Brandon Whitfield, Sr. Clinical Director for AST, part of LEARN Behavioral has presented at several conferences including BABA’s (Black Applied Behavior Analysts) inaugural conference to share ways ABA agencies can bring more equity to the field of ABA. In this conversation, Brandon discusses his role in helping to create The Black Master’s cohort and mentorship program as well as the ongoing need to prioritize DEI advancement in ABA.
Self-Care and Sensory Needs for Neurodivergent Individuals
Dr. Megan Anna Neff, a Neurodivergent Psychologist joins us to discuss discovering her own autism in the aftermath of her child’s diagnosis and how that has inspired her passion to support the neurodivergent community. Dr. Neff describes the experience of her autism revelation in this way, “For the first time in my life, my body made sense, my experience of self made sense, and it was a powerful moment of liberation.” We also delve into helpful strategies about sensory sensitivity and self-care that are helpful for adults and parents of children with autism.
Back To School Tips for Parents of Kids with Autism
Jessica Sylfest is the parent of a child with Autism and ADHD and the Sr. Director of Talent Acquisition for LEARN Behavioral. Jessica’s compassion, warmth, and learned wisdom are great offerings to all parents as we transition our kids back to school. There are a lot of specific strategies shared when navigating an IEP and how to establish good communication with your child’s team. As Jessica said, “I think there is such value in sharing experiences and sharing things that are going well and things that are a struggle. You really never stop preparing. It’s just perpetual communication, planning with the school and with the other resources in our lives.”
To watch more podcast episodes visit www.allautismtalk.com
How Neurodiverse Voices are Influencing the Evolution of ABA
Dr. Becky Thompson, Director of Clinical Services for the Wisconsin Early Autism Project (WEAP), and Reux Lennon, Non-binary member of both the LGBT and Autism community and Lead technician with WEAP join us to share their work on the Person-Centered ABA team and the Neurodivergent Advisory Committee. Dr. Thompson leads LEARN’s Person-Centered ABA team, which is a group of clinical leaders within LEARN who are dedicated to compassionate and individualized ABA services. Reux shares how their work as one of the original members of the Neurodivergent Advisory Committee is creating change and including neurodivergent voices and perspectives.
Successful Models for Assent-Based Vaccine Clinics
Kerry Hoops the current President of the Autism Society of Greater Wisconsin and the clinical director for Wisconsin Early Autism Project’s Green Bay region joins us to share about a unique clinic event and what can be learned. Kerry shares details of sensory-friendly covid vaccine events that utilized assent-based practice to create a comfortable experience for children. As Kerry put it, “When it was time for the shot, that was determined by the child. We were very open and honest with the child and let them know it would only happen when they said it was ok.”
A Closer Look at The BHCOE
Dr. Ellie Kazemi is the Chief Science Officer at Behavioral Health Center of Excellence (BHCOE), an accrediting organization focused on improving the quality of behavior analytic services. She is also a professor at CSUN, where she founded the M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program. Dr. Kazemi joins us to share about the accreditation process and the importance of assessments and measuring outcomes in the field of ABA. As Dr. Kazemi discusses the value of connecting the perspectives of the families and the clients, and shares, “To measure outcomes you should see progress from different perspectives”.
Bridging the Gap Between Autism Culture and American Culture
Motivational Speaker and Poet Russell Lehmann joins us for a third time to explore autism through the lens of culture. Having spent most of his life in isolation, Russell has found his voice and independence in recent years. His passion for erasing stigma and stereotypes about autism is shared through his moving, spoken-word poetry. In this discussion, Russell shares the challenges of communicating his needs and preferences and making meaningful connections. Russell offers insights into how those outside the experience of autism can help bridge the gap between cultures. He shares, “I think it’s ironic that autism is labeled a communication disorder. I understand why but I find myself thinking – Is it me, or is it you guys?” He adds this advice, “Be upfront. Be sincere. Be open-minded, and if you have questions about what to say or do, ask.”
The Words We Use When Discussing Autism
Motivational Speaker and Poet Russell Lehmann joins us for a second time to share his perspectives on the words we use when discussing autism. Having spent most of his life in isolation, Russell has found his voice and independence in recent years. His passion for erasing stigma and stereotypes about autism is shared through his moving, spoken-word poetry. In this discussion Russell shares, “If you don’t know, ask. When talking to someone and you don’t know how to refer to them, ask them. Preface that you are learning. Be honest and respectful.”
All Autism Talk (https://www.allautismtalk.com/) is sponsored by LEARN Behavioral (https://learnbehavioral.com/learnacademy).
An Honest Look at the Full Experience of Autism with Russell Lehmann
Motivational Speaker and Poet Russell Lehmann joins us to share his perspectives on autism and the human condition. Having spent most of his life in isolation, Russell has found his voice and independence in recent years. His passion for erasing stigma and stereotypes about autism is shared through his moving, spoken-word poetry. As Russell shares, “I like to say you hold up a mirror to anybody, and that’s what autism looks like. I don’t expect anyone to be able to tell that I have autism just by looking at me. But hopefully, someday they won’t be as shocked to find out.”
Understanding the IEP Process and How to Best Advocate for Your Child
Mo Buti, an advocate and instructional expert for people with autism joins us to take a deep dive into the IEP process. She shares details about all the people that make up the team and how parents can best prepare and advocate for their child. As Mo shared, “It’s so important that communicate well and build relationships with your team. Even if you disagree, it makes the process so much more successful.”