Parent Support University: Q&A

March 25, 2020

Facebook Live event with AnswersNow co-founder and Chief Science Officer, Adam Dreyfus to discuss the topic "Supporting Individuals with Autism through Uncertain Times", followed by time for questions answered live in the AnswersNow Communities.

Transcript:

Speaker 1 (00:01):

All right AnswersNow family. Welcome to our regularly scheduled Wednesday evening. Answers. Now, ask me anything. Ask Adam anything. I am Adam Dreyfus. I'm the chief science officer of answers. Now. What is AnswersNow? AnswersNow is an amazing, probably open it up to it, mobile app. But you can also access us just through the web. When my cofounder Jeff Beck and I about four years ago, we're getting really frustrated that parents were not getting access to the experts that they needed to answer their questions. And that even when they had somebody on a regular basis, either in their home or in their school they were still feeling very isolated, overwhelmed, and stressed out. And we were like, enough is enough. So we built answers. Now. and what AnswersNow does is connect parents or caregivers directly to your own clinician.

Speaker 1 (00:53):

So you have your own clinician kinda like tele-doc, right? Like, or Talkspace you get directly connected to your own clinician, not just anybody, not like a bank of clinicians. If you sign up, you'll get to select your own clinician and that's the person who's assigned to you. So that's who we are. And what we're doing now with these, it's just kind of reaching out and letting people know what we're doing and demonstrating a little bit of how AnswersNow works. So tonight I want to encourage you to go to either the app store, your app store or your Google play store and download the app or we have just made a whole bunch of updates to the website and get AnswersNow.com. So pretty straight forward, get AnswersNow.com and then just click get started or you can just look around.

Speaker 1 (01:40):

We've got blogs, we've got some stuff parents have said, we've got tips. We've got these wonderful communities which are kinda like Facebook groups. But very specific to the topics that are important to parents and caregivers or children on the spectrum. We kinda changed the titles around a little bit depending on what you guys are requesting from us. But at the end of tonight, we'll be having one of our one of our clinicians Sasha is going to be live in. The one of the parent groups called Ask Me Anything. There's, that's the name of the group. You go into communities. If you go to the website, you'll click find communities and in the list you'll see, ask me anything. Sasha will be there at eight o'clock tonight roughly when we're done here.

Speaker 1 (02:25):

Answering questions there. You can also find other parents and other folks there. There's individuals diagnosed with autism. One of the great things that has happened is that this company has gotten bigger. We had kind of a narrow focus at first, you know, just looking at the parents. But we got more and more individuals diagnosed teenagers and adults were like, Hey, I, I would love a little bit of help with some of the challenges I've got. We actually have a, a fair amount of clinicians that are on the spectrum. So we've been, we think it would be pretty silly to be a company dedicated to helping people with autism and not having people with autism at every level of the company in every level of the development. So they make us much, much better on a day by day basis.

Speaker 1 (03:12):

So check us out and get AnswersNow. Dot com. Click get started. Right now we're just offering a free month for everybody who wants to try us out. This is obviously a very upside down kind of time. I'm in the same boat. I've been doing a daddy daycare here at my house and juggling that and work and trying to figure out what's going on with all the schools closed. This is a on a, on a, on a good day. Parenting is hard on a good day. Parents and a child with special needs is 500 times harder. Throwing coronavirus like I, we're getting a lot of messages and communications where people like, I don't, I don't know how much more I can take. So tonight we're gonna unpack a little bit about that. We're going to talk about some of the tools that we talk about all the time.

Speaker 1 (04:02):

But, specific to this evening. If you are in here and I see people kind of starting to filter in you can put a message over here and I don't look like I'm seeing it right now. But they usually will start filtering that. You can hit your little heart button, your little you can send in a message. I do my much better, 90%, half is not the same as Allison who's helping me tonight she can message me. I'm keeping an eye down here. If I miss some messages. It's a whole team behind the scenes trying to make this happen. So first things first what was the framework we're going to be kind of looking at tonight supporting individuals with autism? And I am all about being a good behavior analyst.

Speaker 1 (04:47):

You give attributions wherever you can. So this is my first prop supporting individuals with autism through uncertain times. This is a document and you'll see the link up in the message bar here. Someone just did a little, a heart that is a link to this resource. It is 60 pages long and it is put out by the national professional development center. And in my estimation, they do one of the best jobs on earth of taking all of this tremendous information that's out there and putting it in, I don't want to say easily digestible because otherwise it would be a much more popular website. But if there was one place I would point a parent to I would say, this is it. This is the top notch stuff.

Speaker 1 (05:33):

So they've done a really amazing job in turning around a really incredibly useful packet. I know right now everybody's people are posting on Facebook. I'm getting emails all day long. There's stuff up and it's on a regular day. It's overwhelming right now. Everybody's throwing stuff out there. So I want to say this one kind of pulls all the best of all of that stuff out there. I know. Touch my face. Sorry. More on it. I should take away one of my cookies. So it's nice to see some folks in here. And before we kind of get going, just reminder if you want to know more about AnswersNow, which is who we are. If you look at AnswersNow for autism parents, go to get AnswersNow.com. And we're gonna unpack this resource a little bit and I want to tell you what we're doing over the next couple of weeks.

Speaker 1 (06:20):

So, if you go to the website, it's not in PVC, it's got a different name for it. It's A. F. I. R. M. the website, but if you just type in national professional and in autism it'll take you right to it. They have all of these evidence based practices. And so I know that a lot of parents have children diagnosed with autism and just disabilities or anything are overwhelmed. And there's always this feeling like the next best thing, right? Oh, this is the new book. Oh, this is the new video. This is the new author. This is the new, this is the thing that's really going to help out. And what the NBDC did about eight or nine years ago said, all right, we got it. Let's hit pause for a second. What is the, what is the stuff we know works? We're not, it's not in process. It's not about to be published. It's not coming out soon. We know this stuff. Flat out work today worth yesterday is going to work tomorrow. And so they made a list of evidence based practices, BPS in their little, everybody likes to use acronyms for stuff. And then I'm gonna read you some of them cause they're highly technical. Right? one is anesthesia based interventions. Cognitive behavioral interventions, differential reinforcement, discrete trial training, picture exchange, communication system, pivotal response training.

Speaker 1 (07:43):

That's a lot. And unfortunately what we as experts have done is made the readability of this information more challenging than it needs to be. I will say I, like I said, I get NPC a mad credit. They've done a better job than most. It's still pretty inaccessible and you need a lot of background knowledge. So one of the things that I want to sort of, the visions behind AnswersNow was how do we make this information more accessible? Cause it's, we're not inventing anything. This isn't the Adam method or the Jeff method or the Sasha method. This is all stuff that we know how to do. And we hear from parents all the time, I'm feeling overwhelmed and then you show up and you come in my house and all of a sudden my kids listen to you and he's starting to do new skills.

Speaker 1 (08:30):

How do you do that? And it's just technique. It's just, I didn't know how to do it before. Nobody knew how to do it before you learned it. Now in the traditional model, it takes a fair amount of time to learn it. But once you've learned it, you're like, Oh, this is pretty straight forward. This is not. One of the things that we sometimes miss in this is that all of the behavioral interventions that you would get from someone like me are coming in. There's no medicine. I don't give your kidney shots. There's no brain scan that I do. It's just me interacting with your kid in a very structured way where I kind of have a plan. Right? And so part of what AnswersNow is, is how do we help parents think a little bit more like behavior analysts so that they get a little bit more of a plan when you're in the store or when whatever's kind of going on.

Speaker 1 (09:17):

And so over the next several months what we're going to do is we're just going to unpack each one of these evidence based practices and translate them for you. That's what we're going to be doing on these Wednesdays. Annecy and based intervention is a fancy way of saying what can I do before a behavior happens. So that behavior doesn't happen and it's even before behavior intervention, like can we make it a little simpler? So that's what we're going to do on our Wednesdays. We're going to lay these out and we're going to help you. This is like a free course kind of nice to see you Sasha. Nice to see what's going on. So one of the first things that I noticed when I kinda took apart this packet, cause I've got a four year old and a five year old and you know what they like more than anything, right?

Speaker 1 (10:02):

Screens. Screen Time and here we are. We're in lockdown. Nobody's allowed to go anywhere. And even the professionals were like, yes, you must read to your kids 5,000 hours a night. The they're saying to the parents, Hey, this is a tough situation. Don't be so uptight about screen time, which just means that getting your kid off of that screen, TV, tablet, phone, whatever, is going to be that much harder. Trying to get your kid off the phone after five minutes is hard. You've put one, two, three hours where they're glued to it. It's a fight. So one of the things that the NPC did, or the affirm folks did is they have a little set of, and they have a bunch of different pictures like this. So this is kind of their first page on how to transition off of screens.

Speaker 1 (10:53):

A really super straightforward basic, one, two, three help you get your kid off the screen. And this one has a great tip on it. Try to avoid planning Screen Time before non-preferred activities. So some people like, all right, I'm going to use the screen. They're going to get the screen. But then I'm going to give them a haircut, which they hate. So to try to use the screen to get the haircut, you're setting yourself up for trouble there. That's like me, I'm saying, whatever your activity is golf, singing, whatever your favorite thing is. And then I'm gonna do your least favorite thing, right? Effort. Hey, we're going to play golf. I'm like, Oh right, we get to go play golf. That's awesome. And then we're going to go meet my friend who you hate.

Speaker 1 (11:38):

All right, well, I don't want to play golf so much golfing means that I have to go sit down with this person I don't like. So the tip that they gave is it might be easier for your child to transition from screen time to like SAC. So you're like, Hey, I need you to put the phone down in five seconds. And then we're going to have some payers, right? Or whatever your kind of favorite thing is. And once you've kind of broken that, like, cause I mean, you can see it sometimes with kids, like they, it takes them a second to, they'll usually, sometimes they just throw themselves on the floor. It's a powerful thing. So you transition to something, not the worst thing. Cause a lot of us were like, all right, this is my big artillery, right? Like this is the screen is the big thing.

Speaker 1 (12:19):

I can get them to do all kinds of stuff. And especially under these conditions where there's, they're going to have more screen time. They don't have a lot of options. Like you might not be able to say like, Hey, we're going to go for a bike ride or Hey, we're going to go, I just noticed on my way home Hey Richmond folks, you might want to chime in on this that all the playgrounds are wrapped in police tape. Like they've, that just happened today. I don't know. I'm a little curious. I was gonna look it up when I got home. I was like, let's just, some busy bodies do that. Are the police going around shutting down all the playgrounds? So, this is a really great one. And then they've got and we talk about visuals all the time.

Speaker 1 (12:57):

So it's really good to, so this is that same idea, but it gives you, you literally can print out, all right, I'm going to use my own son's name, Henry, we're going to go five, four, three, two, one power off. These things can seem kind of hokey and people will discount them or they don't use them long enough, but kids aren't really routine driven and they're very visual. And like my daughter, there's nothing she likes more than Papa troll. So you mix something they like a lot. Paw patrol, you give it a really clear like, Hey, this is, and this is the technical term for this is a little behavioral momentum, right? You get the kids kind of go on, okay, I'm kinda moving in this direction. Five, four, three. Oh, okay. And then off and again, that tip about transitioning to something that's off the screen but it's still something they kinda like.

Speaker 1 (13:55):

Maybe you read them a book. My kids always say, nah, I don't want to read a book. But then when we start reading, they're really into it. And so that's a really good example. And the NPC did a phenomenal job of putting together multiple different types of examples. Cause as we all know, you know, one kid with autism, you know, one kid with autism. So there's different types of levels of complexity that kids can kind of handle. And by just a really small 60 page I mean it somewhat sounds 60 page sounds big, but compared to how like if you put together all this stuff with all this supporting information would be hundreds and hundreds of pages. So I love that one. Just wanted to start off with how to keep your kids off your screen.

Speaker 1 (14:39):

Cause I'm sure some of you out there are dealing with that every day, but definitely when everybody's like, you just can't go outside. So, your toolkit gets reduced. I do want to just sort of a touch base and remind everybody that this is an, now ask me anything. I am Adam Dreyfus. I am the chief science officer of answers. Now also a board certified behavior analyst. And here to talk about AnswersNow and also how, you know, what our topic tonight is supporting parents and caregivers through, I liked the way they say uncertain times. They're about as uncertain as they get these days. I was just sharing with somebody. I run a large school for kids with disabilities, mostly autism. We've got about a hundred kids. We shut down this second week and it's only the second week we've been closed and here in Virginia, the governor's closed to all schools until June.

Speaker 1 (15:38):

So you know what, we're, it's March 25th, June. I mean, it's going to be a long haul. No matter what level your kid is at or how challenging they are. So we definitely are here for you either through these AMS that we're going to be doing on a regular basis through our website where there's communities that you can join for free. You can also sign up to have your own clinician. So seven days a week you will have a clinician somewhat on-call. It's not necessarily a, they're going to respond in the next second. But they are yours and you can text them, you can call them, you can video chat them. And we've worked with little bit more than a thousand parents at this point. And folks love it.

Speaker 1 (16:26):

They love it for a bunch of different reasons. They can ask specifically about the kid. They can talk about educational problems they might be having at school. That's a big one that we get. Like, how do I talk to my teacher? How do I, I've got an IEP coming up. I don't know what to, I don't know what to ask. Or I got the IEP and I don't even know what it says. We can help with that. We actually have a community right around that called deciphering assessments. His parents get caught and get a never ending stream of assessments. And you meet with your clinician and they're like, yes, your child is in the fourth percentile in this one bracket and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You know, like guys don't know what that means. We're happy to kind of walk through that in a very friendly environment.

Speaker 1 (17:08):

And right here, you know, you can ask me whatever you want. What am I going to get a haircut for? I get that a lot. This is what happens if I get furry quick for those of you who saw my AMA a few weeks ago before I got a haircut, it was a little grizzly, Adam. And now I'm not sure what I'm gonna get for my next haircut. So we are taking questions if you guys feel so inclined. So the next thing I want to touch on is you hear about social stories. Now Mars' social story is important. They are literally one of those evidence based practices. They work really well for kids on the spectrum to learn new behaviors, to learn how to respond to things. Here is a very oops, nice example that they put together that has embedded visuals.

Speaker 1 (18:00):

So as you're reading along the kids kinda can see pictures and one of the really crucial pieces in social stories that people forget is that they have to be eye based, right? They have to be from the point of view of I've seen people like, Oh these social stories don't work. And I'm like, well let me see it. And it's, it's written like a regular story, like a kid's story. So this is how a great social story sounds right now lots of people are getting sick with a virus. Doctors and leaders are working hard to keep everyone healthy. I need to keep myself safe and healthy too. I write that the language school is closed so students and teachers can stay healthy while school is closed is important for everyone to stay home and not visit other people. While I am at home, I can play, look at books and learn.

Speaker 1 (18:48):

I also need to wash my hands a lot with soap and water. This will help keep me in my family healthy. They did it for you right now. There are different levels of kids. Some kids are more impacted and will not be able to understand the other kids you can give them and they have different levels of this. But this is, this is a fruit. There we go. A fairly standard. They were a fairly standard social story. If you've got kind of younger kids, they tend to simplify them like one sentence and one visual per page. But inside this resource are a ton of links to places that will do this for you. There are literally websites where you type in the words, dropping an image, printed out, boom, you've got a social story. I know that we will be talking in much more detail about exactly how to do social stories.

Speaker 1 (19:42):

There. Again, truly not that complicated. They are a very simple story. Heavy visuals, simple language. My language makes it from that point of view. I am sitting here on Facebook live in an orange shirt. That's exactly what it looks like. So there's, there's some more examples in there, but this is, this is the, the most basic straightforward one. All right. Keeping myself a little bit organized. I hope everybody's doing well out there. I know that there's just a tremendous amount of anxiety and one of the triggers for any kid is when the adults around them are anxious. Even if you can have kids that are, they don't talk, they'd have no voice. I don't want to say skills. That's the one word. They don't speak in any words and they don't seem to understand anything that we say.

Speaker 1 (20:38):

Those kids are more sensitive to your emotional state than kids who can't talk cause kids who can't talk and let you know, like, Hey, what's going on with you? Like you can see it around your kids if you get angry, if you get, like they, they get cautious. But non vocal verbal kids who don't have a whole lot of abilities to look around and sort of read the room so to speak, are very sensitive to people's emotional States. And it is just really hard these days. So we want to encourage you to take as much care of yourself as possible cause that is also taking care of your kid. Just even you know, God, for me going for a walk outside, most of the country, you can still go outside. At some point my brother lives in France and he has to print up a piece of paper to go for a walk.

Speaker 1 (21:30):

So it's a, we might get there. So please take care of yourself. The, the, the watchword these days is mindfulness and that can mean a lot of things. There's some support in here for here's what, here's what I was looking for. So they obviously think that a lot of very smart people are looking at this, so they put together a BCB that loves this kind of stuff. It's so face Cove, it and they made it into a focus, acknowledge, come, engage, commit open values. So you can remember, but there's one thing on here that really stuck out for me under C was coming back into your body. So this is my behavior analytic friends might get kinda mad at me about this cause this is not something that's out of a research paper.

Speaker 1 (22:16):

But it's a trick that I learned. I'm from California, so there's a lot of hippie in me that I learned when I was in my late teens and early twenties, that when you're anxious, when you're worked up most of the time it's because you're worried about something that you think is gonna happen or you're kind of feeling bad about something that did happen. You're not present, right? Like in your head, you're like, Oh my God, I gotta meet that person. Or Oh, I can't believe that person said that to me. So you're replaying it back in your head. And the trick that I was taught is take a deep breath in through your nose and sort of ask yourself, what am I smelling? So you just go

Speaker 2 (22:54):

And it [inaudible]

Speaker 1 (22:56):

Brings you back into your body. Right? What am I smelling? What am I smelling right now? And it jumps you out of you're worried about the future. It pulls you out of the past and right into this moment. I always, what I would do is like can I smell some smoke?

Speaker 1 (23:15):

No. Okay. And then like, just automatically just calms you down right away. Like, okay. All right. All right. I just had to break that channel a little bit. So super important for you guys to do that. I'm getting some messages here. I'm going to answer some questions as we go forward. We have a lot of questions that we get in a community. One of the ones that came up quite a bit this week again, is around assessments. We created that group called deciphering. Just, I mean it comes up every now and then and we had more activity in that group this week than we had in any of the other groups. So if you that's a, that's a very important one to, to remember that there is a place for you if you're looking at some, and in this case it was some folks who it was about that.

Speaker 1 (24:05):

It was, you know, they were individuals on the spectrum and had assessments and they had questions about what it meant and it was awesome to be able to be there for them. So time check. Yep. Just a reminder. We would love you to go check out our website, get AnswersNow.com and find out some more information about what we do. But what we do is pretty simple. We connect parents to experts in the same way, like Teladoc is a great way of thinking about it. Like you'd want to talk to a doctor, you can get on, talk to the doctor if you need to talk to a specialist who can help you with your child on the spectrum, which is extraordinarily challenging. Kids also make no mistake magical kids in many ways.

Speaker 1 (24:51):

So yeah, you just either download our app off of the Google play store or the app store. And when you go there just type AnswersNow with no space. And we're usually the first or first app that you seeds. If you see this little logo, it's up over here in the corner. That's the local, you see a little purple a N a with a butterfly. And you can check out communities which are free, read the blog, some of the stuff that we've put up or boom, click, Hey, I want to talk to a clinician. I've got some questions, I need some help right now. And there are a lot of folks right now who are in that boat. So we're here with a free month. You can try, you can get full access to a clinician for a month.

Speaker 1 (25:31):

Ask all the questions that you want and it doesn't feel like something you want to keep doing. You don't have to keep doing it. But all right, so the next thing I wanted to touch on was, so one of the things the experts do when they show up is they use their fancy schmancy language. So there's another one in here called task analysis. And this is one of those evidence based practices. What, what is a task analysis? What do you mean a task analysis? And all that means is we're going to take some activity and break it down into all the tiny little points. So they did this really nicely. This is a, one of the, the tools that these folks use to help your kids out. So they've got one for unloading the dishwasher, which is perfect, right? We're at home. We've got to have the kids or the adults doing something. And so just to give you an idea of how many steps, if I was like, how many steps would it take for you to just unload the dishwasher off the top of your head? Just think about it for a second. We'll give you two seconds.

Speaker 3 (26:30):

Nah, nah, nah, nah.

Speaker 1 (26:34):

Duh, duh, duh, duh, you might be right. So 20, 20 on this task analysis. So what this does is it makes it really easy for parents and for individuals on the spectrum to know exactly what the expectation is. So like here it's open the dishwasher. That would be the first step. Pull out the bottom rack, remove the plates one at a time, and it's got these little checkboxes. And for some kids they learn them pretty quickly, right? They learn the sequence pretty quickly. But for others it can take a long time. Each step can take multiple sessions. So you teach the first step and then the second step, and then we call this a behavior chain. And it's one of the things that most of us don't think about, but from when you wake up to when you go to sleep, you're just stringing together a bunch of behavior changes.

Speaker 1 (27:26):

You're getting dressed chain, you're taking a shower chain and the end of each chain, right? Like, alright, I'm out of the shower. I kind of do my routine. There's some connection to the next one. Oh, I got to get dressed. Well, for a lot of our folks on the spectrum, that just doesn't come naturally. So I've seen it where I like to learn how to take a shower, right? So the kids learn how to take a shower and then they get to rinse themselves off and they haven't learned that specific step yet. And they just stand there covered in soap. They just, it's like they're stuck. Because the chain stops, they don't have that next link. And you and I would be like, Oh, of course you just do that next thing. Nothing works like that. All this stuff that comes so naturally to us that we don't even think about when you're working with folks on the spectrum and kids and adults, you realize how many Tundras of thousands of little links we take for granted.

Speaker 1 (28:25):

And when you begin to break them down like that in a task analysis and try to figure out like, well, what do, what needs to happen so that that individual connects to their next one. Like when I finish breakfast and all that and I'm sitting and ready to go, what's the signal for me? Get out the door, get in your car, go to work. And there's probably 40 different behavior chains that get me from the door to work. You know, there's love knowing how to drive. There's the traffic. It's just, and so that's how we do it with the task analysis. So over the next few weeks, that is one of the things that we're gonna be taking an entire, what do I call this? An episode of Wednesdays. Ask me anything. And we're going to unpack that for you and show, cause it's, these are all, that's what's frankly so frustrating for folks like me and a cofounder is we love doing what we do.

Speaker 1 (29:21):

But what we don't love about it is that it's not more readily available and that more people don't have access to it. Because what that means is a really stressed out parent who the answer is out there. The solution of their problem is out there. And we as an industry or whatever profession, haven't taken the time to put it in a way that they can use it. And that's just not a right. And that's what AnswersNow is all about, is translating this, for lack of a better word teaching parents. Here's a good example. Early on we had a kid, a parent contacted us, got assigned to a clinician, and her main issue was my kids afraid of automatic flushing toilets. So the first thing that happened was the clinician very experienced PhD level person said, Oh yeah, well that's, you know, I've dealt with that a lot.

Speaker 1 (30:10):

And you could almost feel the parent just through the chat. So really I thought I was the only one. It's like, no, no, I've dealt with this dozens of times and her, you could feel her anxiety. Oh, okay. I'm not in this alone. It's not my kid who's like that much different than other kids in his situation. And so what had happened is little by little he had gone from like, Ooh, kind of reacting to the automatic flushing toilet too. He wouldn't even go in any building where he thought there was going to be an automatic flushing toilet, which is pretty much any building there is. So it was really restricting their lives. And so the clinicians said, all right, here's what we're going to do. Here's my first tip. So instead of giving her a whole task analysis, it's like I'm just going to give you the first thing next time you're out and you don't have to go to the bathroom.

Speaker 1 (30:57):

Cause at that point he gets super anxious. If he had to go to the bathroom and by the time they were trying to go to the bathroom, it was just a bad, bad situation. So when you take that off the table, you don't have to go to the bathroom. Just see if he'll walk into a building and walk up to the door and touch it and then turn around and walk away. If he doesn't have any kind of upset, make it rain. Like, don't take them out for ice cream or something like that. And if he does start to protest and resist, just turn around and walk away. Don't make it just, and then let me know what happens. And so just doing that, just breaking it up into little pieces, giving her a little step to do in less than a month. And I remember that might seem like a long time to some other folks out there, but for parents of a kid on the spectrum a month, that is not a very long time for them to, for their kids to learn entirely a new skill.

Speaker 1 (31:46):

In less than a month, that kid went from not going into buildings to not only being able to go in the bathroom and tolerate the sound, but to use the toilets, the automatic flushing toilets, which is huge because you can take a long time to just to sorta get them used to the sound so that they can use it. And they'll still won't use the toilet. But it was very sick and now that parent has an idea, right? Like, so the next time something like that comes up, my kid starts really resisting something. They've got a plan and that's we, it could not have gone better. That was exactly what it is that we're trying to do here. All right. Just another time check. I am Adam Dreyfus. I'm the chief science officer for AnswersNow. And we are a mobile app that connects parents of children diagnosed with autism and individuals themselves with their own clinician that can help them on, you name it behaviors, communication transitions working with their brothers and sisters.

Speaker 1 (32:49):

There's almost no end to it. And I do want to kind of say, cause this came up, I've done a couple of podcasts this last week and one of the criticisms about our field, sometimes it's, Oh, you're just trying to make people normal. Cannot I would, I guarantee you in the behavior analytic field, there's very little normal. There's not a lot of people walking around saying, Oh, look how normal we are and how we can make everybody like us. We as a field tend to be and I say this in the nicest possible way. A little bit of the Island of misfit toys or the dented candle. I like to say, you know, people who are drawn to this field to kind of help other folks what we are all about is promoting independence as much as possible.

Speaker 1 (33:36):

Behavior analysts will tell you, so a kid, they say, Oh, well you're just trying to get him to talk, right? Yes. Because the kid who can talk can decide and let people know what they want more than a kid who can't. It's just that simple. Whether it's what show they want to watch, what food they want to eat, where they want to go. Most of the people out here talk. And so if you have that capability it makes you much more independent. It is not about making people like us. It is giving them the tools to live their life. The goal should always be full independence, not some kind of weird nanny state where they're just doing what we want them to do. That is not if you get, if you run across a behavior and I'll, she talks like that run in the other direction.

Speaker 1 (34:23):

It should all be about how do I promote communication and social skills so that this individual can be as independent as possible with the goal being a hundred percent independence and what that means, who knows? It's up to them, right? They're independent. They get to, let me say, read what they want. They eat what they want, they do what they want just like the rest of the grownups for the most part. All right. I am, I'm reminded that sometimes people have to tell me what to do that we are hosting in our one of our communities which is kind of a chat room on our website and get AnswersNow a, a free well, if they're always free, if the community's a moderated question and answer session in, ask me anything.

Speaker 1 (35:12):

So one of our top flight BCBS is going to be in there at about eight o'clock tonight from about eight to nine to answer any questions. I've done enough of these that I know that sometimes people are uncomfortable asking things if somebody's staring at them through a computer. But the comfort of a chat room can sometimes make people more comfortable there. So with that, I am going to keep moving through this terrific packet. So the packet I'm talking about and what we are talking about here is supporting individuals with autism through uncertain times, always giving credit where credit is due. It's a terrific document put together by the UNC Frank Porter, Graham child development autism team. And it is a chock full of evidence based practices and really solid behavior analytic principles from the visuals, the task analysis.

Speaker 1 (36:13):

One of the things that there's quite a few examples of is the schedule and one of the huge challenges that people have today and for the next several months is how do I schedule my day? I have been super guilty of this in the first couple of weeks, kind of getting my feet under me. And the less scheduled I am, the more challenging my kids are. And the more scheduled I am, the less challenging. My kids are. So there are, this is a good example of a like a daily schedule. Just wake up, brush my teeth, get dressed, eat breakfast, read and exercise, get your day off. You can check Mark the boxes, you can use stickers. You can have some kind of reward system. You don't always have to have a reward system.

Speaker 1 (37:04):

Not everything requires a reward. But the schedule itself serves to calm the kids down. One of the things that one of the terms that I like to think of all the time is how do I reduce uncertainty? Somebody who's uncertain about what's about to happen next tends to be anxious. If I took you to a bus stop and I said, yeah, the bus is going to come by at some point. Well what does that mean? Is it in five minutes? Is it 10 minutes? Is it, what is it? Well, just Hey, out here. And then I leave. That's anxiety inducing. That's why we have bus schedules. That's why you can look stuff up because all of us get anxious if we don't know what's about to happen. And kids on the spectrum, boys, girls, you name it, they don't naturally generally know how to read a bus schedule or have all of these sort of natural tools that we've got that we've learned to reduce our own uncertainty.

Speaker 1 (37:59):

And so a really nice schedule. It's also proven to be very powerful. Like you get kids, they get anxious, right? So maybe they're not, they're uncertain of what's going on. Why am I not at school? A lot of our kids that some of us grew up in were like, Oh, I'm not super into school. Kids. On the spectrum, really strive in the structure of the school. It doesn't mean it's like a military Academy. It just means there's a predictability to it. And now that's been taken away. It's really destabilized, a lot of them are pivoting pretty hard, hear the AnswersNow to try to support those parents in the home through what we're doing here. So this is again, a really nice visual for a calming routine. Take four breaths. It can be very cold. I tend to be kind of high energy. I should do that more. Clench your fists. One,

Speaker 4 (39:03):

Two, three, four. Okay.

Speaker 1 (39:08):

Count to 10, one, two, three, four. And a lot of our kids, they really, they'll start requesting this, right? They'll, they'll either point to it or if they can talk, they'll ask for it. In the same way that you might be feeling a little like, well, I'm not sure what's going on. So what do you do? You look at your calendar, you look at whatever it is, it tells you what's going to happen next. Oh, that's right. I've got a meeting with Mike at three o'clock. Okay. All right. That's what's going on. All right. I'm calmed down. So the reduction of uncertainty is huge. So we are getting pretty close to being at the end of our little ask me anything here on a Wednesday night at seven o'clock Eastern out of Richmond, Virginia. I want to remind folks to definitely go to our website.

Speaker 1 (39:54):

Get AnswersNow. Dot com. Click on the get started button. If you want to get connected to a clinician or you are free to check around, you can click on the find a community. Which is our, the free chat rooms. We're going to have a Sasha in there at the top of the hour to answer any questions that you might have. Eight o'clock Eastern. We are also offering a free month with a connection to a clinician right now to everybody. And we are open to whatever suggestions that you have for what it is that we can do to support you where you're at. Right? Right. Now, is it more of these right? Do, do, are, are these great? Would you like some webinars? Is it the resources that we have on the website like this NPTC resource? Do you want to talk to somebody?

Speaker 1 (40:42):

Do you want a video chat with somebody? What can we do to support you from where you're at? So I've got, yeah, one of them, and also the nice things in the packet. I mean, it's a fairly endless supply of stuff. But there are folks there's a lot of crisis information in here. Who do I reach out to in a crisis? It is one of the not, we don't speak about it all that much, but definitely in our community. And working with severely impacted children on the spectrum. This is a crisis. They're out of their routines. A lot of them do not have access to the teachers that they're comfortable with that they work with. Some folks have been that way.

Speaker 1 (41:33):

And that in home support has been suspended for a period of time. I know here in Virginia, most of the [inaudible] homes are still up and running, which is great because that's a lifeline to the parents. But we are also through your phone, just pull out your phone and if you've got AnswersNow you can reach out and connect to somebody to help you get through this. So with that, I think I'm going to say good night. Allison, I'm counting on you. I think we've reached this sort of the logical end of this. I definitely want to send you to get AnswersNow. Dot com at the backend of this to check out the communities and to ask me anything. You can download the, the, the helpful packet that I've been going through.

Speaker 1 (42:23):

And it should be pretty straight forward, but it is a perfect example of if there was something that you're like, Oh, this looks like it's really helpful, but I'm not sure exactly how it works. Touch base with us. This is all stuff we're very familiar with and we would love to help you set it up. Problem, solve it, troubleshoot it. How do I do a task analysis? How do I set up the schedule? The first time I put in the schedule, my kid pulled it down and ripped it into a ball. Or eight, who knows? But I wanna thank the folks who have checked in and the ones who are gonna watch this at a later date. I am Adam Dreyfus. I am the chief science officer of answers. Now I want to thank you for taking the time to listen to this. And I look forward to touching base with you next week. Thanks very much.


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