Ep #48: The Big Mistake Every Autism Parent Makes and How to Stop It

The Autism Mom Coach with Lisa Candera | The Big Mistake Every Autism Parent Makes and How to Stop It

Autism Parents are the most resourceful, creative, and zealous advocates when it comes to their children. There isn’t much we won’t do for or in service of our child. But there is one big mistake every Autism Parent makes: not taking time to focus their attention on themselves.

We often think that taking care of ourselves is something we sacrifice for our child. However, we are our children’s greatest resource, and how we’re doing really does matter. So, ignoring ourselves is a loving mistake, but it needs to stop. The good news is you can begin to course correct right now, and I’m showing you how in this episode.

Tune in this week to discover how to correct the biggest mistake Autism Parents make: not making time for themselves. I’m sharing why we make this mistake, how it impacts our children, and most importantly, how to start giving yourself a little attention when you need it most.

I’m offering a time-limited discount on my 12-week coaching program! This is my self-love, self-care Valentine’s gift to all of you. Sign up before midnight on February 14 and you’ll get $500 off the full price of the coaching package. So, click here to schedule a free consult before Valentine’s Day 2023!

 

Learn how to keep your cool when your child is melting down in my brand new minicourse: Keeping Your Cool. All you have to do to get access is sign up to my mailing list in the pop-up on my home page!

 

 

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • 2 reasons why Autism Parents find it so difficult to make time for themselves.
  • How taking care of ourselves is something we do in service of our children.
  • What you can do to start looking after yourself, so you can be there for your kids.

 

 

Listen to the Full Episode:

 

Featured on the Show:

  • Sign up for my email list to get notified of coaching opportunities, workshops and more! All you have to do is go to my home page and enter your email address in the pop-up.
  • If this podcast has helped you and you want to help other moms like you find this resource, please rate and review the show.
  • Click here to get my Check What’s Triggered workbook, designed to help you identify some of the triggers you’re anticipating for this school year, and to crate thoughts that will better serve you.

 

Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to episode 48 of The Autism Mom Coach, The Big Mistake Every Autism Parent Makes and How to Stop It. Autism parents are the most resourceful, creative and zealous advocates when it comes to their children. There is not much that we won’t do for or in service of our child. The one thing though that we really struggle to do for our kids is to focus our attention on ourselves.

Taking care of ourselves is not something that we do in spite of our children. It is something we do for them because we are our child’s greatest resource and how we are doing matters a lot. So ignoring ourselves is a big mistake, a loving one of course but still a mistake but it is one that we can begin to correct right now. Stay tuned to learn how.

Welcome to The Autism Mom Coach, a podcast for moms who feel overwhelmed, afraid, and sometimes powerless as they raise their child with Autism. My name is Lisa Candera. I’m a certified life coach, lawyer, and most importantly I’m a full-time single mom to a teenage boy with Autism. In this podcast, I’ll show you how to transform your relationship with Autism and special needs parenting. You’ll learn how to shift away from being a victim of your circumstances to being the hero of the story you get to write. Let’s get started.

Hello everyone and welcome to the podcast and to February. I hope you are doing well. Two things before we get started. If you haven’t already, sign up for my free course, Keeping Your Cool During a Meltdown. You can get this course in the show notes or you can go right to my website, theAutismmomcoach.com and grab it there.

Now, even if meltdowns or your child’s behavior are not a current pain point for you right now this course will still be helpful. Because I walk through the framework I use when I’m coaching my clients no matter what the issue is that they are coming to me for. Anything from anxiety about the diagnosis, their anxiety about whether they are doing enough or the right things and their fear of the future, this framework, the tools I teach, they work for everything.

And let’s face it, our kids don’t need to be melting down for us to experience increased stress levels related to their diagnosis. And that is really what this course and what my coaching program is all about, how we can understand, manage and support ourselves when we are feeling dysregulated when we are feeling stressed so that we can show up as the parent we want to be even when parenting does not look like anything we expected.

Okay second thing, I am offering a time-limited discount on my 12-week coaching program. This is my self-love, self-care Valentine’s Day gift to you. If you sign up before 12:00pm midnight on February 14th, you will get $500 off of my current coaching package. To do this you just need to schedule a consultation before February 14th, sign up for coaching and you’re set.

To sign up for a consultation you can do this by going to my website and scheduling it yourself. You can email me at lisa@attheAutismcoach.com. Or you can message me on Facebook or Instagram like a few of you have already. Whatever it is you want to get on my schedule before February 14th, so that you can get this discount.

Okay, onto today’s topic, the big mistake. Focusing on our kids to the exclusion of ourselves is a mistake or more appropriately a misunderstanding. Because we believe that we need to forego ourselves so that we can support our kids. And this is really backwards and I’ll just be frank with you, this is not a lesson that I learned on my first day of the job as an Autism parent, it took years. But here’s why it’s a mistake, we are the vehicle for our children’s wellbeing. We are their providers, their advocates and their voices literally and figuratively.

We are and I have said this so many times, our children’s greatest resource. No doctor, therapist, medication or program is more important to their long-term prognosis than us. That is why ignoring ourselves for that magical day when we believe, my kid is okay, is not a strategy. Because even when that day comes when you let yourself believe that your child is okay, whatever means to you as they are, chances are you won’t be able to enjoy it or even notice it because you are so burnt out.

So why do we do this? Two reasons I think, love and fear. We love our children so much we want the best for them and we are afraid for them. We are afraid for their futures and we’re afraid for ourselves. So then what do we do in this constant stress and fear response? Well something, anything, everything we possibly can think of to keep on doing and going for our kids so that we can avoid our own terror. We tell ourselves if we do enough, if we do the right things then they will be okay and I’ll be okay too.

And let me just tell you, I get it, I do it. I am always working on something or other for my son but I no longer do this at the exclusion of my own needs most of the time. I have learned to build in respite for myself because, in my ever-long quest to make sure he is okay, I have not been okay on more occasions than I can remember. Yes, I was still highly functioning on the outside but inside I was crumbling. And chances are if you are operating under the premise, I’ll be okay when my kid is okay, you’re not okay either. No judgment here really, I get it.

Just the opposite, how about some recognition for all of your extraordinary efforts, for everything you are doing and some self-love and compassion? How might your day be different if you turn just 5 or 10% of your attention to yourself? I mean really, if you turn just 5 or 10 minutes of your attention to yourself, how might you show up differently for your child if you weren’t telling yourself that your child and their diagnosis is the reason you can’t take care of yourself?

So that is your challenge for this week, this episode is short and sweet for a reason. I would rather you take the time to brainstorm some things that you can do, some non-negotiables that are focused only on you, your happiness, your well-being and your wellness. It can be as simple as drinking water, taking deep breaths, a long hot shower, taking a walk, saying no to someone, setting a boundary. Whatever it is it really doesn’t matter, it just matters that you do something because you matter.

Alright, that is it for this week. Again, if you haven’t already, sign up for my free course. I teach you some really valuable concepts in there that will help you to do more things to support yourself and to better understand how to regulate yourself and how to take care of yourself when you feel yourself getting escalated no matter what the situation is. Okay, talk next week.

Thanks for listening to The Autism Mom Coach. If you want more information or the show notes and resources from the podcast, visit theAutismmomcoach.com. See you next week.

 

Enjoy the Show?

 

Ep #47: Being Willing to Be Wrong

The Autism Mom Coach with Lisa Candera | Being Willing to Be Wrong

All of my breakthroughs in coaching and in my life in general have come from my willingness to be wrong about the world, other people, and especially about myself. So, in this episode, I’m sharing with you why I believe the willingness to be wrong is the key to success in every area of your life.

Being willing to be wrong is going to require that you’re willing to loosen your grip on your current belief systems so you can consider the alternatives. Making this change isn’t easy, but if you’re living with the fear that you aren’t doing enough for your child, catastrophizing about the future, or blaming yourself for your child’s struggles, a willingness to be wrong will change everything.

Our brains love certainty, even if it means being miserable. So, tune in this week to discover how to open yourself up to vulnerability, questioning what you think is right, and being willing to be wrong about the belief systems that are keeping you spinning in the hamster wheel of pain and self-doubt.

Learn how to keep your cool when your child is melting down in my brand new minicourse: Keeping Your Cool. All you have to do to get access is sign up to my mailing list in the pop-up on my home page!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why a willingness to be wrong is what allows you to make changes in your life.
  • How our human brain loves certainty, so being willing to be wrong feels uncomfortable at first.
  • Some of the beliefs my clients struggle with when they first come to me.
  • How to start developing a willingness to question your beliefs and accept that you could be wrong.

 

Listen to the Full Episode:

 

Featured on the Show:

  • Sign up for my email list to get notified of coaching opportunities, workshops and more! All you have to do is go to my home page and enter your email address in the pop-up.
  • If this podcast has helped you and you want to help other moms like you find this resource, please rate and review the show.
  • Click here to get my Check What’s Triggered workbook, designed to help you identify some of the triggers you’re anticipating for this school year, and to crate thoughts that will better serve you.
  • Virginia Satir

 

Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to episode 47 of The Autism Mom Coach, Being Willing to be Wrong. For me, all of my breakthroughs in coaching and really in my life have come from my willingness to be wrong, to be wrong about the world, other people and most especially myself. In this episode I want to share with you why I think that the willingness to be wrong, or at least the willingness to loosen your grip on your current belief systems just enough to consider the alternatives is the key to success in coaching and in life. Stay tuned.

Welcome to The Autism Mom Coach, a podcast for moms who feel overwhelmed, afraid, and sometimes powerless as they raise their child with Autism. My name is Lisa Candera. I’m a certified life coach, lawyer, and most importantly I’m a full-time single mom to a teenage boy with Autism. In this podcast I’ll show you how to transform your relationship with Autism and special needs parenting. You’ll learn how to shift away from being a victim of your circumstances to being the hero of the story you get to write. Let’s get started.

Welcome to the podcast. I hope you are doing well and staying warm if like me, you are in a cold climate. Before we get to today’s topic, I want to remind you, if you are not already on my mailing list, get on it now. I will be releasing a free video course very soon all about how to keep your cool during an Autism meltdown. In this video series I will walk you through my three part framework for keeping your cool when your child is dysregulated. I am not going to tell you to just stay calm.

I am going to show you how to create your own calm so that when your child goes high you can go low, or at the very least, hover at neutral. If you are listening to this episode now on the day of release you can get on my mailing list by going to my website, theautismmomcoach.com, just wait a couple of seconds and a popup will appear for you to enter your address.

Now, if you are listening to this episode sometime after the release of my video series, same thing just go to my website and you will actually get a popup to take you right to the video series. Anyhow, if you get on my mailing list right now you will be the first to receive this series when it’s released.

Alright, onto today’s topic, the willingness to be wrong. It has been a really busy few weeks in my coaching business. I’ve been coaching my current clients and onboarding new ones. And although they are new clients the issues aren’t necessarily new. As much as their individual circumstances differ, many of my clients come to me with very similar struggles, things like fear that they aren’t doing enough or the right things, catastrophizing about the future, blaming themselves for their children’s struggles. Or just losing themselves in the quest to do everything that they can to help their child.

The other common denominator that I am noticing in each of my clients and the one that I think really enables them to make so many changes so quickly is their willingness to be wrong. This is not an easy thing. The human brain likes certainty. As Virginia Satir wrote, most people prefer the certainty of misery to the misery of uncertainty. That’s been my experience, each of my clients came to me certain in their misery, certain that they were to blame for their child’s Autism, certain that their child does not love them, certain that they could not have the kind of relationship that they wanted.

Certain that Autism meant that their child was defective, certain that they no longer had the luxury, or even the right to take care of themselves, certain and miserable. And yet all of them were willing, not excited but willing to be vulnerable and question the belief systems that were keeping them spinning in the hamster wheel of pain and self-doubt. Beliefs like my child never listens to me. Going out to dinner is always a disaster. No one understands us. I always lose my temper. I never have time for myself. Other people are judging me.

When we are willing to question our beliefs, when we are willing to consider the possibility that we may be wrong or that our version of the story is not entirely true, we create possibility. And this is where our growth lies. Let me give you some examples. For one of my clients, each day she would return home from work and her daughter would either ignore her or yell at her, one or the other. But she never did this with my client’s husband who also worked outside of the home.

My client was taking this behavior very personally. She thought things like, my daughter doesn’t love me and I am a bad mom for not being here for her.  So I asked her, “What might also be true about your daughter’s behavior?” And to this she said, “I’m her person. She really misses me and she doesn’t understand how to communicate this so it shows up in her behaviors.” And for my client this was equally if not more true than the other thoughts, those default thoughts that she was having. But these were again her default thoughts when her daughter was yelling at her or ignoring her.

Her inclination was to think she doesn’t love me or I’m bad, I have done something wrong, I’m not a good mom. And so her willingness to be wrong, her willingness to sort of loosen her grip on her story enabled her to get really more factual about what was happening. And when she did this, she could show up in a different way, more compassionate and understanding towards her daughter and herself as well.

Another client came to me believing that the working conditions at her former job were the cause of her son’s Autism, and that that therefore meant his Autism and all of his resulting struggles were her fault. She believed this so much that she reported it to me like it was the weather. I worked at x job for the amazing pay and opportunities and this job resulted in my child having Autism, therefore I am a selfish person and to blame. And every time her child struggled she attributed her struggles to his Autism and then blamed herself. A vicious and painful circle.

Once she was able to loosen her death grip on her belief that she was the cause for her child’s Autism, she was able to look at the situation in a much different way. And when this happened she was a lot more kinder to herself and just more at peace because really this story was not helping her at all. It’s not as if knowing the exact cause of why her child is now Autistic was going to help her in raising him and supporting him or supporting herself. That’s what’s possible when you are willing to be wrong and question your beliefs and be vulnerable and brave.

There is so much more available to you, it is not either or which is where we get to when we want certainty. We want to know the reason. We want to believe that we understand that we have all the thoughts and that we are right. And as uncomfortable as it can be to really just question yourself and look under the cover of those beliefs, it can open up so much more impossibilities for you.

So take a look at the places in your life where you are clinging to your thoughts about how things should be, about how you should be, about how life should be and ask yourself, what might also be true? If I was willing to be wrong or consider another option, what opens up to me?

Alright, that’s it for this week. And remember, if you aren’t already, get on my email list. You are not going to want to miss this video series that I am going to be releasing really soon, how to keep your cool during an Autism meltdown. Again you can get on my email list by just going to my website, theautismmomcoach.com and when the popup pops up enter your email address. Alright, I will talk to you next week.

Thanks for listening to The Autism Mom Coach. If you want more information or the show notes and resources from the podcast, visit theautismmomcoach.com. See you next week.

 

Enjoy the Show?

 

Ep #46: Keeping Your Cool During an Autism Meltdown

The Autism Mom Coach with Lisa Candera | Keeping Your Cool During an Autism Meltdown

Do you find yourself always walking on eggshells, living in fear of your child’s next meltdown? If the answer is YES, then this course is for you!   In a little over one hour, you will learn what to do before, during and after a meltdown, so that you can remain regulated, even when your child is melting down.   Here is a sneak peak:  Video 1: My #1 tip for staying calm while your child is dysregulated; Video 2: Why what you do before a meltdown is critical to your ability to co-regulate with your child;  Video 3: The importance of slowing it down during a meltdown; and Video 4: Practical steps you can take NOW to recover from a meltdown & interrupt your meltdown cycle

Learn how to keep your cool when your child is melting down in my brand new minicourse: Keeping Your Cool. Click here to sign up!

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

  • Sign up for my email list to get notified of coaching opportunities, workshops and more! All you have to do is go to my home page and enter your email address in the pop-up.
  • If this podcast has helped you and you want to help other moms like you find this resource, please rate and review the show.
  • Click here to get my Check What’s Triggered workbook, designed to help you identify some of the triggers you’re anticipating for this school year, and to crate thoughts that will better serve you.

Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to episode 46 of The Autism Mom Coach, Keeping Your Cool During an Autism Meltdown. Do you ever find yourself melting down right alongside your child even though you ‘know’ that you should stay calm? You are not alone and it is not your fault. The ability to stay calm and regulated while your child is escalating, it’s really hard. It runs counter to our biology and every hardwired instinct that we have to just make it stop. And more than that, no one ever taught us until now. In this week’s episode, I am going to tell you about my new course, Keeping Your Cool during an Autism Meltdown which I specifically created to answer the question, how do I keep my cool while my child is melting down? Stay tuned. Welcome to The Autism Mom Coach, a podcast for moms who feel overwhelmed, afraid, and sometimes powerless as they raise their child with Autism. My name is Lisa Candera. I’m a certified life coach, lawyer, and most importantly I’m a full-time single mom to a teenage boy with Autism. In this podcast, I’ll show you how to transform your relationship with Autism and special needs parenting. You’ll learn how to shift away from being a victim of your circumstances to being the hero of the story you get to write. Let’s get started. Hello everyone and welcome to the podcast. I am so glad you’re here and I am so excited to announce that the Keeping Your Cool course is now available. This is a free course that you can access by going to my website, theautismmomcoach.com, you’re going to see a little popup and in that popup, you will enter your email address. From there you will begin to receive the four videos that I created to teach you my before, during and after framework for keeping your cool during a meltdown. But no spoiler alerts in this episode. Once it’s finished I want you to go to my website and sign up for this course and get started. But before you do that I want to spend today’s episode talking to you about why I created this course and why it has been so helpful to me and to my clients. So first, I created this course and really within the course that I’m going to teach you is my framework. I created this framework to solve a problem that I was having and for which I was unable to identify an existing solution. My son would escalate and I would try to resist it, hold it in, stay calm until I could no longer and I would melt down right alongside of him even though I knew that I should stay calm, even though I knew that this was not helpful. And even though I knew I was still doing it and I have found the same with my clients. They know intellectually that staying calm is preferable and that they want to stay calm. But when push comes to shove and sometimes quite literally they just don’t know how to do it and they are melting down. So why is that? Well, I think the answer is twofold. First, staying calm while someone else, much less your child is escalating, runs counter to our biology. We sense danger in the form of a yelling, screaming, flailing child and we mobilize. Our stress response activates and we are preparing to fight or flee. We may try to keep it together but if it goes on long enough, we’re going to melt down either internally or externally. Second, no one ever taught us how. As parents raising children with Autism we may receive some informal training or self-directed education about what to do during a meltdown to help our child but never, at least in my experience was I ever taken aside and taught how to regulate myself so that I could remain calm and grounded through an extended meltdown. I was somehow expected to just know. I mean why would this be, because I gave birth? It makes no sense. Now, I have friends who work in the ABA field and I know that as a regular part of their ongoing training and education is learning how to self-regulate. They attend courses and seminars about the importance of recognizing their own emotional vulnerabilities, that is the things that make them more prone to reacting to a behavior so that they can effectively support their clients. So think about that, people who spend a fraction of the time with our children. They are trained about how to stay regulated but we’re not, the very people who are with our children most of the time and who are responsible for implementing strategies, therapies, behavior plans etc. This is such a missed opportunity. So I just want you to know if you are thinking that you should just stay calm, and you shouldn’t get angry, and you should just know what to do. I want to offer to you that none of that is true. It is not your fault, you were never taught these skills until now. These are skills you can learn. If you recall in episode 45 I interviewed my client, Jamie Gregory. She is the mother of twin five-year-olds with Autism. And when she came to me she was really having a difficult time regulating herself while both of her boys were escalating. And so I taught her like I teach all of my clients, the skills that I set forth in this framework that you will learn about in this course and they work. It’s a comprehensive method.  So I’m not going to say, “Hey, so listen, when your child’s getting escalated you should just calm down.” Okay, really, not helpful. I am going to teach you how to create calm for yourself. This is a before, during and after process. This isn’t just remember to remind yourself of a positive affirmation. No. Okay, I’m living this life. I have tried all that stuff. I’ve tried plenty of stuff that doesn’t work. This framework, the way I’ve put it together, the way I teach it, it works. And if it works for me, and if it works for Jamie, and if it works for all the other clients that I have taught it to, it will work for you. But the key to all of this work and this will feel counterintuitive, especially to an Autism mom who is so laser-focused on finding more resources for her child, on focusing all of her efforts on her child. So instead of doing that, you are going to take all of your detective skills that you are using on your child, all the planning, preparation and previewing that you do for your child, all of the strategies for self-regulation and self-soothing, you are going to turn those inward and I’m going to teach you how. The focus is on you and guess what, if you just take 10% of the time that you spend focusing on your child and focus this inward you will see significant results. I promise you, by focusing on yourself you will tap into the most power and the most influence that you have to support your child. Because ultimately and you know this, you can’t control them but you can influence them and you can support them. And that is huge. And the best way to do this is from your most regulated self. Sound good? Alright, so I want you to go to my website right now and sign up for the course. And if you have a friend, if you have a group of friends I want you to share this link with them. I want you to post this on your Facebook pages. I want you to tell every mom you know with a kid with Autism, or a mom who is struggling with behavioral issues or anything like that, send this to her. It will help her, it will help you. Okay, I will see you inside, thanks so much and I’ll talk to you next week. Thanks for listening to The Autism Mom Coach. If you want more information or the show notes and resources from the podcast, visit theautismmomcoach.com. See you next week.

Enjoy the Show?

 

Ep #45: Moms Like Us: An Interview with Jamie Gregory

The Autism Mom Coach with Lisa Candera | Moms Like Us: An Interview with Jamie Gregory

Today, I’m sharing an interview with my client Jamie Gregory about her experience as one of my coaching clients. Jamie is the mom of five-year-old twin boys with Autism, and after listening to a few episodes of the podcast, she decided she wanted to join my six-month coaching program.

Jamie came to me at a time when her kids were struggling, dysregulated, and having more frequent and intense meltdowns than ever. This was taking a serious emotional toll on Jamie, however the work we did together has helped her support herself and her sons in new ways, and she’s here to share all of it with you.

Tune in this week for my first client interview! Jamie is discussing where she was when she decided to reach out for coaching, and the power of coaching in transforming her relationship to Autism parenting and how she shows up to the day-to-day challenges of parenting twin five-year-old boys with Autism.

Learn how to keep your cool when your child is melting down in my brand new minicourse: Keeping Your Cool. All you have to do to get access is sign up to my mailing list in the pop-up on my home page!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • How Jamie found me and decided she wanted coaching.
  • The day-to-day challenges Jamie was dealing with when we started working together.
  • The goals Jamie set for herself when we started working together.
  • The many ways that coaching has changed Jamie’s day-to-day experience as a mother of twins with Autism.
  • Some specific stories of how Jamie is now able to approach difficult situations differently, relieving her own stress and showing up for her kids.
  • The changes Jamie has seen in her relationship with her sons’ service providers.
  • How Jamie has grounded her identity in other areas, instead of only identifying as a Special Needs Mom.

 

Listen to the Full Episode:

 

Featured on the Show:

  • Sign up for my email list to get notified of coaching opportunities, workshops and more! All you have to do is go to my home page and enter your email address in the pop-up.
  • If this podcast has helped you and you want to help other moms like you find this resource, please rate and review the show.
  • Click here to get my Check What’s Triggered workbook, designed to help you identify some of the triggers you’re anticipating for this school year, and to crate thoughts that will better serve you.
  • Jamie Gregory: Website | Twitter | Podcast | Etsy Shop

 

Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to episode 45 of The Autism Mom Coach, Moms Like Us: Interview with Jamie Gregory.

In this week’s episode of the podcast you will hear an interview with my client, Jamie Gregory, about her experience as a coaching client. In this interview, Jamie, will tell you a little bit about where she was when she decided to reach out for coaching and how it has helped her transform her relationship to Autism parenting and how she shows up to the day-to-day challenges of parenting twin five year old boys with Autism. Stay tuned.

Welcome to The Autism Mom Coach, a podcast for moms who feel overwhelmed, afraid, and sometimes powerless as they raise their child with Autism. My name is Lisa Candera. I’m a certified life coach, lawyer, and most importantly I’m a full-time single mom to a teenage boy with Autism. In this podcast I’ll show you how to transform your relationship with Autism and special needs parenting. You’ll learn how to shift away from being a victim of your circumstances to being the hero of the story you get to write. Let’s get started.

Lisa: Well, welcome Jamie Gregory to The Autism Mom Coach podcast.

Jamie: Happy to be here.

Lisa: I am so glad that you are here. So let’s just get started by introducing yourself as you have, but a little bit about your background and how we came together.

Jamie: So I’m Jamie Gregory, I am the mom of five year old twin boys who are both Autistic. And I got to know Lisa through the Coops Troop support group on Facebook. I watched one of her live videos where she was sharing some information about her coaching model. And it sounded really helpful and I wanted to learn more. I listened to some episodes of your podcast and it just kept getting better and better. And did the phone consultation with you and ended up doing the six month coaching program.

Lisa: So why don’t you just tell us a little bit about where you were. Why did coaching seem like something that you might want to do, what was going on for you?

Jamie: Sure. So our boys were diagnosed with Autism when they were two years old, they’re five now. And at the time when I started looking into your coaching program our family had just recently been infected with COVID. And both of our boys became extremely dysregulated. One thing that we’ve learned about them is any time they have any sort of sickness they just do not handle that well at all. They really struggle and get very dysregulated. And they were starting to have more meltdowns, they were happening more frequently and they were becoming more intense.

And it was just really taking a huge emotional toll on me because I didn’t really know the best way to support them during the meltdowns. It was also just really having a negative impact on my own mental health. They would have a meltdown and it would just kind of derail me for the rest of the day. I was having emotional breakdowns. And just feeling very isolated and kind of helpless. And that was right around the time that I discovered you and your podcast, and your coaching program and that really helped turn things around for me. So I was just kind of in a state of desperation.

Lisa: But that sounds right. I mean really that’s how I created the coaching program to begin with. It was in my own state, my standard state of desperation where it was like, “Okay, how am I going to do this?” And that’s really how all of this started. Okay, so I think you’ve already hit on it a bit but what were your challenges and what were your goals for coaching?

Jamie: Sure So my biggest challenges at that time were like I said, the meltdowns were starting to happen more frequently. And the intensity level was increasing with the boys’ meltdowns. And also just feeling outnumbered by my kids a lot of the time. I’m a full-time stay at home mom. And my husband has a very busy work life. So a lot of times it’s just me solo, not only at home, in situations where they’re both having meltdowns at the same time. But also just trying to navigate being out in public with them by myself was just really difficult at times, feeling a little outnumbered.

And then another challenge was, we tend to cycle through these periods of being in survival mode, whether it’s because the boys are sick, or our routine has changed for some reason, or there’s some big life change that we’re adjusting to. And when we’re in that survival mode period which usually if they’re sick it lasts for a couple of weeks. And we’re just trying to survive. And a lot of things get put on the backburner, some of the at home therapy programs that we do with them.

And so it was getting challenging to keep life on track during those periods of survival mode. But then also transition back to normal life after being in survival mode. So those were some of my biggest challenges. Some of my goals were to improve and stabilize my mental health despite the challenges of being a special needs parent, learning how to better manage their meltdowns so that they didn’t derail me. But also learning how to support Oliver and Noah properly during their meltdowns by being the solid object for them like you’ve talked about in your podcast.

Lisa: Yeah. No, that sounds great. I remember during our first meeting you were talking about a meltdown that had recently happened and you’re like, “I was shaking. I was shaking.” And I remember, we had that conversation really early on about the stress response that you had been in survival mode for so long. And your body was literally shaking out the stress and releasing the stress that had been pent up. And I think you talked a lot about waiting for the other shoe to drop and holding your breath.

Jamie: Yeah, white knuckling it.

Lisa: White knuckling it, yeah. So we started that work I remember from go, that was where our work was.

Jamie: Yes, definitely.

Lisa: So then now that we know what your challenges and your goals were, can you share about how coaching helped you?

Jamie: Yeah. I was thinking about that to prepare for this interview and I was like,  “Oh my gosh, I don’t even know where to start.” Because it’s helped me in so many ways.

Lisa: So for those of you who can’t see, Jamie has a list of notes which is very Jamie. As part of my coaching program I provide my clients with notes after each session about the tools that were taught and some takeaways. And Jamie always was referencing her computer while we were on our calls. And I just thought, well, maybe she has my notes up. But she had her own notes up, and so Jamie is the most organized person I know and that says a lot.

Jamie: I should have been in the Girl Scouts or something. Isn’t their motto, always be prepared or something?

Lisa: Oh my goodness, yeah.

Jamie: Yeah. So as far as the ways that it helped me and things that I learned. One way that your coaching program helped me, that was unexpected but a huge benefit was just gaining a better understanding about what’s happening physiologically before, during and after meltdowns. Not only in our kids’ bodies but in my own body as well and learning more about the science behind the nervous system and being in fight or flight mode. And just the fact that the reason why the boys were having these meltdowns in the first place is because their bodies are dysregulated.

This isn’t something that they’re doing intentionally. They’re not doing this out of spite or trying to make life difficult. And another big light bulb for me was coming to terms with the fact that these meltdowns just come with the territory when you have kids with Autism. Because when they started happening more frequently and getting more intense, every single time I felt like I was just blindsided by it. Where is this coming from? Why is this happening again? When are we ever going to be done with these meltdowns?

And so you really helped me come to terms and wrap my head around the fact that this is just part of life with Autism.

Lisa: Yeah. I saw that shift in you from the meltdowns too, I remember you went through a sleep cycle at that point.

Jamie: Sleep deprivation.

Lisa: And I remember at that point you were kind of like, “Yeah, this is just, we’re in one of those sleep cycles.” And I was like, “Oh, wow, look at you.”

Jamie: Yeah. It’s helped me come to terms with a lot of things like that, that just come with the territory. We’ve had a lot of prolonged periods of sleep deprivation. And so yeah, just realizing, okay, this is just part of it, this is going to happen every once in a while. And then we’ll have some periods of smooth sailing. Some other ways that it helped was learning how to keep myself calm while the boys were having a meltdown. And that helped me be able to better support them in the moment and help them get regulated again.

And also prevent me from just getting completely derailed by it for the rest of the day. So I was able to bounce back more quickly.

Lisa: What were some of your go to’s to sort of self-soothe yourself?

Jamie: I think part of it was just that mental shift of like we were just talking about, knowing that okay, understanding why it was happening in the first place, why they’re having these meltdowns in the first place, because they’re dysregulated. This is maybe the only way that they know how to cope with this. Or it might just be something that they’re doing involuntarily. Sometimes I would try to kind of distance myself from what was happening mentally. I know we talked about that early on and I think you had a podcast episode about that.

Almost kind of detaching yourself. Almost like a little bit of an out of body experience. Also there have been times where the boys have had some really intense meltdowns in very difficult situations where I felt trapped and that my options were limited, like I am driving in the car. And they’re strapped into their car seats, there isn’t anything I can really do in that moment. Or in the middle of the night when they’re screaming at the top of their lungs because they have an ear infection.

And during some of those really difficult times I would resort to some of the breathing techniques that you taught me. And that has really helped to keep my body calm and also just give my mind something else to focus on.

Lisa: Yeah, I remember you telling me the story about driving home. I pictured one of those super windy roads around a mountain.

Jamie: We were in the middle of a mountain in Tennessee or something.

Lisa: Right. You’re like, “There’s nothing to do.” And those are so challenging. And I am personally somebody who is very triggered by noise. And so what I have done in those situations, if I can’t put the headphones on particularly in the car is I will put down the window a bit because that actually disperses the noise. So pro tip for anybody who’s stuck in a car with a screaming child, wear warm clothing.

Jamie: There have been times at home where I have taken one of our kids’ pairs of noise cancelling headphones and put them on myself because I just for my own sanity.

Lisa: You touched on it a little bit but it’s like what you’re doing there is actually trying to regulate your own nervous system. We’re always talking about our kids and their dysregulation and how we help them self-soothe. But we’re not trying to feed them cognitive good positive affirmations to believe. We’re literally trying to tap into their bodies. And so it’s the same thing with us. So it’s not enough to just have the mind shift, although the mind shift can be great. It’s what to do to that body that’s like, what the hell’s happening here.

Jamie: Well, and another thing too is the shake it off strategy. I have used that too after meltdowns. There were times again, if it was a tricky scenario where I was by myself with the boys and I couldn’t just leave them unsupervised, I remember a couple of times I just did 25 jumping jacks as fast and hard as I could to try to shake some of the stress off. Or if someone else is here just saying, “Hey, I need to step away for a minute just to go in another room for a few minutes and just decompress.”

And I’m not sure if we’re going to get into talking about some of my hobbies. But I also got really into running which has been a good stress relief for me too.

Lisa: Yeah. No, I think that that’s a great segue because one of the things that I want to let people know, I get this question a lot is, “What do you coach about?” And the answer is everything. I actually coach, and I am not a runner or anyone qualified to coach somebody on running. But we coached about your activities.

Jamie: Which was very helpful.

Lisa: Yeah, but the thing that we found, the parallel between the activities, your running and the playtime therapy, because it’s this idea of how we do one thing is how we do all things. And so it’s sort of all or nothing. I’m either on track to be a marathon runner or I’m just lazy. There’s no in between. Or I’m doing the therapy exactly as prescribed or I’m screwing it up, they’re going to be behind and it’s my fault. And so that sort of all or nothing thinking, I remember us talking about that a lot. So is that something you’d be comfortable speaking to?

Jamie: Yeah, definitely. So with running, last February, middle of February which was around the same time we started the coaching program I think was when I started running. It’s something I’ve done, I played soccer for a long time early on in my life. I did some trail running back in 2016 but hadn’t really done much with it for years. And kind of got that bug at the beginning of the year where everyone gets inspired to have new year’s resolutions. And decided to start running again. And quickly discovered that it was very beneficial for my mental health as a stress reliever.

I’ve learned that, right now I have two major hobbies, running and writing. And I also do some podcasting. Having those endeavors that I can indulge myself in has a couple benefits for me. Number one, it gives me something else to ground my identity in besides just being a mom or a special needs mom. And I mentioned the stress reliever mental health benefits. So started running a lot, ramped up my training, did a few trail running races, some of them were kind of crazy. One where we were running around in the woods for 12 hours straight overnight in the dark.

But with running in particular another big benefit was that it reassured me that I am capable of doing difficult things. And it allowed me to channel my energy into something physical with my body which I think kind of helped divert some of my mental and emotional stress that I have every day with raising the boys. And just kind of gave me another way to prove to myself that I can be resilient, I can be resourceful, I can do difficult things which also helps me realize I can also handle the difficult aspects of raising our kids.

Lisa: Yeah, I remember one of the things that we talked about is that when we get into the sort of all or nothing territory our resourcefulness goes out the window. And so I remember talking to you about one of the races where you had a lot of pre anxiety.

Jamie: Yeah, I was sick and I was worried that I wasn’t going to be adequately prepared for the race.

Lisa: Right. And what if your caregiver can’t do it. And so then I remember you and I just going through each of those things that you were worried about. “Okay, well, what if that happens, what will you do?” Well, maybe I just don’t run it in record time.” “Well, what if this person does get sick?” “I can ask this other person.” “What if this happens?” And so taking your mind all the way there and seeing, right, I’m a resourceful person, I could figure this out. Is it how I want to do it? Probably not but I could figure it out. And I think that that applies with so much.

And we do that every single day with our kids. We’re always figuring it out. And we just don’t give ourselves the credit for it at all, so standing back and seeing that.

Jamie: Definitely. That was one of the great things about your coaching program is it gave me so much self-awareness and confidence in so many different aspects of life. And I really like the exercise you had me do, where when I was struggling with some of those, well, what if this happens, what if this happens, and worrying and catastrophizing. And you had me do an exercise, thinking back over the past several years. And coming up with examples of times that I have been resourceful. And I’ve figured things out even if it was difficult. And that was a really helpful reminder.

Lisa: Yeah, absolutely because our brains, our negativity bias is only to show us what could go wrong. And then to find all the evidence to confirm it. And so it actually takes more work to look at these almost more honestly. I wasn’t asking you to put a positive spin on anything. I was asking you for facts. And so it’s having your brain do the exercise of being honest. I know one of the things that we coached a bunch on was the fact that you’re a stay at home mom coming from a pretty intense career where you had, you know, you were a teacher at some point.

You created a company with your husband and then I heard from you, “Well, I’m just a stay at home mom now.” So there was a lot of, I would say, a little bit of an identity crisis going on there. And so can you speak to that a bit?

Jamie: Sure, absolutely. Yeah, I think it’s difficult. So as you mentioned, I was a high school teacher for five years, an agricultural science teacher running my own FFA chapter. So I was very involved in the community. And then my husband and I started a software company together along with some other co-founders, which he’s the CEO of now. And I have completely stepped away from that work to be a full-time stay at home mom 100% of the time. And so having those experiences in my past and I’m by no means an egotistical person.

But being in the limelight a little bit at times and then suddenly switching gears and being a stay at home mom, raising twins that are Autistic and all the challenges that come along with that. And let’s face it, it’s not a very glamorous life. It is definitely a huge adjustment. And sometimes it can feel very lonely, very isolating, it’s difficult for other people to relate sometimes. But one of the things that you helped me realize is I can still apply my skillset and my background to what I’m doing now.

And one of the things that I loved was when you helped me realize that I’m like the CEO of our family. And I really do wear a lot of hats. And I have a lot of responsibilities. And I try to be the best possible mom that I can be. Sometimes I am the therapist for the boys. Sometimes I am their teacher. I’m also the ringleader of their entire team of therapists and teachers, and all the service providers that they see on a regular basis. And by me doing what I do in my role it also supports my husband to be able to more effectively do what he does, leading a company.

So I think that really helped with that identity crisis along with, like I said, having these other hobbies and things to focus on at times.

Lisa: Yeah. And I remember, well, I feel like what I saw open up for you after a couple of weeks of coaching was all of a sudden you were like, “Well, wait a second, the summer camp, maybe I can do something here. Maybe I can do something there.” You were interacting with the teachers. You are a born leader. And so even within whatever you’re doing, you are you in whatever you’re doing, stay at home mom or not. And so you were always seeking out opportunities in different ways and it was just really cool to see that open up for you.

Jamie: Yeah. And I think along those lines one of the things that I gained from the coaching program too was the realization that I am the expert on my kids. And I know we talked about some tricky scenarios where I deferred to a therapist was someone who didn’t really have the best instinct with our boys that I have. And so just having that confidence to be able to speak up and step in and say, “Hey, I think this is what they really need right now in this moment”, has really transformed things too.

Lisa: Yeah, that was awesome. That was towards the end of our six months together. And was it an OT?

Jamie: Yes.

Lisa: I remember. Yes, because I also, and this is actually a good topic to talk about, one of the things I coach my clients on a lot is their interaction with service providers. The service provider who says, “It should look like this.” And the parent who’s like either, “That doesn’t work for my child or I don’t know how I’m going to figure this out.” I know that you struggled with that a bit with the therapy that you were doing. Can you just talk about how that evolved, how your thinking about that evolved over time?

Jamie: Yeah. So when our boys were first diagnosed with Autism we initially started with doing home based ABA therapy. We did that for about a year and ended up switching gears because we were having a lot of issues with therapist turnover, high turnover rates. And so kind of went back to the drawing board, reevaluated and decided to switch over to play project therapy. Drastically different philosophy and methodology. Basically we have a coach or a consultant that does a monthly visit with us.

But as parents we are actually the ones implementing the play project therapy with our boys at home every day. And our consultant, our coach is fantastic. I’ve learned so much from her and she’s given us lots of great strategies. But at the same time sometimes I’ve felt a little daunted. It’s been a little daunting at times especially when we have these cycles of being in survival mode because the boys were sick.

And I was getting stuck in this rut of thinking, oh gosh, the boys have been sick, we haven’t been doing the play project therapy for the last two weeks now because we’re just trying to survive. And everything’s just going to, you know, we’re going to get way off track and we’re going to be behind and how are we going to get back on track with this? So I think the coaching program has helped me learn not only in that scenario with implementing this play project therapy at home but with a lot of aspects of life.

Giving myself permission to be in survival mode sometimes. Sometimes that’s just where we’re at. And lowering the expectations during those times, just trying to help the boys stay regulated, whatever that might look like. If they’re doing more stimming than usual, that’s okay. And I can even join in with them on that and still be there with them and support them. And once we climb back out of that survival mode period and they’re not sick anymore or whatever, then we can gradually get things back on track and just again coming to terms with the fact that things like that are just going to happen.

And with the play project therapy, we’ve been doing that for a year now. And now that we have a year of this under our belt and with my prior experience as a teacher and everything, we’ve come to the decision that we’ve learned what we have needed to learn from our consultant. We feel equipped now to move forward, doing this ourselves without the formality of contracting this with a company and in order to give ourselves the flexibility that we need when unexpected things happen in life.

Lisa: I remember you just being able to trust yourself with that decision. Because I think that’s such a challenge that so many parents have is, well, what if I make the wrong decision and then I mess everything up forever. And so just you make a decision and then you just have your back about it. You can always go back if you felt like it. Or maybe not specifically for your play project because I know that there was an age cut off for that. But just this idea of that black and white thinking, it’s either the right decision or the wrong decision and I can’t make it.

Jamie: Right. And it helps me realize that it can be paralyzing if we are just, if we’re only ever thinking about questioning, are we making the right decision? Or I used to spend a lot of time worrying about the future. And once we get to the future, what if we have regrets that we didn’t do the right things or didn’t do enough of x, y or z? And I think now I’m trying to just live more in the present time. And just we talked a lot about the whole concept of riding the wave which was a really helpful concept for me.

We’re going to have ups and downs and we just have to try to go with the flow and just do the best that we can today and know that if we’re doing the best that we can today and making the best decisions today, and utilizing the best resources we can right now then that should have positive effects in the future.

Lisa: And regret is a decision. You get to decide right now how you’re going to treat yourself in the future. You get to decide then too. I mean I have this all the time with my son, will I regret, you know, he was out of school for three months for this OCD treatment. Well, I’m standing by my decision that at this time in our lives for what he needed that was the best decision.

If there are impacts because of that then that’s just what it is. It’s not something that I need to then be like, “Well, it’s because you did the wrong thing, or you should have done something else, or you should have had him being tutored on the side”, or whatever it is. We get to actually make that decision.

Jamie: Cross that bridge when it comes.

Lisa: Right. And when we cross that bridge we’re not a jerk to ourselves. So how are you implementing the tools that you learned in the six months of coaching with me in your day-to-day life.

Jamie: So one thing that I am continuing to try to do is just ride the wave of life like we were talking about. And just try to take things one day at a time. This fall has been difficult. We’ve had a lot of illness. So we’ve just been going in and out of cycling through those survival mode periods. So I’m just riding the wave and I don’t know what we were thinking but we also just adopted a dog. So that’s just adding to the chaos.

Lisa: Jamie and her husband, they like to do things uphill in the snow. They don’t just do runs, they do trail runs. And they don’t just do trial runs, they do them in the dark with twins with Autism, with COVID, with a dog. And your dog’s an eloper, right?

Jamie: Yes. We’ve had him for a week and a half and he’s gotten loose twice already, so yeah, it’s been interesting. A really important thing for me is to continue every day to make a conscious decision to be flexible and resourceful. You helped me realize that I can be a little rigid at times just like my own kids can. So that’s something that I continue to try to keep and mind, giving myself permission to be in survival mode like I mentioned before.

I’m getting better at identifying when the boys are becoming dysregulated, seeing those early signs of dysregulation and acting accordingly. And also just continuing to experiment and find new strategies for helping them deescalate from meltdowns. I have this little phrase, one thing that I keep coming back to is if I’m going through a tough time, I think you’ll like this. I ask myself, what would Lisa do or what would Lisa say? So I feel like I always have you on my shoulder giving me advice, thinking about what your analysis would be of a certain situation.

And then just continuing to find my identity and solace in the hobbies with running and writing.

Lisa: Yeah. So tell us a little bit about that. You’ve taken off and you’re like, “I don’t know, I’m just a stay at home mom, to I’m a writer, I’m a podcaster.” You’re doing short stories. You’re doing it all.

Jamie: I have this tendency to just go crazy and go overboard. Sometimes I get myself into trouble with that because I overcommit myself. But with the running, that was going really hardcore from February through probably August. And then it’s been a little bumpy since then, just with sleep deprivation and sicknesses but I’m back on track with that now. I don’t have any races on the calendar or anything. So right now I’m just running for stress relief and just my overall health.

With writing, I really enjoy fiction writing. I created, I guess you would call it an author website for myself where I post, I mostly write short stories, so I post my short stories on there. And then I occasionally submit stories to writing contests. I also started a podcast where I narrate the short stories that I’ve written. And I have two episodes left in season one right now. Then I’ll take a little break for the holidays.

Lisa: And we’ll include links to all of this in the show notes so folks can find you and cheer you on.

Jamie: Thanks, awesome. And then kind of a long term project that I have started the preliminary planning for is I want to write a non-fiction book about Autism, specifically for occasionally now that I’m about three years into this journey. Local parents will be referred to me for advice. And usually it’s people that are questioning if their child has Autism but they’re not really sure or they’re not really sure how to go about an evaluation. Or they just recently got diagnosed and they just don’t know where to go from there.

So I want to kind of condense all of my experience and my advice into a book that’ll be geared towards parents that have children that were recently diagnosed with Autism and just kind of giving them a little beacon of hope and a little pep talk on how to process their emotions surrounding that diagnosis and just where to go from there.

Lisa: I love that. And I think it’s one of the things that we talked about with you. You are writing the book on what it looks like to raise two kids with Autism. So I think one of the things that we get this idea is that it’s supposed to look a certain way. But it looks the way that it looks, you get to decide. So what would you say is the single biggest change in your life since coaching with me other than the dog?

Jamie: That’s a good question. I think it’s probably just the level of self-awareness that you have helped me gain. But also it’s just really transformed the way that I view myself and my kids. I feel like I just have a much better understanding of my kids and their challenges, and how to be as supportive for them as I possibly can be. But also have that self-awareness to guide myself along that process as well.

Lisa: That’s great, yeah, it’s complicated. Alright, so last couple of questions. Would you recommend coaching with me?

Jamie: Absolutely, without any hesitation I absolutely would a 100%. It truly was a transformation for me. It was a lifechanging process for me. You just bring such a wealth of knowledge and experience to your clients that you’re coaching, not just about raising kids with Autism, but about mental health, and psychology, and like I said, the science behind the nervous system and all of that which just it’s all so important and relevant. And the other thing that I really loved about your coaching program is you just get it.

There are so many times as special needs parents that we feel isolated and it’s hard to relate with the outside world but it was so helpful that you have gone through this journey yourself. And you’re about 10 years ahead of me in this journey. And you’ve done it as a single mom who works full-time which is just amazing. And just some other things that I loved about you and the coaching program that all go into why I would recommend it. You just really sincerely care about the wellbeing of your clients and their families. You’re very invested.

I thought it was so cool how you would comment on my random Facebook posts about the boys and stuff. You’re a really good listener. It was just so therapeutic having our sessions. And I was always so impressed how we would be having a video call like this and I would be talking about some new challenge or something difficult that happened. And you’re able to give such profound tailored and actionable advice in real time. It wasn’t like you would be like, “I need to think about that for a while, let me get back to you. You’re just so quick on your feet. And finally, you’re a straight shooter, which I love.

Lisa: This is true.

Jamie: Yes. You were always honest with me. You weren’t afraid to call me out on my rigidity, or my black and white all or nothing thinking sometimes. And I think that’s so critical because you’re not afraid to tell your clients what they need to hear sometimes, even if it might not be what they want to hear. But you know that it has their best interest in mind and it’s going to help them move forward. And it also helped tremendously that you’re hilarious. And I would be crying about something challenging that happened in life but I would be crying and cracking up at the same time because you would always make me laugh.

Lisa: That’s one of my coping mechanisms is to find the humor in whatever it is.

Jamie: Well, it works.

Lisa: Well, I am so glad. Well, I learned so much from coaching with you and I just, I was always so impressed by how you are doing all of this with two humans, two little humans.

Jamie: But yeah, I would definitely recommend it for sure.

Lisa: I’m curious, when you think of who you would recommend it to, any thoughts that come up there, I mean aside from an Autism mom?

Jamie: Yeah, definitely an Autism mom who is just feeling a little lost or discouraged in their journey with Autism especially if things are just – if the difficulty level is increasing and they’re just finding themselves emotionally tapped out and just not really sure how to handle the day-to-day challenges. Someone who’s feeling a little isolated and just needs someone to come alongside them that understands what they’re going through and can give them the tools that they need to be empowered and be able to just navigate this difficult journey, yeah.

Lisa: Well, I do have a question for you that I don’t think I’ve ever asked you separately so I’m just going to ask you now live. One of the features of the coaching program, and I don’t do this every week but definitely in the beginning weeks when we’re getting acclimated to the coaching model that I teach and some of the tools, I would give you notes. How did you find those notes, were they helpful to you? Are they something that you’ve reflected upon? I’m just curious.

Jamie: They were very, very helpful. And for people that aren’t familiar so the coaching program, we would have a video call every single week for an hour which was awesome because I felt like it helped us really stay connected with what was happening in my life just on an ongoing basis. And lo and behold every week there’s something challenging to talk about. And so we were able to work through those things. And it was just nice having that consistency. But then you also offered in between those sessions, email support and stuff, which was great too.

But I was always extremely impressed with your notes recapping our sessions because I’m a very note oriented person like you mentioned before.

Lisa: Really?

Jamie: So it was helpful having you take the notes because I felt like during our video sessions I could just be engaged in the session. I didn’t have to worry about trying to take notes myself because I knew that you had that covered. And your notes were always very comprehensive and very insightful. And in fact preparing for this interview today I went back through and read some of the notes. And they’re just nice reminders to refer back to too. Even now that we’re done with the coaching program just as a way to refer back to, yeah, those are those strategies that we talked about.

And right now I’m dealing with this difficult thing and this is what – what would Lisa do? What would Lisa say? I can refer back to those notes.

Lisa: Yeah. The thing that I like about that portion of it and what I benefitted from it as the coach and also as a client myself because I have coaches as well is to be able to see the themes. Because how I do something with Ben, it shows up in other places in my life too. And I think you found that. And so having that sort of written back, it’s just a nice way to draw those parallels.

Jamie: Definitely, and progress too.

Lisa: Right, yeah. So another thing, at the beginning of the coaching program is that we set out goals. And we would check in. Your goal was to have more emotional regulation when the boys were getting escalated and we would check in regularly to see how is that going, what’s still challenging, what can we work on. And so we would build those skills over time. Alright, well, thank you so much for doing this. It’s such a nice thing to see you. I have to say, I do miss seeing Oliver running in because he usually was always a guest star.

Jamie: He’s at school right now. I know.

Lisa: He’s always a guest star during our calls. But thank you so much for joining us. And before we go, can you just tell folks where they can find you?

Jamie: Sure. So my website for my short stories is www.jamie-gregory.com. I’m on Twitter at Jamie L Gregory. And my podcast is called Short Stories for Busy Bookworms.

Lisa: Alright. And on Facebook you’re the OG Diaries, right?

Jamie: Yes. It’s kind of a small private group right now but I have a private Facebook group called the OG Diaries. And I kind of selectively invite people that I know will be encouraging and supportive. Some of them are family members, some are old coworkers, friends, other special needs parents. And it’s basically a place for me to share kind of a behind the scenes more vulnerable glimpse into life with Oliver and Owen. So some of it is stuff that I wouldn’t share publicly with the whole Facebook universe.

Lisa: Alright, well, thank you so much for doing this.

Jamie: No problem. Thanks for having me. It was great to talk about all the benefits of the coaching program.

                                                                                                                   

Thanks everyone for listening to Jamie’s interview. I hope that you got something out of that and you have a better idea of what the coaching relationship looks like and how much it can help you transform where you are, whatever your challenge is, I’m here to help. You can reach out to me for a consultation on my website, theautismmomcoach.com. I’ll talk to you next week.

Thanks for listening to The Autism Mom Coach. If you want more information or the show notes and resources from the podcast, visit theautismmomcoach.com. See you next week.

Enjoy the Show?

 

Ep #44: How Coaching Changes Everything

The Autism Mom Coach with Lisa Candera | How Coaching Changes Everything

We are in the New Year and everyone is talking about resolutions. Resolutions are great, but they aren’t usually an agent for lasting change. So, in this week’s episode, I’m talking about a way that you can make changes in your life as a Special Needs Parent that will last throughout 2023 and beyond.

Whatever you want more of in your life, whether you want it for yourself or for your child with Autism, coaching will provide you with the tools you need to create the life you want. If you’re curious about coaching and how it can change everything for you, keep listening to this episode, and come back next week when I’ll be interviewing one of my wonderful clients on the show.

Tune in this week to discover what coaching is, how it works, and how coaching changed my life when I was at a breaking point. I’ve tried therapy and never found it very useful, but when I found a coach who understood Autism and my experience as a working mom, combined with some amazing mindset tools, I was able to start building a life I loved.

Learn how to keep your cool when your child is melting down in my brand new minicourse: Keeping Your Cool. All you have to do to get access is sign up to my mailing list in the pop-up on my home page!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • The very personal story of how I found life coaching when I needed it the most.
  • Some of the things I was worried about (and I’m sure you are too) as a full-time working mother to a child with Autism.
  • Why I hadn’t found therapy to be beneficial to me personally in making my days more enjoyable.
  • What life coaching is and how it helps so many people achieve their goals.
  • Why even the highest-functioning people can benefit from coaching.
  • The signs that coaching might not be for you right now.
  • How being coached has the power to change your life forever.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

  • Sign up for my email list to get notified of coaching opportunities, workshops and more! All you have to do is go to my home page and enter your email address in the pop-up.
  • If this podcast has helped you and you want to help other moms like you find this resource, please rate and review the show.
  • Click here to get my Check What’s Triggered workbook, designed to help you identify some of the triggers you’re anticipating for this school year, and to crate thoughts that will better serve you.

Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to episode 44 of The Autism Mom Coach, How Coaching Changes Everything.

It’s the new year and everyone is talking about resolutions. Resolutions are great but they usually are not an agent for lasting change. So in this week’s episode I am going to talk to you about a way that you can make changes in your life as a special needs parent that are long lasting. Specifically I want to talk to you about how coaching can provide you with the tools you need to create the life you want even when that life looks nothing like you imagined. Stay tuned.

Welcome to The Autism Mom Coach, a podcast for moms who feel overwhelmed, afraid, and sometimes powerless as they raise their child with Autism. My name is Lisa Candera. I’m a certified life coach, lawyer, and most importantly I’m a full-time single mom to a teenage boy with Autism. In this podcast I’ll show you how to transform your relationship with Autism and special needs parenting. You’ll learn how to shift away from being a victim of your circumstances to being the hero of the story you get to write. Let’s get started.

Welcome to the podcast and Happy New Year. I hope you are doing well and survived the holiday break. Thank you to all of you who took the time to rate and review the podcast in December. I really appreciate you and I hope you loved your gifts. And of course for all of you who have not yet rated and reviewed the podcast, please do. More reviews means more visibility for the podcast and the easier it will be for moms like you to have this as a resource.

Okay, one announcement before I get started with this week’s episode. I will soon be releasing my first mini course called The Keeping Your Cool mini course. In this mini course I will teach you the before, during and after process I created for keeping your cool while your child is melting down. So if you are not already, get on my mailing list and you will be the first to receive the link to this free mini course. It will consist of four videos from me walking you step by step through the process.

You can get on my email list by going to my website, theautismmomcoach.com, just wait a couple of seconds, you will see a popup and that’s where you can enter your email address.

Okay, on to today’s topic. In the next two episodes of the podcast I am going to talk to you about coaching. In this episode I’m going to tell you what coaching is. And in next week’s episode you will hear from one of my clients, Jamie, the mother of twin boys with Autism, as she talks to you about her experience being coached by me. First, before I tell you what coaching is, I want to give you some context because the one thing I do know about my experience is that it’s not just my experience.

You are all having these experiences too and as much as I can, I want you to feel seen. So this is why I share some of the more personal aspects of my life. Here goes. I found life coaching in the parking lot of my son’s middle school. It was February 2020, weeks before the COVID shutdown and I was attending the parent orientation for the middle school my son would attend the following year.

After hearing about the rotating schedule changes, seeing the big hallways and the lockers and listening to the presentations by the teachers and the questions from the other parents I left the building and cried in my car. I was in a full out panic. How? How am I going to do this? How am I going to get him through this? How am I going to get through this? I was at a breaking point. I had been white knuckling it for years, getting my son through the next thing, and the next thing. And now it was middle school and this was, well, this is a big deal and then came high school.

I was just at a loss and I was panicking. The thought of him getting older, the differences between him and his peers getting bigger and bigger. And how was I going to support him through that? And how was I going to get through it myself as a full-time working mother? One thing was very clear to me in that moment. Something needed to change. I needed to change. I needed to find another way of managing the crushing anxiety and fear that I was feeling all of the time, but how? Frankly I was not looking for therapy.

My experience of therapy had been a lot of talking about the past to understand the present. And I really wasn’t looking for that. I was looking for tools to make today better. And in my view, catching a therapist up on 40 plus years of life was not what I needed. Also I had been to therapists many times during the years and I found it frustrating that none of them really understood Autism or what it was like to parent a child with Autism. Now, of course this isn’t a requisite for effective therapy but for me I wanted to feel seen, I didn’t want to have to explain everything.

I wanted someone who just got it. This was the moment I decided to give life coaching a try. Up until that point I had been passively consuming it via a podcast and I liked it. So I thought, why not, I had tried everything else, therapy, yoga, meditation, medication, support groups, essential oils, you name it, I tried it. So in that moment I decided that I was going to hire my first life coach, which I did and I loved it. And I loved it so much that I wanted to learn more. I wanted to learn everything I could about the process, about the tools that I was being taught.

And so I got certified and here I am today. So what is it? What is life coaching? Life coaching is and I have to say the way that I do it and the way that I experience it as a collaborative process whereby the client creates goals and the coach works with them to develop the skills to achieve those goals. It is teaching. It is challenging limiting beliefs. It is being seen, heard and offered tools and alternative ways of looking at things. Coaching by design is like that proverb, you can give a man a fish or you can teach them how to fish, it’s kind of like that.

In coaching you get the tools, you get some practice applying them to your life with the support of a coach. But then you get to keep those tools and all of the results that you create from that experience. And then you can apply that same skill to different areas of your life to create new results for yourself all of the time. So it’s like the gift that keeps on giving. Once you learn the skill you can apply it to anything in your life however you like.

So who is coaching for? In my view, coaching is for people who are doing life usually quite well, at least from the outside, but inside it feels terrible and they have this nagging feeling that things are harder than they need to be, or that they just want to do life better.

Now, therapy can serve these purposes as well and there are plenty of people who are in therapy for these exact reasons. However, therapy is also for people who are not showing up in their lives. They are incapacitated by anxiety or depression, or some other tissue. And in my view that’s not a place for coaching. So if you come to me and you are depressed, and you have not been able to get out of bed for a week, and you don’t know what the purpose of your life is and the point of going on. I am going to suggest that you contact a therapist.

Coaching is not for you at the moment. Coaching is for people who are functioning in their day to day lives. And I will tell you, my clients are not just functioning, they are highly functioning and probably over-functioning. And that is actually part of the issue they bring to me. They are doing so much and they are still so scared that they’re not doing enough. And so they keep pushing themselves and pushing themselves. They are ignoring their own selfcare because they are so laser focused on their child.

Or they are walking on eggshells just trying to keep things together for their child and that is the focus of everything that they do. They feel lost but not because they are depressed per se, more because they have been drinking nonstop from the Autism fire hose immersing themselves in everything Autism. Changing their lives in countless ways to support their kid and one day they take a look around and their life looks unrecognizable to them. They don’t know who they are.

And then add to this, many of my clients are students of self-development and actually a few of them are therapists themselves. So then they beat themselves up because they tell themselves that they know this stuff. They should know better. They should know how to stay calm. They should be over it by now but they still struggle in the moment to stay in the present. They still struggle to keep their cool and it becomes a vicious cycle of beating themselves up, losing their cool and then rinse and repeat.

This is where coaching can be a gamechanger, having someone standing side by side with you as you work through challenges, set goals and achieve them. And here is the benefit of working with a coach who you believe, as the client, gets you. I have found for my clients at least it allows them to lower their guard in that they are not trying to prove to me how hard it is to raise a child with Autism. They are not fighting for that story with me as they might do with people who they think don’t get it or even their doctors and therapists, and educators.

With me, when I challenge them, instead of fighting me and fighting themselves they actually look inward. And this is really powerful. Let me just give you an example of this. Let’s just say you have the best friend and she has two kids and both are neurotypical. And she sees that you are struggling with your child and tells you, “You need to take some time to take care of yourself.” How do you react? Most of us want to scream, like, “Okay, I appreciate that but are you kidding me? You have no idea. That’s easy for you to say.”

But now imagine that even a complete stranger like me who has a child with Autism says the same thing to you, “Hey, you need to take time to take care of yourself.” How do you react then? It’s a little different. This is in my experience with my clients. When I ask them about selfcare they don’t tell me off. We work together to find ways to incorporate selfcare in a way that works for them. And that’s just one example.

But this is why I exclusively coach moms raising kids with Autism, because I think it’s really powerful for us to work with someone who gets our lives, because we can drop that fight right at the door. Okay, you get it, I get it and now what? So I have tremendous compassion and empathy for my clients but I am not there to tell them that their life is hard and to feel bad about their lives with them. That is not what coaching is about. Coaching is about, yes, this is my circumstance and this is what’s happening and I want to do it a different way.

And that’s the role that I play is bridging the gap between where you are and where you want to be with some very powerful tools. So on that point let me just tell you a little bit about my coaching. The kind of coaching that I do borrows heavily from cognitive behavioral therapy which posits that how we think creates our feelings, and how we feel drives our actions. What this means is that it’s not the circumstances in our lives that are creating whatever emotions we are feeling, and actions we are taking, and results that we are creating.

Our feelings, our actions are the results of whatever thoughts we are thinking in our brains about life happening. We think thoughts in our brains, these thoughts create feelings and these feelings drive our actions, and our actions give us the results in our lives. This is just one part of my coaching and this is what I call the cognitive approach.

I also incorporate a nervous system approach as well and I’m going to get into this deeper in future episodes. But for now I will just say, our nervous systems are constantly responding to the stimuli in our environments. And our nervous systems have three states. There is the ventral vagal state where we are feeling safe and connected. There is the sympathetic state where we are in a fight, flight reaction. And then there is the dorsal state where we’re in shutdown. We’re like crawling under the covers and head in the sand, that kind of a thing.

Our nervous system state whichever of these three states that we are in, create our stories. So let’s just say I walk into my house and I hear screaming. My nervous system goes into a fight, flight state immediately. And my story is something like, this should not be happening. That thought right there, or that story is activated by my nervous system response to the stimuli in the environment. And my nervous system is interpreting that stimuli before I even have a thought about it. And my nervous system is telling me by the activation of the fight, flight response, danger.

So really these two approaches, the nervous system approach and the cognitive approach, they work hand in hand. Whatever your nervous system for response is, is creating the story. The story creates how you feel, it creates how you act, it results in the results that you create in your lives. So these are the two main modalities that I use in my coaching and you will hear more about this next week when I interview my client, Jamie.

She talks about how helpful it was for her to learn about her nervous system response and how she was able to use that knowledge to modulate her own reactions and to coregulate with her twins.

Okay, that’s it about coaching for now. In the meantime if you are intrigued, if you are ready to change your life as a special needs mom, schedule a consultation with me. You can do so by going to my website, theautismmomcoach.com and click on Work with Me. Thanks and I’ll talk to you next week.

Thanks for listening to The Autism Mom Coach. If you want more information or the show notes and resources from the podcast, visit theautismmomcoach.com. See you next week.

Enjoy the Show?