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 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.

Ella's coaching story. How families have taught her everything.
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Ella's coaching story. How families have taught her everything.
This week Ella dives deep into her history as a clinician and a coach back to where it all started, in a hot and stuffy four wheel drive parked next to Bondi beach. Join us as Ella takes us on the journey that has brought her to where she is today, via Copenhagen and Luna park! If you want to write to Ella you can drop her a line at or reach out to her through the Autism360 facebook groups.
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Autism 360
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