hello hello and welcome to the autism  360 podcast the 360 method a 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 different team  members and talking about all things  mindset as well as exploring relevant um  ideas that autism parents think about  i’m your host ella bailey and every week  i’m luckily enough to be joined by our  mindset coach extraordinaire renee tate  hello renee hello hi  um and we are here to welcome you our  lovely listeners welcome welcome thank  you for being here um before we get  started i want to um encourage you to  reach out to us we really um want to  hear from you want to have your um  questions to answer here on the podcast  and hear your feedback so please do drop  us a line at hello  we would really love to hear from you  some of our awesome listeners have  already reached out asked us some  questions um you know give us some  thought-provoking comments to be able to  address on the podcast and that um makes  things super um relevant to everything  that’s going on with our community so  please do get in touch  um i’d like to acknowledge the gadgle  people of the eora nation on whose land  uh we live and work and from where this  podcast is being broadcast today and  give uh respect to their elders past  present and emerging um in addition this  podcast is not intended to be a  substitute for medical advice if you’re  worried about yourself or about your  child please do reach out to a mental or  allied health professional



Topic of the day: Not Coping- Understanding your Child’s capacity

so today what are we chatting about  renee  so today we’re talking about capacity  and how to manage our capacity or how to  help our children not just ourselves but  our beautiful children and how to help  them through that so uh ella i feel like  this is one that you would have a lot of  experience in and um probably something  that you do get asked about a lot yeah  it absolutely is and i think um there  can be a real disconnect between um what  is a parent’s  neurotypical understanding of capacity  and what a child should be able to cope  with and what our kiddos on the spectrum  or neurodiverse  children can understand i’ll just  briefly define those terms that i’m  going to be using um to uh to explain  what we’re talking about today

Defining a Neurotupical experience

so a  neurotypical experiences is what um we  might term a normal experience or what  you know would used to have been called  a normal experience it’s an experience  that’s kind of a typical  way that somebody would engage with the  world you know a mainstream uh  experience of the world and any  neurodiverse experience um is any is any  experience really that differs from that  norm in some way so it could be somebody  who’s experiencing um  well autism it’s some it could be  somebody who has adhd it could be  somebody who has a sensory processing  disorder it’s just a catch-all term to  refer to somebody whose experience of  the world is in some way  atypical so um that’s how i’m going to  be using it so i guess there’s a  fundamental disconnect between a  neurotypical’s parent neurotypical  parents expectation of what a child can  cope with and what might be the actual  day-to-day capacity  of our children’s  uh  of our neurodiverse children’s um  expectations so i think that that’s a  lot of what’s underpinning some of the  disconnect between um  parents and children and not  understanding why our children can’t  cope with for example and this is  something i hear a lot you might hear  this too renee but at my at their age i  could do that  or at their age i i was  whatever it might be you know at their  age i could x y and z and not  understanding why their child can’t have  the same experience that they might have  had  so there’s a really popular um and kind  of well versed well past um  past um uh

Spoon Theory

kind of metaphor or theory that we can  use um to explain what we mean when we  say capacity and that is called spoon  theory so you might have heard this um  used in kind of um disability literature  or disability research and the idea is  that every day  we wake up assuming  you know the quality of our rest has  been good we wake up with a full jar of  spoons  you know and some maybe some people um  naturally wake up with less spoons in  their jar some people wake up with more  um and that those spoons um are standing  for  that person’s energy reserves for the  day and so energy looks like not just  physical energy but emotional and  cognitive energy as well and each spoon  represents  you know the certain amount of energy  that a task takes so for example  in the morning i might be a really  non-morning person so i wake up with a  full jar of spoons but it takes me four  spoons  of expended energy just to kind of get  out the door but renee as i suspect may  be the case is a delightful  full of energy presents in the morning  and it only takes her one spoon to  bounce out of bed and embrace the day am  i writing thinking  yes i i think i’m guilty of that one i  knew it yes i i  but i always sort of think well you know

Renea thought in spoon theory 

just say i am a morning person i think  that doesn’t help  and you know maybe that would then  reduce my spoon usage in the morning  there you go content mindset exactly  so that’s what it might look like to  expend spoons um and so we can extend  this metaphor to understanding okay well  what  um is our child’s doing during the day  that’s taking up their spoons that is  expending all these little chunks of  energy and that means that at a certain  time of the day at a certain point in  the day or whatever somebody’s placing a  demand on them in some way that they’re  then not able to cope with and that’s  when we see things like dysregulated  behavior  um you know meltdowns and that sort of  thing  so  it really helps um in this kind of  situation  um to to kind of take a three-step  approach but i want to check in renee  does spoon theory  makes sense does it you feel like it  applies what are your thoughts  absolutely i think it’s a really good  way of looking at it and understanding  that because when you start thinking  about that you think yeah you know it’s  like um it it makes sense that some  people have run out a certain time of  the day all of a sudden they can’t cope  and we’re not sure why or why were they  able to cope with that yesterday but not  today and it’s just i think a really  good metaphor for understanding  um you know what happens to us and we  all can relate to that on some level we  all hit that point where we’ve run out  of spoons at some point and we need to  replenish so yeah it’s a really good  explanation ella okay great i’m glad  that it kind of makes sense across the  board um and i think there’s um  a helpful sort of three-step way that i  would suggest  a parent kind of engages with the idea  of their child’s capacity and you know  you can use the spoon theory to help you  understand that and grapple with it the

STEPS  USING SPOON THEORY :  What does your child find easy in a day

first one is  what does your child find easy or hard  in their day you know as parents and  especially as parents  of kiddos who require extra support in  some way i think  a lot of us have a good understanding of  the our child’s strengths our child’s  areas that need growth  and okay  what in their day is the hard parts the  easy parts the bits they need support or  as described by spoon theory the parts  that need you know require extra spoons  to get through the parts that are  replenishing their spoons etc  so i would really say take a step back  look at your child’s day  work out okay well where are my spoony  patches where they need extra support  where are the parts where it’s not  taking up so many spoons and work out  okay well  um  of these activities which are the most  kind of spoon  um  uh  energy expensive ones and which ones are  less so it’s just a really good idea to  get the lay of the land in terms of okay  well  my kiddo this is just an example my  kiddo really struggles with  the fine motor  required to do something like  handwriting and i know that on tuesday  mornings they do an hour and a half of  handwriting and so that means that on a  tuesday more of the spoons are going to  be depleted by the time our kiddo gets  to lunchtime than they would typically  be right so we’re thinking okay well our  spoon jar is far less full at this point  in a day then it might be on you know  another day where that particularly  energy expensive  activity is not going on so take a step  back  get a sense of the lay of the land the  lay of how that your job your child’s  capacity is being consumed throughout  the day and kind of get a baseline of  where we’re working from and it’s  interesting once parents start to um  critically engage with this sort of  thing how they start to reflect upon  their own energy consumption  in this way do you notice that parents  learn from what they’re doing in the  program with their kids to apply it to  themselves yeah absolutely and i mean  for me i remember having those moments  where i’d get home and go i just need a  cup of tea  sit down that was like my you know  adding some spoons yeah so i can you  know i think all parents we we all can  relate to these things and i think it  does definitely help make you know make  it a bit clearer for what’s going on for  our children i love it some some um some  spoon replenishing cups of tea  absolutely we love it  and so  um once we’ve got a sense of the lay of  the land we can then figure out okay  well what is our ratio of demands to  deposits during the day so i’m bringing  in a kind of um  that metaphor of taking away spoons but  then also depositing back in spoons so  for example we know that say for me  getting out of bed in the morning that  um  demands my spoons it takes them away but  then  say during my commute i listen to my  favorite podcast i get to sit look out  the window of the train look at the  trees listen to my favorite podcast  spoon deposits spoons back in the jar  okay great so now we understand how that  part of the morning has impacted my  capacity to cope with the demands of the  rest of the day so where is your child  at what are your child’s um ratio of  demands to deposits and i’ll give you a  big clue on this one if your child isn’t  coping with their day  their demands are outstripping their  deposits that’s a really easy  you know you’re getting a call from  school at lunchtime saying  they’ve got into a fight in the  playground because they can’t cope or  they’re getting home from school and  they’re this  whirlwind of sort of hyperactive  stressed energy and you just think  what’s going on here  it’s because they haven’t had enough  energy  giving  capacity building experiences or  activities during their day compared to  what’s being demanded of them during the  day  and i think it’s hard for parents  sometimes to grapple with the fact um or  to grapple with understanding that ratio  because there’s this belief  that children should  should um just know they should just be  able to cope with x because i was able  to cope with x because that’s what  children cope with and i would certainly  say that yes of course there are  sociocultural expectations about about  what  people are able to do it different  developmental stages  but  at the end of the day  it doesn’t matter what you expect of  your child if your child can’t cope your  child can’t cope  and you expecting them to do something  different doesn’t magically build up  their capacity what builds up their  capacity and increases their ability to  cope  is doing these activities that replenish  their spoons that give them energy that  help them to feel like they have more to  give and i think we’re all familiar with  that renee’s obviously a cup of tea kind  of girl  i’m a walk around the block with my dog  and a podcast kind of girl  and i think  as parents we get pretty good at knowing  those things about our children about  what’s going to help them to cope with  getting through  i don’t know maths tutoring they can get  through maths tutoring if they have a  little bit of zone out time with  i don’t know an apple in their ipad  beforehand but they can’t get through  maths tutoring if we try and get them to  do their homework beforehand  and that’s you know just an example  what do you feel is uh is applicable in  that renee i i think it also helps  understand why why does my child behave  all day at school and then gets home and  has this massive meltdown i think those  things really help you go wow you know  they’ve literally run out of spoons at  that point and they have worked so hard  um and and then you know i’ve got to  that point in the afternoon where i just  don’t have anything left so absolutely i  think it’s looking at like you know what  can i do to replenish that re like just  like we would with a phone being  recharged i need to plug myself back  into those things that help me feel good  again um so that i can be at my best and  you know not only our children need to  be aware of those things or we need to  understand that for our children but  also for ourselves because i think  there’s something in that for everyone  to just be aware of those things and i  think if you as you said if you identify  what those things are that help  replenish your child um and be aware of  that awareness is a big part of the  solution for anything but just being  aware of what those things are it’s  really going to make life a lot easier  um to go you know let them go and have  that time to replenish and recharge and  then they’re going to be so much more  cooperative  for the rest of the day or with whatever  else is going on so i think it’s a  really good um a really important one  and the other thing i think is to be  aware of is comparing not only to  ourselves or what they should be able to  do you know sure it’s a bit of a  dangerous word because whenever we  should ourselves we’re sort of making  something wrong um so yes you know our  child could deal with those things  better but i think the other part is  comparing to other children and thinking  well why do these children they can cope  with this and my child can’t and you  know that comparison is something that i  really  it’s just so dangerous i think sometimes  it’s okay to sort of gauge where should  my well where will my child you know do  i need to get them checked or is there  something that they’re not you know  dealing with but um i think just be  careful about the comparisons because it  steals our joy there’s a really good  quote comparison is the thief of joy and  i think it’s important to just  understand our children  help fill them up but don’t compare them  too much to where other people are at  because you know it’s like you don’t  really know what that other child’s  going through or what they’re like in  other ways or what life has in store for  them so just um yeah i think that’s just  something to to be aware of as well  around that but i love that um theory  ella i think it’s a really you know  helpful topic and i think the other  thing to be feeding our children is what  they’re doing well at like that positive  reinforcement and encouragement those  sort of things to me i think really help  like replenish their spoon stocks like  rather than oh you’re not doing that  you’re not doing that what about you  know you’re doing so well like this and  um you’ve done a great job today  managing that or just really  build them up i think life can be hard  enough for us um the world will knock us  down in so many ways every day so i  think as parents just so much positive  reinforcement and encouragement um i  don’t think that you can go overboard  with that i think those things really

Community Question

help replenish that that supply as well  yeah absolutely i love a good um gold  star to give me a couple of spoons at  the end of the day i think everybody  does i think so and once we get that  sometimes that’s all we need to really  keep power on yeah that’s right  absolutely  um so i we’ve got an awesome question  here from um sejuan in emerald so sejun  says my child is so much more relaxed  and happy during school holidays it  seems like he just wants to stay home  all the time and we would never leave  the house it was up to him what should i  do  i hear this quite a bit you know and i  think um that well i guess there’s a  number of ways that i would start renee  did you want to  um add anything before i go on my rant  go on my ted talk  well look i think that i can relate to  this i my um my children are a little  bit the same i have to i have to say and  um sometimes i think oh  there’s that comparison i wasn’t allowed  to just lay around when i was a child i  had to be out doing things all the time  um but it is a bit of a different world  these days and i think that um you know  i i think it’s maybe it is their time to  have a bit of downtime to recharge their  batteries replenish their spoons  and maybe if we can look at it that way  it does um help us to understand that so  it yeah it certainly makes sense doesn’t  it to use the holidays to replenish and  so we can get through the next term and  all the pressures that come with that  for children um what about you ella yeah  so  the way that i like to think of of  holidays especially when we think about  school and learning is really our  children’s full-time job  is  during the school term weekends refill  our jar really nicely  during school holidays we’re building a  bigger jar  we’re building a bigger jar by fully  resting by fully allowing our child to  let go of everything that they’ve been  carrying around in their little bodies  um all the tension everything that um  they’ve been pushing themselves to  engage with all term and just having a  big old flop you know um and so i like  to think of  school holidays in those terms  i totally understand sojourn that  it can be frustrating you want to or you  need to be out and about life continues  in school holidays as much as kids might  be shocked by that  um and i think it can be frustrating you  know we’ve got things we need to get  done our kiddo’s really resistant we’re  just going to the supermarket it’s not a  big deal totally understand life’s got  to get done  um and my thought is that um in this  sort of circumstance um  really examine  the why really examine okay well  what is is pushing my kid to want it um  be  uh this kind of cocooned what is what is  pushing my kid to want to stay home and  feel this need to really kind of  hibernate  during the school holidays  is there something going on that’s kind  of chronically depleting  um your child’s spoons in a way that  means that by the school holidays he’s  so  done he’s so spent that he doesn’t even  want to leave the house i think um  there’s a really interesting  uh and kind of something that’s really  fundamental to my practice  book written uh called the explosive  child by dr john green and his um kind  of big catch phrase is  if they can they will and if a car if a  child isn’t doing something it’s because  they can’t you know it’s because that  there’s something in them there’s  something that’s holding them back from  being able to engage in a way that we  you know we would want to that makes  them um kind of live their life to their  fullest so i really want you to engage  with that chat with your kiddo about why  this is happening about how they’re  feeling about um  what’s going on at school are they  feeling like  um you know they want to hide away from  the world engage with that don’t try and  um push it away until you can really  understand what’s going on for him and i  would certainly say especially in these  post-covert days  we’ve really gotten good at making home  fun  you know we’ve got everything can be  delivered everything can be brought to  us  um and we’ve we’ve made our homes these  really reinforcing really um  really kind of uh everything at your  fingertips kind of places and i think  more so than lots of other population  groups our kids have really  bought into that you know they sort of  have all their needs met at home um  why would we want to go out when there’s  you know ex-wines out at home  so think about um the kind of  reinforcement value of leaving the house  versus staying in the house see if you  can set yourself up  for success a little bit better in terms  of placing demands um and engage with  him about  the why behind that behavior see if you  can see what’s driving that would be my  thoughts yeah and i think look i mean i  had this situation with my 17 year old  last week and she is very similar she  she works and she’s doing year 11 and  she has tutoring and so that it’s very  intense the term and then you know as  soon as she can um lie and relax she  that’s what she seems to only want to do  i did say to her i said come on let’s go  for a walk and did still encourage her  to get out and do some things and i  think that’s the key is like encouraging  them without it becoming a battle but  don’t give up on saying come on let’s go  and have a nice walk and i think the  more that we do those things the more  our you know our children start to  realize that oh it is nice actually to  get out and do something or do things  here and there so i wouldn’t say i think  it’s important to still encourage them  to get out and keep active but i think  yeah understanding that this it’s like  when we’ve all had a holiday and a bit  of down time we are fresh we are  recharged and we’re so much more  productive so rather than seeing it as a  negative maybe it’s just changing the  way that you see that um and hopefully  that helps absolutely and what i’m  seeing there is you  um showing your daughter a new way of  recharging her spoons right like she’s  got this one way and you’re showing her  look we can do this and this is going to  build you up as well so i love that  so i think that’s going to be it for  this week did you have any takeaway  action points for our parents today  lovely renee as always just want you to  have a think about what is the biggest  thing you’re taking from today’s podcast  and what is the the number one thing  that you are going to action from that  so uh it’s always important you know  knowledge is wonderful but without  implementing it it’s not obviously going  to make the big difference for you and  your family so what can you implement  from that today even if it’s just one  thing that you go okay  i’m going to write down a list of what  recharges my child or what replenishes  them  so we are proactive around that whatever  that is i just want you to have a think  about that get it happening and  as i always say you know momentum builds  momentum start making those small  changes and sometimes it’s just those  little those little one percent  increases that make the big difference  by the end of the year you look back and  go wow you know we’ve come a long way so  just um make sure you’re actioning


something from today absolutely so thank  you again for joining us we will chat  with you again next week about another  topic relevant to autism parenting and  until then think360.  [Music]  you

The 360 Method: Not Coping- Understanding your Child's Capacity
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The 360 Method: Not Coping- Understanding your Child's Capacity
This week Ella and Renea will talk about Understanding your Child's Capacity
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Autism 360
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