: www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
October 27, 2022
109. Why Waiting is So Difficult
Delayed gratification is the ability to give up immediate pleasure to get a greater reward in the future. The good news is that delayed gratification is a skill that anyone can learn although, for our children, like so many other things, their learning curve is sure to be greater, and mastering the skill will likely take considerably longer to accomplish. The first thing I want to do is recommend that you start small. Delay their gratification for a very short period so they begin to connect the dots that while they had to wait, it was worth it. The next thing is to make rules within your family that help model delayed gratification and talk about WHY you are waiting and what is on the other side of that wait and how much better that will be. Teach your child gratitude. The truth is, delayed gratification comes naturally when you are practicing gratitude. What’s important in teaching our children this skill set is consistency just like so many things we are teaching them. Once you figure out which strategies work best for your child, practice them over and over in different settings. These strategies will change as your child gets older and like I said earlier, some of them will be a big no for you and your child, but again, as you continue to implement and try different strategies to help them, the difficult times will begin to be less frequent. If you want to learn strategies and tools that you can use to improve your life along this autism parenting journey, our PRIVATE SISTERHOOD might be exactly what you don't even realize that you need in your life. Is the educational journey overwhelming and confusing for you? Our member portal has an array of training and resources with everything you need to know about Special Education and you can join LIVE ZOOM calls with an Advocate to get any of your specific questions answered. Maybe you are feeling alone on your journey or maybe you are looking for other moms to connect with in a community who understand your day-to-day challenges, be sure that you check out ALL THE BENEFITS available for you in our PRIVATE SISTERHOOD. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com Additional Resources: Episode 16. Autism and Impulse Control Episode 89. Calming Down Big Emotions
October 20, 2022
108. How Life was Supposed to Go
Is this how you imagined parenthood to be? Of course not, it isn’t how any of us imagined parenthood to be. None of us planned for this journey, yet here we are. When you constantly remind yourself that this wasn’t how you imagined parenthood to be you are creating your own suffering. And here’s the thing… the reason for your suffering is that you think you know how life is supposed to go. Being a parent to a child with autism is not how life was supposed to go, right? That wasn't the story that you had created. When you drop the how it was supposed to go narrative and move into the this is how it is, you will create less resistance for yourself. I believe the truth is that none of us really know how our life is supposed to go. None of it is certain and we are kidding ourselves when we tell ourselves that it should have gone some way other than the way it went. Shifting your mindset will make a difference and you won't be resisting reality and that is the secret to finding peace in your story. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
October 13, 2022
107. Where You Get Information Does Matter
Misinformation across social media platforms is becoming increasingly prevalent. I see countless posts with comments from numerous people who aren't experts in the specific area of the question. When you look to social media as a source of information it can be harmful because it creates misunderstandings and confusion on important topics that can impact your child's future. In this episode, there is a bit of storytelling and sharing with you what I continue to learn as a consumer of social media that may be insightful to you. I talk about how everything you do along this parenting journey is a learning experience and as soon as you think you have something figured out, another thing comes up. In an ideal world when we are presented with new information that contradicts our current beliefs we would evaluate the facts and adapt our views accordingly but that is not how things are in the real world. For many people, a challenge to their beliefs feels like an attack on their personal identity, and when someone suggests that their beliefs are wrong, they feel threatened. This causes unnecessary back-and-forth conversations on the internet. What a waste of your time and energy. Our brains are trained to seek out information that supports our existing belief system. We search for and tend to remember things that go along with what we already know and understand. Additional Resources: PRIVATE SISTERHOOD - Become part of a COMMUNITY that understands this parenting journey because we live it every day, just like you. Autism vs Autistic, A Mom's Perspective Special Education Things That You Should Know The Evaluation Process of Special Education The Eligibility Determination Meeting & The Differences of a 504 Plan and an IEP What is an FBA and Why Your Child Might Need One
October 06, 2022
106. The Way it Feels DOES Matter
In this episode, I am talking about how many of our children have sensory challenges with their tactile system. Our tactile system is the nerves under our skin surface that send information on touch and how we perceive our environment to our brains. Tactile defensiveness is a condition in which a person is extremely sensitive to even light touch. Their brains may find some types of touch overwhelming and even painful and they can't escape it. Another challenge is that their pain signals may not reach their brain which makes them more prone to injury or even worse, to injuries not being identified. I also talk about their sensitivity to certain textures of food and our worries about their overall health when they are resistant to certain foods. What about certain textures of fabric or their resistance to keep their shoes on? All of these things are directly related to their tactile deficits. I encourage you to remember that while many of these things don't seem like a big deal to you or me, their challenges are real. REMINDER: If you have been sitting on the fence and thinking about joining our AMAZING Community of women all traveling this unique autism parenting journey, NOW is the time. We are CLOSING the DOORS to NEW MEMBERS in our PRIVATE SISTERHOOD on October 3rd, 2022, and won't open again until sometime in 2023. Nowhere else offers you what we do inside, check out all the benefits at www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
September 29, 2022
105. When Your Child Reads Early
Hyperlexia is a term that refers to children who begin to read and decode language and numbers at a very young age or when a child can read at levels far beyond what is expected at their age. Typically, a child with hyperlexia will have communication or speaking skills that are below their age level. There are actually three levels of hyperlexia, hyperlexia l, hyperlexia ll, and hyperlexia lll. There is no specific test to diagnose it and it is generally identified based on what symptoms and changes a child demonstrate over time. Hyperlexia is not clearly defined in the DSM-5 although the DSM-5 lists it as a component of Autism. It also co-exists with other disorders like specific language disorders, ADHD, Childhood apraxia of speech, OCD, and Sensory Integration Disorder. The downside to a child with hyperlexia is that they may be decoding, sounding out words, and even reading, yet they do not understand and are not comprehending what they are reading. Join me in this episode as I go through what to look for as well as options for interventions that may be beneficial. This autism parenting journey can feel lonely, and friendships can be difficult when others don’t understand your journey. Find support from those who understand. That is what our SISTERHOOD is all about. We are CLOSING the DOORS for NEW MEMBERS SOON so don't MISS IT! Click below for all the details: www.notyouraverageautismmom.com Additional Resources: 60. The Most Important Relationship Along Your Autism Parenting Journey
September 22, 2022
104. Focusing on Your Child's Strengths
We know that every person, you and I included, we all have strengths and weaknesses, yet, along this autism parenting journey, somehow the conversations about our children always seem to find their way to focus on their deficits. I want us to change that narrative and that change begins with you and me. As our knowledge and understanding of autism as a whole continue to grow, so does our insight into the amazing strengths that many of our children have. In this episode, I talk about many of the strengths that our children have and how we can use their strengths to help them continue to grow and learn. I encourage you to always make it a point to give equal air-time to their strengths as you do their deficits. When we identify our children's strengths, we increase their motivation and unlock their potential for learning. Additional Resources: Episode 54. Understanding Memory in Autism If there is a specific topic that you would like us to talk about on the podcast, email us directly at email@example.com If you want to be part of our amazing PRIVATE SISTERHOOD, get all the details at www.notyouraverageautismmom.com We would love to walk alongside you on your unique autism parenting journey.
September 15, 2022
103. The Never-Ending Questions on Repeat
When our children are asking the same question over and over, it can be frustrating and it is important to try to figure out the reason for their questions. As with any behavior, it can be very helpful if you play detective and try to determine what has prompted the repetitive question. Because many of our children engage in repetitive behavior or echolalia, this repetition of questions may have the same appeal to them, asking the same question and getting the same answer every time so you want to be mindful of this. It could be their coping strategy when they feel uncertain or stressed in a certain situation, or if they use echolalia, they might be asking a question based on what they think is appropriate in a certain situation. In this episode, I will give you some strategies that you can use to both lessen and re-direct the questions when necessary. If you are feeling alone on your journey or maybe you are looking for other moms to connect with who understand your day-to-day challenges, be sure that you check out all of the benefits available to you in our PRIVATE SISTERHOOD. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com Additional Resources: 25. What You Might Not Know About Echolalia Click the link below to listen now: https://spotifyanchor-web.app.link/e/T9Afxrxu6sb
September 08, 2022
102. Special Needs, Escaping the Stigma
Whether we like it or not, stigma has a role in predicting how challenging our life raising an autistic child or children will be. There are so many people who are still naive to autism and what it means and how it is different for all of us. When your child is having a meltdown in the produce section of the grocery store or is scripting very loudly at a family event, those are the moments when you feel the stigma of autism in your life. There are people who don't understand and you have to be ok with that. Your life, your parenting, the way you feel about your child, none of those things should be impacted by that person who is annoyed in the grocery store or your mother-in-law that doesn't believe the diagnosis. You have to believe in your child and your family and above all, yourself. You worry as a parent about the judgment, I get it. That takes work to get to the point where other people's opinions and judgment don't impact the way you feel about yourself or your parenting. Getting an autism diagnosis opens up doors to therapies and other available resources your child will need to improve their lives and their abilities to navigate the world in their own unique way. If there is a specific topic that you would like us to talk about on the podcast, email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org If you want to be part of our amazing PRIVATE SISTERHOOD, get all the details at www.notyouraverageautismmom.com We would love to walk alongside you on your unique autism parenting journey.
September 01, 2022
101. Giving them their Voice
Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) is any type of communication that does not include speech. The use of AAC for children with autism does not prevent a child from speaking and in fact, the research shows that it may actually increase their speech. AAC programs and AT devices are not exclusively for non-verbal individuals, they can also be used for individuals with emerging language to help them talk even more. AAC Apps, there are a variety of iOS apps to meet the needs of AAC communicators. Click below to check them out: https://aacapps.com/ Choose ONE device and USE ONLY that device. The chosen device is your child's voice and should be with them at all times. When a school determines through the IEP process that an AT device is necessary to provide FAPE, the device, and services, including parent and staff training must be provided at no cost to the family and should be included in the IEP. Your child’s communication needs will likely change as they grow and there are always different options to meet their needs. Today (August 25, 2022) is the FINAL day for you to JOIN US inside our PRIVATE SISTERHOOD and your first month is FREE in celebration of our 100th episode last week. Head over to our website at www.notyouraverageautismmom.com and click Join Now and use code: 100EPISODE at checkout.
August 25, 2022
100. Lessons I have Learned Along our Journey
It's a BIG DAY here at Not Your Average Autism Mom! It's our 100th podcast episode and we are so proud of this huge milestone and so grateful for the work that we do and that we have the opportunity to improve the lives of families raising a child or children diagnosed with autism. We wouldn't be where we are today without our amazing followers and faithful listeners who come back week after week to listen, so to you, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart, and always know that while my goal is for you to learn something you didn't know and ways that you can make your life better, I want you to know, I appreciate you being here and I am grateful. In this episode, I am going to take you through some of the things Jordan and I have experienced so far along our journey and more importantly what I learned that I hope might help you. I vividly remember hearing those words, “kids like him” and I felt like my heart had been shattered into a million pieces. Jordan learned quickly and his retention was impeccable. It was very apparent that he did not have a cognitive deficit but his expressive language and speech delays along with his social awkwardness were significant and noticeable. He was non-compliant, he would spit, kick and throw books and literally just flip out with not a care in the world of the other kids in his class. One of the things I really struggled with the most was everyone looking to ME, just me for the answers on how to make him behave. if you have felt like you are failing because you don’t know the answers, I promise you, you are not. We don’t know all the answers and honestly, a lot of times, our educators don’t have the answers either. When I realized that I get to decide on purpose how I want to feel in any situation in my life and I embraced the chaos of what our life is some days, it made a world of difference in how I showed up not only for Jordan and Maddie but for myself. I was no longer consumed with all the reasons that my life was so hard and I was failing. I am sharing with you the 3 biggest lessons that I learned in hopes that they will help you along your autism parenting journey. In honor of our 100th episode today, if you have been thinking about joining us inside our PRIVATE SISTERHOOD, now is your chance. For a LIMITED TIME *ONLY UNTIL AUGUST 25th, 2022. Go to www.notyouraverageautismmom.com and click JOIN NOW and use the code: 100EPISODE and enjoy your first month FREE as our gift to you as we celebrate reaching the milestone of 100 podcasts! Come on and join us, you have literally nothing to lose and everything to gain so HURRY because this is ONLY AVAILABLE UNTIL AUGUST 25th, 2022. Additional Resources: 72. Ripping the Band-Aid Off on Electronics 7. Electronics and the Benefits of Setting Screen Time Limits 18. Correcting Behaviors and Consequences
August 18, 2022
99. Collaboration for Success in the Classroom
This time of year isn't easy for many of us as our children transition from summer to back-to-school. Just that word transition makes us a little uneasy so just imagine how our kids feel. The school environment can present so many challenges for our students with autism and that in itself can create challenges with their learning not to mention that if their classroom environment isn’t set up for their unique needs, it can be a huge disadvantage for them. It is your child’s IEP Team’s responsibility to make sure that their classroom is equipped to support them in that learning environment and remember, you are a very important part of that team. In this episode, I give you specific things to consider that might be beneficial for your child in the school environment. We have to be willing to think outside of the box and consider things that maybe have never been tried before. We have to be willing to try to be successful, for our children to be successful. Much of this journey is learning along the way through trial and error. Which learning style best describes your child? Use their strengths to ensure the way their curriculum is being delivered meets their needs and doesn't hinder their ability to learn but instead enhances it. Each of our children’s unique needs provides teachers an opportunity to observe their classroom and figure out which accommodations are beneficial and which aren’t as they navigate the process of providing support for all of their students. Additional Resources: Special Education Things that you Should Know Social Thinking https://www.socialthinking.com/ Diane Alber on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/s?i=stripbooks&rh=p_27%3ADiane+Alber&s=relevancerank&text=Diane+Alber&ref=dp_byline_sr_pop_book_1
August 11, 2022
98. Chaos Happens. It is Part of the Journey for Most of Us.
Why it is important that we embrace the chaos along this journey? There are going to be times that are unpredictable and full of uncertainty, there just are. When we accept that this is our life and we are navigating it the best we know how with what we know at the moment, it becomes way easier to live in it. There are things that we must let go of in order for this to happen. You cannot control how your child acts or reacts and you can't control the meltdowns, but what you can control is you. You can control how you show up in any situation and the way you decide to show up can make the situation either better or worse. When you choose to just embrace and accept your life as it is and move forward without worrying about judgment from others, you will ultimately find yourself happier and more at peace with your life. The chaos will change as your child grows. There is often verbal stimming, you know those noises that go on and on and on, or pacing back and forth, back and forth, or what about a meltdown in the grocery store, or biting or hitting another child in school and some of our children may even become violent and destructive. So many of our children’s behavioral challenges are escalated by the way we are interacting with them which is why learning to manage your own mind and realizing that you are in control of YOU matters. For many of our children, mine included, their thinking is very rigid and inflexible, very black and white, and definitely no gray area. When things don’t go as they expect, they panic and go into a meltdown. Their ability to control their emotions is just not developed and they don’t have the ability to manage them. You cannot predict the future. Uncertainty about how things will go in any situation is usually an unknown for us, right? There are things that you can do to help your child if there is a possibility of chaos and I share strategies you can use in this episode. You don’t know what real strength you have unless you are put in a situation that forces you to bring it out. Raising a child or children with autism will show you the depth of your strength. If you want to learn more about managing your mind and learning to control your emotions, the coaching program inside our PRIVATE SISTERHOOD might be exactly what you are looking for combined with many other benefits. Maybe you are feeling alone on your journey or maybe you are looking for other moms to connect with who understand your day-to-day challenges, be sure that you check out all of the benefits available to you in our PRIVATE SISTERHOOD. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com Additional Resources: Episode 90. The Many Negative Impacts of Yelling Episode 89. Calming Down Big Emotions
August 04, 2022
97. Strategies for Deficits in Executive Functioning
For most of us, we take executive functioning skills for granted. It is something that just came naturally, but for our children, it is not that way. They need to be taught these skills through repetition and practice and you must be patient and understanding of their struggles. Not all autistic individuals have deficits in executive functioning skills and some may have deficits in only one or two areas. Executive functioning skills are the mental skills that we use to navigate our everyday lives. These abilities help us pay attention, stay on task, understand other people's perspectives, make decisions and organize and prioritize what needs to be done. Planning is the ability to forward think and sequence things to have a start and end. Many individuals on the spectrum have difficulty formulating a plan to organize those tasks. In this episode, I give you strategies that you can begin to use to help your child build this skill-set. The earlier you begin to work on these things, the easier it will be for them as they continue to grow and develop and the reward for their self-esteem and ultimately their independence will be well worth your time and patience. If you are feeling alone on your journey or maybe you are looking for other moms to connect with who understand your day-to-day challenges, be sure that you check out all of the benefits available to you in our PRIVATE SISTERHOOD. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com Additional Resources: Episode 92. Slow Processing Impacts Everyday Life Episode 40. The Impact of Mind Blindness The Adventures of You video series
July 28, 2022
96. Our Parenting Journey IS Different
I believe that for our children to grow and develop we cannot raise them the same as we would raise our neurotypical children because there are differences. The vast majority of autistic children, even children who are non-verbal are able to understand and comply with basic rules of conduct they just might need more time to adjust and become comfortable with what is and what isn’t allowed. Think about this… your child or children experience the same world we do but in an extraordinary way. The more that you are willing to expose your children to the world it will help them become aware and accustomed to the world around them. While I know that sometimes it feels easier to stay home, especially if their behavior is unpredictable, that isolation is not healthy for them or for you. You will try many different approaches when it comes to parenting as your child continues to grow and change along the way and it is important that you don’t get discouraged when something doesn’t work. This autism parenting journey can feel lonely, and friendships can be difficult when others don’t understand your journey. Find support from those who understand. That is what our SISTERHOOD is all about. We are CLOSING the DOORS for NEW MEMBERS SOON so don't MISS IT! Click below for all the details: www.notyouraverageautismmom.com Additional Resources: 60. The Most Important Relationship Along Your Autism Parenting Journey
July 21, 2022
95. Your Child Refusing to Cooperate
For some of our kids who might have limited language cooperating is extra challenging because they might not understand the directions of what exactly you want them to do and if you are giving them multi-step directions, this creates more overwhelm for them when you are asking them to do too many things at once. Many of our children have deficits with executive functioning skills and multi-step directions require them to utilize that skill that they simply just might not have available to them, right? When our children don’t understand the reason for the request they are resistant. If it doesn’t make sense to them they might not comply. You might find it helpful to explain the reasoning behind the request or even better the outcome after they comply. Don’t give in just because you get resistance or you will be teaching them that resistance wins every time, right? If they resist, you won’t require them to do it. When we allow their behaviors to get them out of doing a non-preferred activity or something that you are asking them to do, it teaches them a habit that you absolutely don’t want to teach. Many of our kiddos also get frustrated when they can’t manage their strong emotions when they are asked to do something they don’t want to do so they act out and resist your request. Always give them encouragement and high fives or hugs when they are cooperating or doing what you ask. If you are feeling alone on your journey or maybe you are looking for other moms to connect with who understand your day-to-day challenges, be sure that you check out all of the benefits available to you in our PRIVATE SISTERHOOD. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com Additional Resources: Episode 92. Slow Processing Impacts Everyday Life Episode 40. The Impact of Mind Blindness
July 14, 2022
94. Not All Autism is the Same
In this episode, I am talking about the perceptions and misconceptions that people have about autism when their lives have not yet been impacted by autism. With the increased number of families whose lives are being impacted by autism, surely more and more people's lives will be impacted. Currently, 1 in 44 children here in the US are diagnosed and that number is not far behind Internationally. Autism is a different way of thinking and experiencing the world and each autistic individual will have different challenges and struggles along the way. The saying when you have met one person with autism, you have met one person with autism is so true. You know, one of the questions that I get a lot is WHEN WILL I KNOW if my child will be able to live on their own or have to live with me for the rest of their life? Have you ever wondered? Well, in this episode, I address this exact question. I also go into detail about a few of the misconceptions about autistic individuals and some things for you to consider. I am hopeful you find it helpful. We are CLOSING the Doors SOON to our PRIVATE SISTERHOOD... Don't MISS OUT on JOINING US! If you are feeling alone on your journey or maybe you are looking for other moms to connect with who understand your day-to-day challenges, be sure that you check out all of the benefits available to you in our PRIVATE SISTERHOOD. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com Additional Resources: Chris Ramsay on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/MrTricksforfun
July 07, 2022
93. When your Autistic Child isn't your Only Child
Being a sibling can be a difficult dynamic and when you add in autism, it takes it to an entirely different level. It is normal for siblings to have a range of ever-changing emotions being part of a family whose lives have been impacted by autism. As you continue to explain autism to your child or children who aren’t diagnosed with autism, we hope that they will become more understanding and more tolerant and have compassion for their brother or sister's needs but I believe that it is important for us as parents to understand that they might feel sad and they might feel confused about how their sibling acts or reacts in different situations. The good news is that the more they understand their sibling's autism, and maybe as they get older, there is hope that their relationship will change and grow with them. It is our job while we are navigating this journey to help our other children navigate theirs too. There will be times when they might be embarrassed or angry at their sibling, there will likely be times when they are frustrated when their sibling doesn’t want to play with them or only wants to play with something they want to play. Many siblings will be embarrassed to bring friends into their home for fear of how their new friends might react to their brother or sister. Part of our job in this autism parenting journey is planning ahead for situations that we know might be difficult. Just like you have felt overwhelmed at times, your other children will feel that way too at times. Have you checked out our PRIVATE SISTERHOOD? You should see all the training, resources, coaching, and above all, community inside. We are an amazing group of women who are all traveling this unique autism parenting journey and we would love you have you join us. Get all the details at www.notyouraverageautismmom.com Additional Resources: https://anchor.fm/shannon-urquiola/episodes/20----Independent-Living-Skills-are-SO-IMPORTANT--Do-you-DO-too-much-emjq0l
June 30, 2022
92. Slow Processing Impacts Everyday Life
Processing speed is the amount of time that we take to take in the information being presented to us, make sense of it, and respond to it. This can be visually when we are reading something, auditory when we are listening to something or someone is telling us something, or motor planning which basically means that even when a child has done a task before, every time it is like they are doing it for the first time because their brain isn’t giving them the feedback they need. They might seem clumsy, it might take them what seems like forever to learn to tie their shoes and many physical tasks are just simply harder for them. The speed of how someone processes information is not related to their IQ or intelligence, it is simply that some individuals take longer to process the information they are taking in than others do. Many very intelligent people process information slowly. Unfortunately, slow processing can impact so many areas of their lives where they might already have challenges, like social settings and their educational setting. The problem with their struggles is that many people jump to the conclusion that they are unmotivated, lazy, or not focused. This is important for you to listen for because I promise you, if they are a slow processor, that is likely not the case. What if for a minute we just allowed them to be them? Slowing down and having a less rushed approach to life might be exactly what we need. If you are feeling alone on your journey or maybe you are looking for other moms to connect with who understand your day-to-day challenges, be sure that you check out all of the benefits available to you in our PRIVATE SISTERHOOD. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
June 23, 2022
91. Exploring Tic Disorder and Tourette Syndrome
Tourette Syndrome is a condition of the nervous system. It is a neurological disorder that involves often sudden and repetitive movements, twitches, or unwanted sounds (tics) that cannot be easily controlled. Statistics show that around one in five children with Tourette Syndrome also meets the criteria for Autism. All the research that I have done, says that it is unlikely that so many children have both disorders but instead, Tourette’s symptoms often mimic or seem quite similar to those of autism. No one knows exactly what causes tics to occur and they often change in type and intensity. You will usually notice that they might increase in times of excitement, anxiety, anticipation, stress, AND sleep deprivation. They can also change over time and appear, disappear and reappear, they are considered chronic. Screen time on electronic devices increases dopamine and tics are dopamine-related so if your child is using electronics in excess and experiencing tics, whether they are vocal or motor, I really would like to encourage you to evaluate their screen time and consider lessening their daily time. If your child’s tics are negatively impacting their education in the educational setting, we recommend that you request a meeting to discuss the possibilities of a 504 plan or an IEP to give them the necessary accommodations or services to help them. Have you checked out our PRIVATE SISTERHOOD? You should see all the training, resources, coaching, and above all, community inside. We are an amazing group of women who are all traveling this unique autism parenting journey and we would love you have you join us. Get all the details at www.notyouraverageautismmom.com Additional Resources: https://www.notyouraverageautismmom.com/blog/electronics-and-the-benefits-of-setting-screen-time-limits https://www.notyouraverageautismmom.com/blog/72-ripping-the-band-aid-off-on-electronics You can contact the Tourette Association at www.tourette.org or by calling 888-4TOURET. HBO documentary, I Have Tourette’s but Tourette’s Doesn’t Have Me
June 16, 2022
90. The Many Negative Impacts of Yelling
In this episode, I am talking about those moments when you have had it and you are simply at what feels like the end of your rope and why staying calm in those moments will pay off in the end. I know that every one of us knows intellectually that in the moments of chaos, staying calm is the answer, but it’s not always easy to execute and at that moment we find it hard to do the right thing. While yelling may seem effective in the moment, it won’t change their behavior long term. Their behaviors are often confusing to us, we don’t understand why they act a certain way or melt down for no apparent reason and that is why it is so important that you continue to try to learn and get a better understanding of your child or your children along this journey. Learning why they react the way they do will ultimately help you to help them. It is also important to recognize when you are about to lose control so you can remove yourself from the situation. Take a break and breathe. When you work on being focused on your own emotions and your reactions in difficult situations, when you remember to take a deep breath, to be calm and assertive when dealing with a frustrating situation you will begin to see a difference. You will begin to see that when they are out of control and you remain in control you will be dealing with the situation in a much more positive way and above all, you will feel a lot less stressed out in those moments. Have you checked out our PRIVATE SISTERHOOD? You should see all the training, resources, coaching, and above all, community inside. We are an amazing group of women who are all traveling this unique autism parenting journey and we would love you have you join us. Get all the details at www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
June 09, 2022
89. Calming Down BIG Emotions
If your child is consistently having meltdown behaviors that include an intense amount of emotion or appears to be unable to control their temper, it is not typical behavior but unfortunately, our autistic children often feel things more intensely and they are often unable to return to a place of calm as quickly as we would like. It is important for our children when they are exhibiting these meltdown behaviors that we do our best to try to find the cause or the triggers so that we can help them understand that emotion does not come on like a freight train. Emotion comes in waves and over time and we want to learn how to help them identify their emotion before it is at the explosive level. Emotions are part of life and learning to identify them is key. Much of the anger in our children stems from their inability to effectively communicate, maybe due to an expressive language deficit, and because they aren’t able to effectively communicate their frustration, they lash out with these behaviors. Their emotions are on overload and they are extremely dysregulated. Your emotions are also an integral part of this dynamic because you must be in control of your own emotions before you can expect them to control theirs. They are not doing this to you. This is happening to them. If you are working through some BIG emotions and challenging behaviors with your child just know that you are not alone. Additional Resources: Episode 38: Emotional Dysregulation and the Challenges that come with It. Episode 58. Tackling Challenging Behavior with Positive Interventions If you are feeling alone on your journey or maybe you are looking for other moms to connect with who understand your day-to-day challenges, be sure that you check out all of the benefits available to you in our PRIVATE SISTERHOOD. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
June 02, 2022
88. Social Awkwardness
Most of our children diagnosed with autism, share this commonality of having social awkwardness, right? Think about this, we use social skills to some extent every single day of our lives which means that our children will need help in learning and developing these skills if our goal is for them to become independent adults. They need help understanding how to act and engage in different social settings. It doesn't come naturally to them. In this episode, I am giving you ideas and suggestions on social skills groups as well as those community opportunities to have them participate in recreational activities. I am also discussing the importance of you embracing the teaching opportunities that you have throughout your daily lives. There is also the component of you being able to manage your thoughts and emotions and are you willing to be understanding and accept the fact that your child may not be able to do what the other children can? No one's involvement in their growth and development is more important than yours. What are you willing to do to ensure that they continue to build the skills they need that will lead to their independence? Have you signed up for our Let's TALK AUTISM Monthly Newsletter? Sign up at www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
May 26, 2022
87. The Retention Dilemma
Today, I am talking about the dreaded decision of whether or not to pursue promoting your child to the next grade level or holding them back a year. For our kids, this is often such a difficult decision because while they may be advanced in some areas they are likely delayed in other areas both academically and socially. We have had two years of unprecedented disruptions in learning with COVID so depending on what grade your child is in will determine how much if at all your child’s learning has been impacted. Overall, research shows that retention does not lead to better outcomes. They argue that the literacy gains made during a retention year do not stay with a child long-term or help them catch up. In this episode, I am sharing with you some things you need to know as well as things you should consider so that you can make an informed decision for yourself and your child, and your family. Promoting students to the next grade negating their mastery of basic skills, in my opinion, is not the answer, it is simply pushing them through, and then when they arrive in middle and high school it is an even bigger problem. Many parents believe that retention will allow their child to have more time to develop socially so there isn’t such a broad gap between where they are socially and where their peers are. People with autism, at every age and severity level, tend to be young for their age. Ultimately, the decision to have a child repeat a grade is a hard one, especially for a child with autism. Follow your instincts and ask questions about any and all concerns you have as well as share with the school administrators and team what you feel is the best decision for your child. Have you checked out our PRIVATE SISTERHOOD? You should see all the training, resources, coaching, and above all, community available inside. We are an amazing group of women who are all traveling this unique autism parenting journey and we would love you have you join us. Get all the details at www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
May 19, 2022
86. Understanding Commonalities of Dyspraxia and Autism
There are many similarities between autism and dyspraxia and for that reason, there are sometimes challenges in diagnosing one over the other or both. Both disorders present very similarly and in some instances, they can occur side by side. Some of the signs of both disorders are seen in early development, those things would include delays in sitting up, crawling, and walking as well as potty training. Individuals with dyspraxia have difficulty articulating themselves and their brain processes the information that they want to say at a slower rate. Dyspraxia is known as a developmental coordination disorder and you might have also heard it referred to in the past as the “clumsy child syndrome”. Dyspraxia like autism will show up differently in each child from more severe challenges to lesser ones and no two people will struggle with the same symptoms. Diagnoses of both dyspraxia and autism spectrum disorders should be made only by qualified professionals. Early intervention is critical and what is important is that your child gets the therapy they need that focuses on the difficulties they are having right now. Have you checked out our PRIVATE SISTERHOOD? You should see all the training, resources, coaching, and above all, community available inside. We are an amazing group of women who are all traveling this unique autism parenting journey and we would love you have you join us. Get all the details at www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
May 12, 2022
85. Understanding Pragmatic Language
Pragmatic language by definition is the social skills that we use in our daily interactions with others. This includes conversation skills, the use of non-verbal communication skills, understanding non-literal language, and interpreting and expressing emotions. Does your child have a difficult time interacting with others? Do they have a hard time starting a conversation or engaging in back and forth conversation? Do they struggle with reading body language or understanding personal space? If so, then I am hopeful that this episode will be helpful. Whether your child is verbal or not, while the difficulties they face are different, there are still some communication challenges that our non-verbal kiddos have when it comes to pragmatic language. We know that just because a child is considered non-verbal, that does not mean that they don't learn to communicate. Think about how many unwritten rules our society has that influence our behavior? These are the exact things that make our children’s world so confusing because they don’t just “get it”. So many opportunities throughout our day are speech opportunities even the smallest tasks. Ask questions, and have them elaborate on things that they say. It is so important that we focus on bridging the gap in pragmatic language deficits for our children, it can make a huge difference in the way they are able to interact and navigate their world. Have you checked out our PRIVATE SISTERHOOD? You should see all the training, resources, coaching, and above all, community available inside. We are an amazing group of women who are all traveling this unique autism parenting journey and we would love you have you join us. Get all the details at www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
May 05, 2022
84. Helping them Find their way in Relationships and Dating
In today's episode I am talking about traveling into the uncharted territory we face when our kids become interested in dating and romantic relationships. This time calls for some BIG conversations, so come on, join me as I dive in. Our teenagers develop sexually in the same way as other teens but they have to build the skill-set to navigate it. Like so many other things, it doesn’t come naturally to them. Studies tell us that people with autism often experience feelings and emotions stronger than those without autism, yet, they are often misunderstood because they don’t exhibit them in the same way neurotypical people do. When they or someone they are with says NO what does that mean? They need to understand boundaries and respect the other person's boundaries. What are the qualities that a boyfriend or a girlfriend would like? Also, talk about what they would like in a boyfriend or girlfriend? What qualities are important to them? What do they think is important in a relationship and why? They might ask questions, are you prepared? You should be. If you are ready to join an AMAZING SISTERHOOD of women who are all traveling this journey, click the link below for all the details. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
April 28, 2022
83. Assessing Your Child's IEP
How do I know if my child's IEP is good or good enough? Such a common question. Today I am giving you things to consider when assessing your child's IEP. What are some red flags? What is and isn't ok? Questions to ask so that you understand the goals on your child's IEP and when 80% mastery is not ok. I talk about what you should always do and what I don't recommend that you do. An IEP should be focused on where they are headed and not focused on their deficits right now. The goal is to give them the services and accommodations to help those lacking skills emerge. If you want to learn more about special education be sure to check out all of the benefits in our Private SISTERHOOD. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
April 21, 2022
82. Relationship Dynamics in the Teen Years
Teenage years are hard, without a doubt. As their dependency on us and our need to care for them and control their world shifts, it can be super uncomfortable for both them and us. In today's episode, I am talking about the most common things that come up when I am coaching moms of teens or pre-teens. I am giving you strategies I hope will help you navigate through this time with less resistance from them and for you, less frustration. I also talk about parenting from a place of faith and hope instead of from fear. I see many parents who parent from a place of fear and that is never recommended and in this episode, I talk about what that means and why it isn't effective. If you are feeling alone on your journey or maybe you are looking for other moms to connect with who understand your day-to-day challenges, be sure that you check out all of the benefits available to you in our PRIVATE SISTERHOOD. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
April 14, 2022
81. Toe Walking and Autism
In this episode, I am talking about one of the behaviors that many parents see in their child diagnosed with autism and that is toe walking. What is toe walking? What should you do or not do if you are concerned about your child's toe walking? Research tells us that as many as 25% of autistic children engage in some form of toe walking. Toe walking isn’t specific to autism but it is more common in children with autism than other forms of developmental delays. If you are looking for a community of amazing women to connect with who are all traveling this same unique autism parenting journey, please be sure to check out our private membership and all of the benefits you get as a member. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
April 07, 2022
80. Today I am Talking Labels
In this episode, I am talking about a HOT topic in our autism world and one that many people have strong beliefs about one way or another and that is high functioning vs low functioning and functioning labels in general. The terms high functioning and low functioning while many people don’t agree with them are still being used all too often. I honestly believe that the terms don’t provide an actual clear picture of what the child is capable of or what areas they might excel in. I believe that they are subjective and always up for interpretation. What I consider high functioning or low functioning someone else, maybe even you might disagree with, so that is what in my opinion makes labeling high functioning or low functioning inaccurate. What if instead of relying on labels, we simply focused on what the individual's needs are without having to consider a label or the level of functioning. I believe if we did that, it would serve our children to the highest level allowing them to live their best life with the support they need. If you are looking for a community of amazing women to connect with who are all traveling this same unique autism parenting journey, please be sure to check out our private membership and all of the benefits you get as a member. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
March 31, 2022
79. Uncharted Territory in Special Education
I have done many episodes on different areas and important things you need to know about special education, today, I am going to specifically talk about some of the misconceptions parents often have about special education. The school doesn't develop your child's IEP. An IEP is developed by a TEAM and it has nothing to do with what is or isn’t available at your child’s school but instead, it has everything to do with what YOUR CHILD’S needs are. Your child does not have to be in a self-contained classroom if they qualify for Special Education. Many students with IEPs are in general education classrooms with their peers and they don't ride the "short bus". You must determine if the existing goals have been met and the only way you can determine that is by the data AND if the student has not mastered the goals, they should not just be just taken off the IEP and different goals written. This and so much more in this episode... If you want to learn more about special education be sure to check out all of the benefits in our Private SISTERHOOD. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
March 24, 2022
78. Having an Autistic Child is on the Rise
First of all, it’s important to know that while it’s evident that the rate of diagnosis has significantly increased in recent years, researchers only began tracking autism rates in the year 2000. For some perspective on the numbers, my son Jordan who is 25 was diagnosed when he was 5 years old and when he was diagnosed, it was 1 in 158 and now, in 2021 that number is 1 in 44. That is obviously a HUGE increase, but experts tell us that this rise in numbers is a direct consequence of the increased awareness of autism as well as the changes to the diagnostic criteria in the DSM-5 edition which was published in May of 2013. In this episode, I talk about some of the changes in the DSM-5 as well as a recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics which both have likely led to more diagnoses of children who might have otherwise gone undetected. There are also variations in the differences in diagnosis from State to State. Some are significantly higher than 1 in 44 and some are lower but experts remain convinced that this is simply due to how autism is diagnosed and documented in different communities. Raising a child or children with autism isn't bad, it isn't terrible, it is just a different and unique parenting journey. If this is your journey, accepting it and not resisting it will be the best thing that you can do for your child and for you. If you are feeling alone on your journey or maybe you are looking for other moms to connect with who understand your day-to-day challenges, be sure that you check out all of the benefits available to you in our PRIVATE SISTERHOOD. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
March 17, 2022
77. It's Only 1-Hour, What's the Big Deal?
Most of our kids are so rigid with their routines and schedules and breaking that pattern causes a disruption. So this Sunday, March 13that 2 am we are moving those clocks ahead 1 hour, and that likely means that in your house, you will have an adjustment period, right? In this episode, I am giving you some tips and suggestions on things that you can do in advance of the clock's changing. There is no "secret" to make it any easier. Their bodies have to adapt and adjust. If you or your kids want to know more about Daylight Savings Time or just time in general, someone shared this link with me many years ago and I have kept it because it was so helpful for Jordan and me, to be honest. https://blog.littlelives.com/explain-to-kids-daylight-saving-time-76f543ed4104 Just know that you are not alone, there are millions of moms just like you who might be dreading this time, even though, it is only 1-hour. Follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NotYourAverageAutismMom2020 and if you want more information on joining our Private Sisterhood and working with me, click the link below for details www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
March 10, 2022
76. Should I Pursue an Autism Diagnosis?
Many parents find themselves unsure when they begin to see their child struggle in certain areas if they should just “wait it out”? Maybe you are thinking that he or she will grow out of it, get past these quirky or odd things and catch up. Is that you? I have worked with many moms who were sitting in that place of “hopeful”. What I want you to consider is why are you hesitant or even resistant to having him or her evaluated? I know that for many parents contemplating the decision to get their son or daughter evaluated it comes down to fear of the unknown but here is what I do know, we know that early intervention is key, and without a proper evaluation to consider their deficits and make a plan they may not be getting all that they need to bridge the gap. If the worst thing that happens in your mind is that they get diagnosed, what are you making that mean? Ask yourself that question and answer it honestly. The truth is that if he or she is autistic, the earlier you can begin helping them learn in a way that works for them, the better chance they have to build their skill-set early on to help them navigate their world. Having your child diagnosed with autism can be an extremely difficult time for the family but this is the first and most important step. When children go undiagnosed, so many areas of their life can be difficult to understand. If you decide to pursue the diagnosis, there are some things that you can do ahead of time to be prepared for the appointment and one of those is completing a developmental milestone chart in advance. Below are links to a few of the most common or most used charts. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/milestones/index.html https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/pdf/checklists/Checklists-with-Tips_Reader_508.pdf https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/community_physicians/patient_information/_docs/form_mchatr.pdf Here is what I want to leave you with today, first and most important, you need to know that getting an evaluation or assessment does not necessarily always lead to a diagnosis. The outcome is not certain. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
March 03, 2022
75. The Taboo Topic of Self-Injurious Behaviors
Yes, we are talking about it again because you still have questions and so I'm going to dive in a little bit more. While self-harming behaviors look different for our children with autism and individuals without autism, they are very prevalent in the autistic population. You may have heard them referred to as SIB for short. For most individuals on the spectrum, these behaviors are happening in a very rhythmic or repetitive way and that then leads us to believe that they could be using them to meet a specific need. It could be head-banging, hand-biting, hitting themselves with their fists, skin picking, or pulling their hair out. It might be that they are finding them soothing or stimulating and these types of reasons are definitely more unique to those with autism than individuals who are not on the spectrum. The first thing to consider is what is the behavior providing them and that in itself is another one of those mysteries that we often find ourselves unable to understand or uncover. Whatever steps you decide to take it is critically important that all of it is coming from a place of love and a willingness to help them figure it out and find a way to re-direct that behavior to one that is more positive. While many autistics engage in self-injurious behaviors, it is not just a "part of autism" and it generally won't just go away on its own. If your child is exhibiting self-injurious behaviors, trust in your professionals and physicians to navigate you in the right direction. You can also go back and listen to episode #64 for more information on this topic. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
February 24, 2022
74. You Cannot Fix All the Things All the Time
Have you ever found yourself thinking that you just aren’t “good enough”? Don’t worry, you are not alone. I want you to give yourself permission to NOT be able to fix everything and you have to take a look at the pressure you are putting on yourself. I know that one of the biggest challenges we have raising our child or children with autism is the emotional roller coaster that we find ourselves on because we want to FIX everything so the first thing that you have to do is to understand that you are not going to be able to FIX everything along this autism parenting journey. You can’t do it ALL all the time, so be mindful of that and don’t set your expectations of yourself so high that you can never celebrate all of the million things that you do DO right day in and day out. You are making an enormous difference in your child’s life. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
February 17, 2022
73. Let's Clear up the Confusion about Category of Eligibility
Just because your child has a medical diagnosis of autism DOES NOT mean that they will qualify for Special Education services under the eligibility category of autism. When your child is being evaluated in the educational setting, they are using the LAW of IDEA, Individuals with Disabilities Educational Act to determine Special Education eligibility. Special Education services are not solely based on academics and learning. Your child will receive services and accommodations based on their individual need if they qualify for services. The US Department of Education actually issued a letter in August 2016 that addressed the school district's requirement to consider and provide behavioral supports through the IEP process. Click the link below for a pdf of that letter. https://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/school-discipline/files/dcl-on-pbis-in-ieps--08-01-2016.pdf Many parents don’t realize how much power they hold in their child’s education when they qualify for an IEP. The IEP is a legally binding document that schools must follow what is written in the IEP. We invite you to come and spend more time with us inside our PRIVATE SISTERHOOD Community. Get all of the details at www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
February 10, 2022
72. Ripping the Band Aid Off on Electronics
Our life is surrounded by technology. Electronics are a part of everyone’s life but it is important that you understand the negative effects too much screen time can be causing for our children with autism. Some studies suggest that increased screen time in young children is associated with decreased cognitive ability, impaired language development, mood, and autistic-like behavior including hyperactivity, short attention span, and irritability. You have to establish clear rules, boundaries, and schedules for electronic use. Until you RIP OFF THAT BAND-AID of their dependency on electronics they don’t have the need to have any other interest. Listen with an open mind. Be willing to consider that making some changes just might work. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
February 03, 2022
71. Worry is Not a Requirement
You can love your child with every ounce of you and worry less. Yes, that is possible. Worry is generally based around a fear of something that you have no way to predict the outcome of but here’s the truth… worry never solved a problem. When we begin to worry, our thoughts usually start with WHAT IF? I know that there are so many things that you probably worry about, I can’t even begin to list them all, but each of you knows individually what your worries are. In this episode, I am giving you specific things to do to lessen your worry. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
January 27, 2022
70. What Do You Make Their Behavior Mean?
Raising our children is difficult at times, we know that. When they exhibit often unexpected and disruptive behaviors it can be hard to determine if it is just a phase they are going through or if there is more? Autism is not a single disorder, but a spectrum of closely related disorders that share core symptoms, and while every child on the spectrum will struggle to some degree with social interaction, communication, and behavior, the level of disability and combination of symptoms varies tremendously from each individual. No diagnostic label can tell you exactly what challenges your child will have. Your job as your child’s mom and the best thing that you can do is to seek treatment that addresses your child’s individual needs and not focus on what to "call" the problem. Here is what I believe. I believe that yes, our children, all children but especially our children with autism, need to have clear rules and consequences, I also believe that you have to be the parent who is willing to listen and willing to help them navigate what they don’t understand. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
January 20, 2022
69. Searching for Answers in our Autism Parenting World
I remember 20 years ago when Jordan was diagnosed with PDD-NOS and how many questions I had. Questions about what it all meant? Questions about what I was supposed to do? Was it curable or treatable? Like a disease? I honestly had no clue what getting a diagnosis meant for not only him but for our family. At the time, I didn’t know anyone who had a child with autism, and listen I was in my early 30’s so as you can imagine, I felt totally lost. I learned that autism is not a disease, it is a complex disorder and no two people would experience autism in the same way which in turn means that no two parents would be parenting the same way so I really had no one to turn to. I went to work determined to figure it out. if you know a physician who is diagnosing autism or if you know a therapist or specialist who works with families whose lives are impacted by autism who would like some of our brochures to share with their moms, please let us know. You can reach us directly at email@example.com and we would be happy to get a business information packet in the mail to them so they can learn more about the services that we provide. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
January 13, 2022
68. Consistency is Key in our Parenting
Being consistent in our parenting with consequences for broken rules and unacceptable behavior is the only way that things will get easier. It is not going to be easy and you have to go through the hard to get to the other side where it will be easier. Now it is important to know that the goal of a consequence is not punishment. The goal of a consequence is to teach. We need to use consequences because our children need to learn and understand that there are consequences in the world for their behaviors and actions. You give them ownership of their consequence meaning, their consequence has nothing to do with you but instead, it has to do with their behavior or what they did or didn’t do. What is the one thing that you would like to work on? Is it a rule in your house that you need to follow thru on? Is it a boundary that you need to set? Is it limiting electronic time? Once you decide on that one thing, go to work making it happen. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
January 06, 2022
67. Changing your Script in the New Year
We have to stop feeling victim to our lives. We have to stop feeling sorry for ourselves because our parenting journey is different than other people in our family or our friend circle. Look, let's just be honest, raising a child or children with autism is not easy, we all know that. I want all of you to stop thinking about your life and the first feeling you get is overwhelmed or tired. You have to figure out how to love your life. Right now, right where you are in your journey. THIS IS your life so now it is up to you, you get to decide HOW to think and feel about it. In 2022 I want you to start to talk to yourself like you are proud of your life and not at the effect of it. Give the good in your life equal airtime to the challenges and the difficult times. Life isn’t all good or all bad, life is 50/50. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
December 30, 2021
66. Our Families and the Holidays
Things can be different for our families during the holidays. The holidays are a joyous and festive time of year but for our families who live with an autistic child in our home, this isn't always the case. From holiday decorations to parties, religious events, and gift exchanges, all of these events can cause increased anxiety for our kids. No one knows your child better than you and you get to choose what you participate in or those events you don't attend. Don't feel guilty for doing what is in the best interest of your child and your family. Holidays are a time for the entire family to enjoy and sometimes, you have to make decisions that won't make everyone happy. That is ok. There is no rule or guidebook for how to do the holidays, you get to make them your own. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
December 16, 2021
65. What you need to know about about ESY (Extended School Year) Eligibility
ESY services are defined as special education or related services that are provided beyond the normal school year for the purpose of providing FAPE (Free and Appropriate Education). It is a required part of IDEA, Individuals with Disabilities Act and is provided at no cost to you, the family according to the student’s Individual Education Plan. There are many misconceptions about ESY services and what they are and are not. In this episode, I explain the differences and why it is important that you are thinking about ESY now, prior to the holiday break. I go through the six factors that are considered by the team to determine ESY eligibility and what each of them means. If you believe that your child would benefit from ESY services, it is important that you request an IEP meeting right at the beginning of the new year after the holiday break to discuss with the team. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
December 09, 2021
64. Self-Injurious Behaviors & Autism
Self-injury is a very severe form of behavior that has one of the highest risks of medical injury. These episodes can lead to cuts, bruises, broken bones, concussions, and dental problems. Some forms of self-injury most seen in our kids with autism Headbanging/Hitting Biting Scratching Arm Banging Punching Hair Pulling Skin Picking Individuals who are exhibiting these behaviors are doing these things hard enough to HURT themselves. Learn what the risk factors are to be aware of. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
December 02, 2021
63. Effective Communication is Critical in Special Education
In this episode, I am going to be talking about ways to build a foundation for effective communication with your child’s educational team. The key to effective communication is first to have a willingness to be involved in planning their education. It is important that you are always be prepared for your IEP meetings and what you do or don't do and how involved you are in between those meetings is necessary in order for you to be prepared. You have to have a partnership with the entire team and always keep the focus on your child and what they need to be successful. What is working and what isn’t working. Be sure that you always understand what is being offered and if you don’t, ask for clarification. Ask questions, bring up your ideas or concerns, and discuss them. Before attending any meeting, it is important that you know the purpose of the meeting and who will be attending. You should request a meeting notice which will list both of those things. The purpose of the meeting, meaning what will be discussed as well as who is invited to attend. Great communication includes listening as well as speaking. Building an effective IEP team takes trust and respect. Perspective is everything and often most of us rarely have the same perspective. Always be willing to work as a team to find solutions so that your child gets the most appropriate education for them to meet their needs. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
November 18, 2021
62. Potty Training 101
So many of you asked me to address this topic on the podcast so I want you to know that I listen. Potty training is one of the most asked about concerns of parents of children with autism. There is no SECRET to it, I promise. Like so many other things along our autism parenting journey, this is just one more thing that will com Potty training may likely be the most difficult life skill that you will ever teach your child, but it is also the most important one. There are many issues that can interfere with effective toilet training for kids on the spectrum from physical, sensory, fears of the bathroom, etc... Provide time for them to sit on the potty, even when they don't go to ease their fears. Make it fun to encourage them. Have reinforcers and celebrate when they go on the big girl/big boy potty! You must be consistent and have patience with both your child and yourself. It takes commitment and consistency from you and there isn't a guaranteed time frame. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
November 11, 2021
61. One of our Biggest Fears & Keeping our Kids Safe.
Roughly 50% of our children with autism are likely to wander or elope so many families live with the fear of wandering or elopement every day. When you have a child who is at risk for elopement, it directly impacts your entire family. You are often limited in the activities you are able to participate in outside of the home due to the fear of wandering. You have to take extreme measures to provide safety in your home from the inside out and be prepared for the judgment that will likely follow from family or friends. Home security is a must. You will likely have alarms or secure deadbolt locks to prevent the opportunity to elope. You will need to be extremely cautious of who you leave your child in the care of and ensure that they are aware of all the risks and extra precautions they will need to take to ensure your child does not run. If your child is a wanderer, it is critically important that you are prepared for an elopement so that you can act quickly and reduce their chance of harm. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
November 04, 2021
Bonus Episode - SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT
I am joined in this episode by Dina Kimmel, owner, and CEO of We Rock the Spectrum sensory gym franchise. We Rock the Spectrum just crossed over 100 gym franchises across the globe and they continue to expand giving opportunities to autistic families around the world to experience the benefits of an indoor sensory gym. Dina shares her autism parenting journey that led her to where she is today and how we connected and what we are up to together.
October 28, 2021
60. The MOST IMPORTANT Relationship in your Autism Parenting Journey
How you see yourself is creating your entire life. Think about it, do you spend any time at all thinking about what you think about yourself? Most women just think that is who they are but the truth is, you can change your thoughts about yourself and when you change how you think about yourself and what you are capable of, guess what happens, everything outside of you changes. You have to like yourself first, you have to believe in your own value and take the time to celebrate all of the greatness of who you are. What do you think about yourself? How do you talk to yourself? Do this, ask yourself this question… What would you like to believe and think about yourself? Having a place where you can share your feelings and experiences openly with others who are traveling the same path can help you manage stress and reduce your feelings of frustration and isolation. None of us can make it through this journey without support. Be sure to check out our private SISTERHOOD at www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
October 28, 2021
59. Making Difficult Decisions and More
Today’s topic is a direct result of what some of our members have been going through recently and that is making really difficult decisions. I am adding in a few other things along the way in hopes that this might just be the pep talk that you didn't even realize that you needed. From early intervention decisions to educational decisions, to medical decisions, therapies, social situations, and the list goes on and on… for some of you, like me, as your child approaches adulthood you will have to make a decision about whether or not to pursue Guardianship. When your child is diagnosed with autism, you likely don’t know anything about autism and yet you have been given a stack of paperwork to sort through with a bunch of different intervention options. Think about it, HOW could you possibly know which ones will be right for your child? You won’t and that is ultimately where your work begins. You have to accept the fact that you will not always make the right decisions and that is OK. No one knows your child better than you so while you may not always make the right decision, you will always make the decision that you believe is right for them in any situation. You will walk through this journey with your child helping each other along the way. Your child may not think or act like their peers but they will learn and grow and it is so important that we embrace who they are, how they think and learn, and what motivates them. Your child enables you to see what they are capable of. In parenting them, you too will find what you are capable of. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
October 21, 2021
58. Tackling Challenging Behavior with Positive Interventions
In this episode, I am going to focus specifically on how Positive behavior support (PBS) can be effective for our kids. Whether it is utilizing a Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) or a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) or whatever type of plan your child’s education program or school team puts together. The point is that it can absolutely improve your child’s behavior across settings when both the family and the school team are working collaboratively together as a team. When these supports are implemented and over time, they can have lasting benefits both at school and at home. These plans when developed can include many different components. Here is what we do know, we know that proactive strategies reduce the likelihood of problem behavior and instead they prompt positive behaviors. The goal of any positive behavior support plan is that it rewards our kids by teaching them how to self-manage their own behavior over time. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
October 14, 2021
57. The Benefits of Setting Boundaries
Having boundaries will help your child navigate their world and give them an understanding of how they can easily meet those expectations. Boundaries are essentially understanding and respecting the needs of others and today, I am talking specifically about your boundaries as their parent. First, you have to decide what your goal is for setting boundaries. What is the outcome that you are hoping to achieve by setting the boundaries? You want to make sure that the boundaries have positive outcomes/rewards when they are followed. Positive reinforcement is such a powerful strategy with our kids. Our goal is always to help them begin to understand the cause and effect from the boundaries. When you are establishing new boundaries and following through with them, it is a process and I promise you, they will struggle. By following thru and doing what you say and adhering to the boundaries you have set time and time again, they will eventually grasp the concept and it WILL get easier but you have to commit to being consistent AND you have to be prepared and anticipate that it will get harder before it gets easier. We want them to understand that the boundaries are to help them learn to control their emotional responses in a more appropriate manner, to understand that in life, they won’t always get what they want and that every one of us, as human beings, all have boundaries that we have to follow in life. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
October 07, 2021
56. Pushing the Boundaries of Routine Matters
Our kids love predictability and repetition because it gives them a sense of security. Most of our lives revolve around familiar routines, right? We have created these routines to help our children feel safe because I mean, that is just what we do. We don’t want them to be anxious so as a natural solution, we worked hard to make their environment as predictable as possible. Resistance to change can create problems for both your child and you when change is unavoidable. The goal of pushing the boundaries of routine for our kids is to practice unpredictability with them so that they will eventually be able to accept change and have the ability to be flexible even in the face of uncertainty. It is our responsibility to introduce changes in their routines so that they learn to cope in this ever-changing world we live in. No matter how much planning goes into things and despite your best effort, inevitably sometimes things just don’t go as planned. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
September 30, 2021
55. Functional Skills and a Functional Curriculum
In this episode, we review the importance of incorporating functional skills and a functional curriculum in our children's daily lives. A functional skill is a skill that a person needs to live independently and a functional curriculum focuses on the life skills a student needs for independent living. Teaching our children how to function in the world is just as important if not more important than teaching academic skills. These “functional” skills are what they will need to live as independently as possible. Think about activities of everyday life. These include communication, social skills, appropriate behavior, hygiene, safety, transportation, and self-help skills. Life skills go hand in hand with development and these skills can be incorporated into their daily routines. Functional skills are the skills that are necessary for daily living and if they are not done by an individual, they will have to be done by someone else. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
September 23, 2021
54. Understanding Memory in Autism
So many things along our autism parenting journey focus on our child’s impairments so today, I wanted to talk about how their relative strengths can play a critical role in helping them compensate for their deficits. I’m going to dive deep into the importance of understanding how our memory works and more specifically, how their memory works which I think is fascinating. Rote learning is when someone memorizes information based on repetition. While many people on the spectrum struggle with short-term memory, it has been noted that their long-term memory is among the traits that correlated with high intelligence. Many of them, maybe even your child might closely resemble photographic or near photographic levels. . A person who has a photographic memory can close their eyes and see the vision or object in their mind as clearly as if they had taken a photograph of it, even days, weeks, and years after they saw the object. Memory in autism appears to be organized differently than in neurotypical individuals and in a study, I read, they noted differences in the development of the brain connections with the pre-frontal cortex. They have a difficult time determining what is important. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
September 16, 2021
53. Rigid Thinking and the Inability to be Flexible
We know is that in autism their repetitive and fixated behaviors are generally their strategies for reducing the chaos and minimalizing their overload by seeking the predictability and routine of sameness. These are all of their attempts to decrease their overwhelm from the stimulation and provide some sort of order to the confusing overwhelming world they are in. Our children struggle with being flexible because of their need for sameness and being in control and when things have to change or you have to drive a different way home because of a traffic accident their ability to be flexible is nowhere to be found, right? Our world honestly is way too uncertain and unpredictable for our kids on the spectrum. What applies in one situation doesn’t necessarily apply to the next and that results in increased anxiety and sometimes anger when things don’t go the way they anticipated. Our goal is never to overwhelm them but we want them to mentally engage and tackle their uncertainty and reduce that rigid thinking. We want them to be able to evaluate options when there is a roadblock or something doesn’t go as they planned. Everyone makes mistakes until they practice and get better. You have to learn what doesn’t work to ultimately learn what does work right? That is what we want to teach them. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
September 09, 2021
52. Strategies for Academic Success along your Educational Path
Special education teachers are often tasked with unparalleled challenges over mainstream teachers because rather than developing one single lesson plan, they are having to develop unique plans for every student that aligns with each of their student’s IEP’s. When you think about special education we are often talking about a vast range of different ages, interests, and abilities. Teaching our kids whether in the classroom or at home presents challenges without a doubt but providing them support undoubtedly enhances their learning potential. In this episode, I am talking about some of the struggles that our kids deal with and ways that their school team, classroom teacher, or if you are one of our homeschool moms may find beneficial in working through some of the challenges that working with our children can pose. Being an effective teacher requires many tools and strategies to help each student individually so you have to be flexible and what works one week, might have to change to work next week. It takes a lot of trial and error sometimes until you see something that clicks. Computer-based programs tend to hold the interest of students with autism so check out all of the different platforms available and if your child is in school, share these programs with their teacher. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
September 02, 2021
51. Tantrums are Common and Meltdowns are Inevitable
In this episode, I talk in-depth about the differences in tantrums and meltdowns. Their behaviors may look similar but it is important for us as parents to be able to identify the differences so that we know how to best help them. With a tantrum, the child is generally choosing to engage in the behavior because of their want for something or escaping something that they don’t want. They are usually acting out to get a reaction from someone else. A key identifier in a tantrum is that it will end abruptly if given what they want or allowed to escape what it is they are resisting. The first thing that you need to figure out is what is he or she trying to gain from the tantrum? Do they want something that they cannot have? Are they trying to escape something or somewhere that they don’t want to be or something that they don’t want to do? It’s important to practice replacement behaviors with them and teach them appropriate ways to get their needs met. Always keep your emotional AND verbal reactions minimal when it comes to a tantrum. When a meltdown occurs, it is because the child’s brain is overwhelmed, and they are literally in a fight or flight reaction. Their level of stress in their current setting has escalated to a point where they lose control and are unable to cope with their environment. Here is what I can tell you, the majority of times when a meltdown is happening it is because they are trying to escape something that is overwhelming and they are not seeking to GAIN anything. They might feel unsafe or the social demands of the situation are simply too much for them to navigate. Typical behavior techniques that we would use for a tantrum will not work during a meltdown. Their sensory system and brain are so overloaded and overwhelmed that they physically cannot respond. Meltdowns are highly unpredictable and can come on suddenly and sometimes without any notice. The most effective strategy for reducing meltdowns is to figure out strategies that will lead to avoiding the meltdown, to begin with. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
August 26, 2021
50. Are your Expectations too High or too Low?
For most of us, it’s just plain difficult to know when our expectations of our children are unreasonable, right? I've heard more times than I would like to admit, "but he or she has autism". In this episode, I am going to talk about why that in itself is never a good reason or answer. So how do we know if our expectations are realistic? The reality is that if your child is having recurring unwanted behavior it usually means a child lacks either the skills or the motivation to meet our expectations. Now that certainly doesn’t mean that they will never be able to achieve that expectation, it just means that you might have to work on some additional steps in order to get there. The majority of our children can learn when given the opportunity to do so. Expectation is the belief that something will and can happen in the future so our job as their parent is to encourage growth and we have to believe that they can and will instead of being fixated on where they are right now. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
August 19, 2021
49. School Refusal and Strategies to Overcome
Many children with autism find the demands of school and the school environment almost unbearable which leads to “school avoidance or refusal”. This is when a child gets very upset about going to school and won’t or can’t go. This isn’t a clinical diagnosis; it is simply a name for an emotional and/or behavioral problem. As our child’s parent, we have a legal obligation to educate our children, which means they must be enrolled in an educational setting and attending regularly. We all know that in 2021 we have many options to educate our children from homeschooling to private school, online school, or public school. Whichever you choose is completely your decision, but you are obligated to ensure they are getting an education. Working as a team with your child’s school is the best way to help with school refusal. Some of the common reasons for increased stress and anxiety at school might be, transition times when it is noisy and the halls are crowded and loud, unstructured times of the day like lunch, conflict with peers, teasing, or bullying. Often because of their social deficits, they struggle with the social aspect of school the most. They have difficulties understanding and reading social cues like facial expressions or body language, or they don’t get sarcasm. There may be strategies and accommodations that could be implemented at school. They may need to have accommodations added to their IEP like extra breaks or being allowed to transition ahead of the other students to avoid the crowds between classes. Remember, ASK for what you think they might need. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
August 12, 2021
48. Differentiating a Speech Delay and/or Autism
For many of us, maybe even you, speech delay was one of the first things that we were concerned about in our child’s development. For our children with autism not only are they delayed in their speech, but they are often delayed in other areas of development including initializing communication using eye contact, or gestures like pointing or shaking their head. They also may lack eye contact, not respond to their name, and may use the words that they do have out of context that makes no sense. CDC’s Developmental Milestone- https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/milestones/index.html A child who isn’t developing critical speech or language skills needs help and the sooner the intervention starts, the better. Children with autism can learn to speak. So, even if your child isn’t talking by age 4 or 5, they can go on to develop speech, they will just need some extra help getting there. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
August 05, 2021
47. Keys to Success in the New School Year
A new school year can be very stressful for our children with autism. There are new people to meet, new routines to learn, and all the while having to navigate school and classes and noisy lunchrooms. Communicating with your child’s teacher is critical to your child’s success at school and in the classroom. You can be a tremendous resource that can help ensure your child has a smooth transition into a new classroom with a new teacher. After all, you know your child better than anyone. My goal in this episode is to give you strategies that you can use going into the new school year so that it is a successful year for both you and your child. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
July 29, 2021
46. Why Conversations are just HARD
The majority of people with autism do use spoken language but few of them use it in the same way as individuals without autism. The reason that this is so important for you to understand is that often our kids are often communicators rather than conversationalists and teaching conversation skills will likely be something that you will continually have to work on with your child if language is a challenge for them. Many of the skills that are needed for conversation are the ones that are the core deficits in autism. Conversation is not one way, it is interactive communication between two or more people and it is often difficult for individuals with autism because it is a dialogue, not a monologue. Learning to think about others and understand social situations are valuable skills that will help our kids in everyday situations. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
July 22, 2021
45. Strategies for Talking about Tragedy and Death
The death of a loved one, a tragedy in the world, someone we love getting diagnosed with a terminal illness, none of these our easy conversations. Our goal as Mom is to protect our children right, we want to shield them from the things that will be difficult for them, of course, that is normal, but you and I both know that it isn’t reality. Part of what makes it difficult to discuss a tragic situation or event with our children might be because there are often so many unknowns and we ourselves are experiencing our own emotions. When we are talking about social circumstances or ways of the world, you have to decide whether it is important and appropriate for your child. Help them understand that there is not a right or wrong way to feel when someone dies. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
July 15, 2021
44. Building a Better Connection with your Child
So many of us, including me, struggle to figure out HOW to connect with our kids. Feeling like we don't have a bond and sometimes even questioning if they are capable to "really" love us or if they would miss us if we weren't here tomorrow. I know those thoughts, because I have had those thoughts so if you have had those thoughts, this episode is for you! Talk to them even if it doesn’t seem like they want to, just be sure to choose the times of the day when you know it would be best for them Give yourself permission to not be interested in what they want to talk about without it meaning something about you as a mom Set boundaries for yourself and have expectations and consequences that you are willing to follow through on Choose your battles and decide what is important based on your family values and stick to it Get out of your comfort zone and routine and DO or GO someplace different Take time to just BE with your child without any expectations www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
July 08, 2021
43. Diving into the Challenges of Communication
Communication is the pathway to navigating the world we live in. We communicate our wants and needs and likes and dislikes. We communicate to share information and use it to build relationships. Children with autism often have difficulty developing language skills and understanding what others are communicating to them. Not only do they struggle with verbal communication but also non-verbal communication such as facial expressions, body language, and eye contact. Our children’s ability to communicate language often depends on their intellectual and social development. Many of our kids either can’t communicate verbally at all or have a very limited ability while others, maybe even yours have extensive vocabularies and will talk extensively about specific subjects. Teaching our children to improve their communication skills is so important to helping them reach their full potential. In order for us, any of us to speak, there are certain things that must happen and it is way more of a process than most of us would think. I definitely recommend consulting a speech-language pathologist to evaluate your child’s development of speech and language if you think that his or her skills are lacking or not developing at a typically developing rate. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
July 01, 2021
42. Making the Guardianship Decision
Not every child who has autism needs to have a guardian when they become 18. Having a diagnosis of autism does not equal incompetence. In most states, a parent is deemed to be the legal guardian of his or her child until the child turns 18. Until 18, parents have the legal authority to make decisions (medical, financial, etc.) for their child. As soon as your child turns 18, your parental authority no longer exists. Yes, you heard me correct. The day your child turns 18 you no longer have authority to manage their medications with their doctor or the pharmacy, you no longer can make educational, medical or legal decisions on their behalf UNLESS you have guardianship. Disclaimer: I am not nor do I claim to be or act as an attorney. I am simply sharing information that may be helpful to you if this becomes a decision you might one day have to make and I want to be sure that you know what you need to know and where you will go to get the information so that ultimately you are able to make an informed decision for you, your child and your family. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
June 24, 2021
41. Emotional Ups and Downs of Raising a Child with Autism
As a parent of a child with autism, we have many challenges along the way that can affect not only our mental well-being but often our physical and social well-being are impacted too. Parents who don’t learn healthy coping strategies are at increased risk of higher anxiety and even depression. In today's episode, I discuss practical things that you can do to lessen your stress levels and show up better as not only your child's Mom every day but things that you can do to FEEL better along this parenting journey. I promise you that your mental and physical health will impact your child. Being in a stable place both mentally and physically makes the additional challenges that come with our unique parenting journey much easier to deal with. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
June 17, 2021
40. The Impact of Mind Blindness
For most people, context is just a known thing. I mean it's like it is just inherent for us to know that everything is relative and depends on the context, situation, or setting which determines how we act or react or what we say or don’t say, right? Well, imagine, if you are only able to take in one piece of information at a time. This is a daily struggle for people with autism. There are so many different pieces of information to take in and respond to and put into context. Context refers to the circumstances or events that form the environment within which something exists or takes place. Context directs our perception and ultimately influences and directs our actions and/or responses. Autistic brains tend to think in an absolute way and it also seems that they have challenges viewing a situation from different perspectives. We spend a lot of time teaching them social rules but what happens is that they have difficulty adapting these rules to different situations and making exceptions to the rules even when appropriate. The more you model to them how you act or react or how you speak to people you know or don’t know and how you show up in different areas of life, the more they will gain an understanding and importance of this. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
June 10, 2021
39. OCD or OCPD and Autism
Most people know or think they know and/or understand Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) but have you ever heard of Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD)? The differences may just surprise you and there may be a lightbulb moment or two in this episode. Many behavioral symptoms of autism and OCD actually overlap with each other. The reality is that the symptoms are similar but the treatment is very different. In this episode, I talk about what OCD actually is and what it is not and give you a quick insight into OCPD which if you are like me, you might have never even heard of. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
June 03, 2021
38. Emotional Dysregulation and the Challenges that come with it
Emotions are difficult to understand and interpret for all of us, and each of us demonstrates our emotions differently but for our kids on the spectrum, it is so much more challenging. For most of our kids, these intense emotions are very unpredictable, scary, and overwhelming. We have to teach them how to appropriately respond to their emotions and this isn’t an easy task and won’t happen overnight. We need to validate their feeling while teaching them a different way to REACT to the feeling. It will take TIME, patience, and practicing it over and over and over again with each incident. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
May 27, 2021
37. Answering your Most Asked Questions about IEP Meetings
How often can you have an IEP meeting? Should I get a meeting notice? Can I request a specific staff member not be part of my child's IEP meeting? Can I record the meeting? What if I can't attend the day the school scheduled the meeting? Does my child have to attend the meeting? What if I don't sign the IEP? My school said they don't provide the service my child needs? Answering all of these IEP questions and MORE ... www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
April 29, 2021
36. Autism vs Autistic, A Mom's Perspective
This is a HOT topic in the autism world today. Autism diagnosis or being autistic. Puzzle piece or no puzzle piece. Our company name, Not Your Average Autism Mom, and what our values and beliefs are. Who we are and what we do and do not do as a growing company in the autism community. Do you believe that the medical professionals and certain autism organizations are harmful to you or your child? This is an episode where I get a little passionate, so stay with me through until the end because my hope is that by the end you might just have a different outlook or some new things to consider. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
April 22, 2021
35. Early Intervention and and IFSP Explained
If you are concerned about your child’s development or suspect that your little one may have a disability, this episode is for you! There is actually so much to know about early intervention. HOW your child would qualify for an IFSP? Each state has specific guidelines for the IFSP What can you expect to be included in an IFSP? The differences between an IFSP and an IEP What types of services can be provided on an IFSP? www.notyouraverageautismmom.com Resources: Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (State by State Contact information) https://ectacenter.org/contact/ptccoord.asp
April 15, 2021
34. How do you Share your Child's Autism Diagnosis
This is actually one of the biggest questions moms have after getting their child’s autism diagnosis. Who should know and why? In this episode, I am talking about why, when, how, and with who you should share the diagnosis? Autism is something that more and more people are aware of, but there is still a lot of misleading information out there. Your family and friends may not know what it means or they might have a picture in their head of what autism looks like. There are many important things that you will want to include in this conversation and the last one is the most important so stay with me until the end. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
April 08, 2021
33. Having the "Autism Talk" with your Child
In today's episode, I give you some insight into having "the talk" with your child about their autism diagnosis. I give you some of the signs that you may see that will tell you, it might be time. These conversations are as individual as your child but the most important thing is to assure them that getting a diagnosis does not change who they are, everyone loves them the same, all it does is help us to understand how their brain works and figure out some ways to make some things easier for their brain to process and figure out. The process of explaining an autism diagnosis is likely going to be ongoing. Don't over-complicate the first one with too much information and don't overthink it. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
April 01, 2021
32. What is an FBA and Why Your Child Might Need One
If your student's behaviors are interfering with their success in the educational setting, an FBA might be just what they need. An FBA is a behavioral assessment used to track data to figure out why a student acts a certain way. In the assessment, the goal is to determine what is behind the behavior which you might hear referred to as the “function of the behavior” and what purpose that behavior might be serving the student. This is important because it leads the evaluator to look beyond just the behavior and instead, to the underlying motivation for it. An FBA leads to an overview of what function or purposes the behavior serves so that the team can then use that information to develop a Behavior Intervention Plan for that student, sometimes called a BIP. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
March 25, 2021
31. Are You Dealing with an Angry Child?
In this episode, I talk about all things behavior. You are not alone. Behavior challenges are among the biggest struggles reported by parents raising a child with autism. If you're like me and maybe have never heard of anger rumination, I'll explain what it is and how it might be impacting your child. I'll also give you strategies that you can use when you are in the moment. Check out our private membership and why you should join us inside. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
March 18, 2021
30. The Eligibility Determination Meeting & the Differences of a 504 Plan and an IEP
The requested evaluations are completed and the school calls you to schedule the meeting. What Now? In this episode, I walk you through the things you need to know about this process. What your expectations should and should not be. I review the purpose and explanation of both a 504 Plan and an IEP and tell you things that you may hear and what you should always do. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
March 11, 2021
29. The Evaluation Process of Special Education
In today's episode, I walk you through the process of getting your child evaluated for Special Education services. No, your child does not have to be school-age before getting evaluated. I talk in detail about what to expect as well as going into detail into the available evaluations, what they are specifically for, and the importance of requesting them. In addition, I give you important things that you need to be aware of and know how to respond to certain things that you might hear or be told along the way. Getting the proper evaluations completed gives everyone the data and insight needed to get your child the services and accommodations that he or she needs in the educational setting to be successful. www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
March 04, 2021
28. Let's Talk Autism in Girls
This week, we are giving our moms of girls some extra well-deserved attention and talking all things autism in girls. I address some of the reasons why they are oftentimes under-diagnosed and how their brains may actually differ. I talk about things to look for early on as well as what to be mindful of as they grow into their teenage years and beyond. We want to give our moms of girls extra love and we know that their challenges are not any lesser than us moms of boys! www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
February 25, 2021
27. Special Education Things That You Should Know
Special Education is a great unknown for so many parents. Years ago, special education meant a separate classroom for special students of varying physical, emotional, and intellectual needs. But now, special education is integrated more than ever before and it is constantly changing. I want you to know is that Special Education is for any student who requires additional support and services in order to learn. It is not only for students who have severe physical or intellectual disabilities. Many students who receive special education services, learn right alongside their peers in typical inclusion classroom settings. Many of these students, and maybe even your child, go on to live independently and obtain employment or continue their education into college and go on to live very productive lives. If your child qualifies for special education services, that DOES NOT mean that they will have to be in a separate classroom or ride the “special bus”. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions around this and it is simply not true. Every child who qualifies for special education services will have an IEP or 504 plan developed for their individual needs.
February 18, 2021
26. Sleep Struggles are Common in our World
You are not alone! In this episode, I talk about things that you may be dealing with when it comes to getting your little one (or bigger one) to fall asleep or stay asleep. Things that you may be doing or not doing that could be impacting them getting a good night's sleep. Want to know more: www.notyouraverageautismmom.com
February 11, 2021
25. What You Might Not Know About Echolalia
In this episode, I talk in detail about echolalia. The two different ways echolalia presents itself and when it should become a concern. Figuring out the meaning behind echolalia can be tricky but with a little detective work, it is possible.
January 28, 2021
24. STOP Taking Other People's Opinions Personally
In this episode, I talk about the fact that you have the choice to believe or not believe anyone else's opinion. Along your autism journey, you will likely come in contact with people who will have an opinion, or who will do or say something that you don't agree with. When that happens, you have a choice to believe them or not. Your thoughts about what they do or say are what create how you feel. Interesting isn't it? Go ahead, listen and it may open your eyes to an entirely new way of thinking! You can choose to think things on purpose and ultimately feel better! Want to know more? Click on the link below to get more information on our Private Membership exclusively for Autism Moms Not Your Average Autism Mom
January 14, 2021
23. What Kind of Mom do you Want to Be?
In this episode, I talk about all of the judgments we place on ourselves about being a Mom. How we never feel like we measure up and other moms are doing so much better than we are. Why your thoughts of feeling overwhelmed and that you simply just can't do it are not serving you and what you can do to change those thoughts. Just imagine what it would feel like if you actually took credit and celebrated how much you actually DO. Stop worrying about other people's opinion about HOW you parent and just focus on what works for your family. In 2021, I want you to be proud of the mom that you are and believe that you truly are doing an AMAZING job!
December 31, 2020
22. Why Does my Child Bite & What Can I do About It?
In this episode, I talk about the many reasons a child may bite, and trust me there are many. I give you things to ask yourself and to consider when you are trying to figure out why they are biting. I share with you techniques and strategies for you to use and try as you become focused, consistent, and persistent in getting past this very difficult behavior.
December 17, 2020
21. Things That YOU Can Do to Make Your Autistic Child's Life Easier
In this episode, I talk about some things that are kind of off the beaten path of our journey and not always addressed so you may not realize some of them and how they might impact your child every day. Things like face-blindness and tone of voice just to name a couple of them.
December 03, 2020
20. - Independent Living Skills are SO IMPORTANT. Do you DO too much?
In this episode, I discuss all of the different ways that you can begin to include and teach your child to be more independent in everyday living skills. I encourage you to start now and don't wait. To start a journal of what you "do" for them each day and then decide which things you can begin to include them in each and every day. Doing this will not only help their executive functioning skills but also their self-confidence. I share suggestions on where to start and give you ideas that you can use to help you start where you are.
November 19, 2020
19. - The Decision of Public School or ABA Therapy or Specialty School
In this episode, I talk about the advantages and disadvantages to both options. There are no clear choices, it is solely a family decision. The question becomes what setting would be more beneficial to your child where they are right now based on what their immediate need is. Making that a priority will ultimately determine which option is best suited for them at this time.
November 05, 2020
18 - Correcting Behaviors and Consequences
In this episode, I talk about the steps to correcting negative behaviors, goals of consequences and giving choices when saying no to non-preferred activities is their "go-to". You don't have to accept no for an answer if you don't give them that option and it makes everything easier along the way.
October 22, 2020
17. - What is an IEP and the Importance of the Present Level Statement
In today's episode, I talk about what an Individual Education Plan (IEP) is, who develops it, and what it must include according to special education law. Additionally, I discuss the importance of what a Present Level Statement is and what it should include so that the IEP is appropriately written to outline the student's special education needs.
October 08, 2020
16. - Autism and Impulse Control
One of the biggest concerns of moms like you and me is our child's lack of impulse control. In this episode, I talk about what that looks like and how it might be impacting you and your family and strategies to use to practice this skill. It will be an ongoing process of practice over and over for years to come and the earlier you start the better the outcome will be. It isn't going to be easy, but the rewards will be worth it.
September 24, 2020
15. - Autism DOES make Parenting Different
In this episode, I address many of the ways that make parenting an Autistic child different than parenting a "typical" child. I talk about judgment from other moms and things that you should be thinking about and doing differently when parenting your child with Autism. I also share encouragement to know that what you are doing is enough.
September 10, 2020
14 - Autism is not a Choice
Today I talk about the fact that Autism is not a "lifestyle" despite the fact that many adults are self-diagnosing themselves as Autistic based on their individual traits. I also dive into a diagnosis and what it all means and the emotions that go along with it.
August 27, 2020
13. - Stimming in Autism
In this episode, I dive into what stimming means, what it is, why they do it and strategies that you can use to address it. Believe it or not, we ALL stim, in one way or another, it is not exclusive to Autistic individuals. There are 6 different types of Stimming that I review in detail and I also talk about things that you can try to diminish the stimming depending on which type your son or daughter is presenting. It's important to remember that your child has unique and special ways to cope with their environment. It takes patience and understanding.
August 20, 2020
12. - Immunity Health and Supplements
In this episode, I talk about giving yourself the opportunity to research and try supplements that may be beneficial for your child. Be open to the possibilities. Research suggests that many children with Autism have reduced immune system regulation. I share with you our personal experiences with supplements and talk about some uncomfortable things that I don't talk openly about in the outside world.
August 13, 2020
11. - Navigating Through this Year of Disruption 2020
In this episode, I talk about making HARD decisions. Some of you are making decisions on the upcoming school year, those are difficult decisions. I give suggestions on things to do while you are at home to keep some sort of normalcy and also creating new routines. We know this time brings new challenges, but I want you to also let it bring new opportunities. You will make many HARD decisions throughout your Autism journey, this is just one of those times. Buckle up Mama, there are more to come but remember, you are stronger than you think and you've got this!
August 06, 2020
10. - Autism and Sibling Relationships
This episode is all about autism and siblings. I talk about the important needs of siblings and give you some suggestions on how to address them. You have to talk to them, ask them questions, and be prepared to help them understand how Autism impacts their brother or sister and ultimately your entire family. There are many positive skills learned by being a sibling of an individual with Autism and I talk about those too.
July 30, 2020
9. - You got the Autism diagnosis, now what?
In this episode, I talk about the things that are the most important for you and your child to focus on when you get the diagnosis. I provide you tips and ideas and suggestions on sharing it with your family members and loved ones. You have to process ALL of your emotions and you need to know what you are feeling is 100% ok, it is completely normal. Autism is not going away, it isn't a "phase", it is here to stay. Never underestimate the power of resiliency and trust that you will figure it all out along the way. You weren't given an extra set of "special" to be MOM to a child with Autism, but there is no one better than you to be MOM to your child!
July 23, 2020
8. - Don't Ever Rely 100% on What THEY Say...
In this episode, I talk about letting your child write their own story instead of you believing yours. Getting an Autism diagnosis does not change who your child is. They are not all of a sudden a different child but sometimes, we get so caught up in the diagnosis that we forget that. We oftentimes spend WAY too much time reflecting back to life before the diagnosis and what might have been. Instead of focusing on what you think you might have lost, how about getting more determined than ever and learning all that you can to make their life the absolute best it can be. That is what I encourage you to do.
July 16, 2020
7. - Electronics and the Benefits of Setting Screen Time Limits
In this episode, I talk all about the risks associated with too much screen time for our kids with Autism. Things that you need to know that I didn't know until what I think was way too late in our journey. I walk you through the benefits that I personally have experienced in our home from limiting screen time for my son and give you ideas and suggestions on taking those steps in your home. Ultimately I want you to know how much better things can be when your son or daughter has LESS electronic time. I guarantee you, it's definitely not EASY but it is so worth it!
May 14, 2020
6. - Safety, Judgement and Protecting your Child with Autism
In this episode I talk about what is vitally important for you to create if your child is at risk for eloping, running or wandering. I give you some ideas and resources and suggestions around home and school. I also discuss what I believe is necessary at a Federal level for our children and adults with Autism. You will hear me talk about my feelings on people judging our parenting when they are not living the experiences we are living in our homes and how that just makes my blood boil! It's a great episode and I hope you enjoy it!
May 07, 2020
5. - Knowing When to Accept Good Enough
In today's episode, I discuss "uncertain time" and "new normal" and the things that you absolutely need to do to keep your sanity through all of this. You have to work with the things that you can control. You have to make choices and decisions for what you and your family need during this time. I also talk about making time for YOU away from being Mom. Giving yourself the time and space that you deserve. You cannot always accomplish all of the things that would be good to get done. Sometimes good enough may really be just perfect right now.
April 30, 2020
4. - Not your Ordinary House
In this episode, I share a couple personal stories about the different things we have to do in our house that the "typical" non-Autism house would not understand. I talk about realizing that I was going to have to figure out how to take away his opportunities to stress me out. This was an ah-ha moment for me. There are things that you are going to have to figure out in your journey that will make you sleep easier at night and stress less during the day and that is what this episode is about. I also share why I am not interested in finding the cause of the cure for Autism and why...
April 23, 2020
3. - Holidays and Physical Distancing during Covid-19
In this episode, we talk about the challenges of physical distancing during holidays and share some ideas and suggestions on what to do and not do during these times. I discuss celebrating successes and knowing that change does happen, having HOPE and things you can do so that you will be celebrating success on the other side of this Covid quarantine.
April 16, 2020
2. - 23 Years & Counting...
This episode highlights some of the most important things that I have learned along the way that really helped us throughout our Autism journey. These things helped mold us into who we are today as a family. I share my proudest "MOM Moment" to date, yes, I am being sarcastic! I am hopeful, some of these things will resonate with you and that they just might help you too.
April 09, 2020
Introducing all of you to Not Your Average Autism Mom, who we are, and how we are helping families navigate this unique autism parenting journey that we are all on.
April 02, 2020