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.
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?
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.
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.