In this episode, I interview Nicole Balinghoff, BCBA and Regional Director of Kyo, an ABA agency that is trying to redefine the practice of Applied Behavior Analysis. Nicole and I talk about what ABA is, what it looks like, and how it works in real-time. We explore why ABA has gotten a bad rap and how Kyo is disrupting traditional ABA practice by focusing on client and family strengths and using relationships as the primary driver in client-centered treatment. We end the interview with Nicole’s favorite behavioral strategy and the one skill she loves to empower in others.
If you are interested in finding out more about Kyo, click here.
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.
In this episode, Dr. Jamie Barstein and I talk about Dating in our ongoing Sex and Relationship series. We discuss dating myths surrounding neurodivergent and autistic individuals, barriers to dating for this population, and tangible ways to improve relationship skills. Ultimately, we hope that our conversation spurs some ideas and brings hope to those who deeply want connections with others. Jamie and I always have such a blast geeking out together. We're definitely continuing our series...hmmm...what will we do next?
To find out more about Dr. Barstein, check out AdvanceLA.
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...
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.
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.
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)....
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.
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...
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...
I hit the lottery when Dr. Karen Wilson, a Pediatric Clinical Neuropsychologist from West LA Neuropsychology, agreed to spend time with me for this episode. I think I have a thing for Neuropsychologists. Even though I've interviewed another Neuropsychologist on my channel, I'm always drawn to the way Neuropsychologists think, analyze, and evaluate. They expand my thinking and mesmerize me with their skills. They're like the special ops of psychologists (oh wow, I just made psychologists sound so cool...nice move, me!).
In this episode, Karen helps me split hairs. We talk about how Neuropsychologists are different than Clinical Psychologists and School Psychologists. It comes down to 1) having a doctoral degree and clinical training as a psychologist and then 2) going the extra distance with 2-3 years of laser-focused training in neuropsychology, which (over)simply put, is how the brain develops at different times and what can happen functionally when development is...
One of the perks of my job is to be able to learn from people like Sheri Samotin. Sheri, the President of LifeBridge Solutions and author of Facing the Finish: A Roadmap for Aging Parents and Adult Children, specializes in transition planning and is an expert at supporting individuals and families in the area of personal finances, asset management, and coordinating care.
Since I mostly work with disabled adults, I became fascinated with two professional hats that Sheri wears (and Sheri has more). Sheri is a professional Certified Daily Money Manager. A Daily Money Manager helps people with their day-to-day personal finances. In this role, Sheri helps individuals make and stick to budgets. Sheri's over 10-year experience supporting individuals with Intellectual Disabilities, Developmental Disabilities, substance use, and mental health disorders is evident as she confidently understands how to most effectively support her clients with...