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Two Sides of the Spectrum Profile

Two Sides of the Spectrum

English, Education, 1 seasons, 88 episodes, 2 days 20 hours 33 minutes
A place where we explore research, amplify autistic voices, and change the way we think about autism in life and in professional therapy practice. Visit
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Transforming the Parent Experience with Jen Schonger

When this episode first aired, it was just directed at OT practitioners. But it’s simply too full of insight to not share again with our broader audience. Jen Schonger is the part time operations manager at Communication FIRST and the mom to two daughters, one of whom is Autistic. In this conversation, Jen shares her insight about the important blind spots many providers have, and the concrete ways we can support parents to develop an empowering understanding of their Autistic kids. View show notes and transcript at
21/02/202451 minutes 53 seconds
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Preparing Autistic People for the Lives They Want to Live with Dr. Monique Botha

As professionals, we are always working towards something with our Autistic clients. But are we working on the things that will truly help them lead the lives they want to live? In this episode, Autistic researcher Dr. Monique Botha helps us dive into the nuance, meaning, and impact of this question. They also help us identify what research should guide our practice as professionals, and what research we can leave behind. View show notes and transcript at
07/02/20241 hour 7 minutes 51 seconds
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Trauma-Informed Practices for Your Neurodivergent Clients - with Lisa Hoeme and Sharon Hammer

We all know by now that feeling safe is foundational for learning, healing, and growing. But what does it look like to cultivate safety for our Autistic clients who have experienced trauma? LPCs Sharon Hammer and Lisa Hoeme help us get into the nitty-gritty of what trauma-informed care looks like in the context of neurodiversity. Get on the waitlist for their new CE course at
17/01/202446 minutes 21 seconds
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The Holiday Dragon +A Gift from Us to You

Happy New Year! We're giving away a FREE 1.5 hour continuing education course by Autistic psychologist Matt Lowry to every professional who wants to watch it. It's called Understanding the Autistic Neurotype: A Deep-Dive from an Autistic Psychologist. It's registered for ASHA, AOTA, NASP, and ASWB CEUs and it's available on-demand from January 10 - February 21, 2024. Fill out the form at and to grab your spot! We'll be back in two weeks with a new episode.
03/01/20242 minutes 24 seconds
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AAC for All: Here’s How We Do It! with Karina Saechao

In this conversation, Karina Saechao helps us understand what it looks like now for multiply marginalized kids to try and access and use AAC, and what concrete steps we can all take to try and change that. Karina gives the best advice to therapists on the ground who are collaborating with parents and teachers to improve access to communication for our clients. Karina Saechao is an SLP, researcher, scholar, and activist who's really passionate about increasing equity, access, and outcomes related to research, clinical practice, and course curriculum. She’s also a PhD student and a speaker at the upcoming Learn Play Thrive continuing education summit. Check it out at
20/12/202345 minutes 48 seconds
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Creating Gentler Approaches to Feeding Differences with Marsha Dunn Klein

So many therapists are grappling with how to reconcile our feeding therapy training with what we are learning from Autistic adults. On the podcast, we’ve heard that systematic desensitization - even when it’s play-based - can feel like torture. We’ve learned that what looks like progress towards accepting new foods can actually be Autistic masking. And we’ve learned that family meals simply aren’t best for every child. In this episode, Marsha Dunn Klein, creator of the Get Permission Approach, shares with us her own journey towards aligning her work with neurodiversity-affirming practices. We dive into what this looks like for her, what she’s learned from interviewing Autistic adults, and what affirming feeding therapy can look like in your work.
06/12/202356 minutes 25 seconds
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Culturally Responsive Care with Native Clients with Joshuaa Allison-Burbank

At Learn Play Thrive, we are recognizing Native American Heritage month with an episode that centers how we can support the well-being of our Native clients. In this episode, Diné and Acoma Pueblo SLP Dr. Joshua Allison-Burbank helps us dive into Native views on disability, cultural responsiveness for therapists who are supporting Autistic people on reservation or off reservation, and ways that non-Native folks can build trust and connection in their relationships with their Native clients. To keep learning from Joshuaa, join us in the 2024 Neurodiversity CE Summit at 
15/11/202359 minutes 39 seconds
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Strengths-Based OT and Self-Determination In Action with Kelsie Olds "The OccuPLAYtional Therapist"

Most of us who are trying to work in a way that is aligned with our values have so many moments of doubt. Are we actually doing a “skilled intervention”? Is the work we are doing truly making an impact on the child’s life? Are we inadvertently causing harm? Is there something we should know but don’t know that would help more in this situation? One of my favorite things to do is to find therapists who have really done the work to  align their work with their values. Kelsie Olds (she/they) exemplifies this. In this episode, we dive into the details of Kelsie’s practice as a school-based OT and their journey to where they are today.
01/11/20231 hour 27 seconds
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What Families of Autistic Kids Wish Providers Knew with Tiffany Hammond

On the podcast we often hear from Autistic mothers diagnosed after their kids. But today, Tiffany Hammond (@fidgets.and.fries) tells us a different story. We hear about her life at the intersection of being Black and Autistic;  navigating services for her two Autistic sons; and her new book, A Day With No Words. Listen to the end for Tiffany’s takeaway to providers. It’s such a simple shift, but one we could go our whole careers without learning.
18/10/202356 minutes 23 seconds
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Strengths Based Diagnostics & "The Legend of Autistica" (re-release) with Matt Lowry

In this episode, Autistic psychology practitioner Matt Lowry helps us dive into what a strengths-based diagnostics process looks like for autism, and the incredible difference this can make. We also explore what parents and other professionals should look for to find a neurodiversity-affirming evaluator when making a referral. And Matt reads us a story that he wrote called The Legend of Autistica, which is his poignant, hilarious, and insightful origin story of the Autistic people. This episode is re-release of episode 51.
04/10/20231 hour 3 minutes 47 seconds
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Sensory Processing, Autistic Catatonia, Safety, & Love: An Autistic OT's Perspective with Kim Clairy

In today’s episode, Autistic OT Kim Clairy talks about sensory differences, Autistic catatonia, and interdependence in a way that should be part of our life and graduate school curricula. She weaves in her clinical expertise with her personal story and her poetry, and even brings in a surprise guest at the end. Warning: the ending is so sweet it may leave you in tears.
20/09/202359 minutes 8 seconds
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How Therapists Can Move from Allies to Accomplices with ChrisTiana ObeySumner

Pull up a chair for this conversation! We are going to talk about how intersectionality is like Rubik’s cube, what Plato’s Allegory of the Cave has to do with our therapy work, the Barbie movie, and so much more. This podcast episode was gentle, profound, and transformative. Our guest, ChrisTiana ObeySumner, reminds us that our biases do come out in our work. And, gently, she encourages us to examine them. The 2024 Learn Play Thrive Continuing Education Summit has early bird tickets on sale now! Visit to see the lineup.
06/09/20231 hour 4 minutes 48 seconds
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Let's Talk About Autistic Sex with Sarah Selvaggi Hernandez

In this episode we explore the role of therapists in promoting positive sexual identity and reducing the risk of sexual assault for our clients. Our guest, Sarah Selvaggi Hernandez is an autistic  occupational therapist and educator working to promote an intentional identity-first approach to autism and OT. Promoting bodily autonomy starts with what we teach our youngest clients and how we treat them in our sessions. This is a must-listen episode for all therapists no matter their setting. This is a repeat episode. Sarah Selvaggi-Hernandez' course, Ethics & Neurodiversity: Let's Talk About Sex is now registered for ASWB, ASHA, and AOTA CEUs. Check it out at
16/08/202345 minutes 43 seconds
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Autistic Love, Sex, & Dating with Jen Harr

If you work with kids, here’s the thing: Autistic kids become Autistic adolescents, who may become interested in sex and dating. And if we don’t take the time to learn about what this means for them, as Autistic people, we are likely to miss the mark in how we support them. And if we don’t support them, it’s likely that no one will.The good news is that Autistic social worker Jen Harr is here to talk us through exactly what we should know about Autistic love, dating and romance.And hey social workers, good news! Our course, Ethics & Neurodiversity: Let’s Talk About Sex, is now registered for ASWB CEUs (with more to come!). Check it out, along with our other courses (always registered for ASHA & AOTA CEUs!) at 
02/08/202344 minutes 10 seconds
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How to Align Our Work with Our Deepest Values with Dr. Melanie Heyworth

In this episode, Autistic researcher Dr. Mel Heyworth guides us in completely rethinking the pathologized model of autism. We talk about how we can tell kids they are Autistic, how we can support their passions, and so much more. Dr. Mel Heyworth is the founder of the Australian organization Reframing Autism.
19/07/202355 minutes 11 seconds
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A Therapist's Guide to Supporting Authentic, Autistic Social Communication with Rachel Dorsey and V Tisi

We know by now that Autistic adults are the real experts on how Autistic people experience the world. In this episode, Autistic SLPs Rachel Dorsey and V Tisi take us deeper than we’ve ever gone into how we can understand and support authentic, Autistic social communication in any context. If you listen to this episode and want to keep learning, check out their newly released CE course Let’s UNMASC: Understanding the Needs and Motivations of Autistic Social communication at
05/07/20231 hour 4 minutes 30 seconds
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Organizing for a Better Future with Finn Gardiner

What can those of us working in behaviorally oriented spaces do to try and protect the well-being of our Autistic clients? What impact does shame have on the wellbeing of Autistic kids? What's it like to be a Black Autistic organizer in mostly white spaces? Why should we shift from a charity model to a direct aid model in supporting marginalized groups? In this episode, we dive into all of these issues with Finn Gardner, the Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Autistic People of Color Fund. He is a Boston-based queer, Black, and disabled writer, designer, community organizer, speaker, editor, researcher, advocate, activist, and more. 
21/06/202340 minutes 58 seconds
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Gender-Affirming Voice Care for Autistic Clients with Ruchi Kapila

In this episode we talk about the experience of trans and gender non-conforming Autistic people and their voices. Our guest, SLP Ruchi Kapila, has a really unique practice where they support their clients to use their voices in ways that feel authentic to them and their gender identity. But this episode isn't just for SLP’s: the lessons about gender-affirming care are relevant to all of us supporting Autistic people. 
07/06/202351 minutes 59 seconds
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Who has a seat at the table? Thinking beyond representation and advocacy with Reyma McCoy Hyten

In this episode, Reyma McCoy Hyten helps us explore the root causes of oppression for Autistic people, and sit with the discomfort of examining our role in it. Reyma McCoy Hyten is Autistic and was the first Black woman to ever serve as the US Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner for the Administration on Disabilities. After two decades as a helping professional, Reyma now focuses her work on "how systems create marginalization in the first place.”
17/05/202346 minutes 13 seconds
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Unmasking Autism in Action with Dr. Devon Price

In this episode, our guest, Dr. Devon Price, helps us explore the concepts of masking and authenticity and how we, as professionals supporting Autistic people, can push back against these pressures. We also explore some of the more foundational questions around being Autistic and neurodiversity. Dr. Devon Price is a social psychologist, professor, author, and proudly Autistic person. He has written 'Unmasking Autism' and 'Laziness Doesn't Exist'.
03/05/202352 minutes 4 seconds
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Changing the World with Books, Narwhals, and Letting Kids Say “No” with Lei Wiley-Mydske

This conversation starts with books, then goes into more books, takes a turn into self-advocacy, and then finishes with a powerful message for therapists working with Autistic kids. And if you're wondering, we'll get to the narwhals too. Our guest, Lei Wiley-Mydske, is an Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent and disabled writer, artist, advocate, activist, and parent. Lei runs so many cool projects – including a neurodiversity library inside of a tattoo shop – that we discuss in this episode.
19/04/202333 minutes 27 seconds
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Safety as the Foundation for Everything with Dr. Gillian Boudreau

Often as OTs and SLPs we skip right to teaching our Autistic clients new skills. But what about their feelings of felt safety while they are with us? What work do we need to do so that we can show up calm and connected and ready to support our Autistic kids to feel truly safe enough to learn? Psychologist and school psychologist Dr. Gillian Boudreau talks us through this essential and often over-looked first -step to supporting our Autistic clients. 
05/04/202347 minutes 36 seconds
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Helping Autistic PDAers feel Safe with Casey Ehrlich

Autistic PDAers need different kinds of supports to feel safe. And before we can provide those, we have to get curious and learn about their needs. Casey Ehrlich from At Peace Parents helps us learn how to foster true safety for our PDA clients. Content warning: this episode includes a detailed description of Autistic burnout for a young child. 
15/03/202348 minutes 12 seconds
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Research that Centers Autistic Well-Being as Defined by Autistics with Dr. T.C. Waisman

Far too often research centers outcomes that actually harm Autistic people. Today’s guest, Dr. T.C. Waisman, helps us move toward research that centers Autistic well-being as defined by Autistics. 
01/03/202339 minutes 16 seconds
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Gestalt Language Processing Q&A with Alex Zachos

In this episode, we field listener questions to Alex Zachos of Meaningful Speech to learn how we can more authentically and effectively support kids who learn language through delayed echolalia. This episode is a follow-up to Episode 40 on supporting Gestalt Language Processors. 
15/02/202340 minutes 48 seconds
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The Children Who Deserve a Better World with Meghan Ashburn & Jules Edwards

Today’s guests, Meghan Ashburn from Not an Autism Mom, and Jules Edwards from Autistic, Typing, will be our guides in examining how we as professionals can create the world Autistic kids and their families deserve. Together we’ll dig through everything that is happening now for families of Autistic kids including going through the diagnostic process, finding a community of families for support, and looking for the right professionals to support Autistic kids in an affirming way. Check out Meghan & Jules’ new book, I Will Die on This Hill, at your favorite bookstore!
01/02/202355 minutes 24 seconds
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A Social Curriculum that Centers Authenticity with Carolyn Long and Nick Kelsch

This episode is about how we as therapists build something different to support our autistic clients' social and emotional development, with our ethics and values guiding us and our autistic students as our co-creators. Our guests are SLP Carolyn Long of Social Optics and her student-turned-colleague, Nick.
18/01/202345 minutes 55 seconds
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Sensory Processing in Everyday Life with Dr. Winnie Dunn

Dr. Winnie Dunn totally changed how we think about sensory processing for Autistic people. In this episode, we explore a person-centered, strengths-based way to consider our Autistic clients’ sensory needs in their daily lives. We also get Dr. Dunn’s advice on how to use her tool – The Sensory Profile II – in a way that will make your work easier and more impactful. This is a re-release of episode 16 of the podcast.
21/12/202251 minutes
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How to Reduce Adult Demands to Increase Autistic Joy with Amanda Diekman

There’s a tool that is missing from most of our therapy bags: it’s lowering the demands for our Autistic clients. This tool is irreplaceable for helping Autistic people recover from the burnout cycle, and even for preventing burnout all together. Amanda Diekman (“Low Demand Amanda”) helps us figure out how to do just that. 
07/12/202249 minutes 37 seconds
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Culturally Responsive Therapy for Native Autistic Kids with Jules Edwards

How does the historical and present-day trauma of Native Autistic kids impact their experience of our therapy? And how does the linear worldview of non-Native therapists create a gap between us and our Native clients? In this episode, Jules Edwards, who is Anishinaabe and Autistic, talks about culturally responsive therapy for supporting Native Autistic kids. 
16/11/202251 minutes 7 seconds
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When Autistic Kids Become Adults: Authentic Participation & Community Access with Dr. Kristy Coxon & Dr. Caroline Mills

In this episode, Dr. Kristy Coxon and Dr. Caroline Mills look at how we can support Autistic people’s meaningful participation in daily life as they enter older adulthood. And then they help us apply these lessons to supporting Autistic people of any age, in any setting.
02/11/202252 minutes 16 seconds
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Breaking Out of the Medical Model with Dr. Mel Houser

EPISODE SUMMARYThe medical model is pervasive, and it asks us to silo the health needs of our Autistic clients. But our Autistic clients are full people, and their needs are intertwined. In this episode, Autistic primary care physician Mel Houser helps us reimagine healthcare and other systems that aren't working for the Autistic community, breaking down access barriers and implementing universal design for all neurotypes.
19/10/202252 minutes 16 seconds
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Supporting Multiply Disabled Kids: Parent Perspectives

In this three part episode, we hear from parents of multiply disabled kids on their experiences of inclusion in the schools, collaborating with therapists, and AAC. This episode takes us back in time into the history of the disability rights movement in the US and then to the present day, with practical advice that should guide how we support multiply disabled Autistic clients. Our guests include Taina Moretti, whose son has Angelman Syndrome; Evie Jesperson, whose daughter is Autistic and has CP; and an anonymous caller.
05/10/202248 minutes 50 seconds
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Culturally Responsive Therapy: A Moral Imperative with AC Goldberg

Here’s the truth: if we aren’t engaging in a process to learn about our clients’ cultures and our own biases, we are likely causing harm. In this episode, intersex and transgendered SLP AC Goldberg helps us explore how culturally responsive care can be the difference between causing micro-traumas for our clients or creating meaningful, positive relationships. We talk about gender, race, class and more, bringing it down to the make-or-break moments in our sessions that we may not even notice are happening.
21/09/202251 minutes 28 seconds
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Picky Eating, PDA, & PICA: What Every Feeding Therapist Should Know with Laura Hellfeld

Ready to dive deeper into neurodiversity-affirming approaches to feeding? Our guest Laura Hellfeld, Public Health Nurse, explores the relationship between PDA and feeding, dives into eating disorders, and shares her personal experience with PICA. This episode will take you deeper into dismantling ableist approaches to supporting picky eaters of all ages.
07/09/202246 minutes 9 seconds
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Affirming Approaches to Picky Eating: Moving Beyond Systematic Desensitization with Naureen Hunani

In this episode, neurodivergent RD Naureen Hunani helps us unpack the harm of systematic desensitization for picky eating in autistic kids. Then she lays out a framework for what we can do to support picky eaters in a more affirming way. This episode will inspire you to reassess everything you thought you knew about best practices in feeding therapy. 
17/08/202237 minutes 17 seconds
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Listener Q&A: All About AAC with Kate McLaughlin

Have questions on teaching AAC to your autistic clients? Kate McLaughlin, M.S., CCC-SLP has answers! In this episode we field listener questions to Kate and get her insight on the ins and outs of teaching AAC without prompting, where to start for beginners, getting parent buy-in, working with kids who hit the same button repeatedly, choosing the right software and grid size, paying for devices, and more. Kate brings us back time and time again to the key values of autonomy and authenticity in how we approach AAC. 
03/08/202252 minutes 47 seconds
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Strengths Based Diagnostics & "The Legend of Autistica" with Matt Lowry

In this episode, Autistic psychology practitioner Matt Lowry helps us dive into what a strengths-based diagnostics process looks like for autism, and the incredible difference this can make. We also explore what parents and other professionals should look for to find a neurodiversity-affirming evaluator when making a referral. And Matt reads us a story that he wrote called The Legend of Autistica, which is his poignant, hilarious, and insightful origin story of the Autistic people.
20/07/20221 hour 4 minutes 27 seconds
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We Can't Address Disability Without Addressing Race - with Lydia X. Z. Brown

Lydia X. Z. Brown is an autistic attorney and disability justice advocate who specifically focuses on violence against multiply-marginalized disabled people. Join us as we explore how racism impacts the lives of Brown, Black and Indigenous Autistic people, and what steps therapists should take to move towards an anti-racist practice. This is a replay of episode 3 and we think you just can't hear it enough times.
06/07/202233 minutes 30 seconds
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How To Change the System: An OT, SLP, And Physicist's Story with Sam Brandsen, Janelle Fenwick, & Jenna Meehan

This episode is the story of how an autistic physicist, an autistic occupational therapist, and a neurotypical speech language pathologist came together to try and break down the barriers to truly authentic inclusion for autistic kids in Durham, North Carolina. Our guests, Sam Brandsen, Janelle Fenwick, and Jenna Meehan are a neurodiverse group of therapists, researchers, and parents who set out to identify the barriers to inclusion for autistic kids and then to do the work to dismantle them. They share the resources they created and how we can do the same work in our own communities.
15/06/202254 minutes 30 seconds
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Applying a Disability Studies Lens to Therapy with Chelsea Wallaert

In this episode we explore how our ideas about disability – both as a society and as individual therapists - can deeply impact a parent’s relationship with their child and the child’s own view of themselves. Our guest, Chelsea Wallaert, is an occupational therapist and PhD student in disability studies who is deeply passionate about helping parents have more equitable and positive experiences with their disabled kids, especially during early childhood. Before we as therapists can show up fully for our clients, we must be able to identify ableism in our world and in ourselves and start the work to dismantle it. In this episode we talk about how to do just that. 
01/06/202241 minutes 52 seconds
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Social Learning, Game Theory, & Autistic Girls with Vanessa Gill

In this episode, we explore neurodiversity-affirming social-emotional learning through video games and stories. Our guest, Vanessa Castañeda Gill. Vanessa is autistic and the founder of Social Cipher. Our conversation goes into why game-based learning works, and how we can teach some of the most important social and emotional lessons in our work with autistic clients.You can check out Social Cipher at and if you decide you want to purchase it,  use coupon code LPT15 for 15% off. 
18/05/202243 minutes 27 seconds
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Let's Talk About Autistic Sex with Sarah Selvaggi Hernandez

In this episode we explore the role of therapists in promoting positive sexual identity and reducing the risk of sexual assault for our clients. Our guest, Sarah Selvaggi Hernandez is an autistic  occupational therapist and educator working to promote an intentional identity-first approach to autism and OT. Promoting bodily autonomy starts with what we teach our youngest clients and how we treat them in our sessions. This is a must-listen episode for all therapists no matter their setting.
04/05/202246 minutes 5 seconds
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Comprehensive Literacy with Jane Farrall

In this episode we explore how a comprehensive literacy framework can totally transform how we approach speech and OT goals around reading and writing. Our guest, Jane Farrall, is a speech pathologist and special educator with extensive training and experience in literacy. This episode covers how SLPs and OTs can support reading comprehension and writing development in the larger frame of literacy.
20/04/202256 minutes 27 seconds
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Autism & Interoception with Kelly Mahler

In this episode we dive into interoception, our ability to understand the messages we are getting from inside our bodies. Our guest, Kelly Mahler, makes the connection between interoception and truly neurodiversity-affirming therapy practices. Kelly Mahler presents internationally on interoception and has authored 12 resources, including The Interoception Curriculum. This episode covers how a deeper understanding of interoception can help us support authentic self-regulation for our autistic clients.
06/04/202233 minutes 48 seconds
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Creating a Meaningful Life: Authentic Approaches Across the Lifespan with Maisie Soetantyo

In this episode, we talk about what it means to cultivate an authentic life together with our autistic clients, from early childhood through adulthood. Our guest, Maisie Soetantyo, is an openly autistic family and inclusivity consultant who founded the Autism Career Pathways. She’s worked with families for 3 decades and believes that nurturing one's autistic authenticity is a critical first foundation to meaningful self-advocacy, career path and living the best life as an autistic person. This episode covers parent coaching in touch situations, cultivating a growth mindset, creating opportunities for meaningful work for our clients, and more. 
16/03/202244 minutes 45 seconds
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Inclusive, Strengths-Based Preschool with Corrie Price

In this episode with preschool director Corrie Price, we go into exactly how you can build neurodiverse, inclusive early childhood spaces from the ground up and from the top down. Corrie Price is a life-long advocate for children and families and the director of Evolve Early Learning, an inclusive preschool in Asheville, NC.
02/03/202250 minutes
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Nigh Functioning Autism: From Shame to Empowerment with Tiffany Joseph

In this episode with autistic AAC user Tiffany Joseph, we cover functioning labels, AAC access, how race intersects with disability in the autistic community, aggressive behaviors, and so much more. But the thread that runs throughout the conversation is empowering our clients to participate more authentically in their daily life. Tiffany Joseph, or TJ, is autistic and runs the Instagram and Facebook pages 'Nigh Functioning Autism', where she posts about AAC, being black and autistic, epilepsy, ADHD, OCD, and more. 
16/02/202222 minutes 21 seconds
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Delayed Echolalia & Gestalt Language Processors with Alexandria Zachos

In this episode we deeply explore how therapists misunderstand kids who communicate using scripts, how traditional approaches just don’t work to support their language acquisition, and a totally new framework we can all use to support them in a meaningful way. Our guest, Alexandria Zachos, is a speech-language pathologist who has presented at ASHA and all over the world on delayed echolalia and gestalt language processing. She owns a private practice in Illinois called Social Butterfly Speech Therapy and runs Meaningful Speech, where she teaches an online course on gestalt language processing and shares tons of absolutely transformative content on social media. You can check out Alex’s online course at
02/02/202251 minutes 54 seconds
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Neurodiversity-Affirming Approaches to Social & Emotional Learning with Katrina Martin and Kat Harhai

Kat Harhai is a facilitator, educator, and writer, and currently works as the Neurodiversity Collaboration Facilitator at Bridges Learning System. She is multiply disabled and was late diagnosed as autistic as a young adult. Katrina Martin is the founder of Bridges Learning System. Katrina is fully dedicated to moving beyond the deficit-based model of education for autistic students and moving into a model that focuses on strengths and teaches the benefits and values inherent in diverse ways of thinking. In this episode we talk about social and emotional learning from a neurodiversity-affirming perspective…and we don’t just talk about what NOT to do, we get really specific about a beautiful model called the Social-Emotional Acuity Bridge that Kat, Katrina, and their team have developed that everyone can use in their own work.
19/01/202241 minutes 3 seconds
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Autistic Motherhood & Self-Advocacy with Sarah Selvaggi Hernandez

Sarah Selvaggi Hernandez is an occupational therapist and educator working to promote an intentional identity-first approach to autism and OT. She’s also a mother to three neurodiverse children. In this episode, we explore Sarah’s experiences as an autistic mother, the types of supports that help her thrive in her daily routines, and her own process of self-advocacy. Then we apply this insight to the clinical work of anyone working with autistic children, children with autistic mothers, and autistic mothers themselves.
01/12/202148 minutes 31 seconds
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How Behaviorism Hurts Kids with Greg Santucci

Greg Santucci is an occupational therapist and the founder of Power Play Pediatric Therapy. Greg provides workshops and trainings to parents and professionals all over the country on compassionate, collaborative, and neuro-developmentally informed approaches. In this episode we talk about how restraint, seclusion, and behaviorism harm kids, and why they are more prevalent than we’d like to admit. Greg shares how he fights these practices on the ground as a school-based OT and at the policy level. And finally, we explore Greg’s Model of Child Engagement as an alternative to behavioral approaches.
17/11/202145 minutes 48 seconds
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AAC & Authentic Participation with part-time AAC user Dr. Alyssa Hillary Zisk

Dr. Alyssa Hillary Zisk is autistic, a part-time AAC user, and a recent graduate from the interdisciplinary neuroscience program at the University of Rhode Island. In this episode, we talk about why and how part-time AAC use can support authentic participation for many autistic people. We also explore Alyssa’s insights on teaching AAC from Alyssa's perspective as an engineer, as a researcher, and as an AAC user.
03/11/202150 minutes 20 seconds
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The Neurodiversity Paradigm & Strengths-Based Goals with Rachel Dorsey

Rachel Dorsey is an Autistic SLP in private practice, a consultant, and the creator of a new Learn Play Thrive course, Goal Writing for Autistic Students: A Neurodiversity-Affirming Approach. In episode 35, we cover the basics of the neurodiversity paradigm and why and how to write strengths-based goals. Rachel also gives us the inside scoop on her own journey towards neurodiversity-affirming practice. 
20/10/202149 minutes 53 seconds
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Strengths-Based Early Intervention & Parenting with Rachel Coley

Rachel Coley is an OT and mom of three kids, one of whom is autistic. She’s also the founder of CanDo Kiddo, where she gives strengths-based strategies for supporting infant development. In this episode Rachel and I talk about how her OT practice has grown and changed to embrace a neurodiversity-affirming, strengths-based approach. We dive into what it means to be strengths-based with very early development, and concrete ways that schools and school-based therapists can better support neurodivergent kids at every level. 
06/10/202152 minutes 25 seconds
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The Sensory Experiences of Autistic Mothers with Moyna Talcer

Moyna Talcer is an autistic occupational therapist and researcher who conducted a qualitative study on the sensory experiences of autistic mothers. Her findings have implications for the ways we support not only autistic mothers, but all autistic people, starting in childhood.
15/09/202150 minutes 18 seconds
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Executive Function Supports for Everyday Life with Oswin Latimer

Oswin Latimer is the founder and President of Foundations for Divergent Minds (FDM) and former Director of Community Engagement for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN). In this episode, Oswin and I talk about the specific executive function strategies we can use to support our autistic clients’ participation in meaningful daily activities. 
01/09/20211 hour 1 minute 6 seconds
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The Neurobiology of Executive Function Differences with Dr. Andrew Gordon

Dr. Andrew Gordon is a cognitive neuroscientist specializing in memory, decision making, cognitive control, and misinformation research. This episode is a deep dive into a study conducted by Dr. Gordon and a team of researchers on how executive function differences really show up neurologically for autistic people. And what they found in the study wasn’t that autistic people had executive function deficits, but that they used their executive control networks differently. In this episode, Dr. Gordon explores this research and its implications. This is part one of a two-part series on executive function. In the next episode, we’ll go even deeper into the practical ways we can support autistic people in their daily lives. 
18/08/202131 minutes 47 seconds
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Strengths-Based Approaches in Action: Parent / Professional Collaboration

Michelle Neuringer is mom to an autistic 6 year old and neurotypical 9 year old. She’s committed to deeply learning from and about her daughter throughout her parenting journey. Jane Sloan, who teaches Michelle's daughter, is a seasoned educator with a deep passion and gift for partnering with parents. Listen into the episode to discover what a collaborative parent / professional relationship combined with a strengths-based approach truly looks like, and the concrete ways that you can translate this to your professional therapy practice. 
04/08/202153 minutes 41 seconds
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Teaching Self-Advocacy with Dr. Stephen Shore

Dr. Stephen Shore is an autistic advocate, consultant, writer, professor at Adelphi University, and adjunct professor at NYU. His work focuses on aligning best practice in supporting autistic people to lead fulfilling and productive lives. He’s a co-author of the book Ask and Tell: Self-Advocacy and Disclosure for People on the Autism Spectrum. Join us in Episode 29 where we:Learn Dr. Shore’s step-by-step framework for teaching self-advocacyLearn how to effectively scaffold self-advocacy so our clients feel supported and successfulExplore how self-advocacy is an essential component for supporting our autistic clientsApply Dr. Shore’s self-advocacy framework to specific case studies 
21/07/202127 minutes 54 seconds
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Being Black & Autistic: Mental Health, Bias, and Alternatives to Police Intervention with Timotheus Gordon

Timotheus Gordon Jr. blogs and posts on social media as The Black Autist. His posts center on autism acceptance, race, disability, and the latest news relevant for autistic people who are black, indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC). Join us in episode 28 where we talk about:   Racism and exclusion within the disability communityThe stories of BIPOC autistic people interacting with policeReal, replicable community-based alternatives to police intervention in crisis and the Community Emergency Services & Supports Act, expected to pass in IllinoisTimotheus’s advice to therapists working with BIPOC autistic people.This is an important conversation you don’t want to miss.
07/07/202131 minutes 35 seconds
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AAC and Autonomous Communication With Kate McLaughlin

Kate McLaughlin, M.S., CCC-SLP (“The AAC Coach” on social media) is a Speech-Language Pathologist specializing in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) for individuals with complex communication needs. She believes that autonomous communication, inclusion, and self-determination are fundamental human rights. Listen into this episode as we explore:The difference between autonomous and independent communication, and how understanding this distinction can open up new opportunities for our clientsWhat it means to be an “emergent communicator” and tons of specific ways we can support them4 concrete strategies we can use to teach robust AAC in a respectful and engaging way (Spoiler: not a single one of these strategies is prompting!) 
16/06/202143 minutes 59 seconds
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Reframing Social Differences for Autistic Kids with Rachel Dorsey, Autistic SLP

Rachel Dorsey is Autistic and an ASHA-Certified Speech-Language Pathologist. Join us in episode 26 as we totally overhaul everything you thought you knew about the social skills of autistic people. In this episode, we dive into:Rachel’s own experience as an autistic person with neurodiverse and neurodivergent friendshipsThe subtle and insidious ways that OTs and SLPs are teaching our autistic kids to hide their own thoughts and emotions, even when we think we aren’tThe surprisingly negative ways that traditional social and social/emotional interventions can play out throughout a child’s lifeHow we can use a neurodiversity-affirming approach instead to support our clients’ strengths and their sense of positive self-identity and belonging 
02/06/202147 minutes 49 seconds
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Empathy, Autistic Shutdowns, & A Strengths-Based Life with Elsbeth Dodman

Elsbeth Dodman is an autistic artist, creative writer, and public speaker. Tune into episode 25 where we talk about:Elsbeth’s own experience with autistic shutdowns, and the concrete strategies that helped her work through themElsbeth’s brilliant reframe of what “Whole Body Listening” means and why autistic people are actually quite good at itWhat it looks like when we turn the mirror onto neurotypicals and examine concepts like rigidity and empathyHow Elsbeth built a life on her strengths, and how we can support our clients to do the same 
19/05/202153 minutes 17 seconds
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A Family-Centered Approach to PDA with Kristy Forbes

Kristy Forbes. Kristy is an autistic support specialist for neurodivergent people and their families and professionals. She is the founding director of both inTune Pathways and The Neurodivergent Co. Kristy is autistic with ADHD and a Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) profile. She is also the mother to 4 autistic kids. Listen into episode 24 where we explore:Kristy’s experience as a PDA autistic person, professional, and parentHow we can use a family-centered approach to both support our autistic clients and help meet the needs of the whole familyKristy’s biggest advice to professionals supporting autistic people with a PDA profile 
05/05/202144 minutes 14 seconds
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This episode has been removed
21/04/202127 seconds
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Authenticity & Gender Expression with Lyric Holmans, The Neurodivergent Rebel

Lyric Holmans is an autistic self-advocate from Texas who runs the neurodiversity lifestyle blog Neurodivergent Rebel. In episode 22, you’ll learn about Lyric’s own experience as a gender fluid autistic person. And we’ll tie this into authenticity in general, including what we can all be doing in our sessions to support positive identity around gender and sexuality. Please note that this episode was recorded before Lyric's name change from Christa.
07/04/202139 minutes 31 seconds
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Self-Advocacy & Inclusivity: Changing the Paradigm with Zosia Zaks

Zosia Zaks is a certified rehabilitation counselor, author, and autistic self-advocate. He manages the Towson University's Hussman Center for Adults with Autism, where he teaches service-learning courses that examine autism through a social justice lens. Listen to episode 21 where we explore:How diversity education can truly shift the paradigm to make disability inclusion more effective and empowering for everyoneWhy attitudinal accommodations are the key to positive inclusion for autistic peopleThe concrete ways OTs can support autistic people at workWhat true self-advocacy looks like and why and how to start it youngHow everyone benefits from accommodations and advocacy strategies used by disabled people 
17/03/202159 minutes 36 seconds
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Pro-Neurodiversity Practices in Action with Jacklyn Googins & Greg Boheler

Jacklyn Googins is the cofounder of the OTs for Neurodiversity social media movement and the founder of B3 Coffee, an inclusive pop-up coffee stand in Chapel Hill, NC. Greg Boheler, who is autistic, is the cofounder of OTs for Neurodiversity and a board member for B3 Coffee. Join us in Episode 21 where we:Explore the practical changes that OTs for Neurodiversity strives to make in the field of occupational therapy, and how these can completely transform the work we doDive into concrete examples of the content that Jacklyn and Greg create, including how we can shift our thinking on both echolalia and sensory processing differences towards a more strengths-based, person-centered approachLook deeply at the B3 Coffee model and learn how inclusivity and neurodiversity can truly benefit everyone 
03/03/202140 minutes 44 seconds
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The Double Empathy Problem with Dr. Damian Milton

Damian Milton is an autistic researcher whose idea spawned a huge shift in how we think about autism.  In this episode, listen in as we explore: - How Damian developed his hypothesis that the trouble with empathy and social skills is a two-way street between autistic and non-autistic people, not a deficit of autistic people - What early research Damian did to confirm this hypothesis - One thing Damian would love to see OTs stop doing with social stories and comic strip interventions with autistic clients - A tip for how to better approach sensory processing challenges with autistic kids, with a cautionary tale from his own life 
17/02/202138 minutes 19 seconds
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There's No Function without Fun with Autism Level Up

Jacquelyn Fede is a developmental psychologist and autistic self-advocate and Amy Laurent is a developmental psychologist and pediatric occupational therapist. They are the co-founders of Autism Level Up, where they push people who support and care for autistic people to take our work to the next level. This talk is an edited replay of their interview for the Neurodiversity in the New Year summit. Listen in to the episode to transform your idea of what it means to do play interventions with kids on the spectrum. We’ll dive deep into:How play interventions may be robbing autistic kids of the chance for true, restorative, freely chosen playHow we can reframe developmental interventions that use toys or playful activities, but are not truly play for our clientsWhat it means to truly watch, learn from, and listen to our clients as they joyfully engage in true play 
03/02/202134 minutes 58 seconds
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Cultural Bilingualism & The Autistic Empire with Sarah McCulloch

Sarah McCulloch is an autistic occupational therapist based in London, the senior OT in a school for autistic kids, and the founder of The Autistic Empire.  Listen in to episode 17 as we explore:The question we should all be asking ourselves before we start any interventionWhy the best approaches to therapy require the perspective of both autistic and non-autistic therapistsThe important shift Sarah recommends we all make in our work around sensory aversionsHow The Autistic Empire is promoting self-actualization for autistic people (and how we all can too!) 
20/01/202147 minutes 27 seconds
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Navigating Sensory Processing Differences with Dr. Winnie Dunn

Dr. Winnie Dunn is a distinguished professor of occupational therapy at the University of Missouri, the author of the Sensory Profile, and a trailblazer in occupational therapy research and practice. Dr. Dunn’s latest research focuses on parent coaching and occupations in everyday life.  Listen in to episode 16 as we explore:How to understand sensory processing differences using a strengths-based lensHow and why to support our clients in their everyday lives - even if we work in contrived settingsDr. Winnie Dunn’s surprising advice on how to use the Sensory Profile that may make your work so much easierDr. Dunn’s advice to OTs that brought us both to tears 
06/01/202149 minutes 39 seconds
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Promoting Positive Autistic Self-Identity with Sarah Selvaggi Hernandez

Sarah Selvaggi Hernandez is an occupational therapist and educator working to promote an intentional identity-first approach to autism and OT. Listen in to the episode as we dive deep into:- Why we should be focused on the development of positive identity for our autistic clients, and what might be getting in our way- Concrete strategies we can use to help our clients flourish, inspired by the occupational science philosophy of doing, being, belonging, and becoming- Sarah’s powerful message to parents of newly diagnosed autistic children 
02/12/202045 minutes 39 seconds
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Strengths Based Approaches in Action: Answering Listener Questions with Matt Braun

Dr. Matt Braun is a speech language pathologist who owns a private practice in the Kansas City area. His doctoral thesis examined whether OTs and SLPs write our goals and evaluations from a strengths or deficits-based perspective. This episode is the third in a three-part series. First check out episodes 4 and 12, then join Dr. Braun in this episode we:- Explore what real, strengths-based, in-context intervention looks likes- Answer all of your listener questions about IEPs, reducing paperwork time, working with parents, and more! 
18/11/202059 minutes 7 seconds
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Trauma Sensitive OT Practices with Elizabeth Sherman

Elizabeth is an autistic adult and licensed occupational therapist who specializes in trauma-sensitive practices. Elizabeth is a lifelong learner with an innovative OT practice informed by so many areas of study.  Listen in to this episode as we explore:- Why trauma-sensitive practices are essential for our work with autistic people- What Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive yoga is, and how Elizabeth uses it her work- Concrete, easy-to-apply trauma sensitive practices we can all start implementing right away- How mutual aid and autistic community can (and should!) play into our work with families- Elizabeth’s simple but profound takeaway for OTs (hint: it’s not that we should be doing more in our sessions)  
04/11/202050 minutes 25 seconds
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Writing Strengths-Based Goals & Evaluations with Dr Scott Tomchek and Dr. Evan Dean

Dr. Evan Dean, PhD, OTR/L, is Assistant Research Professor at the University of Kansas and Associate Director at the Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities.  His research focuses on promoting community participation for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities through enhancing self-determination, supported decision making and career design.  Dr. Scott Tomchek, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA is Professor of Pediatrics and Assistant Director of the Weisskopf Child Evaluation Center at the University of Louisville.  He co-authored the AOTA practice guidelines on autism. Strengths-based, family-centered care is central to all programs he touches. Listen into this episode as we dive deep into:- The question you’ve all been emailing me to ask: How do we write strengths based evaluations and goals!?- And then the other question on the mind of U.S.-based providers: How do we get insurance to pay when writing strengths-based evaluations?- And mo
21/10/202052 minutes 1 second
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Self-Advocacy, Work, & Autistic Girls and Women with Emily Lees

Emily Lees is an autistic speech and language therapist and an advocate for pro-neurodiversity approaches.  Listen to the interview with Emily as we explore:- The unique challenges and strengths that being autistic presents to girls, and Emily’s own journey of being misdiagnosed in her adolescence- Emily’s experience with job interviews and work, and the types of supports we should consider for other autistic adolescents and adults in the job interview process- How Emily teaches self-advocacy to her students, and her unexpected response when a student says “Leave me alone” - The ways that Emily’s autism can be a strength for her as a speech language pathologist and as a role model for girls 
07/10/202053 minutes 31 seconds
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Transforming the Parent Experience with Jen Schonger

Jen Schonger is the Program Manager at the New Jersey Autism Center of Excellence and the mom to two daughters, one of whom is autistic. She is so insightful and is an incredible advocate for parents and for autistic children.  Listen to this episode as we:- Explore the surprising blindspots many OTs have when working with parents- Learn about the concrete things that helped Jen develop a positive, empowering understanding of autism, and how we can help other parents to do the same- Discover the shifts that therapists can make to transform the parent experience starting from the very first session and continuing through their work together- Get Jen's savvy advice about working with parents who want something different than the neurodiversity approach- Dive into Jen’s suggestions for school-based OTs about the most important thing they can be doing to support autistic students 
23/09/202051 minutes 53 seconds
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The Power of Presuming Competence with Non-speaking AAC User Ido Kedar

Ido Kedar is an autistic-self advocate and the author of a two books. He is a non-speaking autistic person who uses a voice-output typing device to communicate. Listen to my interview with Ido as we discuss:- His experience with OT, speech, and ABA before he had a way to communicate when no one was presuming his competence- How learning to communicate changed everything, and why learning to spell and type isn’t a simple as it sounds- Why Ido doesn’t like labels like “high functioning” and “low functioning”- What sensory and executive functioning supports Ido found helpful in his journey, and what outdated strategies he wishes therapists would leave behind- Ido’s advice to therapists who write goals to suppress stimming- Ido’s concrete challenge to our listeners who want to better understand the perspective of our non-speaking clients 
09/09/202027 minutes 23 seconds
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Fostering Emotional Well-Being in Our Sessions for Our Clients and Ourselves with Deirdre Azzopardi

Deirdre Azzopardi is an occupational therapist with over 25 years of experience who has invested years into continuing education related to social and emotional learning for kids with disabilities. Join into the conversation as we explore:- How we are missing out on a huge opportunity for our autistic clients by overlooking exercise in favor of non-aerobic “sensory processing” activities.- Why the stress and boredom that school-based therapists often bring to our sessions may be negatively impacting our outcomes, and what to do about it. (Spoiler: the answer is super fun).- How and why to teach simple mindfulness activities in our sessions and in our whole-class instruction.- How to love your job more and better connect with your autistic students starting tomorrow. Listening on the way to work? You can even start today.  
26/08/202042 minutes 31 seconds
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A Different Approach to Self Regulation with Autism Level Up

Jacquelyn Fede is a developmental psychologist and autistic self-advocate and Amy Laurent is a developmental psychologist and pediatric occupational therapist. They are the co-founders of Autism Level Up! where they challenge OTs to listen to autistic voices and level up our work with people on the spectrum. Join in the conversation as we: - Explore why the emotional model of regulation may not connect with many autistic people- Dive deep into how to support autistic clients using three the Autism Level Up tools: the Energy Regulator, the Person in Context, and the Power Plan- Breakthrough the myth that “calm” is the right energy state for every context, and get clear on what we can aim for instead- Move towards a context-driven and empowering model of intervention for self-regulation 
12/08/202047 minutes 38 seconds
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Lessons from a Black Autistic Behavioral Therapist with Joy F. Johnson

Joy F. Johnson is a black, autistic behavioral therapist who runs Spectrum Support Services. She brings a new perspective to the podcast in so many ways. Join into the conversation as we discuss:- How joy uses her behavioral training to help keep black autistic kids safe when interacting with the police, and what strategies we all should be using to do the same- Joy’s take on behavioral strategies that we've been critiquing on this podcast like planned ignoring, using reinforcers, and using hand-over-hand assistance from her perspective person who is trained in ABA and also black and autistic- Joy's experiences with racism and ableism in the United States- Why Joy loves watching credits, the surprising doors her interests have opened for her in adulthood, and several important reasons why we shouldn’t withhold an autistic person’s interests from them 
29/07/202043 minutes 36 seconds
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Why OT Must Be Different From ABA with Greg Santucci, OTR/L

Greg is a pediatric occupational therapist who presents workshops nationally on topics related to sensory processing, challenging behaviors, and improving school-based therapy services.  Greg is a huge advocate for best practice in OT. Join us as we discuss:- Why OTs already have the skills we need to work effectively and respectfully with our autistic clients, but often don't use them- How behavioral approaches such as planned ignoring and token boards can be harmful to our autistic clients- What empowering strategies we should all be using instead 
15/07/202038 minutes 51 seconds
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A Strengths-Based Approach to Autism Interventions with Dr. Kristie Patten

Kristie Patten is the chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy at New York University whose cutting-edge work focuses on using strength-based approaches in autism. Join us in this episode as we delve into:- How most OTs wound up using a deficits-based model with autistic kids and why this is not serving our clients well- Why we should move away from withholding kids' interests from them. We'll also talk about how first-then schedules and even limiting screen time may fall into this category - How we can support autistic clients to build from their strengths to support their joy and participation in life, leisure, and work- What we should be doing instead of social skills groups- Why it's really easy to be a bad therapist and really hard to be a good one (plus some concrete steps to take to help get us there!) 
01/07/202045 minutes 36 seconds
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Dismantling Racism & Ableism with Lydia X. Z. Brown

Lydia X. Z. Brown is an autistic attorney and disability justice advocate who specifically focuses on violence against multiply-marginalized disabled people. In this episode, join us as we:- Dive deep into how white supremacy and white privilege play out for autistic kids- Learn how systematic racism and trauma impact the diagnosis and treatment of autistic kids, including the unexamined racism of many  OTs- Explore the role that police and prisons play in the schools and lives of autistic black, brown, indigenous, Asian, and POC kids- Discuss concrete steps OTs can take to become anti-racist in their work 
17/06/202031 minutes 11 seconds
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The Double Empathy Problem with Dr. Damian Milton

Damian Milton is an autistic researcher whose idea spawned a huge shift in how we think about autism.  In this episode, listen in as we explore:- How Damian  developed his hypothesis that the trouble with empathy and social  skills is a two-way street between autistic and non-autistic people, not a deficit of autistic people- What early research Damian did to confirm this hypothesis- One thing Damian would love to see OTs stop doing with social stories and comic strip interventions with autistic clients- A tip for how to better approach sensory processing challenges with autistic kids, with a cautionary tale from his own life 
03/06/202036 minutes 53 seconds
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Respecting Autistic Voices with Sarah Selvaggi Hernandez (The Autistic OT)

Welcome to episode 1! In this episode Sarah and I dive deep into how our OT practices can better reflect our respect for autistic voices and our autistic clients. Join us while we:- Revisit how the podcast idea was born and named- Explore the most pressing reasons not to use hand-over-hand assistance with autistic kids (I'll also talk about why we say "autistic" not "kids with autism")- Discuss autonomy, sex, race, the foster system, and so much more- Explore the most pressing changes needed by OTs working with autistic people, and what concrete steps we can take to get there 
19/05/20201 hour 54 seconds