What’s the Magic Pill in Reaching People.

Why Being WHO YOU ARE is important in reaching clients and colleagues or Why Parents and Mentees need YOU not your list of certifications –

podcast episode 2

pantsThere is no magic pill.  It is simply called being you.  The real you.

This being me is the reason why wearing a white SLP jacket is not simply my flavor.  It is also why a matchy matchy business suit in professional workshops doesn’t quite suit me.  But it took time to figure ME out.  I believe this is why Tameika Meadows has such a reach and following with her blog and books.  She has figured out that Heart to Heart connection plus SMART INTELLECT knowledge equals IMPACT.

I had the great opportunity to interview this awesome Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Author, and Blogger.

Listen to Podcast on Soundcloud

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In this we discuss subjects that including

mentoring

being you

discovering the real you over time

how to present yourself and finding your comfortable sweet spot

giving yourself permission to fail

the comfort in not knowing everything

wearing the shoes of the parents and families you serve

creating and maintaining healthy client boundaries and relationships

making sure families have a LIFE outside of therapy

Tameika has strong material for parent and professional  training material along with her blog  beneficial to parents and professional

I love ABA Blog

Find her books here:

101 Ways to Do ABA

From AtoZ: Teaching Skills to Children with Autism

A Manual Creating an Autism Intervention Program

Tameika Meadows thank you for your time, intelligence, and contribution to the lives of people and the field!!

~Landria Seals Green, MA., CCC-SLP, BCBA

#SLPGURU  #TherapyBizCoach

Landria is a consultant with Landria Green, PLLC; CKO  with SOAR Solutions for Autism, ABA, and Special Education; and Chief Clinical Officer of Momentum Autism Therapy Services.

What’s Laundry Got To Do With It

StockSnap_4876CF9B9C.jpgExpecting More in ABA and Why This Should Matter to Parents

It is frustrating  when vocational programs for learners with autism that focus a majority of their goals and time on  laundry and cooking.  I’m just guessing, but there are a more than a handful of people in this world who do not know how to cook or do laundry, but they lead successful and independent lives.  The skill these successful neurotypicals possess is to see a need and make a call to friends or a service to get the job done.  Problem solving at it’s best.  So why is it completely necessary for learners with autism to learn to sort, wash, and fold?

Adolescent programs for learners with autism are necessary.  Except that when enrollment begins at age 8 for an adolescent program, it leads to many questions.  The major one centering around expectations.  If treatment is a pipeline for adult dependence and more laundry, then let’s stop the Autism Waivers, ABA funding; save your money.

With programming focusing on a daily skill of laundry, cooking, and showering…it leads me to wonder what the pipeline to therapy really is.  Shouldn’t therapy and intensive treatment be a change agent?  Yes there is a path for everyone and college, vocational-trade, and job coach support.  However, shouldn’t the underlying precept of a therapy program be to engineer and teach the learner to communicate, problem solve, reason, and think.

I’d rather leave the actual focus of vocational goals up to the families.  Culturally speaking, not all families focus on laundry, cooking, and the like.  Some of them are busy shuttling kids to Kumon, Swim, and Violin.  Not all neurotypical children have an interest in cooking and laundry and they voice their opinions of such.  So, why don’t learners with autism get a choice?  Why should they become master laundry sorters, folders, measurers of detergent, and quesadilla makers regardless of their ability?  Are these vocational goals and adolescent programs starting at the age of eight more reflective of low expectations of the therapist and the center?

Parent’s let’s talk…

Let’s level the playing field here:

  • If  your neurotypical child’s kindergarten teacher brought laundry from home and had all the student’s sort it, measure the detergent, wash the clothes. Would this work for you?
  • If your neurotypical 8 year old child were placed in P.E, recess, and lunch with 16 year olds? You would find that odd and question why they were put in the same peer group, right?

If it’s not good for the gander, it’s not good for the goose.

Daily Living Skills are necessary.  The focus should step into the modern era and open our eyes to what neurotypicals bring from a skill set level to social relationships, employment, and college.  This is what our focus should be in the Daily Living Category.  More than this, parents must be consumers who have not lost their expectations for what the therapy they pay for should produce nor their expectations for their child’s achievement.  Let’s move from being in awe about Dr. Temple Grandin and her accomplishments, but ask the deeper question “How Do We Get There?  How Do We Accomplish This?”

I’d rather my child learn how to:

  1. Be sensitive to his or her own body odor and act accordingly
  2. Know when he needs a haircut and call to schedule himself
  3. Know how to navigate from point A to point B using google maps
  4. Ask for directions when lost
  5. Know how to use ATM, Debit cards, and monitor if money is lost or stolen and what to do when that happens
  6. Know how to use a locker at the gym
  7. Balance healthy food choices and snacks
  8. Call to order or use the web to purchase food, groceries
  9. Know how to create a schedule, use a schedule
  10. Know how to text message  (written or voice command) and listen to a text.
  11. Know how to “google” something to find out the answer
  12. Know when to understand when his/her clothes fit and coordinate himself/herself based upon the occasion.
  13. How to call Uber or a cab.
  14. How to tell if someone looks safe (tricky topic)
  15. Know how to pick a partner and ask someone on a date.

The list goes on.  And I’ve yet to mention doing laundry.  The point?  Laundry can be taught at home.  Give the parents the task analysis if you must…but they don’t need that. Focus on real life in therapy so that our kids have a fighting chance to make it in the college dorms, apartments, and to use their money, and make safe choices.  All of these things are not taught in the treatment room or in the make shift adolescent room in the therapy center, this is real life and needs the real world experience.

And if you are thinking about insurance and what they will/won’t cover..the list above is either in the category of Problem Solving, Communication, Reasoning, Daily Living-Hygiene, Daily Living-Spatial Reasoning and Transportation, Cognition (number matching- calling on the phone)…so yes this can be done.

Time to Stretch….and Thrive.  The world is waiting, let’s prepare our learners with autism better.

~Landria Seals Green, MA., CCC-SLP, BCBA

The SLP GURU

THE WORLD IS YOURS

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My Decision to Move Forward and Enter A Brilliant Expanded -New Path

I can often be heard reciting a poem I heard at church in my childhood to my son.  I give him a modified version that gives the consistent ending “You can be anything you want to be. You can go anywhere you want to go. The WORLD is yours.”  Now, at the age of three, he chimes in with me and ends with the question “The world is mine?” I respond with a resounding Yes!  He then sticks his chest out and smiles.  This inside building of self-esteem is not new in my family.  My mother would sing the “If you Believe/ Believe in yourself” song from The Wizard of OZ and The Wiz to us and charged my sister and I to sing this song on every Youth Sunday.

Believing in myself.  As an adult, when #$#@ happens, you may forget to believe from the inside and move towards that outside validation and needing to be approved by others.  My mentors always taught and trained me to make sure that I had data and evidenced based research to support the belief or the next step for my clients.  This was important in clinical decision making or helping clinics and organizations make decisions in program development and application.  For personal decisions, I go inward, consult my inner circle, and go to the heart tug.

So here I am on this new path, after restoring and filling up my own cup and having a baby girl (surprise!).  This path is so great and vast, I am often breathless in the best way possible, knowing there is still more to do.  When I began to delve deeply in the field of autism, there was such and still is a disconnect in among and between the professions of applied behavior analysis (ABA), speech pathology, education-special education, core standards, and occupational therapy.  I continue to be astounded at the the number of therapy centers that only serve early learners and insulted that middle and highschool programs teach laundry and cooking as skills when in reality I know plenty of adults who don’t do their own laundry and can’t stand cooking…yet manage (and no one judges them, they learn real things like money, competitive job training skills, and more).  I am baffled by ABA centers operating without the input from speech pathology yet posts questions on Facebook of what to to do?  I gawk at feeding programs run by OTs only knowing that this is well outside the scope of practice of this profession.  So as I sat back with my cup of tea working, building, and restoring myself…my call to serve never left.  In fact, it is louder and resonates deeper than ever.

So imagine my surprise, when asked to partner with TN Active Care.  I had already created the SOAR Autism Curriculum as a library for  TN Active Care .  The creation of this library was so intimidating and exhilarating at the same time.  How often does one create a platform of therapy programs and targets for learners with autism and related disorders that integrates verbal behavior, social communication, preference assessments, academic academic programs, core curriculum, and fine motor programs?  My dream of having quality assurance and integration of disciplines for the execution of programming for learners with autism would be realized and reach a global platform.

In a recent conversation with the CEO of TN Active Care, Ling Huang, I was asked to take on the role of Director of Operations and Sales for the U.S. territory and build a team.  My heart jumped and said “YES”.  My head said, you are a speech pathologist…not a sales person.  And then I had to remember, at the core  in talking about services, getting new clients, etc. ..you sell.  When you think about branding, you sell yourself.  So yes, I could more than assume this role.  I believe in the product.  I helped to develop the product.  This opportunity was an intersection of passion, intellect, belief, and community global need…it is serendipity.

At the core, I am a change-maker.  I want to change the clinical landscape in how we look at and treat autism for the better.  I want Dr. Temple Grandin and all of her accomplishments to be the norm, not the anomaly.  I want to utilize STEM (STEAM) programs and capitalize on the strengths of autism so there is independence for living with real career attainment.  I want more options and choices for learners with autism outside of learning daily living skills and preparation for jobs in laundry, store greeting, and stock shelving.

I imagine every parent being able to say to their learner with autism

“You can do anything you want. The World is yours.”

Let me introduce to you, TN Active Care, a application and web based platform that pulls the best from old school program books and new school technology.  This tool, created by an awesome technology team supported by clinical therapists across the globe, is smart.  It collects data for ABA programs.  The data for trial by trial, duration, latency, inter-response time, and more.  It takes data on each and every target.  It remembers maintenance programs.  It moves by prompt level.  It embeds scheduling and pairs it with cost (how much were we authorized for), it allows for video conferencing technology for supervision.  And there is more…you know how much therapists text each other about scheduling and programs…and violate HIPPA??  Well the TN Active Care pulls in instant messaging within its secure platform and parent’s can use it to communicate with their child’s therapy team on this secure platform.  It generates reports needed for parents and third party billing.  It is paired with the SOAR Autism Curriculum, that supports early learner through higher level language and academic work toward vocational and pre-college readiness.

I am not only thrilled to join this team, I am excited.  The field needs smart technology.  This is it.  Parents need more information..weekends can be long.  Now they can see treatment programs and do them (as assigned by the therapist).  Parents can video behaviors not seen in treatment and show them through recording or real time to the therapy team.  Scheduling beyond authorizations support the front desk and back end.  Billing …yes it includes that too.  Oh and it connects the schedule to the therapist work hours…so now we have payroll and productivity tied to the clinical schedule.  And guess what?!?  The technology team listens and makes it better and customizes things to fit the center’s they work with.  I can attest to this because I actually meet with the tech team and have a deeper and newfound respect for security and technology development.

While there is still more to come for me (stay tuned), I am excited to introduce you to this program and start to build partnerships within the U.S. and beyond of those using this SMART ABA program technology.

I grew up with the song lyrics  “If you believe within your heart, you’ll know that nothing can change the path you must go.  Believe what you feel and know your right because the time will come around when you’ll say, it’s yours.  Believe in yourself right from the start.  Believe in the magic that’s inside your heart.  Believe ALL these things..”

So in my waiting, my listening, reciting the childhood poem to my children…I went back to my core and what I believe the impact therapy should be on its clients’.

And now this program, TN Active Care, is  available to the world…clinics, parents, groups, schools that serve people with autism.

Visit TNAC’s facebook page.  

Visit my FB page @SLP Guru for updates on what I’m up to and publishing (hint hint).

Let’s Keep THRIVING!

Landria Seals Green, MA., CCC-SLP

EVERYONE HAS A STORY TO TELL

FOCUSING ON CONNECTIONS AND ORAL NARRATIVES

Narratives.  Stories.  We all tell them.  We learn from them. We teach with them. We listen to them .

For young learners, narrative demands begin with a simple question, “How was your day?”  No matter your child’s ability, language level, speech intelligibility, and cognition; we want this simple question to be answered fully by them.  Here is the problem, most therapy albeit speech therapy, ABA therapy, OT, etc. is not built for that question to be answered to satisfaction.  Here is why…most therapy is working on noun identification and labeling in its onset.  The parent and social contradiction is that most people do not care about the number of nouns you know or your ability to label…they want to know actions and feelings.

In short, three things drive and continue human interactions or conversations.

  • What happened (actions)
  • Who did it (people)
  • How do you feel (feelings)

Here is the problem: TEACHING actions,people, and feelings happen later.  The bigger shame is that connecting these elements to relevant human experiences don’t usually happen.  For example, learning “The girl is happy”  or “The boy is swimming” from a card is very different from looking at family/friend pictures and saying “Mommy is eating”.  When we decide to do this kind of work (which takes more time on the part of the therapist to prepare for sessions), we indirectly guide our clients to tune in.  Since social relatedness, attunement, etc. are challenges why teach learners with autism to apply learned language concepts to people and things they have no experience with?   Our clients may not know “the girl”, but they do experience their sister “Emily” daily.  So essentially, you can graduate from therapy and label pictures very well.  AND most therapists have the same pictures!!!  This means that even if your child moves from one center to another, they will see the same cards…and we have the nerve to take data on challenging behaviors.  I can now understand throwing a bit better.  Graduating from therapy and not being able to look at your environment and make meaningful verbal connections is the problem paid for.

So what should a parent do when looking at their child’s therapy?  

Get the therapist to move past the “He/She is not ready to learn that” statement.  Find someone (a therapist) who gets it! It is important to move the conversation because the world is happening.  Outside of the half hour speech session and the three hour ABA session, the world is moving.  And therapy must meet the world so that our client’s can grow and be self-sufficient.

What should the well meaning therapist do?  

Position your treatment to change and then be impactful in your therapy clinic, school, university, etc.  Use real world materials (USA today, family pictures, family videos, etc.)

Teaching oral narratives.  The ability to share what I see, think, feel, and history is innate to all people.  Everyone deserves the right to learn from and share stories regardless of diagnosis and ability.

Let’s THRIVE and focus on making people better for having known us!

Landria Seals Green, MA., CCC-SLP

~SLP GURU

 

The Burden of Challenging Behavior for Children with Autism

broken crayon

How We Set Up Children With Autism and Behavior Challenges to Fail 

Today I watched a child answer questions accurately, give great answers, generate a story all the while his shoes were off, he was jumping out of his seat every three seconds, and making silly faces.  Focusing and marveling at his ability to multi-task and provide accuracy with some admiration was my position.  Other adults…did not care as much about his accuracy or aptitude, but complained about his ability to sit and attend.

Don’t get me wrong,  I think sitting is an important skill.  But clearly, not a perquisite for learning, intellect, or expression of thought.  Sitting just makes us feel more comfortable, at ease, and allows people within a school setting to do their jobs easier.   The challenge is that NOT sitting, silly faces, behavior issues of noncompliance, carry the weight of gossiped negative reputation.  The kind of reputation where people do not smile when you enter a room, they don’t cheer you on, nor do they give you the room of “typical development” allowance granted to more compliant children.  Can you imagine walking into a learning environment daily where people are sad you came?!?  And they expect you to live up to the expectation of having a bad day.   Now imagine being a child carrying this obvious weight at least six hours daily.  This is what happens in classrooms, private therapy organizations, and schools across the country.

Not Fair is it?!? To judge someone based upon what we hear, even observed third hand, and then decide to treat them accordingly.  This is the unspoken truth at IEP meetings and within schools.  It’s what we do often as adults, if we are not careful, to one another.  So let’s not be super surprised that we impose this on to children.  Do I sound angry?  Well this is particularly a hot button issue for me.  I will try to keep my emotions in check :-).

Given that this adult judgement does not appear over night, it is safe to say this happens when we view children who have behavior challenges.  Honestly, you get one chance to make a great impression. Children with autism will often display certain behaviors that are deemed challenging.  Sometimes aggressive. Sometimes brutally honest language. Sometimes a little bit of both.  Often times a child autism and related behaviors makes one false move, this may often carry him through elementary school.  It’s not what is written as much as what is said between staff, staff to students, and within administration.  A shameful truth.  So where does this dilemma leave a parent? What is a parent to do?

1. Maintain a good running record of any incidents and documentation of such.

2. Understand and discuss the reinforcers being used within the school setting and support the team in creating items that are particular for the school environment knowing that the reinforcer should adjust based upon the task and its challenge.

3. Create and enroll your child in activities that support their interest and feelings of accomplishment and camaraderie.  This could include music, singing, lego clubs, train clubs and more.

4. Ensure that functional behavior assessments and/or analysis have and are being conducted.  A full day observation on more than one occasion would provide ample information about social interactions, antecedents to behavior.  Also include with this an evaluation of work task ease or difficulty, language provided during directions, and staff interviews (paraprofessionals, lunch staff, etc.).

5. Add a matrix to the behavior intervention plan.  A matrix is the schedule and strategies of implementation of the actual plan across your child’s day.  It is a large spreadsheet that displays each class by day, the providers, goals to be implemented, and specific strategies by each provider inclusive of time of day and class.  Although lengthy to create, I have found the matrix to be most helpful when observing for implementation and program planning purposes.

6. Schedule monthly matrix meetings.  This supports the IEP and its implementation as an active viable document to be followed and analyzed by each professional and the specific role they play.

7. Allow your child to feel all the feelings of happy, sad, frustration, joy, proud and honor each one through taking the time to language it for them and discuss the feeling states.

8. Maintain communication with the school and have targeted non IEP based meetings with the Director of Special Education to arrive at decisions and provide insight into program planning and how things are moving for your child.  Often times, this relationship can support better decisions for your child and those with similar profiles.

9. Consider exploring other educational options.

10. Attend professional development workshops and conferences to understand best practices within the fields of study in which your child receives services.  This will arm you with better tools in IEP development collaboration, matrix planning, and more.

Children are people with feelings and insight sometimes unexpressed.  When people with autism are looked over, looked beyond, and not honored because of specific behaviors (learned, allowed, or not yet fully shaped), this level of reputation following does not escape them at all.  This puts parents in a challenging position to knowingly send their children to an educational environment or therapy practice that has not found the love or like-ability yet.  Our job as practitioners is to not only find it, but be the people called to support our families and making our clients better for having known us.

Until next time…keep THRIVING!

~Landria Seals Green, MA., CCC-SLP, BCBA

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Son Put His Pants On Backwards

pants…and other Things I applaud to Encourage and Teach Independence

In my mind I had several things to get accomplished at the same time.  And I was holding my three year old son’s pants.  I handed his pants to him and said “Put your pants on”.  In his wisdom, he paused, moved his head to the side and repeated the direction.  As I then tended to other things, I could hear see him sit on the floor and hear him slowly saying “Right…Left”.  A few minutes later he walks up to me and I remember  thinking “PANTS. HE’S WEARING PANTS backwards.” I immediately screamed with glee, clapped, hugged, and we did a dance.  Why? All of this for something incorrect?

It was his effort.  

His generalizing something he hears as a slow down prompt…Right, Left.

He went for it.

He did his best work.  

In working with people with autism and other special needs.  I’ve always believed the importance of honoring the present level in such a way that gives that “I believe in you feeling”.  It is possible for the therapist to have human engagement beyond “he’s so cute”…and actually Collect Data, Teach and Expect more all at the same time.

Here is what happened that I did not expect.  Later as I was putting on my own pants (TMI), my son clapped for me, screamed in glee, and told me congratulations.  Social reciprocity, Experience Sharing, and other nonverbal social development skills is what we see on the playground and want for our clients and children.  Where does that social connection piece begin?  At the beginning of our interactions and we teach it.  We show it. We embody that which we want them to become…better versions of themselves not many therapy “me’s”.

A larger lesson is that I did not measure my three year old by my standards of putting on pants.  I measured him against himself.  Ha!  What a lesson for adults.  Less negative competition, topper comparison, and pointing out the wrong.  But the positive authentic acknowledgement of the person standing before us and celebrating how far they have come.

The celebration of HUMAN EFFORT in the YOU DID IT!  And then the I SEE YOU experience humans need and want.  Then the teaching of

  1. Putting on pants in the correct direction
  2. Placing silverware in the correct location
  3. Putting socks in the sock drawer.
  4. Putting shoes on the correct foot.
  5. Reading….And more!

Moving toward Generalized Independence is not just about data collection.  It is about seeing the individual as they are, celebrating them, collecting data, and giving the informational supports needed to exceed themselves!

To THRIVING!

~Landria Seals Green, SLP GURU