Okay hello and welcome  to the autism 360 podcast the 360 method  a weekly podcast where we talk about  everything autism 360. each week we’re  going to be catching you up with what’s  going on in the program chatting with  team members and talking all things  mindset whilst exploring ideas relevant  to autism parenting  i’m your host uh ella bailey i’m an  autism 360 veteran coach although to be  fair not as veteran as my guest today um  i come from a psychology background and  today i am joined by the delightful and  ravishing stacy baden hello stacy  hi how are you it’s good to be here  it’s so lovely to have you and welcome  to our lovely listeners  thank you so much for joining us today  before we get started i really want to  um  extend  uh  uh you know our thoughts to you we care  about our uh you and your experience of  listening to this podcast we want to  hear from you so that we can  um you know talk about things that you  care about so please do drop us a line  at hello and i’m sure that you’ll  have lots of um  awesome uh questions to ask stacy after  she’s  given us her wisdom today  so before we get started i will just  acknowledge the gadigal people of the  euro nation on whose land i live and  work and from where this podcast is  being recorded today and i also just  want to mention that this podcast does  not substitute for medical advice  very important and  if you are concerned about um your child  or concerned about yourself or want more  information please do get in contact  with your health care professional or  contact us at autism 360. we’d love to  help you



Topic of the day Sensory What?! What is sensory input and why does my child need it!

So stacy  today we are chatting about sensory  stuff your favorite  i know i tend to have lots of favorites  but everything sort of goes to sensory  and um  you know it’s  we often um in the program parents get  to sign up for um a sensory session if  it’s necessary  and  of course you know i think it’s super  important we have lots of coaches who  are very aware of the sensory system and  strategies that can be implemented but  some parents need a little bit more um  sort of digging underneath uh to really  sort of get to the nitty-gritty of  what’s going on and i i think that  one of the reasons i like that we have  that option for parents is because  we all  are navigating based on our sensory  input  when i say input i mean the information  our brain gets right like right now i  have the fan on because it’s very warm  today um if i were to get chilly  because of the fan  then i as an adult would probably excuse  myself and  either turn the fan down or i would put  on a jacket however our kiddos  respond to things by either  going to turn the lights off because  it’s overload or  going to get their jacket because they  may not have the immediate communication  skill  to say i’m cold or maybe they don’t have  the language to say i’m cold and so they  will respond to their environment  to meet their sensory needs but a lot of  times the adults are not always  understanding why and so it’s looked at  as  non-compliance or not following  directions or  not attending to a task and it’s really  i cannot process anything you’re saying  in this classroom or this therapy  session because i am not regulated or my  sensory my sensory system needs my  attention  um  so  it’s important for parents to understand  that sensory component because everyone  um responds differently to the sensory  system um or should i say the  environmental sensory um stimulus that  we get and you know i was just sharing  with a parent ella the other day  um because  i don’t know if you’ve noticed on social  media the whole terminology of  neurodiversity and and now everyone’s  you know claiming to be neurodivergent  and um you know before no one wanted  fidgets and then we had spinners and now  everybody needs a fidget right so now  those folks who really needed those  accommodations  are kind of being disregarded in in  terms of their sensory system because  now they just think oh it’s like  everyone else right and it’s not so what  i try to help parents understand is  for those of us who have a pretty  efficient and i don’t want to say that  the sensory system for autistic  individuals is is disordered or not  efficient it’s just different right it  takes on a lot it processes it very  differently  and um you know a lot of autistic  individuals just say they just  they pick up so much right the  flickering lights that i may not um see  or that  hint of the fan in the background that  pitch that you know i can just filter  out  and it’s hard for them to process and so  you know kids respond with either fight  or flight  but i i think the difference is that  for me if i am in a training and i am in  a room that is very cold and i am moving  my arms up and down in order to stay  warm  yes i am uncomfortable yes i am  tolerating that sensory  like uncomfortable input of a cold  temperature  but i’m not going to go into a meltdown  mode and that’s the difference between  autistic individuals needing that  sensory safe and that  fight or flight or sensory seeking  because if i don’t get that regulation i  could go into meltdown and i don’t want  to go into meltdown crisis right it’s  not fun for anyone so i think i try to  help you know parents um understand that  it’s different um yes we we can maybe  tolerate the vacuum cleaner or  the person outside who’s cutting the  grass but we will not have a system that  shuts down or goes into meltdown mode  and so  our kiddos are really just trying to um  navigate your environment  yeah exactly it’s like i just need to be  sensory safe  yeah absolutely and i’ve really been  increasing the neurodiverse voices that  i’ve been taking on um lately in you  know my media intake and that sort of  thing um and something that has really  come to light for me recently around  um  kind of sensory regulation and i’m  always looking for uh

Forms of Sensory Regulation that are formal and not 

you know to do better to improve those  sorts of things is that there’s such a  social element in which forms of  regulation um  are acceptable and which ones aren’t you  know so it’s totally  um uh normal i guess quote unquote  normal um  for a person to be sitting jiggling  their leg at a cat or for a person to be  pulling on the side of their nose or for  a person to be  twirling their hair right  or potentially um  regulatory strategies that those people  are using to bring themselves back down  to baseline but that’s totally socially  acceptable nobody is policing their  behavior nobody is um telling them to  stop because it’s weird  um but then when we get a beautiful hand  flapper or somebody who’s really digging  the input of walking on their toes all  of a sudden that  um for some crosses some imaginary line  that we’re  therefore meant to stop them doing um  that was something that was just totally  it seems you know really cleared now  that i know  but  you know i didn’t know before kind of  thing yeah  you know i just hadn’t worked it out for  myself sort of thing um but i guess to  get us um kind of wound back a little  bit  parents you know they have a lot of um  i guess competing things especially if  they’re newly um on this autistic  parenting uh  journey

Basic Building block information for parents of autistic kids

What are some really basic building  block pieces of information  that you would love all parents of  autistic kids to have around sensory the  sensory world  i i think that um because you know it’s  very complex right it’s very  multi-layered it’s not very simple and  you know what works on monday they may  not need on tuesday  so there’s no  program i mean even a sensory diet is  not something that you have to follow  rigidly because their needs are  different in different environments and  different days so i think i think the  the things that i i really am trying to  help parents understand and i want  parents to understand is  that if you  understand your child’s sensory needs  and you provide them as sensory safe and  environment as possible throughout their  day  there are some things of course we know  we don’t have control over but we can  prepare for that as well but i think  it’s important for parents to know that  the sensory regulation is the foundation  for communication attention to task and  emotional regulation  if your sensory needs are not met it’s  really hard to communicate when you have  to attend to your sensory system because  you’re dysregulated  if you are dysregulated and you need  sort of that vestibular proprioceptive  input  and you’re seeking it by running around  the classroom you’re not able to attend  to the math lesson  in the way the teacher would like now  lots of kids can move their bodies in  the classroom and learn  much better than sitting still  but that’s something that you know we’re  we’re trying to get educators to buy  into some do and it’s fantastic for the  students and some just it’s really hard  for them to  sort of let go of that control of  everyone sitting like little robots um  in the classroom  and  i  you know when it comes to the emotional  regulation i know i’ve talked about this  a lot in our our trainings  i  just need  parents to give their kids a little  grace because emotional regulation is a  very high level skill for adults i mean  there are there are adults that are  still working on emotional regulation  and i think it’s a matter of what’s  happening is instead of trying to  control the emotional regulation to  understand how they can sort of  um process those emotions and respond in  a way that  we have deemed to be more appropriate  now when i say more appropriate i do not  think it’s acceptable to throw chairs we  don’t want to throw chairs when we’re  angry yes sometimes we feel like  throwing a chair yes sometimes we feel  like hitting someone because we’re so  angry but that is not something that we  condone  as people  we try to not do that  um it doesn’t mean  that the  instinct to want to yell or scream is  not there so how do we do that in a way  that is  a little bit healthier or a little bit  more um  understood so that the person who is  with the child when they’re sort of  having these struggles and i think it’s  it’s  understanding the sensory regulation in  terms of if you’re regulated you can  respond a little bit  calmer which is not one of my favorite  word but it’s a word that everyone can  understand and you know i’ll give a  really good example  the other day in a session  i was trying to help you know i always  tell stories and trying to help the  parents understand and relate because  it’s hard to relate to something that  you don’t have to to experience it’s  very hard  and so i said to the parents i said  remember when you had that newborn baby  and you didn’t sleep and you’re  exhausted and then you’re really short  with your partner and you’re really just  irritated  that’s what dysregulation feels like for  a lot of autistic individuals 24 7 every  day of their lives right  so remember  what that felt like that you didn’t  really want to scream and yell at your  partner  but you’re tired and so your quick  impulsive response is i’m agitated  because you are agitated because you  haven’t slept you don’t sleep you’re  tired  so i think those are the things that i  really would love for parents to  understand in terms of just that basic  foundation that the sensory regulation  impacts communication attention and  emotional regulation and so we need to

Your Childs Sensory needs

their sensory needs and of  course the big picture is understanding  your kiddos  sensory needs and understanding that  it’s going to change as they grow like  everything else changes as they grow you  know our kids are not the same at three  as they are at 10 or 12 or 15 or 17. uh  so it’s it’s hard for us to to  remember that because you know when  they’re so little you don’t think about  them growing up but they do  they grow up so that’s that’s my in a  nutshell quick response  amazing amazing i um  i often have found um a lot of things  that parents are telling me about what  it makes  what makes it difficult for them to  um keep their cool when um their parent  parent their kiddo is melting down um  is their own  response  to  the auditory sensory stimuli of their  keto melting down and so  that is the example that i use i’m  trying to get a parent to be able to um  connect with their child’s experience of  being sensory dysregulated so i sort of  um will say to them you know that  feeling that you get when um kiddo is  melting down and they may be  making lots of loud noises or there’s  lots of movement and you feel this sort  of rise of tension and panic  that is the experience of  a sensory discomfort that your child is  experiencing but that’s all the time  and do you often find that parents have  um or or maybe discovering their own  sensory needs when when you start  explaining these things to them in the  program can you touch a little on that  i do and you know i have parents where  and you and i’ve talked about this you  know wear ear plugs if your kid needs to  verbally stem while they do their  homework you just have to accommodate  yourself and wear earplugs if it really  does bother you  you can designate areas for them to spin  you can visually communicate boundaries  of where they can jump that’s what we do  in the classroom you know i had a  jumping lane that was marked in blue  tape i had a place where you could go  and do  those things that may have bothered the  other children who have their own  sensory um  you know sort of regulation so  it’s you you know when there’s more than  one kid which many of our families do  have more than one kiddo you really have  to  um you have to do a lot of planning a  lot of planning and a lot of proactive  um strategies and i think that  for a lot of families because parenting  is so different now where children are  literally parents their children are  never in another room i mean you know  it used to be your kids went outside and  they played and you were fine and now  every minute besides school and work  you know everyone’s in everyone’s space  and so  families have to decide how they’re  going to navigate that themselves as a  parent  know when they can tap out if they have  someone else who is parenting with them  or if they have a support system  but the other you know  reality  is  that


Parenting is Hard work  

parenting is hard work  and we don’t know  what life is going to bring us when we  have a baby or adopt a baby get pregnant  however we become parents  and i think that a lot of the struggles  that parents have is  their expectations of what parenting is  is nothing that they thought it was  going to be right  um especially with social media of  people showing their cute pictures i’m  like those cute pictures of a toddler  it’s like  five minutes of your day right like  toddlers are exhausting they’re  wonderful they’re fun but they’re a lot  of work right you can’t do much when  you’re parenting a toddler except make  sure that they’re safe um because  they’re on the go they’re on the go and  that’s just toddlers and that’s a good  thing we want toddlers to explore  so i think for parents it’s recognizing  giving themselves grace and recognizing  what they can tolerate and what they  cannot tolerate and how are they going  to navigate that as a parent does that  mean you need to get mindset coaching do  you need to get your own therapy do you  need to figure out if you need to like  you know  pick your child up later or go out for a  run before you come in you know there’s  so many different things that  we have to  recognize within ourselves as parents in  order to be the very best parent that we  want to be and everyone chooses to  parent in a way that  either culturally they’ve been taught or  they decide on their own or they read a  book or whatever it is but i think that  it’s knowing  um  knowing yourself um and that is  that’s a big task that’s like emotional  regulation right and and i think that  a lot of families are  families um and parenting because that’s  just what we’re supposed to do not  necessarily what i wanted to do or i  thought it was going to be cute you know  i i remember this wonderful mother she  was  just  you know she really wanted to be this  calm  nurturing you know  not yell at her children mom and  finally she said  i never wanted children i just wanted  two cats  okay so so when you when you hear that  it’s like okay well we we now have two  children so we’ve got to figure out what  to do and one of your children has been  diagnosed with autism and and so that’s  another layer and so i think it’s  there’s so many dynamics um into  you know  parenting that some of us don’t even  realize when we become parents and some  people are very conscious about their  parenting so i think it’s just  figuring out what your tolerance level  is for certain things and then coming up  with a proactive strategy to get through  the day so that your child can get  through the day because the reality is  our children are relying on the adults  to support them whether that’s to be the  calm in the storm whether that’s to be  to understand their communication  nuances  or supply them with sensory regulation  activities  they’re relying heavily on the adults in  the room and  you know children are very instinctive  and and that’s why they will go into a  classroom and walk out they’re like oh  feeling this lady’s not really sure  she’s going to be able to support me or  not having a really good rapport with a  therapist it’s like oh she’s not really  supporting me so i’m going to go over  here because not feeling safe you know  whether it’s sensory safe or just not  wanting to have a meltdown safe right  you know i need someone  um  to sort of be that person that i can  rely on and  um it’s a lot you know i’m  um i tell parents all the time parenting  is hard work 24 7.  it takes a lot of planning a lot of  proactive strategies when you are  parenting an autistic child  and um i mean that’s the reality of it  and so  we come up with a plan on how to  implement that and i’m  very much proactive planner i i prefer  not to have to be reactive and not to  have to worry about a meltdown but i  think also part of  the  coping for parents is

Coping for Parents

you have to just expect  today we might have a meltdown and if  you expect today we might have a  meltdown and if you don’t yay all the  proactive strategies worked and if we do  oh it’s okay i’ve got my strategies  ready for that right i already know what  i’m going to do  um because sometimes life happens um so  i think it’s and it’s the same with  teachers you know teachers will you know  go into a big tizzy i mean for six weeks  you know they haven’t had a meltdown i’m  like so we had one today like  yeah it’s a new day right a new minute  um  because  sometimes it happens yeah  yeah  i am  i have i  i’ve had learned so much you know from  you in in our professional relationship  in the program and this whole um sensory  world that um  is such an epic tool that i wanted to  share um a story for our listeners about  one of the sensory wins um that i had  with um one of my beautiful clients here  on the program  um so  uh  mum  uh was really concerned that kiddo  wasn’t um  bathing we couldn’t get kiddo to wash um  mum was really struggling having um  real concerns about hygiene and and  yes and whatever um and so i really  proved i sort of  tried to understand what the situation  of bathing was  um and it turned out that kiddo would  wash at  grandparents house but wouldn’t wash it  home  kiddo would  jump in a pool  but i wouldn’t wash it home  kiddo would all sorts of other things  but washing at home with an issue  anyway so i sort of probed a little  deeper asking mom um okay so what is the  washing situation anyway it turned out  they only had a shower only had a shower  have a bath  um and so  i sort of was like okay well  i can see what’s going on here what does  kiddo do  when they feel  the water falling on their skin in any  situation you know a sprinkler  um  rain exactly no freaks out keto fruits  out cannot  cope and what we ended up doing  was uh getting it one of those pop-up  bathtubs  uh  from um i think it was bunnings or  something setting that up in the bottom  of the shower  problem solved kiddo is bathing  and i think having that tiny bit of  sensory understanding and now kids  clean themselves in a in a way that  feels safe for them mom isn’t concerned  about hygiene and we’re not getting the  whole family totally dysregulated in the  evening  trying to get them into a shower that  feels  totally whack  exactly exactly


Sensory safe environment

and so you guys created a sensory safe  environment for bath time and that’s a  really great example um because it’s  very common  and this is where um i guess you know if  i have to say  closing final words  part of parenting an autistic child and  understanding their sensory needs is you  have to recognize it’s not going to be  the same as yours  um it’s really not going to be the same  of yours and so just because you enjoy a  shower doesn’t mean that your child can  tolerate a shower or process a shower  it’s not really tolerating it and so and  vice versa bath time  and so i think  it’s  you know our role as coaches is to help  parents see  they’ve got to look outside of their  needs and what they think works for them  because it’s not always the same and  what’s really funny is if you look at  any situation where there’s a two-parent  home um or even it can be just um  multiple adults you know  multi-generational families  everybody has a different  some people like to shower in the  morning some people like to shower at  night some people love to take a bath at  night some people don’t like to take a  bubble bath if you ever watch those  television shows where they’re the  couples are looking for the new house  you know one of the persons is like no  we have to have a big bathtub because i  like taking a bath the other person does  not enjoy a bath and so i think it’s  it’s remembering that  as human beings we all have different  things that  help us feel organized and different  music that helps us feel organized and  we have to remember even food  you know everybody doesn’t like the same  food you can go to a restaurant and  there are reviews for that restaurant  that you love and several people don’t  like the food at the restaurant because  everybody’s sensory system is different  yeah but the difference between remember  our kiddos is  it’s it’s a difference between crisis  and  being able to navigate the environment  or not um that’s really the huge  difference that i think is important for  our listeners to understand that  just because we’re saying yes they’re  human beings and we’re all different in  regards to sensory it is a very  different experience for the autistic  individual and it is very serious  um so we don’t want to make people um  sit in an environment or listen to  sounds that  they’re screaming um  the birthday party is the one that i  think is my biggest pet peeve  i mean i’m just like why is everyone  singing  it’s his birthday  everyone’s singing happy birthday and  the child is screaming while covering  their ears why why are we doing that why  is the birthday about all of the people  around him and not about the child there  was a wonderful graduation where um  an autistic gentleman graduated  i can’t remember it was college i think  it was high school and no one during the  ceremony made clapping noises or  screaming because they knew it was going  to be a sensory trigger and that’s where  we want to get so that we all understand  that sometimes we just have to do a  little bit of adjustments um so that  our kiddos and autistic adults can  navigate the environment and when they  navigate the environment and they can  communicate and attend in a way that  works for them then they’re able to  contribute to society and that’s a  benefit to all of us and that’s  that’s why i  talk about this all the time  absolutely  so just before we go i would love to ask  um

Community Question

one of the parents um from the  program has sent in this question um so  this is this question is from zainab  from brisbane she asks um  i go into total panic mode when my son  starts screaming in the supermarket my  ot says this is a sensory thing but when  i’m panicking i don’t know how to help  him do you have any tips oh this is  perfect stacy questions  very very common um and it’s also i will  say  um  you know it’s frustrating for me when  parents are told by a therapist oh it’s  sensory based but then they don’t tell  them what  yes um  okay uh what do i do i need more so  exactly  so my first  line of defense is  don’t bring them to the grocery store if  you don’t have to try to grocery shop  when you are not with your child that’s  where that proactive planning comes into  play where you work it out with either  your support worker or your partner  um  and try to do as much grocery shopping  while your child is developing some  sensory regulation strategies especially  when they’re little it’s really really a  lot the grocery store is a lot and you  know adults forget that they actually  choose to go to the grocery store either  when it’s crowded or some people get up  early when it’s not because they don’t  like the hustle and bustle um the other  part is if you do have to go  then if you have an understanding of  what the triggers are  come with everything ready right whether  it’s that’s the time to use technology  ipad headphones they can block  everything out and just put them in the  cart and go right get your things um  sometimes with older kids you can get  them involved in the checklist or the  grocery store but it’s really a matter  of either avoid the scenario if you can  because you don’t have control over the  grocery store you just don’t there’s you  don’t have control over the grocery  store i was in the store earlier and  there was a dog barking i mean i’m just  like okay so how is this working for  some people in the store um it wasn’t a  pet store  it’s a hard way  and so  if you can but i know sometimes we have  to bring our children with us to the  store so try to keep it short and simple  but just get that backpack if you have  to go if it’s part of your routine if  you are the primary caregiver and you’re  in charge of errands and you have your  kiddos  then do as much sensory regulation 90  minutes to two hours before  you go to the grocery store just like  sleep if you sleep well you wake up  ready for the day if you regulate before  you go out into a very over stimulating  environment it’s easier for the child to  process but also have the backup stuff  that you know works for your kiddo  so  prepare  be proactive  avoid the store if you can but prepare  and be proactive like that is just and  that’s where understanding right you  know getting  um input from your child’s therapist or  with the autism 360 program from your  coach to try to figure out what that  looks like for your kiddo because it’s  different for every kiddo  every kid is different earphones work  for some kids and and in some kids it’s  not a solution yeah so yeah


yeah that’s my answer  thank you zainab please do get in touch  let us know um if that’s been helpful we  would love to hear from you um thank you  for joining me stacy i always um as you  know appreciate your wisdom  and um thank you to our lovely listeners  uh we will be back next week with a  parent story from a  parent on the autism 360 program i know  it’s very exciting i can’t wait to  share it with everybody um so thank you  so much for listening and we will see  you then bye  [Music]  you


Sensory What?! What is sensory input and why does my child need it!
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Sensory What?! What is sensory input and why does my child need it!
This week Ella and Ashleigh will talk about Stay on Task ADHD and ASD
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Autism 360
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