This is episode 214 and Ruth Cassell has listened to every single episode of the Turn Autism Around podcast leading up to our interview today. Ruth first discovered me by finding my YouTube channel when her son was born in 2017.
Noticing Autism Signs: Regression
Before her son ever displayed signs of autism she followed along for advice on milestones and best practice parenting. So when her son started showing regressions at 2 and a half she knew how to advocate for him. Ruth’s son is now 5 and only received his formal diagnosis just before his 5th birthday, a true testament to the struggle of waitlists due to the pandemic. She did not let a diagnosis stop her, she advocated for what in-person therapy she could get him and she turned into each and every episode of the podcast. She also consumed my video blogs and all the free webinars I had to offer.
Join My Online Courses and Community
Now, she has left the ‘sea of free’ and as a gung-ho parent, she has joined my online courses and community. Ruth shares the progress she has seen and how she has utilized the digital assessment to plan for her son’s strengths and needs. She has been a member for less than 60 days and has already completed the Toddler Course and moved on to the Verbal Behavior Bundle. She has seen great improvement in echoic control and has reached the goal of being fully potty trained.
Jill Escher, Dr. Steve Hodges, and the late Tameika Meadows are among some of the favorite interviews Ruth shares. She also comments on the impact of the Classic Rebroadcast and Q&A series we’ve started. You can check out all of the episodes we looked back on in the links!
Ruth really is a dedicated parent and avid listener, talking to her was such a pleasure. I’ve linked her new business, The Autism Strategist, and I can wait to have her back to discuss that.
Ruth Cassell on the Turn Autism Around Podcast
Ruth Cassell is the mother of Elijah, who has ASD. He was diagnosed with ASD level 3 in Sept. of 2021. Ruth calls herself a proactive person with multiple plans, as she is already advocating for services. She is a Financial Strategist, and just started her own business called Autism Strategist. The mission behind her business and these services are fueled by the difficulties she herself has gone through.
- Feedback and inspiration from an avid listener, Ruth Cassell.
- Is skill regression a sign of autism?
- Does speech regression mean autism?
- A family’s story on COVID and waitlists during the autism diagnosis journey.
- How the digital assessment can help make a plan for your child.
- What are a listener’s favorite and most helpful episodes?
- Leaving the ‘sea of free’ and joining the online course and community.
- A parent’s plan for supporting their child outside of therapy services.
- Elijah’s Assessment Results
- Elijah’s Plan
- Diagnosing Autism During COVID19 Pandemic | Interview with Dr. Catherine Lord
- Autism Regression: Child with Autism is Making No Progress!
- Jill Escher: Why Has the Rate of Autism Increased?
- Potty Training and Constipation with Dr. Steve Hodges
- Autism Success Story with Michele C.
- Teaching Children with Autism using Table Time: Frequently Asked Questions
- Tameika Meadows: Good ABA Therapy
- Free Digital Assessment
- Mary Barbera – Turn Autism Around – YouTube
- Join a free Workshop
- Mary Barbera on Facebook
- Mary Barbera on TikTok
- Mary Barbera on Instagram
Ruth Cassell – Turn Autism Around Podcast Transcript
Transcript for Podcast Episode: 214
Regressive Autism and Learning How to Rebuild Skills with Ruth Cassell
Hosted by: Dr. Mary Barbera
Guest: Ruth Cassell
Mary: You're listening to the Turn Autism Around podcast, episode number 214. Today, I'm interviewing Ruth Cassell, who's a mom from Florida who has a son, Elijah, who is diagnosed with level three autism. He started with a regression. COVID hit. It was delayed. But the really cool thing about Ruth is that she is one of the few people in the whole world that has listened to every single one of the Turn Autism Around podcast. She recently joined the online toddler course and just moved up to the verbal behavioral bundle, too. So we are talking about Ruth's journey and also which podcasts were her favorite, what she's learned since joining the online course and community. It's a great episode. Hope you love it as much as I do. Let's get to Ruth Cassell.
Intro: 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: Okay, Ruth, it is so nice to have you. Thanks for joining me today.
Ruth: Thank you so much for having me on today. Yeah, I'm excited.
Mary: We are going to talk all about the fact that you listen to every single one of my podcasts, which is unbelievable. But before we get to that and kind of your journey and let me start with describing your fall into the autism world.
Autism Signs: Regressions
Ruth: Okay. So my son started showing signs when he was about two and a half, maybe a little bit before then, and it was regression. So we saw the regression.
Mary: Like, what was he doing?
Ruth: He had more words. She had a lot more words. And he was putting two and three words together. And then they literally went all away. And then it was kind of hard to push for that. And then the pandemic happened. And then that pushes ours are get our diagnosis significantly. So I would say about two and a half is about the timeframe is when he started seeing the regression signs.
Mary: And when was he diagnosed?
Ruth: At four and 11 months.
Mary: Oh, my goodness. So, really? And we do know that even before COVID the waiting list was nine months to two years, and he got caught in COVID and I'm sure even in the beginning, you were probably thinking, well, maybe it's related to COVID.
Ruth: Yeah. Well, okay, So what was interesting is that we pressed really hard on November 19 because we've seen regression happen around September, November, around that area in the fall of 19. So we pushed the pediatrician. They said, okay, we'll refer you to a developmental pediatrician. And the waitlists to go see that one or any of them. The shortest one I could find was August of 2020. We all know what happened in March. So then I got a call saying that was pushed back to August of 2021 because of the amount of people they were taking in sections. Wow.
Mary: That's really hard. And we do have an episode with Dr. Catherine Lord on COVID and how they needed to mask up and and how the waiting list got worse and worse. So was your son at home with you then, during that whole time? Were you working? Were you at daycare? Did that get shut down? Because that can be confusing to like, Yeah, you know, all of a sudden you're home and you were in day care. Is that what the problem is?
Ruth: Yeah. So everything actually, you know, it felt like it just imploded because day care, he was home. I was now working from home, you know, So I had to figure out how to work from home and entertain him and always constantly on Zoom calls. And that didn't work out so great, you know, sometimes because you can't have people in on the Zoom call. So it was hard and it was hard to try and figure all that out. During that time, at least, you know, people gave a little bit more grace because it seemed because everybody was going through the same thing, you know?
Ruth Cassell, Long Time Follower and Listener
Mary: Yeah. Yeah. So we met and I did a webinar. I did a launch of my digital assessment back in the fall of 2022. And you took the assessment, joined on the webinar, came on the call and said that you had listened to every single one of my podcasts, which I was just like, Wow, So when did you start listening to the podcast and how did you originally trip on to my stuff?
Ruth: So actually, I believe I started following your YouTube before your podcast. My son was born in 2017 and I just wanted to be aware of developmental milestones and what to look for and what they should look for. And I think when I typed in developmental milestones I discovered your channel, and although it was about autism and at that time it wasn't on my radar, it was just that, you know, you talk about even if your child isn't on the spectrum, a lot of the things that you teach is great for all children to learn because, you know, children, they don't have the regulation, we think. And we think in a logical way. They're not thinking that way at all. They need us to co-regulate. Yeah. You know, and I wanted to know how I could help him. And even if there wasn't ever any autism, that's how I found you, I think was first because of the milestones that I mean, I wanted to be aware of as a new mom.
Mary: And I started YouTube videos like more than a decade ago, probably when it first started, you know. So, yeah, YouTube and anywhere you want to find me MaryBarbera.com/YouTube forward /TikTok or /Facebook but we'll link those in the show notes as well. But yeah, my YouTube channel actually has a lot of subscribers right back there is a plaque it's 100,000 subscriber plaque which I don't talk about a lot but you know we're in the 135-140 range at the time of this recording, but we do put clips to the podcast on now, but I started the podcast last in January of 2019. So podcasts were going on when your son started showing signs. So at some point you started seeing the pot or listening to the podcast too?
Ruth: Yes, I think I found that through a link on your YouTube. And then I downloaded I think you're actually one of the first podcasts that I downloaded on. So I like to listen to audiobooks and things like that. So I was like, Well, this is something different to listen to outside the drive, because again, you're right about the time that you started your podcast was about the time that he started seeing the sign. So it's like maybe because at that time before COVID, I had a bit of a commute. And I would listen to your podcast, and if I hadn't heard them because my commute was long, I would just listen to them until, you know, sometimes like, like an average of 45 minutes. I would listen to them on my drive. Even if it wasn't like one or two podcasts, sometimes I would get through on my own.
Mary: Yeah. And I have done at least a video blog, if not a podcast on regression. And my son also regressed. But he wasn't speaking in two word phrases or three word phrases. But lots of kids are. And Lucas's regression was a little bit more subtle, like I was confused. And no matter what, no matter if you see the signs early on or if you have a regression, it's hard. But I do think that there is, I would say, more grief if you recall it, you know, with the regression, because you're thinking everything's on track, you know, and then you get the double whammy of he's regressing and now the waitlists just increased.
Ruth: Yeah. Yeah.
Mary: So as an avid listener, I think there's only one person in the world that has also listened to every podcast, and that's Rachel Smith, who's the program director. But there might be other people out there. If you have to listen to every podcast, please email us at [email protected] and let me know. So out of the podcast, what did you learn? What were your favorite episodes or favorite topics?
Ruth: Oh, it's so hard for me because there's a lot of it. So I can't remember the exact name, but her name was, I think, Jill. And it was about what she did research on. Okay.
Mary: I think it was it. Was it Jill Escher?
Ruth: Yes. Yeah. Yeah. So I enjoyed her podcast. I really did. And that was a really good one. I, I like to read her work. I've read a couple of her papers that she's done.
Mary: And she's the president. I think of the National Severe Autism Group. We can link that in the show notes as well. How about other topics or.
Ruth: Dr. Steve Hodges I like him too. The potty guy... well the urologist.
Mary: He did a podcast episode all about constipation and how if you're having a child with, you know, wetting accidents, nighttime training difficulties, it's almost always constipation. We can link that in the show notes as well.
Ruth: And then I'm trying to think and there's so many.
Mary: Did you like the interviews? Do you like the interviews better than the solo shows?
Ruth: No, I like I just find a lot of value out of a lot of them. I like your re-podcasting that you're doing because sometimes there's different information that's now available or, you know, you've collaborated more. And I like that. I like that you do that.
Mary: Classic rebroadcasts, which we just started, I think, last year. So last year or over the years, it's been going strong for four years. The podcast weekly, every Tuesday we just crossed over more than a million downloads. That's audio downloads plus millions of video views. But some things we've added along the years. Last year we added the classic rebroadcast, which is what Ruth is talking about. So Dr. Michael Murray, for instance, podcast, 28, he's a psychiatrist. He's Lukas's psychiatrist. He's also an autism dad. So I kept referring to that, referring to that when we decided to do the classic rebroadcasts, I knew that Dr. Murray was going to be one of them. So now he's 28, but he's also 180, and it's just bringing those back because like Ruth's listened to all of them. But when you listen two-three years later, you're at a different point. A lot of people haven't listened to the old ones, so we are continuing to bring that back. We're also doing hotseat and success stories. I'm sure those motivated you.
Ruth: Oh, yes. Yes. I love the hot seats where, you know, you're able to give advice and help the parents to move out and then hearing the success stories because it's inspiring. And I love you know, I've had this I don't know. I share your content. When I do, I share your content and I share it with people that I know, and they’re like “turn autism around, you know, there's no cure”. I'm like, That's not what that means at all. I was like, You know, you really need to read it and understand because it's not what that means. It means giving them the best that you can give them and what tools you can provide for them. Because we're all individuals and we all have our own struggles with or without autism, it doesn't matter. So we've all had coping mechanisms that we had to come up with ourselves on some other things. So don't read too much into the name. It's just the name of the business, but it really is about turning it around, making it better for you, making it better for them. Knowing and understanding them, I think, is very important. And I know you say that too, and I've heard you say that in other podcasts because they say, Oh, you can't turn it around. And I get aggravated for you because I'm like, That's not what she's saying, you know.
Mary: And it's hard to title things. I say this a couple of times probably in the podcast, but, you know, when I was creating the podcast name, you know, I took a course from Pat Flynn and he's like 3 to 4 words with the topic in the title. And I like playing around and I'm like, Turn autism around. That's three words, you know? And but. It shouldn't be that controversial. I mean, it's all child friendly, parent friendly. You know, it's all positive. We are not into punishing. We don't recommend crying it out for anything. And people are like, you know, I don't want my autism turned around. It's like if you're able to have a conversation with me and think that autism is a gift, I applaud you for being at that point. But my son needs lifelong care. Ruth's son has a lot of challenges. It's all about using my four step system, increasing talking, decreasing tantrums, working on eating, sleeping, potty training, grooming. And we named the book that too. And so there is a little bit of controversy in the title. But, you know, I think there's controversy in a lot of things in life and it's going to go forward. So. Okay. So your son is now five.
Ruth: Mm hmm.
Mary: And you told me before we started recording that his services are on hold. But when he finally did get the diagnosis, or even before the diagnosis and when COVID restrictions lifted a little bit, were you able to get him therapy?
Therapy, Assessments, and Online Support
Ruth: So I was able to get him O.T. therapy. That was the first therapy I was able to get him into without a diagnosis. So I started that as we were on the waitlist. So we had something going and I followed you and I was doing the free information, which I, you know, I printed out everything you had, and I did all that. But again, there was things I was missing, and that's why I joined. And then once I got him into school and then it got a little bit more services through his IEP.
Mary: So you were able to get an IEP with an autism diagnosis because he was delayed in lots of areas and lots of areas that, you know, the assessment. My digital assessment pinpointed the three areas that we look at with the assessment are self-care and daily activities: eating, sleeping, grooming, dressing, language and learning and problem behaviors. So initially you printed out the one page assessment. Part of my podcast, part of my book. You did that assessment. At that time, he had very little skills. But even in the fall of 2022, before you joined the online course, you did the digital assessment and his scores were, you told me like 30 to 38% in all categories. So there's a lot of confusion like, what is this? Does this diagnose autism? Absolutely not. It really takes a look at any child, regardless of whether they have a diagnosis or they're typically developing. But we're talking about a young child probably from two or 3 to 5 or six, you know, and then older kids who are functioning in that range. So the scores are validated. But we have done quite a bit of field testing and it's still in an updated mode and we're working out the kinks of the scoring. But when you got scores of like 35% in all three categories, like how did that feel?
Ruth: Well, you know, honestly, it didn't feel too horrible. I know, I know. But the reason why it gives you a starting point for one and then for two and already done it before you dig digital. So I tried the digital as soon as you released it because I wanted to compare it to the one that I had. I think I did it like six months prior, printed it out and had done it before then and I had done another one. So I've seen improvement. It's not like he stayed there and I don't think it's because of age, like because he's gotten older. I think it's because putting a lot of what you suggest into practice and actually doing it with him. So that's why I wasn't concerned. I'm like, okay, this is your roadmap for where you need to go next. And we just did it again and it's improved again so much since I started the course, which I was, you know, I was like, Yeah. And I've been in there 60 days now, wait no, not even 60 days yet.
Mary: Wow, cool. Yeah. So you also, in addition to three scores on an overall score, you also get emailed to you a link so you can print out your whole one page assessment. So you take 10 minutes, you fill out its ad free autism assessment dot com. We can link it in the show notes. Spread the word, it's free right now. We were only going to make it free for the first thousand beta testers. We're well over 10,000 people who've taken it. We're still in beta mode. It's still free. 10 minutes, get the link. But then after you get the link, you know, print it out, attend a free webinar, which we can also link in the show notes to show you how to take that assessment. I think that that webinar is called Turn Your Assessment into Action, and that's what Ruth saw actually. She saw me do it live and that's when you see what I say got out of the sea of free you that I think I couldn't get because nobody else had said that before. That I remember. But anyway. I was like, Ruth, you've listened to every podcast, you are doing it. But if you come into my online course it is step by step. We have community support. We have I'm getting unstuck cause we will help you. If you post that you're stuck, we will ask you, did you watch this? Did you try this? Do you have five reinforcers at the table? Do you, you know, all kinds of things. Have you listened to the Steve Hodges podcast? You know, some of the free information we're talking about in this community because. We're producing lots of free stuff. So what did convince you to get out of the sea of free?
Ruth: You know, I had worked so hard to get him into services. He's now in. And I was like, You know, I've done everything. And I knew that it could be a possibility that he was going to lose the services again. And I was like, no, I can not have a backup plan. I'm a person that has... I have five plans all the time. Like, you know, you get the letter. You know, I have A, B, C, D, E, F, you just, you know, but I have plans. And I was like, okay, he's in right now, but I would like to see more progress. So we're going to start this while he's still in. So see if I get more progress, which we did. And then I said, if he loses it, I'm more equipped and I'm not have to scramble because he was still in there. I was able to watch the videos without him being home and make a plan to be able to carry it out for him, you know.
Mary: Do the teaching. Yeah. Yeah. So you've been in the toddler course. It hasn't even been 60 days, which is a 60 day access. And we do recommend that people move up to the verbal behavior bundle and Ruth contacted us and said, Do I have to wait 60 days because she's like a go-getter. She'sike Michelle C, with her, with her success stories, we can link to the show notes. She got done the whole thing, the whole toddler course in 33 days instead of 60 days. So people are like, Why only 60 days of access? Because this is a quick start. We want to get you going. Have you seen progress and then you need to move on because this is a marathon. It's not a sprint. It's actually a marathon on a roller coaster. And we are here for long term support. And yes, it does cost you a little bit more money. But I just encourage you if you're listening, parent or professional, because we also give professionals that used to be behavior analysts, we give contact hours to early intervention professionals. I just encourage you to, to think about it and not just think about it like, oh yeah, maybe in six months or a year, like every day that goes by or every week that goes by where you're listening to another podcast and trying to piece things together. You can do it quicker, easier with more support if you join.
Ruth: Yeah, I do agree with that. I finally got to a place where I'm just like, Know what? I'm just going to do it because really it wasn't the financial part of it. So part for me, it was the time like, am I going to have the time to do it? And I was like, okay, if I have this window and I can get myself geared up before I lose the services, I should be good, you know, like I knew I had to make a place in the home where it was going to be desensitized and all that stuff so we could just focus on table work. Yeah, let's do table work at the dining room table. But I wanted it just so we're going just to this room, just in this area for your therapist and nothing really else to distract him. Yeah. You know.
Mary: And it's really important when doing table time and we do have podcasts on this we can link, but it's important that kids feet are on the ground, that they're able to come and go as they want so that, you know, whether you are, like Ruth said, having a sanitized environment, having a fun environment where, you know, we've had people like Alyssa, she did a hot seat, her daughter Lexi, I mean, she literally had to lock the door to keep her daughter out of there. And she'd like to do therapy all the time. That's how bonding went to make it. So now that you've been in it for 60 days, what kind of gains have you made?
Ruth: We are starting to get more echoic control. We did not have that before at all.
Mary: Oftentimes once you get echoic control and that's the ability for you to say something, the child to say something, that's when the floodgates can open.
Ruth: Yeah. Yeah. And I agree. And we've also gotten more. I know they pop out worse because it's not like when we're doing when we're doing therapy he doesn't he will like to do it with me sometimes but he loves the match so he'll match it. But like I told him about this because I was making biscuits for dinner, I said, Don't touch focus. They're hot. And he said, Biscuit never said that word before, but he repeated. I said biscuits to him. And I pointed to them and he said it. And he's never done that. We're also getting a lot more babble back too. It's not like he's trying to tell me stuff more conversationally. Yeah. Like before Wasn't like that either.
Mary: Yeah. And we have a cold controlled bonus video in the toddler course. And we also want to move to the verbal behavior bundle. We have a non vocal, Vocal course bonus video. That is really helpful. So you might probably listen to them. There's just more. And the reason I created the echoic bonus video is because I interviewed a mom who was at the end of the 60 day toddler course, and one of her frustrations was she still didn't have echoic control. She was doing the shoebox, she was doing the matching. And so in that I give you some more techniques like get a paper bag so that the child doesn't know what's in the paper bag. And then go in and get a figurine that they like. And they even go like, you know, Barney, when my son like Barney. So Barney, Barney. And then you show it and you say it again, Barney. So that, you know, sometimes focusing on the object when the object is insight will mean right away. The child's then focusing and not focusing on your mouth and everything. But if they don't see it, but here you can see you with the bag up to your mouth saying, Barney, they might have a better chance or showing him and hiding it again. You know, there's just. I think for color control, it sounds like it's really coming along. He's starting to say tickle when you know, when you're tickling him. Those echoic controls are going to be in the manned frame. You know, having a manned component. So all the early learner course materials really have that and a component because we want to make it fun and we want them to want to like your child. Okay. So it's maybe turning the card around and being like banana, banana and then showing a banana and holding it back again. Banana. And then he wants to match it. Now he's heard it a couple of times, you know. So it really is. And so it is really like a dance for each child.
Ruth: Yeah. And I like that. And I think myself and another podcast like it two of the same object that they like. And I've done that too with the matching about that because I was like, well, maybe flash cards, maybe he'll want something a little different, like mix it up, make it a little bit more fun. Yeah.
Mary: Like, do that object like object imitation. You have two cups and two spoons, but you can also do that for object matching. You know, and so 3D items are a big thing to try for sure, especially with fun items or common objects that they see all the time. So it sounds like you're, you know, you've moved on to the bundle. You're going to get into starting that. And that's that's nice because it's kind of the second step to our online toddler course. And actually we're in the middle. Like this podcast will be aired sometime in February of 2023, can't believe we're in 2023 already.
Ruth: I know.
Mary: Sometime this spring. We are also actively creating a turn autism around school age program for 60 days of access. And we're going to actually stop selling the bundle, the verbal behavior bundle straight out of the gate, especially to parents of kids that are six or seven or eight or 12 or 15 because it's just too much. And so the way the toddler course goes very step by step and sequential and then having that verbal behavior bundle more as like a long term library and and just go at your own pace. So I think you haven't really had the time to dive into the verbal behavior bundle, but you can see the vastness of it.
Ruth: Oh, yeah. Yeah. I'm excited to get started on that. And I'm definitely going to start from nonverbal to verbal. I'm going to start there. Wait, can you go out of order?
Mary: Yeah you can do everything in the verbal behavior bundle. You can, you can get 25 bonus videos. You can go into the early learner course, the intermediate learner course. I do recommend the early learner course, though, because it really does show you how to do the VB-MAPP, which I think will be helpful.
Mary: Error correction and it really ties in nicely to the toddler course. So I would mostly go in order. But there's a dressing video in a lesson in the intermediate learner course or how to teach showering or or how to teach reading or math or, you know, there's a bonus video on colors of your child's and into colors like how do you teach it at or the preschool wants to teach colors. There's some prerequisites. So it's a lot though. So I'm excited that we're going to have a better pathway for parents of kids that are six and older to come in and to experience the step by step progression like you do in the toddler course.
Ruth: I like that you guys are doing that because I think, you know, because they grow up and sometimes I always say, I don't know. I mean, I heard it from you. It was like I said, Well, I got two kids and what? Because I see a lot of like, neurotypical things that he does. And then I see the delayed things that he does and I'm like, I want to nourish this piece, but also give this piece where he can come into his own to help maybe bridge that gap for him. Yeah. And to help facilitate that for him. Yeah. So I try to be mindful of where he's at in both areas to give him the best that he can have and where he is strong. I try to play to the strengths to maybe help lift those deficits up.
Mary: Yeah, yeah. That's all it is, is doing the assessment, finding his strengths and needs. Basically the free webinar to turn your assessment into action basically shows you literally shows you how to take that one page assessment, turn it into the start of a plan by identifying strengths and needs. And it sounds like you have a lot of strengths. He's almost potty trained. He's sleeping much better.
Ruth: Oh yeah.
Mary: He's having more echoics, more words, and less tantrums. You're learning all of this stuff and you were learning before. And if there's people listening for whatever reason, you don't want to join the course or you can't right now, definitely continue listening. Get my Turn autism around. Download the free ebook resources at turnautisaround.com. You can make a lot of headway like Ruth said, right?
Ruth: Oh yes, for sure. I have a binder and I titled it all your stuff. So I have a binder and I take it with me everywhere I go. When we go and another podcast I think you might want to put in there is that it was a BCBA about interviewing your ABA therapists because she was a guest speaker, but it was talking about interviewing your providers. Because not all therapists are the same, you know. Yeah. Interviewing a provider.
Mary: I wonder who that was. I'm kind of picturing that. Oh, I can't remember her name off the top of my head. But if we find it, we'll link it.
Ruth: I Love ABA.
Mary: Tameika Meadows. And unfortunately.
Mary: Tameika Meadows, we could definitely link in the show notes. Tragically, she died recently, and I never announced that. But I'm actually glad you brought that up, because I did want to announce that she was. That was a great interview. Let us link that in the show notes for sure. Yeah. And, you know, we wish her family the best, but yeah, she did tragically pass just a few months ago. My next two podcasts after his show, so your podcast is 214. So the next two podcasts are going to be a solo show about how to tell if your ABA school provider clinic is right and how to pick one. And then the week after, I have Rachel Smith on the show who's listening to every podcast as well, and we discuss the top five questions we get about how to pick a provider and pick a school. And those two episodes I think will be great.
Mary: What do you see for the future? Your child is five and what are your hopes for him or for you to continue to progress?
Moving Forward with a School Age Child
Ruth: I think I like to take it in chunks. I like whatever deficit I'm going to really hyper focus on. I like to take it in chunks and like to look at that for him. So right now I hyper focused on potty training and he is fully potty training. I say he's fully potty trained because he will go to the restroom at school with other people and not accidents. He sleeps on the night he's dry, he does it wake up. I don't know. He drinks a lot and I don't limit his drinks when he's at home. Sometimes he'll go to the bathroom, but he does not. I do need to focus more on the wiping. So that's where we're still. And then not getting completely undressed. So we're working on those. We do have a little bit, but the whole bathroom routine I will share at his clinic. They had me come in and do a bathroom consultation because they were having issues with him going to the bathroom there. And he doesn't want to wash his hands, don't want to do it as I could do it. I was like, no, they were so impressed when because they were like, this is a completely different kid because I gave him a prompt and the prompt was, okay, we're going to go to the bathroom. That was it. That's all I do. I said, We're going to the bathroom. It doesn't matter where I take him. I guide him a little bit, give him a gentle touch with the palm of my hand on his back and just push him a little bit. And he actually then took my hand and showed me where the bathroom was. Like I didn't know where it was. And I was like, okay, that's good. Good start, you know? And then he has issues with waiting in general for anything. But the stalls were full when we got into the bathroom and I was like, No, I was like, We got to wait. I know this is not the sign for weight, but his school got him to wait by doing this. So then I just carried it on and I was like, We got to wait. And he waited and he was standing there. And then once it was our turn, we went in, did the business. Did everything. He gave me no fits, but apparently he was giving them fits. Gave me no fits. Did everything. I just did the prompt. I just prompted him. He did it all. I said, okay, wash your hands. Get up on the stool. Wash his hands and his BCB. I was like, This is like a totally different kid right now. And I brought reinforcers for them to start using. And then I gave him a reinforcer. And that he gets after doing that complete because he can do it. So I was like, don't let him, you know, take control of the situation because he knows what he's doing, because he didn't try it with me. That's how I know he knows, Right. You know.
Mary: In his defense it is like, if they were doing it differently, if they didn't have reinforcers, if they didn't know, you know, he also feels more comfortable with you like, okay, mom's here. She knows the deal, she knows the drill, she knows what comes first and how I do this and how much help I need. And, you know, so that's why everywhere I talk about potty, I say that if you're going to do it at home and school, you need a potty training manager. And that's kind of the role you assumed by going in and showing. So that's where we really need to be on the same page with home and school, especially for things like potty training. But for everything, you know, we need to be in lockstep because its not fair to our kids that they don't know. They don't trust the people to know that they know the way he does it. Yeah. So I think in general, that's just a great example of how you can go in and turn things around. So that's awesome. So before I let you go, you know, the last question I always ask in my interview, but, you know, part of my podcast goals are not to just help the kids, but to help parents and professionals to be less stressed and lead happier lives. So what do you do? Ruth to reduce your stress.
Heart Math: A Meditation Tool
Ruth: So the main thing that I do to reduce stress is meditative prayer. And I use a type of meditation called heart math, where you connect your mind to your heart and to your energetic field. I know. I really, really like doing that because you hold something and you just meditate on that feeling really closely. It has to be something the most loved feeling in the world. And you meditate on that and I meditate on that and it helps me calm me down and refocus me. And then I go into a prayer session afterwards and I just give first of all, it's just gratitude because I have so much to be thankful for. And when you start from gratitude, I feel like it is harder to be upset about things. So that's what I do.
Mary: Is that an app or something? It's heart math?
Ruth: Yeah, Heart math is an actual scientific meditation that you can approach or you can go to Heart Math Institute.
Mary: Okay, we'll link that in the show notes then. That's good. And people can listen to that and look more into it. That sounds great. And I'm all for gratitude and meditation and feelings of love to kind of get you to a higher level. I think that's awesome. So thank you so much. Ruth also just started a business. We're going to link her information about that business and we'll probably have Ruth back on the show because she's just really starting a business right now. So we'll just kind of tease that we'll have Ruth back in the future to talk about her business. But if you want to learn more about Ruth or connect with Ruth, you can go to the show notes Marybarbera.com/214 and check her link. So thank you so much Ruth it's been a pleasure to talk to you. I hope you don't stop listening to the podcast now you're on a roll and I love having you and our community. Continue to attend the unstuck calls and if you get stuck, please post in our group and we will help you get unstuck. So I can't wait to hear about all the progress your son's going to make. Good luck to you. Have a good one.
Ruth: All right. Thank you, Mary.
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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