Neurodiverse Couples Coaching, Neutral Curiosity, and Perspective-taking with Grace Myhill

What's good for everyone is not always good for neurodivergent individuals

In this episode, I interview Grace Myhill a Relationship Coach, educator, group leader, and the Director of Asperger/Autism Network's (AANE) Peter M. Friedman Neurodiverse Couples Institute. Grace specializes in supporting and empowering neurodiverse couples and she shares how her approach to couples counseling is different from traditional couples’ therapy. We debunk myths and Grace shares practical tools and strategies to improve relationship skills. We also explore the fundamental assumption that people have good intentions and how important neutral curiosity and perspective-taking are in any relationship. Grace has trained couples therapists from all over the world to empower and support neurodiverse couples. She's a much-needed beacon in our Autistic community, helping couples find rewarding connections and intimacy.

Thanks to Grace for a lovely conversation and for her kind and nurturing...

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The College Internship Program

Trampolines vs. Safety Nets 

In this episode, I interview Crystal Hayes from the College Internship Program or CIP. CIP is a comprehensive residential transition program that empowers young adults with learning differences, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and ADHD to succeed in college, employment, and independent living. Crystal lovingly refers to CIP as a trampoline vs. a safety net, where they help young adults bounce back from inevitable bumps and mistakes along the path to achieving one’s independence. Crystal and I talk about what students are a good fit for CIP, how students in California can pay for CIP, and C-Step, CIP’s vocational and career-readiness program. With 2 campuses in California, one in Massachusetts, one in Florida, and one in Indiana, there are some pretty cool options for neurodivergent young adults to find their groove.   


To find out more about The College Internship Program, click here

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Mansfield Hall: A Super Dorm that Supports the Transition of Autistic Students from College to Adulthood

Longer runways and soft landings

In this episode, I interview Jake Weld from Mansfield Hall, a residential program that supports the successful transition of students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) from high school to college to independent adult living. While Jake and I cover the fundamentals of Mansfield Hall’s program, our conversation about healthy interdependence, the critical skill of self-awareness, providing longer runways and soft landings, speeding up feedback loops, and finding your tribe are the real gems of this interview. Jake has an amazing knack for summarizing concepts in an understandable way. Every time I connect with Jake, I have my own aha moments and this time was no different. Apart from his clear and present expertise at supporting the transition of adolescents to adulthood, he’s just a super fun and personable guy…just the type you’d want to have a D&D campaign with.

To find out more about Mansfield Hall, click here. ...

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Campus Connections - Transitioning Students with Autism and Disabilities from College to Meaningful Careers

In this episode, I interview Dr. James Williams, Chief Operating Officer and National Pre-ETS Director at Bloom Consulting. James is an experienced certified Rehabilitation Counselor who holds an advanced certification as an Autism Specialist and special education teacher. He is also an adjunct professor at Northwestern College-Iowa. With over 15 years of experience, James is passionate about providing transitional and vocational services to individuals with autism and other disabilities. We specifically talk about Campus Connections, a research-based program that supports students with disabilities through college with the final aim of connecting them to post-graduation job placement referrals and leads. James calls Campus Connections a start-to-closure program, placing focus on the main goal of the program - to find and land a meaningful career. James brings tons of passion and excitement to the vocational rehabilitation field and brings hope to adults who have struggled...

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Sex & Relationship Series: Making Sex Education Meaningful for Neurodivergent Individuals

Let's talk about sex

Um, what did you say? Yes, you read this correctly. Talking about sex can be such a taboo and touchy (pun intended) topic. Dr. Jamie Barstein, a psychologist who runs the "Let's Talk about Sex: Exploring Intimate and Healthy Relationships for Young Adults on the Spectrum" class with AdvanceLA, joins me in this episode. We talk about how sex education for young adults with learning differences, autism, and neurodivergence has gone and what's missing to make it relevant and meaningful today. Jamie and I had so much fun that we decided to make a Sex & Relationship series. We tackling dating next, so stay tuned. 

 

To find out more about Dr. Barstein's young adult class with AdvanceLA, click here

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Laws Related to Transition, Challenging Traditional Legal Practice, and Preserving People with Mark Woodsmall

Uncategorized Mar 26, 2021

Preserve the people

In this episode, I interview Mark Woodsmall, founder of Woodsmall Law Group, special education attorney, father of a son with autism, and downright awesome person. While we discuss important laws relevant to the transition of disabled students to adulthood, Mark shares his unique mindset and philosophies that guide his legal practice, which are unconventional. Mark believes that the practice of law must be different when supporting individuals who need ongoing support in that being aggressive and adversarial may only work once. What happens when you have to go back to the same people the next year (or the year after) and need support? Fundamentally, Mark believes in preserving the people, all the people involved in a child's life. From the child to the parents, to the IEP team, to all the professionals involved, Mark believes that when collaboration, respect, and relationships are nurtured (yes, even at the legal level), the child (and eventually, adult)...

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Communication Challenges, Presuming Competence, and Supported Decision Making with Darlene Hanson

interviews professionals Mar 19, 2021

Everyone communicates, we just have to listen

In this episode, I interview Darlene Hanson, a seasoned speech and language therapist who has helped limited communicators find and use their voice for decades. Darlene helps us understand that everyone has something to say and we can understand them if we listen. This interview is jam-packed with mindsets that are critical for any ally or professional who supports neurodivergent or disabled individuals. From presuming competence, to the difference between unreliable vs. limited speech, to considering supported decision making as a replacement for conservatorship, Darlene's thoughts and words challenge current belief systems and are a call to action to change how we support individuals with communication challenges. Darlene is a beacon for this community, helping individuals who are often unseen and unheard find their voice and place in this world. Spending time with Darlene is always a joy and I always walk away with...

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Transition Assessments, Key Employment Skills, and Informed Choice with Bruce Bloom

It's about the apple, not the apple slices

In this video, I interview Bruce Bloom, a Vocational Expert, Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, Certified Autism Specialist, and CEO of Bloom Consulting. Bruce is an incredible resource and a light in the disability community, proudly placing over 1500 disabled and neurodivergent individuals in competitive employment over the past 10 years. Bruce's passion for his work and expertise is evident. His knowledge of the vocational space, especially as it intersects with disabilities, is sought after across the nation. School districts all over the nation hire him to conduct transition assessments. He's a legend. Bruce was instrumental in informing and shaping my approach to transition assessments and continues to offer his generosity of time and talent today. For this, I am truly and deeply grateful. Watch the full interview to understand one of Bruce's mantras, "It's about the apple, not the apple slices." 

 

Check out Bruce and all...

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What is a College Consultant? When Might One be Helpful? | An Interview with Dr. Eric Endlich from Top College Consultants

interview professional Feb 08, 2021

It's not just about college admissions

In my interview with Dr. Eric Endlich from Top College Consultants, I learn that a College Consultant is not just about someone that helps you get into college. Rather, they offer a formal process to fully understand a student. Combine this understanding with the expertise of a College Consultant, and a plan is formed to adroitly usher a teen into their next phase of young adulthood, whether this means immediately going to college after high school or not. 

Here are just a few things that Eric takes into account:

  • Who is the student? What are their goals/hopes/dreams? What is their learning profile? What accommodations and supports (if any) were provided in high school? What are the student's grades and testing scores? What do we know about the student's neurological and emotional profile?
  • What kind of school does the student want to attend? What kind of college experience do they want? Would the student feel more comfortable at a...
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How Does Reading Develop? Can Reading Problems be Treated? | An Interview with Anne Perry from Lindamood-Bell

Geeky magpie

In this week's interview, I had the privilege of interviewing Anne Perry, Center Director of Lindamood-Bell's (LMB) Pasadena learning center. A self-proclaimed lifelong educator and geeky magpie, Anne sees her role as making complicated things simple. She fulfills her promise as she spends time helping me better understand how reading develops, which I learned, is a complicated process. 

How does reading develop?

It turns out that our reading skills start with hearing sounds in utero. These sounds, which are further explored through singing, talking, and playing with infants, set the foundation for our overall language acquisition. Sounds are the first component of reading. 

Enter school. Now, sounds are paired with symbols (letters) and an old part of the brain that was once used primarily for survival is tasked with a new job...to read. Symbol imagery (holding an image in your mind) is paired with sounds with added rules (phonemic awareness)....

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