By: Laura Petix, MS OTR/LEPISODE 48


In this episode, you might notice that we use identify first language, which means we say things like “Autistic person” rather than “person with Autism”. This is inline with what most of the Autistic community has been voicing as they celebrate Autism as part of their identity, something to be proud of and something that can’t be taken away from them, if this is new for you, please have an open mind about that. Our goal is to de-stigmatize Autism and celebrate it! 

Secondly,  you’ll hear Andi talk a lot about subtle signs and less common traits of Autism and if you don’t have a child with a diagnosis yet or this is something on your mind, know that if you resonate with some things in this episode, it doesn’t automatically mean your child is on the spectrum. We just want to spread awareness and education on all the different ways Autistic individuals can learn and behave so we can be more inclusive in our interactions with them in daily life.

P.S. New workshop alert! Join now

Demystifying Meltdowns Workshop for Parents

Looking for the best ways to support your neurodivergent child through intense, 20+ minute long meltdowns? The answer lies in supporting them through all 4 stages: before, during, after and BETWEEN the meltdowns. Grab this pre-recorded workshop for my step by step guidance.

Celebrating Autism with a Neurodiverse Affirming Lens
Read the full transcript below (*It is automatically generated using the zoom caption, I apologize for and typos or disjointed phrases)  10:40:02 Ok. 10:40:07 Hello, Andy, I'm so happy to have you with me today? 10:40:09 How are you, hey? I'm doing good how are you I'm great, I'm excited to have this conversation with...

Read the full transcript below (*It is automatically generated using the zoom caption, I apologize for and typos or disjointed phrases)  10:40:02 Ok. 10:40:07 Hello, Andy, I’m so happy to have you with me today? 10:40:09 How are you, hey? I’m doing good how are you I’m great, I’m excited to have this conversation with you. 10:40:16 Thank you for taking time out of your weekend to talk about. 10:40:21 I think one of your favorite topics one of your passion topics. Am I? I don’t think i’m assuming too much by that right? 10:40:29 No autism is something I can talk about over and over and over and all day long. 10:40:32 So, and it’s so important so anyone who’s here right now. 10:40:35 Obviously you clicked on this. podcast you saw the title of it we’re talking about autism, but more specifically how one I want to touch on how we should be thinking about autism in 2,022 and then more importantly 10:40:49 how we can have these conversations around around our kids if your child is autistic, or you have siblings or friends, or even family members who just need a little bit of help. 10:41:04 Understanding everything that autism entails, and really the beauty of it, and how we can shift our mindset around how we think about autism. 10:41:12 So, andy i’ll let you give a quick introduction to yourself. 10:41:16 I don’t think I could do it justice but I just i’m gonna plug her instagram here, because she has some of the best quick bites. Sized infographics that give a lot of really good information that is 10:41:29 narrow, diverse, affirming, and is just really easy to understand things. 10:41:34 So andy. please tell us a little bit more about who you are where you’re from, and how you found this as your niche topic. 10:41:42 Sure. So my name is Andy. I am a speech language pathologist, and I live in Texas. 10:41:50 I actually work in the public school system, and that is how I got interested in autism assessment. 10:41:58 So I was on an autism evaluation team, and it was really I mean, I had always loved autistic kids like I just. 10:42:05 I had grabitated towards them, they were kind of my favorite, and then, when I started doing these evaluations, it really opened my eyes into what all autism was made me realize I had a totally missed kids because I 10:42:18 didn’t know what I was looking for. you know and then. once you start really doing that, and I had amazing mentors who I think, made or would make or break anybody who was doing that. 10:42:29 I just got really lucky and then, as I started Miss Bjp. 10:42:36 It was more on the speech side and then I was realizing people just didn’t know what autism was, and so when I would talk about that, it just got a lot of responses, and so it kind of evolved from helping parents 10:42:50 to work with their kids for teaching language at home to understanding autism. 10:42:54 And now it’s kind of just like a mix of everything because I can’t just pick one small thing there’s so many things to talk about, and I love that’s one thing I do love about Instagram is that it allows us 10:43:04 to first start with things that we think are our main passion topic. and then the conversation gets shifted, based on what people comment and questions they ask, and I’m like that is a great question. 10:43:13 And then you could dive into an entire series of posts and uncover so much more and learn so much more along the way It’s there’s definitely some cons to social media. 10:43:22 But right now i’m choosing to embrace all of the pros, because there’s so many things that I wouldn’t know today if it were not for Instagram like that same plane that Instagram has just really been a really 10:43:36 good place of support. but a lot of information and I think It gets a bad rap from people who are not on social media. 10:43:43 That’s a whole it’s a whole different conversation but i’m glad that you’re here. 10:43:47 And why don’t we start out there because you mentioned how there’s a lot of misunderstandings about autism, and I have experienced this both personally when I reflect things I used to think about autistic individuals before I 10:44:01 was an ot. But then, even as an ot when I would see a diagnosis on a client’s pay on a client’s form, or how I would think about them, when I would learn that I would get a new client 10:44:11 who was autistic. I had all these preconceived notions about them. But I want to hear from you and anyone who’s listening whether it’s new to you or you’re wanting to learn a new way to talk about 10:44:23 it, Andy, in 2,022. How can you give us a brief summary, or your best introduction to people who need to understand autism more like? 10:44:33 How would you define it to someone who doesn’t know anything about autism at all? 10:44:40 Sure. So I think the biggest thing is I mean, I feel like most people have heard of the word autism right? 10:44:48 And so they have. They already have ideas about what it means. 10:44:52 And so usually I tell people to just kind, of forget everything that you think, you know, because it’s likely based in stereotypes could be true for some kids, maybe even half the kids But it’s not going to be true for all 10:45:04 of the kids. So kind of letting go of some of that is, I think, huge. 10:45:08 First a lot of people. It was big for me and and it can really change how you view autism. 10:45:17 So when I am looking at a child for diagnostic purposes to see if they I do with educational eligibility, i’m looking at differences in 3 areas. 10:45:28 So the first one would be language development. So some kids will. 10:45:34 They can. They are late talkers, right? so We those are pretty stereotypical with the late talkers or non-speaking kids. 10:45:42 But a lot of people don’t realize that they could also have advanced language skills. 10:45:45 Really large vocabularies. And just how they develop language can be different. 10:45:52 The next area is socialization. So again, people think this means anti, social, and it doesn’t mean antisocial. 10:46:02 For some people it does mean they prefer to be alone. 10:46:04 But for a lot of people it means I want to be social. 10:46:07 I want to be around People I want to have friends but I do it differently, and sometimes that can not be welcomed from other people, because neurotypical people learn these really rigid social roles and autistic people 10:46:20 don’t have that so they didn’t learn it just by observing other people, and it doesn’t make sense to them if you explicitly say that to them so it can look very different. 10:46:30 But it’s just differences in how we socialize how we communicate in a social manner. 10:46:34 And then the last area covers a whole lot so it’s like the repetitive behaviors, or movements like flapping and finger posturing. 10:46:44 It could be re preferring routine. it could be lining up items, and then it can also be sensory differences. 10:46:51 And I know people listening to your podcast very familiar with that part. 10:46:55 And I get that question a lot. too, it’s like what’s the difference between spd and autism, and like Sd is just that one small part of autism. 10:47:05 And autism is really a huge umbrella of patterns of differences, and not just one thing. 10:47:11 That is a really great way to lay that out objectively for parents and I like how the language that you use keeps coming back to just they socialize differently, and they have differences in the way that their brains look and 10:47:25 it’s just the word different. I think is I think some even even the word difference, as we’re using it to be more neurodivers affirming just the idea of being neurod divergent meaning like a different pathway a different 10:47:39 just not the same as Uri. that makes sense to me. 10:47:43 But still some parents Hear the word different and feel like I don’t want my child to be different, and that’s when I when I can tell the conversation goes that way when I hear from parents who are like i’m concerned my child might be 10:47:57 autistic or i’m worried are they autistic and think a lot of that just comes from the misunderstanding that our culture surrounds around that. 10:48:06 And there’s some like that first step like you’re talking about. Forget everything you know about autism, because that’s that inner work. 10:48:13 I think that parents need to come to terms with before now. 10:48:18 Obviously, i’ve seen on your instagram, and one of the other like little niche expertise parts that you have is the that autism and girls looks different. 10:48:28 And so the main question I have in regards. to that is I get a lot of dams from parents, and I’ve thought this as well where people are like. 10:48:35 See my daughter might be autistic might not be autistic she’s right on the border. 10:48:38 I know girls present differently. we’ve had her tested they said no. 10:48:43 I still think she might be what should I Do i’ll tell you what I end up suggesting how I talk about it. 10:48:50 I’m curious about what you think as well my thought is and this is my thought process for me with my daughter is I’m not totally sure yet what I haven’t fully ruled out autism for my daughter, and i’ll say that people ask 10:49:02 them all the time. Every professional I quickly consult with says no right away. 10:49:08 But I have in the back of my mind that I know. 10:49:12 Autism looks different and presents different girls, but i’m like much do I even really need to push for that label or for that particular diagnosis, because i’m not looking for a particular service that needs that autism 10:49:25 diagnosis, even with the insurance I have they said Even if she worked to have a diagnosis of that, it still would not it doesn’t automatically qualify her for ot. 10:49:33 The only thing I really want for my daughter is ot services and some play therapy services and an autism diagnosis doesn’t guarantee that. 10:49:41 So what does that label really truly mean to me or my daughter? 10:49:45 Even like in the future, right, because I already educate her that her brain learns differently, and that she’s narrow, divergent. 10:49:52 And that’s a beautiful thing and our brains are different from each other. 10:49:55 So she’s already got that resilient language and confidence that i’m trying to build for her. 10:50:01 But I’m. Curious what you say to parents who are like i’m on the fence does this matter? 10:50:08 Why would I need to know? Yes, or No, if my child checks these boxes to get some code that says there are autistic. 10:50:17 What’s your take on that? sure so I get that question a lot as well, and I think a lot of people aren’t as equipped as you are. 10:50:27 So like I think for your personal experience I feel like that’s gonna kind of cover your bases at least while she’s young, right 10:50:34 And then, but for most people, my recommendation is to 10:50:41 Get those services while you can I know you’re trying really hard and it’s it’s not an easy thing to do for me getting my child, and ot was super easy like It was it took me a week you know 10:50:55 so it just kinda depends on how that is as far as services. you don’t necessarily need a diagnosis when you’re child’s, 2, 3, 4, as long as they have support However, as they get older, knowing how their brains 10:51:09 work can really be game changing, especially for girls, because we know that undiagnosed autistic girls are at risk for a variety of things. 10:51:19 A lot of mental health. you know. suicidal thoughts or even attents. 10:51:25 Eating disorders sexual abuse there’s so much that knowing why they’re different how their brain works and really specific information about that can really change that those teenage years that early early twenties where we see a lot of these 10:51:43 undiagnosed women have mental breakdowns and really reach out and need support, and then get diagnosed with bipolar or schizophrenia, even when it’s really just autism and their social yeah, I think as 10:51:59 you’re saying that it makes me it definitely validates the the route that i’m taking sort of how I explain to parents of whether or not you get this label for autism. 10:52:09 If it’s for validation. if it’s for proving it to so so and so’s professionals, or the teachers, or whatever it is for you and your child, the way I talk about is just think about it like functionally like talk 10:52:21 about how your child things that your child really enjoys things that they really are good at, things that they need extra help with. 10:52:29 And what are those things that help them, so that in the future they know to ask for those things, or they know why a certain subject or part in school is hard for them. as you were talking, I was kind of like fast forwarding and 10:52:41 envisioning myself, you know, with with my daughter going through all the stages of her life. 10:52:46 Maybe when she’s going through puberty or in high school or in college, and she’s experiencing hard times, and I imagine myself having a conversation with her, saying, you know we never got you diagnosed as a child because I was supporting 10:52:59 you enough. If this is something you would like to pursue for something that you would like. Let’s you know. 10:53:05 Let’s do that because I know oftentimes a lot of people are getting diagnosed later. 10:53:09 But I am so on this journey of trying to be as transparent as I can with my daughter through everything. 10:53:17 Mostly because my parents were not like that, like they tried to shield me from everything and keep me in a bubble which is at the end of the day, like their intent, was to like show me love, and keep me happy but I am more of the intent. 10:53:28 of like I don’t want to keep secrets from my daughter and I want, and I also don’t want to add to the stigma of well, why didn’t you talk about it because you were scared of it? 10:53:37 Or anything like that. right? So I think parents who are listening if you’re noticing something, and you need to search for an assessment to have more of a focus of what service to look for or how to help your child to read the 10:53:51 right books to get that that makes sense But if you Feel like you are doing like you feel good with the way that you’re parenting at home, and you have their supports down at school. 10:54:01 You don’t have to have that diagnosis. just make sure that your child is included in the way that you are supporting them and think about things that they need help with so on. 10:54:12 That topic. I want to ask you if you could give people an example of because there’s a lot of talk about being neurodverse affirming when we’re talking about autism. 10:54:22 And also talking about like a strengths based approach when we’re talking about therapy or working with autistic individuals. 10:54:31 Can you give us a rundown of what that might sound like? 10:54:35 Sure. So tell me the first one again. Yeah. So my first one is how neuro, what it sounds like to be neur diverse, affirming, and what exactly that means. 10:54:48 And maybe like the opposite of what that is, and how we want to shift to talking about neurodiverse affirming, which I think under that would be the strength-based approach. 10:54:56 And if you could also define or give examples of what that means, like in a therapy lens, Sure. 10:55:04 So neurodiversity. affirming basically you’re saying to a child as they are, I accept you your thoughts your feelings. Your experiences are valid, and there’s not a right brain like there’s not a right way to 10:55:18 think, and there’s not a right way to be or to act and so like your experiences are valid. and I think, also recognizing that you know that autistic people communicating with autistic people are very saddam 10:55:38 Hussein. Yes, there we go okay, so hey? I it’s I I can’t think of that, like there’s a phrase that I wanna say, and it’s just like not coming but so we’re notistic people speak to 10:55:54 other autistic people. They are satisfied with their communication experiences because they have similar communication styles. 10:56:02 When neurotypical people communicate with neurotypical people, they are satisfied with their experiences because they have similar communication styles. 10:56:08 When autistic people speak to all list, or non-atistic people, even if they’re narrative urgent. that’s where there tends to be a problem, because there’s different communication styles so what they’re 10:56:20 doing is not like wrong or the bad way. and what what neurotypical people are realistic People are doing is not the wrong, not the wrong or bad way, either. it’s just different. 10:56:31 And so we all mean to learn and work on that communication together. 10:56:35 Not just one person and then for the strength based really just building off of a child’s interest building off of things that they are good at rather than saying, Oh, you can’t do this so let’s do this let’s make 10:56:50 it important to you let’s pick what you like to do and then I will incorporate some of these really important life skills that you do need to learn into that. 10:57:00 And so that can look a really big variety of ways. 10:57:04 So. because I am have kids who I work with who are in fourth or fifth grade. 10:57:10 I have an autism, self advocacy group and in order to begin my group. 10:57:14 You have to know that you’re autistic. and so it’s really freeing for them, because we’re talking about it openly, and we’re accepting it, and we can talk about different things like when allistic. 10:57:27 Or non-autistic people communicate. I might give you a super sneaky conversation. 10:57:32 A lead is what we call them and it might look like i’m just making a statement. 10:57:38 So I went to the zoom and secretly I want you to ask about my trip to the zoom, and that’s like all other allistic people, know that that’s what they need secretly and not saying it, or giving you any 10:57:51 unwritten rules Yes, and so and So i’m like I can teach you how to recognize these. 10:57:57 If this is something that’s important to you but you don’t have to do it. 10:58:01 If you don’t want to. right so like how kinda giving them. That power of this is how you can understand things. 10:58:08 But you get to do what you want and here’s how you could advocate to tell people what you need. 10:58:12 So if you want me to ask you a question about your what you did I need you to just tell me or to say ask me about it, and I will, and we’ll talk about it, you know. 10:58:23 So. it’s really cool to be able to do that I wish that we lived in a world where I could do the same thing to allistic kids. you know, and that would be such a great thing for including everybody and maybe one day 10:58:37 that that can be a thing. I do it in my speech groups. if you’re not autistic. 10:58:42 We do talk about those 2 different things. but I don’t have access to all of the Jen ed kids right so 10:58:50 That needs to be university worldwide. Yeah, that needs to be like a schoolwide curriculum at some point like they have like social emotional learning like once a week like my daughter has like they should do a whole month, on learning 10:59:02 about autistic brains in a neurodiverse affirming way that doesn’t hear. people are just like including it, even into what they already have on that social emotional, because like I work in a school. 10:59:15 I know teachers have 18 h worth of stuff that They magically have to squeeze into a 7 h day, you know, so it’s not really fair to say this is all on teachers. 10:59:25 I think parents really have an important role in that as Well, That’s why I released my how to talk to kids about our system to kinda help you . 10:59:34 Have those conversations. but it is it is hard to squeeze that in because it’s not a priority to most non-disabled people right? 10:59:45 But we need to make it to be one yeah and that’s what I always saying for every everything about and everything about talking about neurodiversity. 10:59:53 I’m always saying like it always starts at home parents like what I share, and what we talk about on our instagram is mostly towards parents or therapists who work with no divergent autistic children, and we’re giving them tips on 11:00:04 how to support them, but like I love when I get messages from neurotip parents of neurotypical kids and teachers who are like I had no idea like I’m going to change the way. i’m thinking about it. 11:00:17 Today, and that’s it’s such a bigger like system-wide. 11:00:19 I feel like everything we talk about, not complain, but bring to light about these concerns always the health care system, the education system, like everything, needs to start from the top down. 11:00:30 But we’re trying to work at it as best we can locally with our own schools, with our own teachers, and our parents. 11:00:39 So home. Can you give us an example let’s start with autistic children? 11:00:43 How you said the requirement for them between the group obviously is that they need to know that they’re autistic, and I think that that’s a really big piece that parents struggle with one. 11:00:54 Should I tell my child too? When should I tell my child? 11:00:56 And 3. How should I tell my child? Can you give us a quick rundown of how you would advise a parent if they were coming to you to ask you that question? 11:01:07 If they maybe just got that diagnosis for sure. 11:01:09 So if your child is like under 5, and you just got that dive, I would be sure that when you are having conversations about autism not necessarily about your child, right? 11:01:21 Because we all have feelings about our kids. that we don’t need to say in front of our kids, when you when your child is near we can talk about autism to your partner in a positive way. 11:01:33 You don’t have to say any any any relation to your child, right? 11:01:37 So just have that word a household word so it’s not a bad word. 11:01:40 It’s just a word that we hear in our house and then I I think if if your child’s for 3 4 as long as they’re you know if you think that they’re able to comprehend we can start 11:01:52 having that conversation, if you’re not sure that they’re able to comprehend. 11:01:57 You can still do short things like you can read books about autism, and you can kind of incorporate some of that into your day and assume your child understands right. 11:02:04 So we want to assume that they have that competence and not that they don’t. 11:02:10 Because the worst thing they’re not ready and they don’t understand it. 11:02:13 But nothing bad happened right and so I think having that conversation early on 11:02:19 It’s a huge advantage to kids and then as far as how to have it. 11:02:26 If You’ve already had been using the word autism and if you’ve been using the word you know talking about differences or disabilities. 11:02:36 I think that that kind of is easier to kind of sit than down and say there’s something I want to tell you. 11:02:40 If they can remember going to the doctor. You could talk about that, or you can just say you know, I want to tell you that your brain is different from other kids or from some other kids, and that differences are a really good thing. 11:02:57 Right. Sometimes we hear differences, and like you said parents are afraid they don’t want their child to be different. 11:03:03 And my house, like the word weird is a compliment, because we are all weirdos, and if we weren’t weird, we would be incredibly boring right like that would be so bad. 11:03:12 So if somebody says to me, i’m weird i’m like Oh, thanks! 11:03:16 You know, and so I think if we’re kind of modeling some of that, too. 11:03:19 That gives our kids power because they are going to be called weird right like It’s just gonna happen, even neurotypical kids are going to be called weird. 11:03:28 But we know that kids that are narrative or they’re gonna get called weird and and they are weird like i’m weird. 11:03:34 We’re all weird and it’s not a bad thing right So as long as we kind of give them that power, and they can say, Oh, thanks! Oh, that’s cool yeah, I am i’m proud of it. you know it kinda takes away that power of that 11:03:46 name calling but really just kind of having the conversation really openly. 11:03:52 So autistic communication is incredibly blunt, so your kid will benefit from you, being incredibly blunt, like I am. 11:04:00 I am AdHD, I naturally am quite blunt 11:04:05 And now that I am super familiar with autism, and I just know that I can interrupt and say you really blunt things that I need kids to do. 11:04:15 And they respond really Well, i’m like oh this is such a great communication style and I’ve actually got a new one, too. 11:04:28 Yeah, it’s completely different from what allistic people view is rude. 11:04:32 And so when I do those things they’re not saying it’s rude, i’m helping them, you know, and so I think kind of keeping that in mind as well. 11:04:41 The biggest challenge to that is the parents feelings about autism and about how their child might react. 11:04:48 But I would say 90% of the time because like okay yeah And then it’s the end in the parent like bricked out for months and months and months about how to have that conversation and kids, like whatever Well, that’s why I 11:05:00 was thinking, too, I almost think, like step 0 or like a prerequisite to even talking to your child is really make sure that you’re in a good place like you have to process that as a parent. to and if There’s something if this is something to 11:05:11 you like This is like you know like i’ve i’ve spoken to some clients who like I worked with them for years, and they didn’t get the autism diagnosis until like after working with them and it was like a big thing for the parents 11:05:24 and every feeling that you have is valid. But I would make sure that you settle with that feeling and the processing of that before you have the conversations with your kid because you do want to introduce this to them in a positive light, and 11:05:37 a in something that’s not going to make them feel like a different kid from the day before. 11:05:43 The diagnosis like that’s the end of it is you have the same kid. 11:05:46 This isn’t a prognosis to like something like this means for like that’s not that it’s literally just like a guide. 11:05:56 For like how you can think about how to best support your child like you just were almost given like a little secret cheat sheet of like. 11:06:02 Well, now we know that their brain works this way so now let’s focus on this. 11:06:04 And now there’s no guessing and Now you’re given the code, at least to work better with your child. 11:06:11 But there is some processing that parents have to have do you know, for, like the younger kids, or if you know, if there’s parents here who want to start doing this work now before a diagnosis, or don’t have any neuro divergent, kids in their house, and we want to start 11:06:28 having these, like casual conversations, to not make autism a bad word, or anything like that. 11:06:35 What are your favorite books for young children? If you know of any off the top of your head, or shows? 11:06:42 And the one show that i’ve only seen I know sesame Street. 11:06:44 Sometimes has a character that’s that’s autistic and then Daniel Tiger has an episode with an autistic class classmate that joins the group. 11:06:56 So you can like start that way if your child likes those shows, and then jump that off of that. 11:06:59 But i’m curious. if you have any off the top of your head that you like to recommend to families to start introducing it. 11:07:05 Yeah. So I actually just recently read that Thomas is adding an autistic character. 11:07:10 And I’m really excited about that, because Thomas very common. Yeah. 11:07:17 And specifically, Thomas is a very common special interest. 11:07:21 But the ones you mentioned were the other ones that I know and I don’t really know anything about the Thomas. 11:07:25 I just heard that that was going to have it 11:07:28 And then as far as books. at for younger kids I like all my stripes. it’s about a zebra, and who’s different? 11:07:37 And then also. I like my brother auto and that one’s good for aac use, too, because auto is an aac user. 11:07:47 And then mine is minus for older kids, though so like 7 and up, cause it’s very text heavy. 11:07:54 It’s just how to talk to kids about autism and that aims for allistic kids. 11:08:01 So just to kind of get that conversation going it would be good if you’re not quite ready to talk to your child about their own diagnosis. 11:08:09 It could be a good intro and then i’m working on a it’s not quite a book. 11:08:16 It’s more like a pdf with a like a comic for kids. 11:08:19 How to tell your child they’re autistic and like you said the first parts are walking parents. 11:08:25 This is the steps that you need to do for yourself before you have this conversation. 11:08:31 And then just like a story that they could just read to their child. 11:08:36 To take away some of that. The emotions that parents have in the the stress that they feel about saying that to their child Here it is in this story. 11:08:45 So i’m really excited about that i’m not sure when it’s going to be ready. 11:08:49 We’ve been working really hard on that and then on the autism handbook for kids, and that’ll be for kids who already know they’re diagnosed and Then it’s gonna go over everything which laura helped 11:09:01 wrote some of the pieces it’s so good i’m so excited I’m really excited for your comic strip thing. I didn’t know the that was going to be a separate resource that’s going to be very 11:09:10 helpful this talking like step-by-step parent like walking parents through it that’s really great that’s a good. 11:09:17 That’s a good list of stuff so we’re gonna put a link to all of those books and andy’s resources in the show notes. 11:09:22 I want to go back and ask you a question because we were talking about how we don’t want to place so much pressure on autistic individuals to have to match the communication styles. 11:09:37 Of non autistic individuals. But we’re still wanting to help them Understand? 11:09:43 Right understand how they communicate, why it might be hard and why it’s different. and all of that one of the top concerns that I hear from parents when their kids are so young. 11:09:54 Autistic or not even just emotional regulation stuff, sensory stuff. 11:09:58 A lot of them jump to the future and Are like well How are they going to deal with like employers or like partners, or like things when i’m not there to explain their qualities to their employer, or like I know? 11:10:10 They’re gonna have to like I understand I would love all these non autistic individuals to just be nice to my kid. 11:10:16 But like, are they going to get hired? Are they gonna like, make it in the workforce like? 11:10:22 What do you say to those parents? or how Do you Yes, but that is a valid, valid concern to have and it is something that people are going to face. 11:10:33 Really, I mean throughout their lifetime so I actually have an aunt who I told her she was autistic which she was like. 11:10:42 I don’t know 50 something and and she’s like like it just changed so many things for her she’s like that makes sense. 11:10:53 That’s why, when I moved my body like this I feel ashamed because somebody told me to stop, and I never knew what that energy was, and i’m like it’s simming you know or like some somebody asked her Shit parkinson’s 11:11:04 last week, and I was like, and she was like I think it was just nervous. 11:11:07 It’s a tick and i’m like you’re stimming, you know, and so just kind of having those words can be really good, and she actually disclosed she sent us she told me that she told her boss i’m on 11:11:19 the autism spectrum that’s what you know and I was like you’re regulating your body, you know. 11:11:25 And so, as I give her those words it helps her to kind of self advocate some of those things, and she’s like my boss just keeps telling me things, and she’s not telling me what she really wants and i’m like you just 11:11:37 need to tell her that you need her to explicitly tell you things because other people understand what she’s saying. 11:11:46 Just just don’t understand that because that’s not how you communicate. 11:11:47 Yeah. So you really this is why it really is important to not shield our kids from the things that they need support with. 11:11:57 And to understand how they work. But would you say that if you were like applying for your first job, or even your career out of grad school or college? 11:12:11 Would you like, disclose that on like an interview, or like on an application like? 11:12:16 What would you suggest? I think that’s a really hard decision to make? 11:12:20 And it would be really case by case which makes it really difficult for me to like coach somebody on when to have those conversations. 11:12:29 I know a lot of people don’t like to do it right away. 11:12:33 And you know I think it’s a I think it’s a personal decision for for sure, because there are people who will think bad things about autism. 11:12:42 I wish that wasn’t true but but I think I would recommend being in a safe place. 11:12:48 You know, safe to say that for some autistic people that’s the second You meet somebody because they are very over sharing, and like to just say everything you know. 11:13:00 So for some people that can be what they do, and then for others. you know. 11:13:04 Wait until you feel safe. So not saying it quite right away. 11:13:10 And then also, I think this kind of leads into talking about masking. 11:13:14 So you know we always hear masking is such a bad thing, because when you do it all of the time it’s exhausting, it can lead to dysregulation. 11:13:25 Meltdowns everything like that but I think something that’s really powerful to tell kids is that you can choose to mask when you want to mask, and it’s not like this only only a bad thing right? 11:13:37 So like, if you need to mask during a job interview. 11:13:40 If you need to mask and order to be safe if you need a mask when you’re having conversations with the police officer or your boss, you know that it’s it’s okay to do that when you when you feel you 11:13:50 need to but also recognizing that there should be safe spaces for you where you can unmask and you can be yourself, and that really you need to be looking for those unmasking safe places to be available to you as much as 11:14:06 possible that’s not kind of just living self advocacy as Well, that’s an interesting perspective. 11:14:11 I never heard of. I just always hear that first point that you talk about where adults autistic people are sharing. 11:14:18 How masking has impacted their mental health. and just how drained they are, and that makes sense. 11:14:25 And I didn’t think about the other part where it can be like used like like intentionally used like Okay, I’m going for this interview for 1 h. 11:14:33 I’m going to rest as much as I can right before clear out the rest of my day, because probably masking after an interview, and all of that seems really cognitively toasking Yeah, That’s such an interesting. 11:14:45 Point. I have 2 more questions for you. One of it is kind of a follow up to what we talked about earlier, where we shared some books, to books and language, to talk about your child, to talk to your child about a diagnosis or 11:14:57 about being autistic. Is there anything you would change, or anything? 11:15:00 You would add to that? Or is it the same if we were talking to their siblings to understand their siblings? 11:15:07 Neurodiversity anything specific that we would add or would it kind of just say you would say those things. 11:15:13 But say that’s your brother like I think a lot of times siblings. need to understand everybody’s needs because a lot of times they feel like they’re autistic siblings are prioritized because they 11:15:26 have more needs. right, So I think, having those conversations we love you. 11:15:31 You are important. We want to support you at the level that you need and we also want to support your brother or your sister at the level that they need. 11:15:40 And sometimes those things can change right. So sometimes your brother might need a little bit more support. 11:15:45 Sometimes you might need a little more support, and we are here to you know, to love everybody and to support everybody. 11:15:52 But kind of give them an idea of like what autism is, and how their sibling might be experiencing the world, and how that could be really difficult for them. 11:16:04 You know, or like, if a lot of times we see the meltdowns and autism. 11:16:07 So just kind of understanding having those conversations about why that’s happening 11:16:12 And and you could support your sibling just like your sibling will sometimes try to support you when you need it. 11:16:16 You. These are things that you can do, and I think having them involved in a lot of that can really help with jealousy, but also just like that sibling relationship overall. 11:16:28 Yeah, that jealousy and feeling like they, the autistic sibling, gets so much of the attention and support. 11:16:35 I hear parents struggle with that a lot so hopefully that’s helpful for anyone listening. 11:16:40 I would pick time to like to spend with your not autistic child. 11:16:45 That’s really specific. and intentional and maybe let them pick what they want to do, you know, So you have 15 min before bedtime, and it’s just gonna be me, and you and you get to pick We can draw. 11:16:55 We can read. we can, you know, do whatever. and, you know, put your phone away, and 100% of your attention on that child. 11:17:02 Would you suggest having that conversation of like? you have autism, and your brother has autism like separately? 11:17:07 Or is autistic, and your brother is autistic separately you know what I’m saying, like introducing the child to their personal diagnosis. 11:17:16 And then talking to the sibling about it like that Separate, I think it. 11:17:21 I think that would be like an individual family decision, depending on on how old everybody is, and what they have already recognized. 11:17:29 I think, for some families that would be beneficial to do separately. 11:17:31 But I think some families would do really well to have it together. 11:17:42 Yeah, yeah, everything is case by case, right? I know it’s so hard to get. yeah, Yeah, of course I know I totally get that. 11:17:44 Okay, So I want to end with. Do you have a top list of Instagram autistic voices Who people here should listen to. 11:17:50 I love sharing Nicole Paris! she sounds of the forest. 11:17:54 She was just on Tiktok now she’s on Instagram as well, and I have a podcast episode with her episode. 11:17:59 12 I believe if I didn’t want to know what’s going back and hear it. 11:18:02 But I I hear from so many parents when I share these videos, they feel like It’s like a healing part of their process, and they’re just like, oh, this just gives me so much hope and it makes me feel better and as 11:18:15 therapists and teachers. We need to continue hearing from the true autism experts. 11:18:21 The people with lived experience being autistic. so do you have your favorite creators that you want to share on here, and i’ll add them to the show notes as well. sure. 11:18:29 So. my very favorite is the autistic cats, and they no longer post but they I know I was so sad. 11:18:40 But they have all of their old posts are are still up, so they didn’t close their account. 11:18:46 So if you were like gonna go binge through something, I would definitely recommend them. 11:18:54 And then I love also nerd divergent Lou. 11:18:58 She is a teenager, believe it or not, and she just explains things so well to kind of understand the autistic experience. 11:19:09 And then I like theidgets and prizes Well, she she’s autistic, and her she has kids that are on the autism spectrum as well, and at varying presentation. 11:19:20 Levels. and so I think that’s a really important perspective as well, because she’s also black, and one of her kids is an Ac user 11:19:28 So like a whole lot of information from her to really challenge your own thoughts, because she’s very big into advocacy. 11:19:38 Very honest also, and so I really like learning from her as well. 11:19:44 I also want to add in their Ni functioning auto. 11:19:47 Yeah, I really like them, too. Those are great accounts so there’s some that I hadn’t heard of those first 2 that i’m gonna definitely check out myself. 11:19:55 So anyway. thank you for that. So before we sign off, can you give us another rundown of how everyone can continue learning from you where they can connect from you? 11:20:05 And another shout out to your amazing resources that are coming up in case everyone wants to hear it again. 11:20:08 So I am on Facebook and Instagram, Mrs. Speechy P. 11:20:14 And my the products that I already have out are the autism handbook. 11:20:21 That would be for parents or for therapists who are looking to share information with parents. 11:20:28 That kind of talks about autism from the new perspective of not that or wrong. 11:20:32 But we are validating experiences, and we are sharing information in a positive way that also kind of reflects parents feelings because we we all have feelings, but our kids. 11:20:42 We don’t always love our feelings that We have about our kids. 11:20:47 Our feelings are not all rational, you know. so it kind of covers all of that by validating parents and giving them tips to support them. 11:20:55 And then the other one that I have out is how to talk to kids about autism, and that again aims for allistic or non autistic kids. 11:21:02 Ideally, it would be like a genet classroom would be the target. 11:21:06 Audience for that. but it would be good for siblings or just kids that you have at home. that you want to start opening the conversation, and then my upcoming products, which i’m super excited about and working on finalizing and 11:21:21 illustrating is the autism handbook for kids. 11:21:25 And what I found was people were using the Autism Handbook with their kids to kind of help, explain autism and help them learn about autism. 11:21:34 But, like I mentioned earlier, it was kind of aimed towards parents and their emotions. 11:21:37 And so this is going to be more aim toward in kid friendly language, with comics and illustrations. 11:21:47 Less text to kind of go over a lot of the things that autism, what it means, what it could look like, what is stimming? 11:21:54 What is, How can I recognize my sensory needs kind of have going over all of those things that would be needed prior to being able to really accurate effectively self-advocate? 11:22:08 And then as soon as that’s done we have i’ve already started on it. 11:22:12 I got a big bulk. but i’m really pushing the the Kids handbook before I work on the how to tell my kid they’re autistic, and that’ll be i’m so excited about this so 11:22:20 it’s gonna walk through all the things that parents need to do before they have the conversation. 11:22:25 And then comics for kids at varying ages so you know it’s not just the one time conversation. 11:22:33 It’s gonna be a conversation over time you’re gonna have to have it more than once. 11:22:37 I think a lot of people make that mistake we’re just gonna talk about it once, and then we’re never gonna talk about it again, which adds to the stigma right? 11:22:43 Makes it seem like it’s bad but that’s not what it is so hopefully to have all of that out definitely by the end of this year yay. 11:22:52 Oh, I am so excited for that. so i’m gonna put as many links to live products that she has in the show notes. 11:23:00 And then you can just stay tuned on her Instagram and her website for all of those things to fully launch. 11:23:05 But thank you so much for giving me. Yeah, as soon as we can share my website, and then they can get on my email list, and they’ll be notified whenever new products are out. 11:23:17 I’m always encouraging people to get on email lists because you never know when Instagram is going to act up disappear. 11:23:26 One day I keep saying so. Get on those terrifying. 11:23:32 Get all those emails. Well, thank you. Thank you so much for having this conversation. I think this was very valuable, and I learned a lot, and I hope any very everybody listening feels more equipped coming out of this either with something new to try 11:23:47 either something new that you learned or just the validation that You’re doing everything that you already should be doing.  




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Laura Petix, MS OTR/L

I’m an enneagram 6, so my brain is constantly moving. My OT lenses never turn off and I can’t “un-see” the sensory and other developmental skills that go in to literally every activity. I love taking what I see and breaking it down into simple terms so parents can understand what goes into their child’s behavior and skills.

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