Top 10 Autism Resources and Episodes from the Turn Autism Around Podcast

As 2019 comes to a close, today I’m going to reflect on my top ten favorite episodes from my autism podcast. These are the episodes that I refer people to on a regular basis, and the episodes that have the most downloads. These are also the episodes that I personally enjoy the most. 

Some of my personal favorite episodes include the very first episode, #001: Lessons I’ve Learned on My Autism Journey for Parents and Professionals, and #006: Improving Problem Behaviors in Children with Autism. 

Thank you so much for beginning this journey with me at the start of the year, and for sticking with me through the end of the year. Over the course of the year I’ve met some incredible people and heard their stories, and I’ve learned new things as well. I can’t wait to see what 2020 holds for the Turn Autism Around podcast, and I’m excited to continue on this journey with you all. See you on January 7th! I also mention the Top 10 Autism Resources in my podcast discussing my New Autism Book for Parents & Professionals.

Did I gloss over one of your favorite episodes? Have you loyally listened to all 52 episodes this year? Email me and tell me at [email protected].

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Welcome to episode number 52 of the Turn Autism Around podcast. I’m your host, Dr. Mary Barbera, and today I am going to cover 10 of my favorite autism episodes that I covered in the podcast during this year of 2019. I started the podcast as  you may or may not know in January of 2019, so we are on episode number 52. We produce podcast episodes every single week, myself and my team, it’s a lot of effort and I appreciate anybody who has listened, who has emailed me, who has given a five star rating and review. It’s very great to see when the content is really resonated with both parents and professionals. So today I’m going to cover my top 10 favorite podcasts episodes of the year.

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.

Okay, so it’s the end of 2019… happy New Year! Happy holidays! For those of you listening right away, I am super excited to present this… it hopefully will be a pretty short podcast episode. I wanted to kind of close out the year and pick the podcast that I constantly am recommending, referring people to. I mean all of the podcast shows, the episodes, whether they were interviews or solo shows, have been really high quality and I’m proud of them all, but some of them performed better, either had more view. We passed now 120,000 downloads in less than a year, so that’s really exciting as well.

I do have an episode to start the New Year on January 7th, which is a Tuesday, of course. I will air my interview with Dr. Mark Sundberg and I have a special announcement within that podcast. So if you’re listening, make sure you tune in on January 7th for a great interview with Dr. Mark Sundberg.

So let’s just go down the list. I’m going to do them in order of broadcast date, not in order of, this is my absolute favorite. That would really be tough for me because I don’t have like one absolute favorite. So the first episode that I’m going to talk about, and just give you a little summary and then we’ll jump to the next one, is episode number one. So if this is your first time listening to my Turn Autism Around podcast, welcome. I have a long history over two decades in the autism world. First as a confused and overwhelmed parent who was actually in denial when my son Lucas started showing signs, and then I became a board certified behavior analyst, wrote a bestselling book called The Verbal Behavior Approach, became a behavior analyst working with hundreds, thousands of kids eventually.

And now for the past four or five years, I’ve been in the online marketing space, producing weekly videos, producing now weekly podcast episodes, and also producing online courses, which are just… it’s an incredible course and community of like-minded parents and professionals. So I do speak to both, and I break things down into terms where everyone can understand. So my episode number one is all about my journey. If you haven’t listened to many of my podcast episodes, you may want to start at number one; and whenever I say number one or number 12 or whatever, I say, we have a redirect situation going so you can always type in Marybarbera/one, and that is the numeral one without the number sign. So will get you started with my very first podcast, not just about my journey but the 15 lessons I’ve learned over the years for both parents and professionals. I think that’s a great one to start with. Or if you are an avid listener and just didn’t start at the beginning, you might want to check that out.

Okay. Moving on to episode number three, and that was my first interview and I picked at the time and still is my favorite success story. When I started my online courses, I was used to working one on one with kids. I was used to working in schools and homes. I wasn’t a hundred percent sure how well this would translate to completely online, at your own pace. English as a second language in some cases, you know, doing it yourself. We don’t analyze videos, we don’t give you direct feedback because as behavior analysts, it’s legally and ethically a challenge to give anybody direct feedback when you don’t know the whole situation.

So Kelsey is the interview in episode number three. Kelsey is a single mom living in Canada with two boys and they both have autism now. But when Kelsey found my course, her first son Brentley was two and a half years old. He was having severe problem behaviors. He was… Brentley was banging his head on hard surfaces up to a hundred times a day. I didn’t know that. She was driving him… It took her almost year to wait for a diagnosis. Then another few months to wait for services to start. She was driving him to an ABA clinic and it was an hour away from her home. She had her baby, Lincoln, that she’d have to bring with her. It was covered by insurance but what she found in my online courses was that the programs that they were working on, the targets and the goals just were not in line with where Brentley was at. So in the end she ended up taking him out of the clinic even though insurance was paying for it, it wasn’t the right fit. She brought him home and taught him at home. And in the meantime, after Kelsey completed the early and intermediate learner courses, that’s when I started my toddler preschooler course. She was a very gung ho for that. And we actually use a lot of the videos from both of her sons because at that point in 2017, Lincoln, her youngest son was starting to show signs of autism. Again, she had to wait almost a year for a diagnosis. But in that year she knew the tools to help him, help him talk, help him point, help him follow directions, and help get his problem behaviors under control.

So Kelsey’s a true success story. You want to hear more? That’s episode number three. But she is now our community manager of our Facebook groups and she still is very much an advocate. She’s become a professional in the field as well. And she has a great career ahead of her because she has learned to singlehandedly turn things around for both her kids; and also she has learned that she can become her kids’ best teacher and best advocate for life. I just love Kelsey. So episode number three, you want to check that out.

Okay. Moving on to episode number six; that actually has the most downloads of any of the episodes and it’s a solo show, meaning it’s just me, and I’m talking about improving problem behaviors. In this episode, I really go over the fact that problem behaviors are on one side of the coin and language and learning skills are on the other side of the coin. That’s why I really am a big proponent of using the VB-MAPP assessment where you’re not just looking at the milestones, you’re also looking at the barriers and the transition assessment, treating everything together so that the child truly makes progress across all environments. So episode number six is very popular and you may want to check that out, especially if you’re having any kind of problem behaviors in your children or clients. And those problems with behaviors don’t have to be severe, like Kelsey’s son banging his head on the ground or on the floor. They can be simply, you know, excessive self-stim behavior or scripting; anything that gets in the way of learning, not attending.

I had a client, which I talk about, you know, fairly often where he was two, just diagnosed with autism, and he spent minutes or even hours a day, you know, putting straws in bottles in bottles. And those kinds of behaviors, they don’t look like true problem behaviors, but they’re taking away a child’s time. And time is of the essence, especially when you have a young child just showing signs of autism. So episode number six, you should check that out.

Now moving on to our next top 10 episode, and that is episode number seven with Dr. Megan Miller. This is another really popular episode and Dr. Miller, I’ve known for years, probably 10 years. I’ve met her, I’ve presented with her, I’ve presented for her. She is a real leader in the field and she’s very present on social media. She has the Do Better movement and we talk about that in episode number seven. But what we really talk about is Megan’s expertise in providing ABA instruction and behavioral management without the use of escape extinction, which is keeping the demand on nagging and it can tend to really escalate things. And Megan talks a lot about other strategies besides escape extinction that are more ethical and better for the child, the family, and the professional. So you may want to check out episode number seven.

Moving on to episode number 10, this is with Rosemarie Griffin, who is a speech and language pathologist for more than 15 years and a board certified behavior analyst for the past five or more years. She joined my course pretty early on a few years ago. She had contacted me and she said, you know, how can we network more? And I said, well, actually the best way is for you to take my courses. I didn’t realize at that point that Rosemary was already lecturing on verbal behavior to audiences of various sizes. So she took both of my early and intermediate learner courses, now she remains a Facebook adviser; she remains a really great group member who’s providing extra support and guidance, especially when there’s speech and language issues because she has both that speech background as well as the behavior analyst background. So that’s a great interview with Rosemarie Griffin. That’s episode number 10.

And we’re going to have this all in the show notes, so if you are driving… I should have said this earlier, if you’re driving or walking or running and you’re like, what are these episodes? Everything’s going to be, you know, in the show notes, episode number 52. We’ll have a little summary and we’ll have the episode numbers with the links so you can find the whole episode show notes in And if you’re ever in need of any kind of autism, ABA information can always just Google “Mary” “autism” plus the topic and it’ll pop right up in more cases than not. If something doesn’t pop up and you have a question that I haven’t covered in a video blog on a podcast in a written blog, email me and I’d be happy to consider doing a video blog on the topic. So episode number 10 is a really good one to listen to.

Okay. Moving on to episode number 28. I have probably given this number out more than any of them. So episode number 28 was with Dr. Michael Murray, who is an autism dad as well as a psychiatrist and all of his patients have autism. I met Dr. Murray more than a decade ago because our kids, both of our sons are about the same age and about the same functioning level, give or take. They both have moderate severe autism. And so they were in a private ABA school together. And so I met Dr. Murray. I only got Lucas in to see Dr. Murray as a psychiatrist when Lucas was 18 years of age. And he had been on Dr. Murray’s waiting list for 18 months. And Dr. Murray is at Hershey Medical Center. I was just there for a visit just this week and I asked him, I’m like, the podcast is great. The episode is just one of my absolute favorites. And I asked him, are you getting more patient requests because of the podcast? And he shook his head and said, yeah, he is.

But anyway, in episode number 28 with Dr. Murray, we talk about medical interventions and medications and a swab test to measure the child’s DNA versus all the medications they could be on; that and a cardiac med actually to treat Lucas’s sporadic problem behaviors related to pain and startle this cardiac med, which we talk about in episode number 28, has been a miracle for Lucas and really has given him a much, much better quality of life. And it has reduced my stress knowing that Dr. Murray is Lucas’s doctor and we have Lucas’s problem behaviors has major problem behaviors at or near zero. So episode number 20, one of my absolute favorites.

Okay. Moving on to episode number 34, which is all about autism and potty training. I am a registered nurse as well as a behavior analyst and a mom to a son with autism and as well as a son without autism. So in my work as a registered nurse, I always work with neurologically impaired patients; like spinal cord injuries, head injuries, strokes. A lot of times these patients struggled with incontinence issues or some kind of… A lot of times self-care and those sorts of things. Sometimes they had to relearn everything. So I do consider myself to be a potty expert, and I’ve been called the potty queen a number of times. I’ve helped to get many, many children potty trained. So chapter 11 of my book, The Verbal Behavior Approach, covers potty training, but until this podcast, episode number 34, I have resisted really putting a lot of free information out there on potty training just because it is really complex.

But for this episode we did produce a 25 page potty guide and it is free. You can go to to download the free potty training guide. And it’s not just for kids who are not at all potty trained. I have two bonus videos within my online course and community. One is on basic potty training, and one is a bonus video called almost potty trained, which covers the four lingering issues which prevents kids from being completely potty trained. So you may want to check out that episode, episode number 34, check out the free EBook on potty training.

Moving on to episode number 37 is an episode with a grandmother, a grandma; I call her Gung Ho Grandma Diane. Diane joined my online toddler course within the past year and she bought the course and she started doing ABA therapy with her grandson. And she saw really, really astounding results. Diane just over Thanksgiving, actually on Thanksgiving morning, sent me a beautiful message saying that she was very thankful that she found me and my course on her journey and that her grandson was just doing phenomenal. So we talk not just an interview with Diane, but in episode number 37, I also downloaded some information about grandparents, children with autism in general, which I think would be really good for you to listen to. So it’s a great interview with Grandma Diane, episode number 37.

Okay, so we have two more episodes to cover. The next one is episode number 46 with Dr. Tim Volmer. And Dr. Volmer, I saw for the first time present at the national autism conference at Penn State and he talked a lot about problem behaviors, which he’s an expert. He, I didn’t realize, but he was working with Brian Iwata for many years and he is an expert on severe problem behaviors. And I asked a question about studies about automatic negative reinforcement, which is problem behaviors related to pain like my son was having related to pain or startle, you know, things that are not just behavioral. There’s a medical component which I really want to bring in and I am bringing in to more of my video blogs and my podcast.

But I asked Dr. Volmer if he would agree to an interview after I saw him at Penn State. And so we talk a lot about severe problem behaviors with Dr. Volmer, and we also have a pretty big discussion about biting if kids bite themselves or bite others… in almost every species we see biting when kids are distressed, when they’re stressed or in pain with every species. So it makes sense that if kids aggress and specifically if they bite, they are probably having some kind of pain or undue stress. And so a lot of my work has been on teaching parents and professionals how to prevent problem behavior, how to spend 95% preventing problem behavior and also encouraging that, that assessment, especially on the medical piece and trying to be a detective and moving forward in that. So Dr. Volmer is episode number 46.

And the final top 10 autism podcast episode of 2019 for me was just last week’s episode, episode number 51, where I talk about autism regression, lack of progress, and the five areas where parents and professionals get stuck and how to get on stuck. And I came up with this based on some questions that were coming my way. And so the five areas, just to kind of wet your tastes a little bit, are, kids get stuck when they are completely not talking nonverbal, non-vocal, whatever you want to call it, nonverbal to verbal. That’s one area where I definitely have strategies to help you think about what you can do to maybe get unstuck in that area.

The second area in podcast number 51 is a lot of kids get stuck in receptive identification, receptive commands, that listener ability saying, you know, touch your head or touch the banana or give me something, or you know, come here. Those kinds of receptive demands without a visual. A lot of kids get stuck there and I definitely have strategies to get unstuck.

The third area where people get stuck is when you have a child who is talking but not conversational. And that mid-level VB-MAPP level two and three, I’ve spent my whole life pretty much with Lucas who’s been an intermediate learner almost his whole almost his whole life. So I know how to get kids unstuck and it is extremely complicated, but to find out how you can do that, I would definitely attend a free workshop that I provided at

Okay. So those are the three areas, then there’s two more areas that where people get stuck. The fourth area is they get stuck with self-care, like the potty training, hand-washing, teaching kids to shower on their own, teaching them to use utensils, to clean up, to do chores, to do pre-vocational tasks. Again, I’ve had a long history. Lucas is 23, still with moderate to severe autism and so we’ve had to get really clear on the goals and where he’s going. And my big goal for all the kids is to keep them as safe as possible, as independent as possible, and as happy as possible. So no matter where your child or client is functioning, or even if they don’t even have a diagnosis of autism yet, there’s always hope for improvement. And that’s why I’ve titled my podcast Turn Autism Around. Okay.

And the final area where kids get stuck and parents and professionals feel stuck is knowing what to do to reduce or eliminate problem behaviors. And again, it’s complicated. Even in the podcast I can’t really go into much depth, but there is always a way to get unstuck, to put one foot in front of the other. And a lot of times it is complicated, but so I like episode number 51 because we talk about lack of progress and I’m what to do to kind of get unstuck.

So those are my top episodes of the year. I’ve self-selected and most of them are just my personal top ones that I remember off the top of my head that I really give out and refer to. But like I said, all 52 episodes have been great and you, I would love it if you would listen to all of them. You could listen at one and a half speed if possible. I listened to a lot of podcasts on one and a half, two times speed, so I can get through a lot of content because I do learn a lot with podcasts and I hope you do too.

So thanks for listening. If you’ve listened to every podcast episode this year, I would love it if you would email me at [email protected]. Tell me you’ve listened all 52, I would love it. I would love to hear your top 10 if your top one or two didn’t make my list, email me and let me know what your top podcast episodes were this year.

Let me know what you’d like to hear more of, what interviews you suggest, anything you want to hear. I’m here to serve you and to really try to make your life, the lives of parents and professionals happier, less stressed, and I’m here to really change things and enable each child to reach his or her fullest potential. So happy New Year. Again, thanks for a great first podcast year. I’ve looked forward to many, many more years of podcast episodes and again, if you’d like to learn more about my approach, I think the best way to do that is by attending a free online workshop at And I will see you in the New Year on January 7th with our first episode with a special interview with Dr. Mark Sundberg. Have a great new year.

Thanks for listening to the Turn Autism Around podcast with Dr. Mary Barbera. For more information, visit


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