The Critical Role of Respect and Person-Centered Planning in ABA Therapy

In this episode, I interview Dr. Hilya Tehrani, a Clinical Psychologist and Founder of Connected Strides, a psychological practice dedicated to the therapy and assessment of individuals with autism, ADHD, anxiety, and trauma. Dr. Hilya and I talk about the practice of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and deconstruct the best and worst applications for ABA in the treatment of individuals on the autism (ASD) and disability spectrum. As two clinical psychologists who have been in this field for a while, we can’t help but explore the importance of person-centered treatment, the role of trust and respect in a therapeutic relationship, paying attention to individual differences, and delivering treatment with intentionality. Having a conversation with Hilya is always been a grounding experience for me. Her expertise and deep care for what she does always shines through. I hope you enjoy this conversation with Hilya.

 To find out more about Dr. Hilya and Connected Strides, click...

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The AWAKE Project, Activism, and Gender Differences in Autism with Dr. Dana Waters

An Awakening

In this episode, I interview Dr. Dana Waters, professor at Antioch University, founder of The AWAKE project, and down-right rad activist for Autistics everywhere. She helps us understand the gender differences between Autistic men and women and how these differences have led to an under-identification of Autistic women. Dana’s passion, expertise, and lived experience weave their way through our conversation on cloaking, masking, the insanely effective strategy of externalizing executive functioning tasks, and why being a self-explorer has major payoffs. Anyone who spends any amount of time with Dana quickly gets her quick ability to make anyone feel seen, heard, and understood. In one word, she’s epic. I hope you enjoy my interview with Dana as much as I loved spending time with her.

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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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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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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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What is CBT and is it Effective for Individuals with Neurodiversities? An Interview with Dr. Nicole Pickering

Hello, Dr. Nicole Pickering

It's wonderful to be surrounded by wonderful colleagues who like to geek out with me. I've known Dr. Nicole Pickering, Director of the CBT Treatment Center, in the Los Angeles area for many years and she's always generous with her time and talent. I've been hearing lots of chatter in my sphere about whether Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment modality for individuals with neurodiversities, so I asked Nicole if she'd come on my YouTube channel to chat about it. Lucky me. She did. 

The nuts and bolts

Let's start with what CBT is. CBT is an evidence-based approach that has been scientifically proven to relieve anxiety-based (and other) disorders. Anxiety-based disorders include Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), phobias, tic disorder, and body-focused repetitive disorders (Trichotillomania, skin picking). 

CBT focuses on...

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Squashing Fear and Reclaiming Life for Neurodivergent Individuals | An Interview with Arolyn Burns

Whiteout

What is trauma? In my line of work, I've run across this repeatedly and see the paralysis it delivers to my clients. It seriously breaks my heart. So, with the desire to improve my own skills, I reached out to one of our local experts and a wonderful colleague of mine to talk about trauma.

Arolyn Burns is a Licensed Therapist and the Director of The "A" Treatment Center. She specializes in the treatment of trauma, anxiety, fears, and phobias. Arolyn's bag of therapeutic tricks reminds me of Mary Poppins' carpetbag, unbounded, and without limits. From hypnotherapy to EMDR to using rocks for grounding, Arolyn is a creative and masterful therapist, individualizing treatment to help her clients face their fears. 

Arolyn uses the term "whiteout" to describe what fear feels like when traumatized. When triggered by fear at this level, it's like snowfall is blocking a person's entire vision, the person can't think, and then shuts down. Trauma is an event that...

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What is a Speech and Language Therapist? An Interview with Justine Navid Mufson

Bring people towards each other

This is Justine's superpower. In my interview with Justine, who is a Speech and Language Pathologist (SLP) or Therapist, she shares all the things that SLPs do and the pressure points that SLPs ease. Justine is passionate about eliciting connection through language and communication. She highlights communication subtleties like eye contact and smiling and how these little things elicit connection on a deeper level. Justine is obsessed with bringing people together and figuring out how to create a bespoke system for any kiddo and their family. 

Empower the system

Justine is all about building skills to close gaps. She and I have this in common as professionals and we jive with empowering all parts of a system -- moms, dads, siblings, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, best friends...you get it. When everyone is involved, everyone is elevated. Skill-building communicates an unspoken message of hope. Despite delays or deficits,...

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