hello hello and welcome to the autism  360 podcast the 360 method a weekly  podcast where we chat about everything  autism 360.  every week we’ll be catching up with you  with what’s going on in the program and  with our team members and every week i’m  lucky enough to be joined by our mindset  coach extraordinaire renee tate hello  renee hi ella hello how are you out  there today and um really excited to be  here today it’s another great topic so  looking forward to discussing it today  yes  i am your coach ella bailey autism 360  veteran coach and explorer of all things  parenting support uh so welcome to you  our lovely listeners uh we care about  you your thoughts your experience  and whether you’re a member of the  program or not we would love to hear  from you so please do reach out  our email address is  hello at we would love your  feedback we’d love your ideas for future  episodes  your ideas on past episodes um yeah  please do drop us a line so before we  start on today’s topic i have a couple  of disclaimers um i’d like to  acknowledge the gadgal people of the  euronation on whose land we live and  work and from who from whose land we are  broadcasting this podcast today  um and also just a disclaimer that this  podcast does not substitute for medical  advice if you have concerns  about your child please do seek medical  and allied health advice this is meant  to be supportive and community but  doesn’t substitute for medical care  so today we are chatting about  demands after school.



um so this one is interesting because um  i get a lot of parents and i’m sure  renee gets this as well wondering you  know i just want my kiddo to tell me how  their school day was and it’s really  tricky after school time is hard there’s  lots of fighting um and always lots  going on have you heard this renee yes  i’ve have experienced it myself as well  and um i think it’s yeah it’s a really  busy time of the day as well so  everyone’s sort of landing all at the  same time home and there’s a lot of  different dynamics going on absolutely  absolutely lots of moving parts lots of  things that have got to get done and so  what i wanted to talk about today what  we want to talk about today is how you  can reduce the demands of your  after-school time i think it’s really  important to  remember that kids on this spectrum are  doing a whole lot more  work at school than just their academic  work you know a neurotypical child may  not be having to put a whole lot of  extra um  cognitive work into things like  socializing into things like um  following instructions or really  consciously having to work on doing  things like um  you know managing their emotions or  whatever and so i think  um often the reason that kids on the  spectrum aren’t able to kind of  communicate really effectively or not  willing to kind of give us a full  debrief of their day is because they’re  more exhausted than your average  they’ve um their output has been greater  during the day they’ve been dealing with  things that um we can’t even really


understand as having to deal with um and  that makes them exhausted  um and i think uh something that i’d  really like to kind of help parents  understand um is how to define a demand  what does a demand mean what does it  mean to be placing a demand on our child  and so i would say  a demand is really anything that um  a person is required to do that is other  than um  anything that returns them to  homeostasis so that sounds a little bit  technical but it just means anything  that you’re asking your child to do that  doesn’t involve kind of actively  relaxing actively soothing themselves um  calming themselves is a demand so  demands can look like all kinds of  things it can be you know really obvious  things like  homework  putting their socks and shoes away  unpacking their bag those kinds of  things are all demands  um but it can also be things like  eating um that is something that is  other than um just totally relaxing to  them or it can be something like um  telling them how your day was or um you  know communicating in a in a way that  isn’t relaxing to them  so all those things are demands and all  those things can um increase the  likelihood of  um overwhelm and then overwhelm leading  to things like meltdowns um behaviors  dysregulated  kids that sort of thing  so that’s my first kind of  point around  um this topic how do we define a demand  just to reduce those demands ella at  that time of the day is that the is that  the key to look at you know maybe not  putting too many on  at that time when they’ve just arrived  home yeah it certainly could be it  certainly could be and i think  um probably even  understanding a definition of demand is  a good place for parents to start  because then they can recognize how many  demands they are actually placing so we  might just think you know all i asked  them to do was  you know unpack their bag  or whatever when really what you’re  asking them to do is respond to you make  eye contact um  follow an instruction  process that auditory information  come into contact with items that might  be  kind of um  uncomfortable in a sensory way so  there’s actually a lot more demands than  we might think that we’re placing  um and i guess more than anything it  just gives us more of an insight into  why our afternoons may not be going to  plan  yeah very good tips and it’s um it is  true i think sometimes we we don’t  probably consciously think about those  things in that way so very good to um  look at it in that regard yeah yeah.



my second uh  point that i wanted to  to bring to this conversation um is the  idea of uh  your default network mode so this is  probably a new term and it is for most  people your default network mode is um  the the system of your brain that kicks  in when you’re not necessarily  consciously engaged with anything  so um a lot of people notice this kind  of thing when they are doing something  like long distance driving on a long  straight road or that you’re standing in  line um at uh at woolies kind of not  thinking about anything not checking  your phone lots of people thinking that  as like staring off into the distance or  whatever and then you suddenly notice oh  i’ve just been how long have i been here  exactly  and that’s interestingly um  its own cognitive process  and it’s called your dnm your default  network mode and what that brain network  is doing it kind of um it’s mostly up  around the front here  but what that is actually doing is  clearing out all your brains waste  products that it’s been doing um that  has been creating during the day when  you’re thinking hard when you’re  concentrating your attention is on  things you’re processing information  your brain is creating all these waste  products and you need to stop thinking  in order for your brain to process them  and once you do that that’s when your  dnm  kicks in your default network mode  and so i would really say that  because your kiddo is dealing with so  much more than your average kiddo they  have even greater need  to be able to kick into that default  network mode another thing that default  network mode does is allows you to  encode memories so that’s when your  brain is turning things from your  short-term memory into long-term memory  and specifically for school kids it’s  when um the information that they’ve  learned during the day is actually  being processed you know it’s not just  being held in that really short term  memory it’s going into longer term it’s  um becoming congregated with the rest of  the information that they’re storing  and so i would say  your default network mode is where your  kids need to be after school they need  to be  low  low input uh minimal output and um doing  our best to give them space and time to  kind of stare off into space let their  brain shut down a little bit um and  really start doing those kind of almost  you could think of it as like a  maintenance process really where they’re  um  able to process the things that they’ve  learned at school and so my my argument  is for reducing demands after school  if our kids don’t get the opportunity to  go into dnm after  a whole day of school  when are they gonna when are they gonna  process that information you know  they’re going straight from school say  to  i don’t know speech pathology or they’re  going straight from school to tutoring  or whatever and not to say that those  things are bad  but just to consider okay well  the times that they’re awake when are we  letting them have the opportunity to  just kind of slow their brain down a  little bit um  uh get a little bit more present be a  little bit slower um with the things  that we’re asking them to do so i would  say seek out times when you can create  that for your kiddo after school by  reducing demands you know it’s going to  be  helpful in the long term it’s going to  make school more valuable  and you’re going to be looking at far  less things like frustration and  exhaustion based behaviors and meltdowns  after school  which i think is a benefit for all of us  absolutely ella what a great tip and i  guess it changes that whole concept of  you know we need to be talking in the  car on the way to here or you know maybe  it’s just like you know what it’s okay  if we’re just staring off into space so  you know there’s not always conversation  going on i think it just changes the way  that we see those those times um which  is a really great tip yeah and you make  such an interesting point rene because  um the engine  not that they’re all bad but the  introduction of things like ipads and  smartphones and  you know media going all the time has  really reduced the amount of available  windows that children and adults have to  be  in dnm mode  right so um when you’re scrolling  through instagram when your kid is  scrolling through youtube your brain  doesn’t have that opportunity to go into  maintenance mode to go into dnm so you  know those moments in the car where you  know your kiddos just like watching the  lines go by are even more valuable i  just  i love that let them be bored nothing to  do is perfect absolutely such a such a  good tip and i think even just using  your imagination you know those things i  think sometimes yeah they they have so  much stimulation so absolutely really.



great great tips ella  um yeah it’s um funny that kind of  intersects with what i was about to  bring up which is  around screens so everybody knows i’m  sure you’re familiar that screens are  can be  a struggle after school and i think the  reason that that is um just to kind of  get a little bit neurochemistry nerd on  you is because our kiddos are so  depleted after school they need a  dopamine hit they want some endorphins  they want to feel good they want to feel  um like they’ve got a bit of a pep in  their step and screens especially um  videos and games designed for children  have um have been kind of  dopamine on steroids um designed to  hook kids in by giving them kind of low  level dopamine bursts as soon as they’re  on that game um and that’s such a that’s  such a um  uh it can be well it causes a lot of  struggles for a lot of families after  school um but i think that that’s one of  the underlying reasons um  so and i would say certainly that  screens themselves are you know they’re  morally neutral they’re neither good nor  bad there’s a lot of kind of social  commentary about them but screens are  just like anything else in that they are  a tool um and they can be either used  for good or for  you know not so good  um and i would say  um  if we harness screens as a helpful tool  to help our family um get through the  afternoon um that’s our best bet for  creating you know a successful evening  um an afternoon um where we can lower  demands uh and that kind of thing so i’d  say  figure out  how managing screens is going to work  for your family don’t let um the kind of  social commentary dictate um the  boundaries that you put in around your  children examine the way that your  children engage with screens what you  want out of that situation  and figure out okay well what’s a way  that i can make screens work for our  family in the afternoons engage in the  process  don’t let it just kind of  wash over you um and you can use screens  really effectively to reduce demands um  uh in in the evening is something that i  would say what are your thoughts renee  i’m curious absolutely i yeah look i  think being proactive about it is really  important to have a plan rather than you  know if we’re not sort of  on the front foot with these things i  think that’s when things can get really  chaotic so just going into it  proactively like you said you know being  aware of those things to start with but  also having a plan of well what is our  afternoon routine  that routine and structure is important  and looking at how do we make these  things work for us if there is a little  bit of screen time or whatever those  things are  having a set plan around that because  children you know they thrive on that  structure and that routine um so that  will definitely help reduce a lot of  uncertainty and a lot of chaos i think  also just setting yourself up for  success you know things like when you  pick them up in the car or if when they  get home maybe just have some nice  calming music on in the background you  know set the scene for everyone to just  sort of calm down and the more that you  can stay calm yourself and be  proactive around that knowing that you  know they may hit home and have a bit of  a meltdown you know that that is there  is a likelihood that that can happen and  rather than thinking why does my child  you know they can behave all day at  school but they get home and then they  they lose it um and i do hear parents  saying that but i think the good news is  is that yes they are able to keep it  together at school which may have taken  a lot of effort for them and so the fact  that they feel comfortable enough to get  home and sort of let it all out um isn’t  necessarily a bad thing you know they  feel safe at home home is their  emotional adventure playground where  they can be themselves and that doesn’t  mean that you know we allow that you  know any like behavior whatever but it  definitely means that just maybe just be  prepared for that that they may need to  do a little bit of um  unloading of emotions when they get home  and just you know if you’re mentally  prepared for that first of all creating  a nice environment is helpful but also  if you can be prepared for that it’s  going to allow you to stay calm and the  more you can stay calm the more you’re  going to help your child because if we  when we get anxious they pick up on our  anxiety and it’s almost like we fuel  each other so i think just yeah being  conscious that okay afternoon let’s have  a plan i’m going to you know set the  home up or the environment up try and  just calm everyone down  you know have a bit of a a good  structure and a routine in place so that  everyone knows what to expect rather  than we’re all you know juggling all  these different things um but be be  prepared that they may just be you know  need to let out a little bit of emotion  and a little bit of steam and just go  you know that that’s okay i’m not going  to react  i’m prepared that that could happen and  we’ve got a game plan in place um  so yeah i think those things really help  us to not be shocked and surprised um  but look at it as you know it’s nice  that they feel safe and comfortable  enough to be able to get home and and  let it out a little bit um if that’s  what’s happening because they’ve worked  really hard to keep it together all day  which is actually a really good thing um  and i wouldn’t see that as a  negative thing so  yeah yeah spoken like a true um  experienced mum there she knows what it  takes i love it  yes well i think you know we um we get  better at these things over time but i  think sometimes just taking that  expectation off our children and  ourselves  can really definitely help  us to manage those things a lot better  yeah certainly and interesting you  mentioned  expectation because i always feel like  parents are so um  uh that meltdowns are always so uh you  know unexpected um or whatever and at  that when when your expectations don’t  match up with um the reality of the  situation that’s when emotions get high  that’s when frustration happens  um however if we know okay well  every day my kiddo has a meltdown  usually  around this time  having our expectation that we’re gonna  need to support our kiddo at that time  to help them cope with these big  emotions brings down our own frustration  right and that’s um so much a part of  being able to be there for our kiddos  for the long haul you know.



and i think  um  if we can match our expectations with um  what our afternoons actually look like  it’s going to help us all to cope um  emotionally a little bit better  um so that’s uh all from us today renee  any action points for our lovely  listeners this week well look i would  just um just yes ask you you know what  would be the biggest takeaway from today  um for you and also what could you  action from those tips today maybe it’s  just something simple like um you know  i’m going to allow us to have that nice  down time in the car or when we get home  we just have some nice quiet music and  everyone just decompresses a little bit  uh sometimes just you know implementing  one or two things can really make it a  difference to set you you and your  family up for success so i would just  really encourage you to have a think  about what can you action from that  today and we look forward to hearing  your feedback as well and any questions  you may have around that also  absolutely i can’t wait to hear um how  our families go with um trying out these  tips maybe um drop us a line we’d love  to hear about it um and we will  come back to you next week with another  uh autism parenting topic  until next time thanks for watching.

The 360 Method: After School Struggles
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The 360 Method: After School Struggles
This podcast hosted by our team member Ella Bailey and our mindset coach Renae Tate, is about After School Struggles
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Autism 360
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