Live Q&A Call: Your Autism Questions Answered

After my podcast listener survey last November, I learned that 70% of my listeners are parents, grandparents, and caregivers of children with autism. As a bonus for filling out my survey, I answered some of their autism questions in today’s question and answer session.  Their autism questions include questions about RBTs, moving forward with language, and parts of the world with limited resources.

When you have an entry-level RBT working with your child and not an ABA therapist as you had imagined, you might wonder if your child is really getting the best therapy. How do you find a good ABA therapist in your area whose therapy approach is similar to my own? You might have to spend some time training them using my methods. It may not seem ideal to you, but for many parents, their limited options will require some flexibility to find a solution that will help their child.

If a child is between level 2 and level 3 on the VB-MAPP, when is it time to move onto pronouns and prepositions? Speech can be complicated, and a rush to teach a child the “next step” in language acquisition skills could push them toward rote learning. It’s important that you learn to teach in the correct way because otherwise, the child begins to make error after error.

In parts of the world with limited resources, it can be more challenging to access therapy for children with autism. Alejandro from Costa Rica is like many parents who have a great desire to learn how to help their child but are limited by time or money. Working with a child for one hundred hours a week can seem overwhelming, but I really think there are always options that parents can try out. Virtual learning and online resources have opened up a new world for parents to learn how to help their child themselves even if they might be in circumstances that are not ideal.

I wrote my book Turn Autism Around: An Action Guide for Parents of Young Children with Early Signs of Autism to fill in the gap that many parents find themselves in. You can learn effective techniques that will help you help your child lead a happier, more productive life.


  • How parents can find a BCBA therapist who will work with them to implement a therapy plan that helps their child.
  • If you live in an area or country with limited therapy resources, there are still a few avenues that you can use to help your child.
  • Why I think that sentences are overrated, and what you should really focus on when you’re teaching speech to a child with autism.

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Mary Barbera Workshop (Sign up for a free workshop online for parents and professionals)
One Page Assessment
Turn Autism Around Book
Free 3-Step Autism Guide
#003: Lessons about Turning Autism Around: An Interview with a Mom of 2 Young Boys with Autism
#078: Autism Success Story with Michelle C.
#095: Dr. Keith Williams: Tackling Selective Eating in Children with Autism
#085: Siblings of Autism: Interview with My Son Spencer Barbera
Is An Autism School the Right Fit for Your Child or Client with Autism?
What’s Wrong with the Goal for Timmy to Talk in 4-word Utterances
Teaching Intraverbals to Children with Autism
A Major Autism A-Ha Idea: Dr. Carbone’s 3 Buttons

Transcript for Podcast Episode: 109
Live Q&A: Your Autism Questions Answered
Hosted by Dr. Mary Barbera

Mary: So thank you all for coming. This is a special Q&A call for those of you that completed the podcast listener survey that we sent out in about November, I think of 2020. I have been doing the podcast, the Turn Autism Around podcast since January of 2019. So we're coming up on our two year anniversary of the podcast. We have over three hundred and fifty thousand downloads. We just did our 100th podcast episode, the Turn Autism Round podcast. The survey asked you how many parents, how many professionals. But the podcast listener survey showed me that actually about 70 percent of are caregivers, parents, grandparents, caregivers. Twenty two percent professionals that completed the survey and nine percent were both parent and professional. But only one hundred and sixty people completed the survey and those people tended to answer the email, click on the link. And so those people are more likely not to subscribe to Apple podcasts or Spotify and listen, only they actually watch it.

Mary: A lot of you watch it on the website. I do a mixture of interviews and solo shows this year. I do a lot more interviews and solo shows. 92 percent of you liked both, four percent preferred solo shows and four percent prefer the interviews. So actually, it gives me more flexibility to be able to do both. And so that's what we're going with. That seems to work out well. And really of the age group was surprising. The out of the people that completed the survey, 18 percent were under had kids or clients under three. Forty six percent, three to five years old. So most of you have kids five and under and then six to 12 year olds. That was twenty nine percent, teens was only five percent and adults with autism was only two percent.

Mary: So we really struggle with that because of my new book where we're going in that direction, where we're doing more and more about early detection and treatment than empowering parents to become the captain of the ship, because the best time to treat autism are signs of autism.

Mary: It's very early on, but the good news is we can use all of these same techniques and same procedures with older kids who have more significant delays. And then we asked, what are your favorite episodes were? And Spencer, my typically developing son, who is turning twenty-three, two days after Christmas, he has episode which was eighty-five, was by far the favorite. So when I say episode eighty five, that's I give out. That's how I pick my top ten is if I'm giving out. So Spenser's is eighty five.

Mary: The next best favorite podcast episode was Keith Williams on Feeding which was great and that was episode number ninety-five, Michelle C. whose daughter Alaina is featured in Chapter eight of my new book, as well as Chapter 13 with desensitization to the bathtub.

Mary: She is episode seventy-eight. Michelle C. Kelsey was also a favorite cheese episode number three. Kelsey is our community manager within both my online courses. And then there were a few others, but those were basically the top four or five. OK, now, first, before we take questions, I would like to ask if anybody wants to come on and just tell me their favorite episode or tell me some aha moment that you had that really impacted from the podcast.

Mary: So if anybody wants to do that, you can ask on mute or you can answer yourself. I'm going to bring Jackie has a question. OK, here. I need to go ahead.

Jackie: And one of my questions was your thoughts on RB tease, because I've had a really great BCBA and I actually knew her before I had kids and so she such a great guy. But I found that you don't really see the BCBA too often. It's the RBT that you see every day and the RBTs that I've experienced. They were brand new to AIBA. I think Jeremiah, who's my son, he might have been one of their first clients. I've had two different ones that I've worked with and it was like they just came out of their training program, their two week or three-week training program. So the energy wasn't there versus the BCBA. They were just very inconsistent. With scheduling, so it was just it's been a challenge and of course, with covid, it's just been kind of kind of hard, really?

Mary: Definitely. Where do you live, Jackie?

Jackie: Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Mary: So, OK. So if I were Jackie and I was trying to find. A quote unquote, good BCBA, RBT, agency that used something similar to my approach, which is really hard and challenging. So I have a couple of resources. I have a video blog that I did called something like Home versus School ABA and how to know if you're getting how to observe a placement like a classroom or how to call up on the telephone and figure out if they're doing anything similar to what you're learning within my podcast, within my online courses.

Mary: And we're having some challenges. Most people are having challenges. But the first thing I would do if I were in Virginia Beach and I was in a situation where I was kind of looking for something that would be compatible with what I am teaching is I would search ABA autism even if your child doesn't have a diagnosis, but especially if they do ABA autism, verbal behavior, VB-MAPP Virginia Beach, Virginia. And I search all of that in the search bar. And now a couple at the top might be sponsored and they might be missing VB MAPP, verbal behavior. Then I kind of go down and I would look at if you can find a couple of agencies, three agencies, look at their websites, see if they mention verbal behavior or see if they mention the baby map, see if they mentioned or BEATTIES. Now, the RBTs, in my opinion, you know, like my online courses especially show you specifically what you as the mom should be doing. So I would share with the RBTs and the BCBA like this is what we're doing, like we're having a shoe box like that.

Mary: I have one person who, you know, she started the course. She got her grandson to start saying Apple, he was happy, was running to the table. They come to the front of the line with an ABA agency. And the ABA agency is like, get ready for a lot of crying, a lot of upset. We're going to make him work at the table. We're going to take him in his bedroom. You're not going to see him for two hours. It's like that's going to undo everything you just learned. And so, you know, in my online course, in my book, I talk about getting language samples and getting baseline videos and doing the one-page assessment and the one-page plan. Any Buckby, whether they have bibimbap or misbehavior on their website, should be open to like if I went into a client's house and they said he just went from two words to one hundred words in an hour in the 60-day program I'm taking, I don't care what they would call it, I'd be like, let me see what you're doing.

Mary: I would just be open to let me see exactly what you're doing. If you have a BCBA, that's like, well, that's too bad. We're going to do it our way and there's going to be crying, then that's not the type of autism around approach. The term autism around approach is child friendly. It's empowering the parent to be the captain of the ship to make sure that there's a lot of sharing going on, that we progress systematically. We make everything fun. There's as little crying as possible, and then we work together collaboratively. So I wouldn't expect an RBT to come to my house with any skill. I would just expect them to be like decent with kids and like decent with me.

Mary: And then I would you might be thinking, well, I don't have time to train this person like isn't the first train them. And they're supposed to be ready after this training. It's just not going to work. Like, that's not reality. You're going to have an entry level person and hopefully you can pair with that person quickly, show her the shoe box, get the transfer, like not to sit down with your to sit down with your child with the to kind of work together in a three trance for all the pairing you have to her as quickly as possible and then get out of the room. But it may take days, it may take actually weeks and the more you can kind of transfer that so that you don't have, your insurance is paying and you want to be able to help your other kids and stuff. But so that would be my thing is, is don't expect much out of the RBT except for they show up, they're decent and they are open to your feedback.

Jackie: Yeah, I must have, I just I'm still new so I just didn't have the right perception of what.

Mary: Yeah, no, it's where it's 100 percent common. I hear it all the time and. Yeah. And I know Rhea is here and she joined my course and she happened to find a guy who I had mentored and she was kind of one of my coaches and she's still a Facebook adviser and she happens to be ten minutes away and. Oh, well, that's great. I did do some training in Virginia Beach and there are people down there that that know what they're doing. So you already have half the half the battle. You have a BCBA. So talk to her. The BCBA can take my courses, the RBT can listen to a podcast, or you can send them to the ABA school versus home and getting everybody on the same page. Lots of resources.

Jackie: OK, awesome. Thank you. And then just one more thing. When it comes to public school, how would you at this age at a preschool age, would you combine public school, the preschool program with an ABA as well as ABA services and the special education? Public schooling?

Mary: And how old's your child? Three? Yeah, and that is kind of that blog of school versus home. I don't care what you call it. If the child is, if this school is three kids to every one adults. If there's a lot of arts and crafts and group responding and your child isn't at that level and you don't have echoic control, imitation, all the things you need for the child to learn in a group, then it might be a waste of time. But that's an end of it. And it also may be an individual decision. You know, like if you work or if my son did go to a typical preschool for two hours, twice a week, four hours total when he was little. So that isn't like a clear cut. Yes. Combine it or no, stay away. That depends on the child, their skills, what is offered, is it positive? Is the child happily going there? Is it a good break? Is it a pain or are they progressing? Are they working on the same goals that the ABA accompanying or are they going to be working on different goals like eye contact and things that I don't recommend?

Jackie: OK, OK. Yeah, I mean, honestly, right now they were in face and now they're back to virtual and who knows when they'll be back in face say so it might be a little inconsistent right now. A little too inconsistent for him. Yeah.

Mary: Yeah. Let's go to Atena, who had a lot of questions. She said in the beginning.

Atena: Yes, OK, I'll try to generalize it because I know you said it's not make it specific, but I came up with the specific questions to with to my daughter. But just to give you a background, again, I did not take any online any of the online courses, but my daughter's SLP speech language pathologist she gave me link to your website. But we got autism diagnosis when she was three and a half in July last year. And prior to that we had infant toddler services from our county come in like one hour. But we just, you know, just to improve her eye contact because there was lack of eye contact, lack of response when we called her name around that age. So from two and a half to three, we had those services come back up. They came home and they helped us with tools and tips. And then she started attending preschool. The school district provided like speech and OT services, certain amount of hours per week.

Atena: And we were on the waitlist and we got the diagnosis at three and a half and a month later, we found ABA services. We found a center that provided enrollment at Center ABA therapy. ABA kind of proved to be the most effective we could see. The difference I mean, the rate of progress was faster compared to like speech therapy here and there, you know, and then five months later, we also had epilepsy diagnosis. She had seizures. And she's been on seizure medication for over a year now. But she came a long way. She can request and mind in sentences like, can I have a cookie, please? Still pronouns a problem. Pronouns and prepositions is one of the goals that we are working. My BSBA kind of has like a one-to-two-hour telehealth sessions with me. She gives me tips and techniques. And I also go to your website. And I actually I was the one who looked at your one of your videos popped up on my inbox like you talked about pronouns, and it was like the timing was right. And so I just sent it to my BCBA. And so what do you suggest what are what are the effective ways to teach pronouns and prepositions? That's one of my questions.

Mary: OK, so again, the four steps are assessment, planning, teaching and evaluating. So again, and this is a common thing. Parents just really want to know and professionals like how to teach this. My suggestion would be to go back to the one-page assessment, the one-page plan which you can get We'll get you the three-step guide with those two forms in it. At this point, it's also going to be all that stuff. So it's right now you can get the one page assessment of one of the things that I would suggest is not thinking your daughter is higher functioning than she is. So can I have a cookie, please? It involves carrier phrases which I avoid. It involves matters which I avoid. And you can look at any time. I would say you say, OK, I just so happened upon this pronoun video blog.

Mary: But everybody here is probably wondering, well, where is the pronoun video blog? You just type Mary. Autism pronoun. And you will get the video blog, you do the same thing, and I would do that for Mary autism carrier phrases, Mary, Autism Proposition's Mary, Autism Manner's. So I have actually quite a quite a few soapboxes that I will get on. And it's not saying your BCBA is bad. They need to be fired. Your SLP doesn't know what she's doing. This is the way ninety nine percent of kids with autism are taught. They are taught rotely. They are scaffolded into sentences before they have pivotal phrases.

Mary: And I would highly recommend that you consider taking the verbal behavior bundle of courses where you're going to be shown exactly what to do, to teach pronouns, when to teach prepositions, how to teach, you know, responding. It's very complicated. Very few people in the world know how to do it. And I feel like Lucas', my son has been an intermediate learner his whole life. I've worked with hundreds of kids and I've used my procedures to help them learn these things. So couple piece of advice is search for those video blogs. Consider joining the verbal behavior bundle and sentences are overrated. I have another video blog. Why? What's the problem with Timmy talking in forward utterances? And you can search for that video blog as well. And I think it will really help you kind of understand that it's not all about sentences.

Mary: And sometimes one sentence is like if a child, for instance, says water and you say it like a big boy or girl or use your sentences and they say, I want water, please. You just basically punished a spontaneous moment and became the child becomes more dependent on adults to speak. And so we really want to reinforce the spontaneous mans, whatever they sound or look like. OK, well, thank you.

Atena: So on the same lines, we started teaching her intraverbals like one of things. Yes, no questions. And she got it took me a few months. And she's there yet. She's there now and she's starting to correct herself and answer those. And then one of the other goals we put on for her is W.H questions. And this is where my BCBA, one of our goals was like we started teaching our concept of community workers like firefighters, who puts out fires? Firefighter. So we kind use that earless ditching. But I also purchased your book and in that you talk about not to teach that way. So what are your again I want to listen from you, how do you approach the questions. And she's at like level three now on VB-MAPP again she's not completed level two. Like I said, she talks in, sentences she can request. So we thought OK, we could start intraverbals for her.

Mary: Yeah. That's another thing is in addition to the assessment being the step one. Right. That is not just that one page assessment. That is also potentially a VB-MAPP. It is also the interverbal subtest. Search Mary Barbera, autism intervertebral. You will find a video blog with the sub test. It's also.

Atena: Yeah, I did that actually that had different groups, right. So she passed the group one in group two and but she lost on group three.

Mary: Yeah. So it's, it's an indication that it this level two and three of the bibimbap is highly complicated. And it's not just moving down to how do I teach that, how do I teach that is going to. You're going to be chasing your tail. It's like a whack a mole and you and or your BCB really needs to join the verbal behavior Bundall course. Otherwise, it's impossible for me to kind of give advice about how to teach this or that, because you can see it's all related and it's all messy.

Atena: Yeah, it is complicated. And when I came very close, it gets to the level.

Mary: And we know what to do. It's just a little bit more complicated than even in my new book Turn Autism Around Chapter nine, which is on advanced talking, it's basically to avoid three big mistakes, and that is length of utterance, building phrases before the child's ready, teaching too high. And I forget what the third mistake is, but it's very, very complicated. OK, and it's very important that you learn to teach the correct way and you and the S&P and the BCB and everybody learns to teach the right way because otherwise the child just makes error after error and it becomes frustrating. And also not to just focus on teaching, talking, but following directions, teach self-care, teach Lesia skills, teach social skills, teach, if not fully potty trained, sleeping under our bed, picky eater. These kids tend to scripting stimming it just now. We've got all of those issues potentially as well.

Atena: Can I ask a question?

Mary: Yeah.

Atena: By the way, I want to thank you, as Brenda was saying, it's a lifeline, it was for me. I've been in the course for a year and it really helped. My son. He's four now, but he was diagnosed before he turned three, like Lucas was. And it was pretty much I was a little biased when I found it because you were a nurse and I said that I trust her so and I'm a nurse too. I didn't think twice. So there's a lot of progress. I encourage every parent here who is in who's not in the course to take it.

Atena: It really is a lot of knowledge and it is empowering to know that even if everything shuts down that, you know something and you can do something. It really is. And I think I hit the jackpot when I found Kristin Poyer and I hope she doesn't mind me mentioning her name, but she did. It was almost like a job. But if there's something like that in autism or ABA

Mary: So I had Kristen had seen me live, she read my book. She'd seen me live a few times. And then I started my course. She started right from the very beginning. And then Kristen did a podcast episode with me too. And then when Rhea was looking for somebody in Maryland, I was like, oh, I think Kristen might be nearby. And so they got hooked up. So Rhea took the course. But then she also found a BSBA who was very much in line with my teaching. And so we need to create more of these dyads of a parent and a professional, both being in sync with my approach. And I think we're going to see a lot more gains.

Atena: Yeah, it really works. I mean, we did a speech therapy four months and they couldn't make my son sit down for 30 seconds. And again, their goal is to make him sit down for one minute and the pairing was bad and it's just not, I would say, four months of no improvement, and he did. I did your course and in four weeks he's talking and I was writing more and I did the assessment and he was writing five words. He was saying five words. And then I tried it for four weeks and he was saying over one hundred and then a year into ABA and we're giving up level two in months. It's amazing. So I encourage parents and I want to thank you for that.

Atena: We're actually trying to do IEP, but I think you answered one of the moms� question, and I think that's the answer I'm looking for, for the IEP. What's your question? What about virtual IEP? I will have an IEP meeting soon and actually in two days my birthday would not be for Christmas. So we're going to try to schedule like talk about IEP, about a four year old or Thorning for a virtual. And I think you said about it's pretty much the same with virtual and then virtual.

Mary: Your goals and your assessment, your plan, your goals should be the same, whether regardless of what can happen to treat it. And so the assessment and the goals should really be the same. And there's a lot of people doing different things with special education students.

Mary: You know, a lot of schools are now funding home programs or like Brenda was saying, where she normally wouldn't have done behavioral support in the summer. But that's done. So don't think like, oh, my typically developing kids are going full, virtual. And so this is what we get because. Especially if you are in the states that the free, appropriate public education requirements do not change with covid and your child is only going to be for once. So we have to get on it and we have to give them the best chance of success. And so I would just really encourage everybody to start back with the assessment. And even if you have a VB map and everything, we're going into an IEP meeting. I would redo that one-page assessment and make sure that the plan and the IEP goals really flow from that. There's also if you have a VB-MAPP done, there are IEP goals that go with the VB-MAPP as well.

Mary: So take a look at those. And don't forget, if your child has problem behaviors, a lot of people don't know this, but problem behavior reduction goals can and should be in the IEP. So should social goals or leisure goals like it doesn't have to be academic and language only. So in many ways, my son's IEP, in my client's IEP, where I was supporting them, they would have a goal such as the child will have under 20 percent of the intervals on partial interval will have problem minor problem behaviors and major problem behaviors will be at or near zero.

Mary: And that was our goal. And which would then require them to have one to one support, potentially have them be able to fill out data sheets every 15 minutes, having them engage with the child, provide dense reinforcement. So don't forget about behavior reduction goals going into the IP as well. We have a question from Alejandro. From the beginning, he had asked a question. So if he wants to come on and answer that.

Mary: I can see you.

Alejandro: Greetings from Costa Rica. My name is Alejandro. I'm the parent of a three-year-old with autism, is about to be four. Well, first of all, I want to say thank you for all the opportunities that you have with your podcasts and these live Q&A questions. Yeah, my question is that currently you receive one hour of ABA, so we don't have insurance here for that. So you have to pay from your budget. So we have it one hour. It's been really good. You can have some progress little by little. But he's not speaking. He's not talking. So my question is, compared with the therapy for language, which one is better if you have to pay for one, which one would you continue with? The road with ABA or maybe change it or combine it with both. Thank you.

Mary: I would say I would learn to fish myself as the parent. And so the best way to do that with a three, almost four year old is to join our toddler course and to learn how to put together a program yourself and then consult with somebody who knows my approach to help you get to the next level. I think that would be the best investment you could make, especially given the fact that insurance does not cover. In the meantime, if that is not possible and if you're out there and you're thinking, well, I don't even know what it's about or how to get, you could go to, attend a free workshop based on whether you're a parent of a younger child, parent of an older child or a professional.

Mary: If you're like Atena that your child has like the VB-MAPP level two, level three skills, I would go into the older child's docket where you would learn how to program that high if, like your son Alexander is in speaking at and has three or four the toddler preschool courses perfect. There, you will learn how to put all of these things together. And also my new book is going to be perfect for you, but that's not going to be out until the end of March. And in that time, you can see, like Rhea did, see major, major transformation. But in the course, we also teach you how to know what you need. Like maybe you just need to hire a mommy's helper or a baby sitter to come in or a college student or a church volunteer or a grandparent to come in to engage your child in the fun and easy activities which we go over in the course. And maybe it doesn't need to be a high-priced specialist. Maybe more hours with somebody you can train yourself is going to be beneficial. Like in my situation, I had au pairs live with me for multiple years as my kids were young because Lukas needed constant supervision and he needed ABA and he needed somebody eighteen years or older to be here to sign their paperwork.

Mary: And you know, and you might say, well, yeah, I don't have time or money, but I don't have money for that. Well, you know, I was able to get a Ph.D., become a behavior analyst, work as a behavior analyst, write a book. Like if you could do that with an au pair that in the end really doesn't cost much more than daycare, who can learn these techniques because young kids, especially if they're diagnosed with autism, but even if they're not need engagement during most of their waking hours, which is about one hundred hours a week, which freaks you out? Right. Especially in the world of covid, when everything shut down, how could you possibly engage your child? One hundred hours a week? It's exhausting. And it doesn't matter that the world is shut down and that you're working from home and the child your child's brain is developing.

Mary: And if you let your child just sit on an iPad and grab it, I'd let Lucas sit on an iPad for way too long, too. It's not good for the developing brain. So that would be my advice. I don't know if you have a follow up question, Alejandro. I don't mean to be sitting here pitching my course, but literally it is the only way I know to help you. Really. Besides these, you know, free information is great, and if it can motivate you to watch a video on denial or watch a video on pronouns and you know. It will be impossible. People say, well, I can get this information for free because I have hundreds of video blogs and podcasts now and yeah, you can get it for free. But like, it takes time to sift through the information. And that's why I have paid courses, because it's like step by step. And it's the only way to really make the most of your time and money because swimming around in free information will just make you dizzy.

Alejandro: All right. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

Atena: So I watched one of your videos about scripting and echolalia. You talk about replacement behavior, right? But along with that, my child, sometimes her whys kind of like, you know, she kind of like talks like, what do you want? You know, it's kind of different, like not normal when she's especially when she's doing that scripting. Do you have any recommendations to reduce that or. Yeah, it's not disruptive as such. But again, if she's sometimes maybe then she's not engaged fully in an activity, she does that. Or sometimes it could be just shooting like a virtual learning activity. She could just gaze off and then she starts using that. Why do you have any suggestions?

Mary: So I did a really good video blog called The Three Buttons. And I'll I'll quickly talk about this. And then this will be our last question, because I think this is good for everybody. So this is Dr. Carbone's kind of work. So let me just quickly write down the three buttons. So whatever we do with kids or adults, whether that be a table time activity or bath time or wherever, community time, there are three buttons. They could be pushing the middle button. This is the one we want them to push. And that means that the demands are at the right level, the reinforcement is at the right level. The child is having fun working, just like I just talked about. We measure measures affect the speed when everything's going well. He's pushing the middle button. He has good affect, good speed, low props. But with your daughter, she's having some automatic reinforcement scripting stimming. So whether that's in the middle of a task and the voices, I mean, it could just be her like impersonating the voice or trying to impersonate the voice.

Mary: I wouldn't worry about, like the tone of that or what she's saying. Basically, she is bored. It's kind of like when we doodle or she's either bored or she doesn't know what you're talking about. So if I were in a lecture and it was in Latin and I don't speak Latin, I'd be doodling a lot. I'd be checking my Facebook, I'd be thinking about other things, and I'd be staring off in space. And with your daughter, she's either overwhelmed. That doesn't understand the language. Even if I understood every fifth word or every tenth word, I wouldn't be really with you. So that automatic scripting and stimming, especially if it happens throughout trying to teach her you're trying to teach your pronouns or prepositions and she's scripting. But even during the day, like it's not good for her brain grows to be doing that constantly. It'd be better if she were like reading or doing apps that actually had some problem solving and that sort of thing.

Mary: So they could be pushing the automatic button over here or the escape button over here. And some kids script and stim to escape and say things like this is boring. I don't want to do this. I had one kid who during table time, he would say, Are you happy? But like forty-eight times in 10 minutes, and for him, it was kind of like a mixed thing, like I'd say, touch your nose and he'd be like, are you happy? And if I didn't repeat, are you happy, then he might escalate to aggression. Like it can get weird. And so are you happy? Could start out as a stem. But then the escape, regardless, you want kids to be pushing the little button.

Mary: You want the demands to be right and reinforcement to be right. And so if it's not right, that's when you're going to get a lot of stimming. So watch that three button video. That would be another thing to search, Mary. Autism, three buttons and it's just more of the same. Stimming is not bad. Scripting is not bad. It's time build keeping your brain engaged when nothing else is happening. We all stem stemming from me is checking Facebook, watching reality TV, reading a book, shooting baskets and doing that a ball into a net and getting two points, playing the piano and trying to hit the right note. That's all stimming. That's all leisure activities. So stimming and scripting isn't bad, but when you're trying to teach prepositions and pronouns and the child stimming, we've got to disconnect and we've got her pushing the wrong button.

Mary: I hope you enjoyed listening to those questions and my answers. I thought the questions were just great. I really appreciate you podcast listeners coming on and sharing your questions with me. So keep a lookout. In the future, we might hold some more of these sessions where you can ask me your questions directly and for the show notes for anything we discussed, go to And I'll talk to you next week.