Have you ever wondered how to spread important information through online course work? Long time member of our online community and participant in my very first cohort for my online course, Teresa Lyons, asked me just this question! Teresa is a BCBA, certified general and special education teacher, and owner of the only FIT Learning Center in Virginia.
We’ve talked about Fit Learning before with Dr. Kim Berens and Teresa shares about how she as a BCBA operates her center and the incredible academic work it does for children both with and without disabilities. One of the founding qualifications of FIT Learning Centers is that in 40 hours of learning, students will not only close their gaps but actually excel and advance at least a year ahead. With her center and 30 years of important work in the field, Teresa has a lot of knowledge and information to offer.
I recently asked my personal, public Facebook community, “If you and I could sit down and talk for 10 minutes…what would you ask me?”. Teresa asked some great questions about creating courses and how I got started.
First and foremost, I was in the right place at the right time. When my son was diagnosed, I really leaned into learning and working hard to understand and help him. I already had a masters in nursing and was highly motivated to get into ABA and Verbal Behavior. As I began to learn and work and began to speak to teach others, I realized live speeches, seminars, and conferences were not scalable and they were not reaching enough people. At this same time, the internet began to take off and make itself available to shareable online content.
I got a business degree to add to my education and I read two really great books, Millionaire Messenger by Brendun Bruchard and Launch by Jeff Walker. Jeff Walker is still a mentor of mine to this day, I’ve had him on the podcast and I am a part of his mastermind. The key to growth when sharing information, is to never stop learning. Learning about the content, learning how to present and market the content, and learning what your audience wants as they grow and change.
I also did not go at it alone. In the very beginning it was baseline website building in the wee hours of the night but I very quickly realized I needed help. I kept working as a consultant full time for the first year and half time for the following two years, as a grew and scaled my business. Now in 2021 I only have 1 full time employee but I utilize contractors and agencies for so much of the behind the scenes. My advice if you’re starting to launch online content is seek help in the areas you do not specialize in and keep your day job so that you can keep pushing until you’ve hit the success point you’re comfortable with.
Something I get asked often is the question about my paid content. Why am I trying to make money? Well, to begin I offer many many free resources online on just about every topic and both of my books are available in Libraries for free access. I offer two paid courses for parents and professionals, the information in these and the community you receive will literally change your life. Not to mention BCBAs receive CEUs for attendance. When you pay for something, you pay attention. A payment is a commitment and I want to ensure you get the very most out of these products.
My paid content has reached over 90 countries and I can surely imagine the plentiful amount of free resources has reached many more than that. All of the families and professionals who have been a part of my online course and community have shown what an incredible impact it’s made on them personally and professionally. Whether you’re looking to take part in one of my online courses or you need help with a specific area I offer in my free resources, you can find so much on my website, MaryBarbera.com. If you’re a professional who is ready to branch out and offer your own online course, welcome. There is so much room to share trustworthy knowledge and advocate for autism families!
Teresa Lyons on Turn Around Autism
Teresa Lyons is the owner of Fit Learning Center, located in Roanoke, VA. She is a licensed Board Certified Behavior Analyst as well as a certified general education and special education teacher in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Prior to opening the only Fit Learning Center in Virginia, Teresa worked as an educational consultant in school divisions supporting division needs in many areas including autism, behavior, assistive technology, instruction and systems change. She has also worked at two Virginia universities as outreach research faculty providing school divisions, parents, and the community support primarily in the areas of autism and assistive technology.
- How to create a course and sell it online?
- How to market online classes?
- Why is paid content important?
- How can professionals benefit from my online course and community?
- Can you start online content alone or do you need a team?
- What is the impact of the Mary Barbera online course and community?
- What is a FIT Learning Center?
- MaryBarbera.com/workshops (Sign up for a free workshop online for parents & professionals)
- Using Behavior Science to Support Children with Learning Challenges with Dr. Kim Berens
- Dr. Rick Kubina: Fluency and Precision Teaching
- Effective Instructional Strategies for Children with Autism and Academics with Dr. Janet Twyman
- Precision Teaching and Autism | Interview with Amy E. and Kelsey G.
- Amy Sutherland: What Shamu Can Teach Us About Training
- Using Transfer Procedures to Teach Tacts to a Child with Autism
- How to Launch an Online Business with Jeff Walker
- The Millionaire Messenger: Make a Difference and a Fortune Sharing Your Advice
#155 Turn Autism Around Podcast Transcript
Transcript for Podcast Episode:155
The Benefits of Taking and Creating BCBA CEU Webinars with Teresa Lyons
Hosted by: Dr. Mary Barbera
Guest: Teresa Lyons
Mary: You're listening to the Turn Autism Around podcast, episode number one hundred and fifty five. Today we have an original member of the online course that I created back in 2015. Her name is Teresa Lyons. She is still with our online course and community after all of these years. And today we are talking. Teresa is a licensed board certified behavior analyst. She's a special ed teacher, a regular-ed teacher and the owner of a fit learning center in Virginia. So today we're talking about her journey a little bit as a professional, getting from teaching to ABA to verbal behavior to precision teaching, and how and why she joined my online course. And she actually turned the tables on me a little bit and asked me some questions about how I created these courses and free content, paid content and how we are all on the same mission. And maybe you are to on our mission to improve the lives of children with autism and their families, and also to empower parents to help detect and treat the earliest signs of autism. That's what it's all about. Teresa Lyons brings 30 years of expertize in the field to us today, and it's a great episode. Hope you love it as much as I did.
Welcome to the Turn Autism Around podcast for both parents and professionals in the autism world who want to turn things around, be less stressed and lead happier lives. And now your host, Autism Mom, Behavior Analyst, and bestselling author Dr. Mary Barbera.
Mary: So, Teresa, thank you so much for joining us today.
Teresa: Glad to be here. Thank you for inviting me.
Mary: Yeah. So you're one of the original members of my courses, my online courses and community. And so I recognize your name and we have a bunch to talk about today. But before we get into all of that. Tell our listeners how you came upon falling into the autism world.
Teresa Lyons and Her Fall into the Autism World:
Teresa: So I when I was going to my undergraduate work in New York in the early 90s, I was working as a paraprofessional and I was having students that seemed to be falling in my lap and were had that diagnosis of autism and teachers found that I did really well with them. So as I worked through my programs, I always had this lens of this population is of interest to me. So I teaching early childhood special ED and started having students with autism and just took off. I just needed to absorb everything I could about autism so I could serve that community because I recognize that I brought a certain skill set to working with them. And that's just one job after another that has led me to different ways of working with the population. We're working with actually teaching and then training teachers and then working at an administrative level and then working in the Department of Education, actually going in and training school systems and changing policies and practices around autism. And then all of that work has landed with I have a nephew with autism now, and so all of that has come to bear of being a help. My sister and brother in law really to help my nephew, Logan and navigate the ABA world and things like that. It's been, I know, a 30 year career of just following autism all the way around.
Mary: Wow. And so at some point you also incorporated the verbal behavioral process and then got really super involved with precision teaching and fluency based instruction. So when did that happen?
Teresa's Work at her Fit Learning Center:
Teresa: So the verbal behavior work started when I was working on systems change, where I was working for a VCU's Autism Center and was working with a school division in Southwest Virginia was founded. We had started a class for children with autism that just the early childhood special classes just were not meeting their needs. They needed more intensive language and focus on that. And so I was starting to follow some of your work had gone to training them by being in process and teaching and your name came up during that. So I started following them and following your work and with the things that you were sharing. I went to a training that you had done that whole team. And so we just started applying verbal behavior there, and we had this amazing classroom and kids were doing really well and they were able to be integrated back into the regular classroom. So we're hitting this piece when I hit second grade that, like the verbal behavior, was amazing. But these kids were having huge academic debt and they were struggling. And for me, there was a piece that we needed to add. And so I went on this journey because I heard about precision teaching in my ABA coursework and I loved it, and it made sense to me as a former athlete. I just went on this journey to figure this thing out, and how can we apply it to that classroom? And I stumbled on I went to a conference and I met Donny and Kendra Newsome, the owner of Fit learning center in Reno, and ran up to them and said, I want this, this is what I'm looking for to address that gap that I was. Academically and so just conversation started, and by April I had to open up a Fit learning center and I had met them in September. That was very, very quick from moving, from being in a classroom, working with early learners to actually starting a precision teaching center that worked with more of our intermediate learners and those that have disability.
Mary: So I know we had Kim Berens on pretty recently this year and she, the creator of Fit Learning and what does fit stand for?
Teresa: You know, I don't know that this stands for any particular, but I know it. We talk about cognitive fitness and you know, part of what we do as our whole program addresses the idea of when a child is cognitively fit, they can work in the face of distractions, they can work with endurance that they can take their skills and put and actually apply them to higher performance standards that they can maintain their skills in the absence of instruction. When you can do all that, your cognitively fit, which is fit learning, which that's the piece we're trying to build that cognitive fitness.
Mary: OK, so we're going to link Kim Beren's show in the show notes here. I also did the whole podcast interviews with my BCB mentor, Rick Kubina. We can link that Janet Twyman. Yes, Amy Evans and Kelsey did a podcast together on fluency based instruction and precision teaching. And then recently, I also have Amy Sutherland on who wrote the book What Shamu Taught Me. And she really talks about animal training and its implications for human training because we are we are animals too. And really, all of the basic science is so important here. I've done my whole PhD dissertation. We can link that in the show notes on fluency based instruction. And as you mentioned, endurance maintenance. Being able to do things in the face of distraction are also some of the benefits of fluency, and this is fluency and ABA even is not about kids with autism, it's about learning new skills, right?
Teresa: So I mean, I just have learners that have no disability to those who have disabilities. So it's all, yeah.
Mary: And is your Fit Learning? Is it more like a tutoring center or more like a school? Or how do you work?
Teresa: So when we talk with parents, we really say that it's tutoring on steroids because it's more intensive. A tutoring model is about putting a Band-Aid on and helping that kid to pass the grade level, which they're at. Our center is about getting to the foundational skills and where those holes are. And when we finally address those holes in the foundational skills. We have acceleration at higher level points. And so when learners come to us. It's not a once a week or twice a week. They come to us five days a week, 50 minutes a day per academic domain that we're working on. The best term we use is what that we're learning led because we're applying the science of learning right in our sessions with every single one of our learners.
Mary: And you're able to get them not only caught up, but accelerated in some cases by a year or two.
Teresa: All cases I've not. I've been doing this a four and a half years and I haven't had one single learner that has not met at least a year's growth. A years growth as what we know as a lab. All of our lab for the research that we get as the minimum growth for many of us get two to three years of growth within a 40 hour enrollment, which we can, we talk with parents. That's a work week for an adult. You know, when you think about that, that context, you realize, wow, in a work week, we're getting one year of growth for our learners,
Mary: But they're not coming for 40 hours a week. They're coming over period or something like that. Yes, it is amazing how kids struggle and get years behind. Yeah. Kim Beren's talks about that year or two of growth like that is. You can't have a Fit Learning center unless you can replicate that growth across all students who who enroll. But do you have I know we're going to talk about my courses and and the people that are listening. I would think are working with kids who have language issues, have autism. And so and I know as a behavior analyst and, you know, an expert to some degree on precision teaching as well that, you know, if you can't communicate and you can't comprehend that these academic skills have to be language first or you get really into even teaching colors or prepositions or pronoun. So do you have prerequisite skills for a student to come to Fit Learning with more moderate severe autism and more language needs?
Teresa: Yeah, we do. And in fact, I just added a learner that I assessed then had to make a referral to another BBA to do a lot more verbal behavior work. And some of the instructional behaviors necessary for him to participate in our model. For us, we're looking for learners to have an echoic repertoire because we use the reconstruction and direct instruction about me saying things in the child, repeating nervous responses. And so there needs to be a good echoic control. They also need to be not allowed to intervene behavior within the instructional session. That doesn't mean there aren't some, although learners come to us, particularly because they've been, you know, they've been failing under other models and so you have a lot of learning barriers. So it's kind of the learning barriers are running away from the table, climbing on the table, not staying with the task any time we have to do hand over hand. That's something that needs to be addressed because we're looking for learners that can be independent when given in a direction and then to be able to follow through with it. Those are not deal breakers. And every lab approaches differently. I've taken on a few learners because of my expertize and background in autism. One is that our preFit, I have to learn is right now that are more preFit. But within 20 hours, these kids are now Fit Learners. I had a little guy who I really debated about taking him on as a little kid with autism, but I saw these glimpses of what I know can be done with a fluency work we're doing. That he was a late one to verbal behavior kid. Now people in the community are like, We don't see the autism. He's having full conversations with everybody in less than 50 hours because of the way we attacked the fluency part of getting. It's not just about repeating what I say is repeating what I say at certain rates and just that increased language. So it's neat to see how the two paired together.
Mary: Yeah. OK. OK, so originally you're an original member of our course and community, and I think this ties in nicely to kind of jump to the course and community and how you found it and joined the first cohort. So you had previously seen me speak live in Virginia. Yeah. So my first book came out Verbal Behavior Approach came out in 2007. I did do a couple live presentations in Virginia around 2011? I remember that because actually my dad was was very injured in an accident and was very sick and in the ICU, and I had to train it down to Virginia and I went twice that that same time frame. And I really did spend a lot of time before I started my course in 2015, just doing one two one work and traveling around the country and around the world speaking on autism. So what made you decide to join the first cohort of the what now is called the Verbal Behavior Bundle? Back then it was called "Autism ABA Help Online Training for Professionals and Gung Ho Parents". Because I wanted to get professionals mostly and the parents who were going to professional type conferences like myself, like I was trying to figure it out too. And so what? What made you decide to join us?
The Impact of Joining My Online Course and Community:
Teresa: Sure. At the time that I think around the time you were coming to Virginia, I was working on becoming a BCBA, and the individual supervising me had a lot of training in verbal behavior. And so that was my first foray into it. He also allowed a skill set and organizational behavior management so these pieces for tying for me but I needed more. And so I took a group of teachers to come to your training and we just added up and started applying a lot of the work. I remember driving back in the bar and we were talking about the count and mand in the shoe box. Like, how can we take that back to our classroom in the classroom and do it now? And just found that the things you were teaching applied very realist and a very real way to see what was going on in the classroom and what we needed to do. And so I started following you, and as soon as I saw a offer that I'm like, I'm all in. And I was very pleased that to the point that I tell everybody about your work and have had a number of families go through your courses and seen amazing changes with their learners as a result of it. In fact, I think you tell the story many times about the mom who took the class for her young children until it changed her 14 year old. That's a friend of mine in this community who heard about a lot of the stuff from a lot of my postings. And then so, yeah, I stuck around because it's really benefited as I communicate with many families, even families that are coming in here. And I'm working on the academic piece and like, What do we do in the home? Well, I refer them to you. Take this course. This course is going to help you in the home. It's a combination of all that together, and it meets the needs of all my clients.
Mary: Yeah, that's great. And and you took advantage. Also the BCBAs who have taken the course in the past rate pretty much from the beginning. I think we built in the BCBA credits. So you were able to take advantage of that. And I don't believe you took my toddler course yet. So that is something that you could take and get another 10 credits. But my verbal behavior bundle is thirty two credits, including the ethics credits you need. So I don't think we've done an exceptional job with marketing that piece of it. Also, early intervention professionals who need 20 hours a year of credits or certificates. But it's really, you know, I've had conversations with other Backblaze like. Well, how much is it per credit per CEU? It's like, no, this is if you want to change the way your programing and helping children and families and get a bonus credits, all the credits you need versus, you know, figuring out, well, this is only $10 per CEU. And Mary's works out to.... Like. No, it's not about the CEUs. If you want to do kind of crazy CEUs that don't really make your life better and don't make your work as a BCBA or early intervention professional better, then you can take free courses. You can make those that are five dollars a credit or whatever. You want to change your life? Then join our online course and community.
Teresa: Oh, I agree. And the thing about know from the very beginning what I loved about your concept as a BCBA, sometimes we're looking for a certain level of content. What I like about your content is the parent can understand what you're doing as much as the professional. And the piece has always been big about me is because I find and I feel that I have a difficulty at times of sending parents to things that are resources for BCBAs because they don't have the science behind it. They don't understand what they're reading, but I can send any parent to anything that you're doing and they can learn from it and BCBAs can do. And I think sometimes we got to have that common language about what's going in the home so that we can also communicate that with parents. And I think you make I think you make the science of what we do very real. And I think that's something BCBAs or anybody needs so that that we can help more learners. I think that's the critical piece. I think that's, you know, as I watch you grow, I said, I think you speak the real language to what people and individuals need to hear. And I think BCBAs benefit from being a part of that coursework.
Mary: Right. And you have remained in our community since 2015. And you know, after the first couple of cohorts, we moved into ongoing membership small fee to stay on. I added the intermediate learner course, which now my first course and the intermediate course are a bundle. Then I went back and created the toddler preschooler course because I wanted to catch kids before the diagnosis. If possible, empower the parents to really not just wait in line and worry, but actually do things. And then I wrote my new book Turn Autism Around to really pull everything together in the easiest way possible, making it very clear to both parents and professionals. And, you know, even the BCBA guidelines of, you know, it's got to be intense. It's got to be, you know, in order to count for credits. It's like, take the courses and use those as a with a parent training lens, which is built in throughout. And we do need to talk to parents in plain English across the board. I think that's, I think my gifts, probably because I've been a registered nurse for 30 years plus. As a nurse, you're coming in and the doctor just told you told and your family, that you have a grade four glioblastoma, blah blah blah. And then I come in and I've got to try to, you know, talk to families about what it is, what it means, how their lives might change and, you know, start to try to answer questions. And interesting because when I go to places and I haven't traveled to speak, I've done some virtual stuff, but I haven't traveled to speak since before COVID. But in the past, early on, you know, I would even get requests like, can you come in the morning and speak to parents? And then in the afternoon you can speak to professionals. And I was like, I always said, No. It's just not a good use of our time because I'm going to forget what I say. I'm going to basically repeat the same thing for everybody together. And one of the things that you're very active in our Facebook group in sharing your expertize in terms of fluency and those higher academic tasks. Or maybe he's not ready for a prepositions or maybe he's not ready for colors? And can he do? Can he label number I.D. before we talk about addition or can he do all those things? And I think it is powerful to have parents and professionals in our Verbal Behavior Bundle Facebook Group, would you say?
Teresa: Oh, I agree. I think know you've got a lot of parents that are giving suggestions and their suggestions are amazing, but it's neat to have professionals and I see this throughout that come behind and say, Hey, maybe rethink that a little bit less. Tweak that idea a little bit, because this is what the science said. It's still using that kind of common language, and I find at times when I'm responding. It's either I'm the first response that gotta get that more clinical but in a parent language, and it helps to keep that what I know you're trying to do is you're applying to something you want. You want people applying the science and keep with the rigor of the science, but also have this flexibility of what parents can be real. And I think the clinicians and the BCBAs is as a part of that helped keep the two married together. You know what I'm saying?
Mary: Yes. Yes. And it's really important. So the reason we're doing this today. The reason that I asked you to be on the podcast and we're not going to spend a ton of time on this, but on November 5th in on my Facebook page, my public Facebook page. MaryBarbera.com/Facebook. You can also find me on YouTube by MaryBarbera.com/YouTube on Twitter and Instagram. Just MaryBarbera.com/....whatever. But on Facebook, I posted a little graphic one Friday at like four o'clock. I got this idea on November 5th and I said, Hey, if you and I could sit down for ten minutes and have a chat? What would you ask me? And you responded, and I recognize your name from our community since you're so active there. And you had some questions about like, how you know, what do you remember your questions or the gist of it?
Teresa: Yeah, I mean, the gist of it, I followed you for at least six years now is 2015, when you first started the first cohort.
Mary: Yeah, but you had seen me before prior to that. Right, right, right. So, you know, you've been following me for a decade. And while, yeah.
Teresa: Yeah, about a decade. Yes, atleast 2010. Yeah, just following you and seeing how where you started and the reach that you've now got, I think it's 90 countries you're touching now. Is that correct or more?
Mary: Yes. The paid participants from over 90 countries and in terms of my pre information, I can't imagine that it's not on most of the countries.
Teresa: Yeah. Well, so that's the thing for me because it speaks to the heart of what when I'm looking at things for myself as it's great working one on one, it's great sitting in front of a group of five hundred professionals training. But how do you spread that even further? And what I've seen is you've gone from presentations. You have up to now having the Facebook and everything. So my question is, how did you start? What did you do? What is the first thing you did to start drawing people into your vision of turning autism around? And then kind of what what has worked and what have been some of the pitfalls, like if someone like me want to do something like this, what should I do? What should I avoid those type of things?
How Did I Get Started? The Background for My Courses, Books, Podcast, and Platform:
Mary: Yeah, now that's a whole big question, but I do it because I think there's a lot of people out there like you who are very talented, very seasoned professionals. And even with COVID, I mean, COVID made it everybody wake up to the fact that, you know, these in-person conferences are just not scalable, the information inside of conferences. I mean, it was great to provide that initial exposure to me to get my information in front of you, but it's just not scalable. So what happened was, I think that was in the right place at the right time, both to get into ABA and verbal behavior. I was highly motivated. I was a parent of a young child. I had a master's in nursing. So like ABA made sense. I was a nurse manager. All the OBM stuff. I didn't know what ABA was or OBM was, but I had a master's in nursing administration from Penn. I took Wharton Business School classes like things just lined up. Even before I knew what ABA was, I was publishing research in the nursing field on the problems with shift to shift report the seven to three shift, giving three to 11 shift report and how that information was missed. I redesigned the whole way shift to shift report was done on my unit and then hospitalized at Thomas Jefferson Hospital. I think it's still going on. And then I would publish things. I would present things in nursing. I worked in staff development, training nurses. So when my son had autism and I started an MBA program, it was like, Wow, this is how my mind works. Mm hmm. So I became a behavioral analyst again, kind of right time, right place. It was a distance learning program through Penn State. You know, I got a box of VHS tapes and PowerPoints on in binders. That was the first sort of distance learning program. I mean, it wasn't online because there really wasn't that capability. Back in 2003, when I became certified, it was a paper and pencil test given out a couple of times a year. But then my first book, really, I wrote my first book, not thinking it was going to be in 14 languages and sold over 50000. Like, I just. Wrote the book because it was like all the books I had used, like Let me hear your voice. Wasn't that I didn't do it that way? I got involved with the verbal behavior project. But anyway, in 2011 I finished my Ph.D. in leadership and then people were like, Well, so what are you going to do now with your with your doctorate? I'm like, I'm going to figure out how to get this online, because going door to door is really not efficient and flying to Australia for a group of 300 people or a group of 60 people or wherever I flew or trained or whatever I went. It wasn't enough people to scale it. I knew I had a formula, actually. Now that I have my new book, I have a four step formula: assess, plan, teach and use data to make decisions. I mean, it's all based on everything. So my first book that I read, I actually prepared a little bit, but I read this book and I don't know how I came upon it. Probably in 2011/2010 called the Millionaire Messenger and it'ss by Brendon Burchard. It's a New York Times bestseller, and it was written a long time ago, and I read it and it basically said that if you want to spread something big, you're going to have to make a lot of money to support it. And so I started thinking like, OK, how big can I think reading that book? And then the internet started, you know, chugging along at the same time again.. Right place, right time. And then I read Jeff Walker's first book Launch. This is the newest addition. I've had Jeff Walker on the podcast recently. We can link that in the show notes. But his 2014 edition, I read on a plane in 2014, flying to and from Germany, where I was speaking. I came home in late 2014, in December, and by 2015 I used a $15 book to basically launch by caught my first cohort using a launch. I remember one of the advices in the book was send out an email to the people that you have, and by that time I had a website for my first book and I had like two thousand people who had given me their email address. Probably you, Teresa and I sent an email saying, Hey, I'm putting the finishing touches on a course on verbal behavior. What do you think I shouldn't miss or whatever? That's kind of part of Jeff Walker's formula. And got some feedback, and I launched my course and I didn't know if three people were going to buy it or three hundred people, you know, just taking orders, all the payment things. I mean, it was very rough back then and I got like 50 people in the first cohort and we were off to the races. And like you, a lot of people had good experiences in terms of what worked and what didn't. I think just listening to people, you know, initially I've been focusing more on professionals because those were the people that were coming like, you know, to my trainings, more so than parents because my trainings, like in-person and even the the if you think about the intermediate learner course or even the now what's known as the early learner course, I mean, it's pretty, you know, completing a VBMAPP assessment programing for prepositions, using task analysis, data collection, using partial data collection. It's not like that. You know, you don't just get it and with your professional background. But when I started, I think it was 60/40 more professionals than parents. But then as the years went on and I started creating the toddler course and my new book Turn Autism Around, for parents of young children with early signs of autism. And the fact that, like not everybody can sit through a now, the verbal behavior bundles thirty two hours in total. I mean, you have six months to complete it, plus there is 25 bonus videos, you know? But not everybody has the time, right? First of all, and it's intense. Mm hmm. And you know, it's like, Well, it wouldn't be hard. I mean, if everything's broken down well, I could learn anything like I took. Pierre, how to learn how to learn piano class, right? You know, during COVID. And I could play a couple of songs. But I mean, I'm no expert and I kind of stopped. And, you know, I don't have time and all that stuff. But over the years, that's pretty much how I've learned. I've taken online courses. I've joined. I joined Jeff Walker's group coaching program. Now I'm in Jeff Walker's mastermind. I've invested a ton of money to learn how to do webinars, how to do podcasts. But if I see other courses teaching you how to do a webinar, then I know how to make it easier for people to learn how to teach their child to talk. So that's kind of a no, that's probably, maybe a longer answer. Did you have any follow up questions or anything you're thinking about as a talk?
Teresa: Well, yeah, a couple of questions. One. Did you have a team that helped you in the beginning or is it just you doing this?
Can You Build Online Content Solo or Do You Need a Team?
Mary: In the very, very beginning? It was GoDaddy and build a website in the night. The thing which was scary and the marketers say, if you're not embarrassed by your first work, then you know you're not doing it right. I built a little website, but I quickly learned like, I got to get some help for that website. I mean, I was fortunate to because my husband is a physician and he has health insurance and and I was working as a consultant. This might be a good thing for people like you, Teresa, and others who might want to. I mean, I know there's other people that I've done podcast swaps with and stuff that are that are getting into the online space with me. And, you know, there's no competition like the more people we can have in here to spread out and help people, the better. But I was still working one to one consultant in all of 2015. As I started 2016 2017, I was probably half, maybe 16 and 17. I was half consulting and half doing the online stuff. And so financially, a lot of people that are starting out, they they don't feel like they have the money to pay people. But I was always like, You know what? Technical skills are not my strengths. And so I did pay people pretty quickly. Now, I didn't have any full time employees until 2018. And then right now, it's just me and one other going to be full time person coming up. So it's mostly contractors and agencies that help me, but it's a whole thing. But I'd say for somebody like you, Teresa, if you wanted to create something is, you know, keep your day job, keep the lights on and find to replace you there more. Or you could still oversee as you start venturing out. And then, you know, just also staying with me in terms of growing, and we probably in the next year or two will have a lot of opportunities for help, for coaches, for copywriters, for you're here now. I mean, you're not an official Facebook adviser, but you're practically one. You know what I mean? So as we develop coach last time there, you know, I don't know that we're going to start a certification, but that's not off the table. I mean, right now you do get a certificate of completion for these courses, which, you know, every day we get emails and comments. How can I find somebody that knows the Turn Autism Around approach or knows at least the Verbal Behavior? And so there is a need to create something even much, much bigger. And so hang with me, Teresa!
Teresa: I'm not planning on going anywhere. And like I said, you know, I think this has been for me personally. I need to work with my nephew, Logan, being able to take what you're doing and applying it in the home, but to see the the steps are taken to make it even broader. I love the certification piece because I think that's something I can say to be BCBAs. Now the parents are doing this, you can get this certificate to help them. I think that's going to be really helpful one for getting that audience you want of those professionals because we're all constantly seeking that certificate that's going to further authenticate the work we're doing, right?
Why is Paid Content Important?
Mary: And even though it's not a certification, it's still a certificate of attendance. And I know when I was getting started, even as a BCBA, you know, my first job, I had to make a resume and I had just been a nurse and then at home for eight years with my kids or six years, I put actually my trainings on my resume and my ya know. So this is actually I was just talking to somebody who just became a quote, unquote newly minted BCBA. So you just studied for hours and hours and invested a thousand dollars in various how they passed the BCBA exam. And you know, she's taking my course now to learn how to program and to get her BCBA credits for two years. So it can really, I think there's going to be a huge demand as we continue to grow for professionals who really know the approach, and I think the best way is, you know, attend a free workshop that'll be your first step. MaryBarbera.com/Workshop You also, I don't I'm not sure if you said it when we were recording or not, but you. And some of the questions on November 5th were, you know, why are you trying to market? You said the webinar was free. Why now are you trying to sell me a course and it's like I provide a ton of free information. But first of all, if you pay, you pay attention. If I was still paying to be a part of the piano course, I would either have opted out by now or I would have continued because you don't pay for things that you're not doing. So, you know, that's why I don't give lifetime access like you're either here and paying and learning and growing, or we're going to probably provide different things. So. But the other thing,
Teresa: The money thing and it's something as me, as a business owner I've had to learn along the way is it's this idea you're not paying for my time. In the video, you're paying for my expertize that I've spent years on mastering to deliver a really good quality 50 minutes or an hour session. So you get me for 50 minutes, but you get 30 year history of research, training, certification and everything that I can apply in the 50 minutes or the hour, the 32 hour bundle, it shifts the focus when we put out this is what the process of what we're doing because there is a lot of value. You know, I don't know what the cost of your set, your things are now now, but I know I got a lot of value and no matter what it was, I paid. You know, I've been in part of your community for, what, six, seven years now, and it's paid back so much more. So it's like shifting our thinking about how we're looking at money and what we're doing and why we're doing it. That's really from me, been a deal breaker as I talk with families about the cost of services.
Mary: Mm-Hmm. And staying in that what I call sea of free. Then you can try to pieces together. I can learn how to play the piano just by watching the variety of YouTube clips. There's just too much information out there about autism, and you don't know what you can trust. Right? You said, based on my experience and everything, I am basically curating all the content into being as efficient as possible. But you do spend a lot of families and I appreciate that and other professionals to my free information. And whenever anybody is out there and thinking, I wonder, Mary says, does say on prepositions or I wonder what she does say on colors or tantrums or biting, just search and have your families and other professionals search, marry autism, plus your topic. And pretty, many times, most times I would say 95 percent of the time you will find something a piece of free information that might help a family or a professional. Just take the next step to learning how to solve that one issue. Yes. All right. So I like to end the same way and I appreciate you coming on. I know hopefully this was helpful to people who want to professionals who like you are specialists in a certain area and talking, but it's also helpful to encourage people to join us on the mission to really improve the way autism is detected and treated around the world forever by empowering parents and other professionals to really make some big movements. Because I've been in this for two decades in the autism world and unfortunately, things haven't changed enough.
Teresa: Yes, I would agree with you on that.
Mary: Yeah, so part of my podcast goals are for parents and professionals to be less stressed and lead happier lives, so. Teresa, what are your self-care tips or stress management tools that you use that might help others?
Teresa's Tip for Managing Stress in a Busy Life:
Teresa: Sure. You know, back when I started the Fit Learning Center, I found that I was spending a lot of time and the work I was doing, as you know, to start a business that takes a lot of hours, a lot of work, a lot of tears, a lot of just spreading yourself then. And one of my colleagues is a life coach, Laura Wade, and she was doing a class called the Passion Test, and it was really neat where she just spent some time like mapping out what's important to you. And I remember what rose to the top. It was my faith, my family and my friends and I started looking at and saying, All right, am I doing any of those things in my life? And what I found was, I wasn't I was fully invested in growing my business. But I every time my nephew said, Hey, you want to hang out, no I got something else I got to do? You know, every time a family member said, Hey, you want to do this? No something I got to do. And so I started redistributing my time and saying yes more often to those three things. And what I found was the stress started moving away and the tasks that I need to get done were still getting done, but I was having more joy in it. And so all the time, as I'm working my life, I just find myself. When those questions come up or those opportunities that follow those three passions, I asked, Can I say yes? And I should say yes. And so that has like even things out for me and reduced a lot of the stress that I found that I was under when I had so much on top of me. My nephew's of course very happy because when they hide in the bathroom and call me now and say, Can I come to your house? The answer's always yes.
Mary: I love that I haven't ever heard that before, and I think that's one of the best answers I've ever gotten on that question. So thank you so much. Thank you. So thanks so much for joining us. And hopefully our listeners really love this episode as much as I did, and I look forward to seeing you in our community for many, many more years.
Teresa: Thank you, Mary. I appreciate it.
Mary: If you're a parent or an autism professional and enjoy listening to this podcast, you have to come check out my online course and community where we take all of this material and we apply it. You'll learn life changing strategies to get your child or clients to reach their fullest potential. Join me for a free online workshop at MaryBarbera.com/workshop, where you can learn how to avoid common mistakes. You can see videos of me working with kids with and without autism. And you can learn more about joining my online course and community at a very special discount. Once again, go to MaryBarbera.com/workshop for all the details. I hope to see you there.
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