hello hello welcome to the autism 360 podcast 360 method a weekly podcast where we talk about everything the autism 360 program i’m your host ella and every week we’re going to be catching you up with what’s going on in the program chatting with team members and guests and just exploring uh ideas that autism parents think about today i’m going to tell you my own coaching story my background where i’ve come from and what i did to get you know where i am now to be here sitting chatting with you about um autism parenting experience so for those of you who don’t know me my name is ella bailey and i’m an autism 360 veteran coach and explorer of all things parenting support um so welcome to you our lovely lovely listeners uh we care about you your thoughts your experiences your comments on the program so whether you’re a program member or not we would really love to hear from you please do get in touch send us a question a comment anything you like drop us a line at hello at autism360.com we would love your feedback and we want to tailor this podcast to uh what you need what you want to hear about um this podcast exists for you so i would like to acknowledge the gadigal people of the eora nation on whose land i live and work and from where this podcast is being broadcast today and i would also like to add that this podcast does not substitute for medical advice if you’re concerned about yourself or a child or somebody you love please do get in contact with a healthcare professional
so as i get started with telling my coaching story i would like you to come with me on a bit of an imaginative journey okay so i come from sydney australia one day um i’m a i’m an underemployed arts student i am looking for some nannying work to kind of pay the bills while i figure out what i want to do with my arts degree and i get this really fun looking uh nannying job with a family in bondi um so right on the beach beautiful house um these gorgeous kids three kids um and you know one day we were parked parked up near the beach um and we were waiting for something i can’t remember it was but what i want you to imagine is i’m sitting inside a big four-wheel drive there’s three kids in the back and then i’m in the passenger seat and mom that i’m nannying for uh is in the driver’s seat um and something that i guess is an important detail here is that um the eldest of the three children that i was looking for had some significant disabilities both physiological um and cognitive impairments um and so there was a there was an increased care load for that family so that was you know part of the reason i’d been brought on it was to make sure that all the kids had what they needed and i got into a conversation with with the mum of this family just talking about her experience of raising her three kids she was a doctor her husband was a doctor and they were really time poor you know they had a lot on their plate um they were both kind of early career doctors so they were doing long hours etc and they had these three kids you know one of whom had um some significant disabilities and i remember mum you know she got really teary all of a sudden you know here’s me i’m like 22 something like that she got really teary and you know just talking about her experience of um trying to balance trying to balance having a career trying to balance having kids um but but specifically she started talking about what it was like to try and meet the needs of her child with a disability and you know i was i felt completely under prepared to deal with this you know just a nanny kind of thing but it was obvious that she had no one to hear her um talk about this this subject it was obvious that she had no other safe place where she could just say how she was feeling about the situation and the the thing that she said to me that really really stuck in my mind that really you know it’s it’s i guess i feel like it’s the start of of this journey for me is is that she said and with with you know all her kids in the car if i had known how hard this was going to be
i wouldn’t have had him you know referring to her child with a disability and that broke me you know i was sitting listening and i didn’t have any skills then you know i didn’t have any skills to help support her um but the fact that she was telling me a basic stranger you know in her car by the beach she’s crying with her kids in the back that she felt so broken by this situation that she wished her life had turned out differently made me realize that there was some significant work to be done in this area there is so much pain you know in families of children with a disability and that family who i don’t even remember their names i’m not gonna lie i don’t remember their names i don’t remember who the kid was i didn’t um stay with them very long but it was the start of me realizing that i wanted to change things for these families that it didn’t have to be this way that mums don’t have to carry this around they just need the support and that no child should ever have to hear their parent in in so much pain about the way that their life turned out and it wasn’t long after that i um but snapped up i got head hunted by one of um one of my friends who actually worked as a psychologist at an early intervention center in sydney so you know she didn’t have anything to go on other than you know the way that she saw me interacting with kids you know my demeanor with her as a friend um and and she gave me a job working as a therapy assistant um as i um started to undertake um what i knew was then gonna be kind of what i wanted to quote unquote do with my life which was my psychology degree so i started my psychology degree i was working in early intervention just learning all about the industry i was like a sponge you know i had no uh you know a lot of people in the industry they have family members who have a disability or a child with autism or you know they have some sort of personal connection to autistic people but um i don’t have that i don’t have um you know as far as i know um close family members with um an autism diagnosis um or anything like that but what i did have was this experience of this mother’s pain that i wanted to do something about um and you know i chugged through my university degree i was still um you know qualifying um finishing off my psych degree and working in early intervention and what i got the chance to do during those years which i didn’t realize at the time was going to be really important but did end up being really important was just living life day to day you know hour to hour in the homes of families with autistic children you know so i would spend i don’t know up to 10 hours a week with a particular family in their home seeing the things that they struggle with trying to you know get their kiddo to eat nutritious food to help them grow or you know mum breaking down because she can’t have a shower or um not being able to leave the house feeling trapped and it was um you know a really formative experience for me to be able to see the kind of day-to-day realities of what it’s like to live um supporting um an autistic child the way that the industry currently supports you know children for the most part and uh it was really formative and i did that for you know however many years to four years um until i moved overseas so
when i finished up my psych degree i moved overseas um to work in disability support in copenhagen in denmark um and you know lots of people may know that there’s a very different social expectation of what gets provided for communities by the government in scandinavian countries it’s a little bit um uh it’s a little bit different than than here in australia and um so i was working supporting this family um who had a little boy with um autism and adhd and i just got to see again what it was like to to live in the life that they would that they were trying to carve out for themselves and their family and i remember this one time i had gone to pick him up from school that was something they really needed support with because um he really struggled in the classroom so i got to uh you know go in to give movement breaks support him to transition from school to home and vice versa that sort of thing it was really great i really loved it um and i remember uh his classroom teacher uh pulling me aside you know he had this fixed danish accent um and he sort of said hey ella we’re worried about this child you know we’re worried that the family aren’t coping we’re worried that they aren’t getting the support that they need what do you think how do you know how are things looking at home and what i noticed was the lack of judgment it wasn’t this family is not doing a good job it wasn’t this kid’s not good it wasn’t um i don’t know any of the other preconceived judgments that might come in a different you know uh cultural situation for when a child isn’t coping in the classroom his whole attitude was how can we help the family to get the support that they need to parent the way that they want to parent and to support the child the way that this child needs and it was a revelation to me after having worked in this sort of mainstream autism intervention in australia the attitude is so different when you assume that parents are doing their best and that if you can support them they will be able to step up to do the kind of caring that their child needs um and so i got to see this whole process of what it looks like and i didn’t know what it was at the time but i was just observing how um you know the the copenhagen the danish disability support system rarely if ever intervenes directly with a child you know there’s very little sort of sitting in one-to-one direct therapeutic interventions of course that is necessary in situations and i’m sure that if he had would have benefited from it then that would have been available but what instead we did in this situation was upskill the people around this child build up his family’s capacity give them the support that they need and address his needs from a totally carer and totally community mediated intervention standpoint and so when i came back to sydney um i you know i just went back into back into kind of mainstream practice
i was um working for myself doing kind of clinical team leading that sort of thing um i noticed that that that wasn’t there you know there was no um there was no including the community there was no building up the people around a child there was only direct intervention that um had mixed success in terms of um generalizing skills to the community to the home to other people in that child’s life and i started noticing a really big difference um in the outcomes that the kids that i was working with in australia were having as compared to the kids that i’d been working with in denmark especially in terms of inclusion you know inclusion in community inclusion in extended family inclusion in classrooms the outcomes were wildly different and i didn’t know what to do about it i knew that there was something missing in the model that i was using but you know i was just kind of breaking into the therapeutic scene i didn’t know what my role was in changing that and that was when ash called so um i’m sure many of you will know that ash is the owner and founder of autism 360. um he himself is an autistic person he’s an autism dad and he i mean i guess he headhunted me basically he sort of said you know i want you to come and coach parents with me i want you to come and you know mix up the autism intervention space come and um do this online work with me um and you know at the time i was living in a tiny little shoe box um it was um extremely hot i lived in a little fibro sort of cottage at the back of somebody else’s house and um you know i would sit on my computer and talk with families all day and i slowly started building coaching skills you know um clinicians we come into um care-mediated intervention especially if you you know you haven’t had a more broad experience of of clinical intervention we come into um parent coaching thinking oh okay well i’ve led therapists before i’ll just you know treat the parents like therapists or boy and it took me i want to say two weeks to realize from observation and from the responses that i was getting from families to realize parents aren’t therapists parents don’t want to be therapists and parents can’t be therapists they’re too totally um you know not opposite roles but um i can’t i couldn’t expect the same things from parents than i could from therapists that i had led before and so that forced me to broaden my understanding to um be more holistic in how i supported families to do better at understanding the whole picture of what a family dynamic looks like of what um kiddos needed to help them to to reach their goals and so i started with autism 360 nearly three years ago and i have done so much learning so and you know people come to people come to coaching and awesome autism 360 because they want to be you know taught and upskilled and those sorts of things but every family i work with teaches me something new about how i can do better to support the next family that i work with i get so much benefit from talking with moms and dads you know understanding what it’s like to be um i don’t know a foster parent to um an autistic child or understanding the limitations of you know being a 70 year old grandma to a six-year-old um with autism and every time i do that i get to grow in my understanding of the 360 of what it means to holistically support a family who are providing care to an autistic child and i wanted to um i wanted to talk about some of the wins you know the the definition of a win for autism 360 for me for my clients is so different than um kind of traditional therapeutic models because for us what we want is for the whole family to feel an improvement in their quality of life and we do that it’s so exciting um some of the best wins that i’ve ever had are a family that i worked with uh we’ll call them the johnsons the johnsons came onto session with me and they were so excited because they went to luna park and they had a great time and there were no meltdowns um you know their kiddo totally coped had fun no distress and that kind of family outing without distress without sensory overwhelm would have been unimaginable for that family a year earlier um
i’ve been working with them for a while they’re still with me um but they just radiated joy and um pleasure being able to share that childhood experience with their kid um who previously they wouldn’t have known how to support him to enjoy that experience without distress and they just felt so in in control of how to manage a busy situation like going to um for those of you who aren’t sydney siders luna park is a theme park sort of thing it’s quite small um but they were just so happy that they got to go to luna park enjoy it have fun their kids had fun um and there was no distress for their child to me that is just such a huge win that is the kind of win that we want um another one that comes to mind is um one of the teens that i work with she is uh she’s just beautiful she she uh she and her mom have been working with me for a couple of years now as well and um she had a real confidence struggle you know it’s not easy being a neurodiverse neurodivergent person in a neurotypical world and there was a lot of struggles that she had around her own capacity her own ability to do the things that she wanted to do or that she felt were age-appropriate um that her peers were doing you know she’s 14. and i remember when her mom came onto session and told me you know this kiddo has successfully walked herself to and from school for the first time and she felt like her peers she felt like she could share that experience with them she felt like she belonged she felt proud of herself and that is such a win for that child to experience that improvement in confidence that’s an autism 360 win i love that and so now that kiddo has the um increased independence of being able to walk herself to and from school whenever she wants you know that’s that’s an improved quality of life that’s what we’re here to do um and i think um you know every family teaches me new ways to help families do that i want to um finish by uh you know talking about okay well where to from here you know we’ve learned so much about the way that families need support i’ve learned so much about what i what my role is in the industry we’ve learned so much about what makes autism 360 different and um i guess you know it all it all comes back to that family in bondi for me um what would how can i make sure that an ever decreasing amount of families and ever decreasing amount of children have to have that experience and so that’s what i’m here to do
i’m here to help parents and carers feel like they have enough they are enough they know enough to help their children thrive in whatever way that looks like it doesn’t look a certain way it’s different for every family but i never want to have to be back where that bondi family were with my families um and i think that’s what you know that’s what gets me up in the morning that’s why i hop on here and do what i do every day so thank you for listening um i hope that that was interesting and and had some value so now that you know why i do what i do and um yeah next week we’ll be back with more typical broadcasting i hope that um you know you like the storytelling as much as you like all the other um you know different guests and stuff we do let me know um your thoughts about you know my experience what your experience of the autism 360 program has been like um and that sort of thing and uh until then think 360.