#010: Rosemarie Griffin, SLP & BCBA: Increasing Speech

In previous episodes, I have emphasized the importance of helping your child develop verbal language skills. It is the easiest form of communication between a child and parent or professional and is known to decrease problem behaviors and increase desirable results. Speech-language pathologists (“SLP”) specialize in this field, but very few specialize in both SLP and BCBA. Rosemarie Griffin is one of those few.

Rosemarie worked in the public school system and quickly realized that she was meant to work with children with autism; soon, she found her calling as a speech therapist. Rosemarie has been an SLP for fifteen years now.

Rosemarie wanted to be able to better treat her clients that had more complex communication needs. So she spent some time at the University of North Texas and eventually became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She has had both certifications for seven years now.

Along with being a certified SLP and BCBP, Rosemarie is also an entrepreneur and online creator! She created the games Action Builder Cards and Double Up. She uses both games during her speech therapy sessions; I also use them at home with my son Lucas. You can buy these resources at:  www.marybarbera.com/abaspeech.

Rosemarie and I agree that our ultimate goal is to help parents, professionals, and children lead their safest, happiest lives through intensive ABA. After this episode, we hope that you’re one step closer to achieving that goal yourself.

Mentioned in this episode:

marybarbera.com/workshops
marybarbera.com/abaspeech*

*I’m an affiliate for Rose’s products (because I love them) and may earn a commission at no additional cost to you

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Transcript

Mary:            You’re listening to the Turn Autism Around podcast, episode number 10. I’m so happy that we made it to episode number 10 and even though we’re just several weeks into the podcast, we already have many five-star rating and reviews on iTunes, so I’m going to give a shout out to one of those reviews. Paula, who left a five-star review said, “It’s an awesome podcast. This is such easy listening and really made me feel like I wasn’t alone and there is a ton of hope to turn things around for the better. Thank you for this great podcast.”

Well thank you to Paula for leaving us a review, and if you haven’t subscribed to iTunes yet that would be great if you could do that and then also leave me a great rating and review to help me get the word out.

Today’s episode is an interview with a speech and language pathologist and a board-certified behavior analyst combined, and her name is Rosemarie Griffin. She works and lives in Ohio and I met Rose online a few years ago, and in person just last year at the ABA Conference. I have worked with Rose to collaborate to get the word out a little bit more to increase language to kids that are either not speaking at all or definitely not conversational. And that is really the focus of this podcast and my book and my online courses. So, I wanted to interview Rose because she brings that double background that is so helpful to both parents and professionals. So, help me join in welcoming Rosemarie Griffin.

Welcome to the Turn Autism Around podcast for both parents and professionals in the autism world who want to turn things around, be less stressed and lead happier lives. And now your host, autism mom, behavior analyst, and bestselling author, Dr. Mary Barbera.

Mary:            I am so excited to have you here. Rose, welcome to the podcast.

Rosemarie:      Thanks Mary. I’m very excited to be here.

Mary:            Awesome. Awesome. So first before we get into more of the questions, I like to start out with you telling us how you fell into the autism world. I know you’re both a speech and language pathologist as well as a BCBA, but you probably got started somehow in one of those fields. So, can you tell us a little bit about your journey initially?

Rosemarie:       Yeah, of course. So, I became a speech language pathologist, I didn’t even know what that was, I did not have to have speech therapy when I was younger. My mom actually gave me a career test and said you should be a speech therapist. So, I had a family friend that was a speech therapist. I shadowed her one day at work and I thought this is amazing. It was, we did home health, we went to a school and nursing home, all the different things you can do as a speech language pathologist. And I thought this is absolutely perfect for me.

I started my course work and then my first student teaching experience was with in a public school and there were a lot of students with pretty severe autism and I just loved working with students with autism. They were just my favorite. It was a challenge, but I just love seeing the progress. And I was just hooked on working with students and really focusing on working with students with autism because I could see such growth and their communication skills and I just really loved that challenge, you know, turning that problem behavior into functional communication. And that’s really kind of what set me on my journey as a speech language pathologist.

Rosemarie:       So, this is, I’m kind of embarking on my, I’m in my 15th year being an SLP, so I’m feeling seasoned at this point. Okay.

Mary:            So, you worked in both in schools and clinics? Or where…

Rosemarie:        Yes. So, I started out in schools. Yes, I work three days a week in a public school and middle school, high school, which I absolutely love. I actually really love working with older students. And then one day a week I work in a private ABA type program and I really love that because you know, we get a lot of students there who come and I meet them and they don’t have any way to communicate and they could be eight, nine, ten, older. And really kind of seeing the growth and progress and, and helping someone to develop a way to communicate with the world is something that I really am passionate about.

Rosemarie:       So, I think that was another one of your questions. You know, how did I become a board-certified behavior analyst as well? About four years into my career, I was working down in Austin, Texas as an autism facilitator and support specialist. It was the coolest gig ever. I would go to the monthly speech meetings and I would talk to speech language pathologists about working with students with autism and then I would go out to the schools and I’d help them and things of that nature. And so around that time I really wanted to learn all I could about helping my students with more complex communication needs. And so, I started taking classes through UNT and I had an amazing supervisor, Kelle Wood Rich who runs CTAC down in Austin. And I had such a great experience and that is where, I became, took all my coursework and supervision and then became a board-certified behavior analyst.

Rosemarie:       And so, I’ve had both of those certifications for about seven years now. And I really love being able to help in such a specific way is what it really helps me do.

Mary:            That’s a really great and unique combo, being an SLP and a BCBA. And I know that you all have, you know, a group SLP/BCBAs.

Rosemarie:       Yes.

Mary:            How many of them… of that group are there?

Rosemarie:       That’s such a great question. So, I went to the ABAI conference, which is a big BCBA conference and…

Mary:            That’s where we met in person.

Rosemarie:       Yes, we officially met, which was super fun because I felt like I’ve known you forever. Um, but it was great and you know, I got to meet so many SLP BCBAs, they’re from all different countries and currently there are less than 400 of us worldwide. So, it’s a small group, small but mighty.

Mary:            Yeah. Which is great that you’re all connected through the Internet, thankfully. And uh, yeah, so that’s awesome. So, I, I’m assuming I’ve heard of Kelle, your, your mentor. So, she, she’s pretty big in the verbal behavior world. Um, is that like… what is your background in terms of verbal behavior, the verbal behavior approach?

Rosemarie:       Yeah, I mean, that’s a great question. So, I actually started my first real placement working and learning about applied behavior analysis was up here at the Cleveland Clinic, which is now called the Learner School. So, it’s a specialized program for students with more complex communication needs, behavioral needs. And so that’s when I first discovered the science of ABA, and really fell in love with and saw the power of the science to really help people who, you know, we would meet, you know, students who were in their teens. Eighteen, I remember there was a student who had absolutely no way to communicate besides this really intense behavior that he had.

Rosemarie:       And just seeing, able, seeing how we could use ABA to kind of help students increase their communication and decrease problem behavior is kind of where I got hooked on ABA in general. But where I learned about verbal behavior is, um, after I got married, my husband got a job transfer down to Austin. And so, I knew that the school district I was working in, uh, used verbal behavior. And so, I actually, Mary, got your book from, um, I’ll never forget that, UT’s library cause I’m like, I’m the big nerd. I don’t think Amazon was this big back then or I would have got it on Amazon, but I read your book and I thought, wow, this really makes a lot of sense. And so…

Mary:            Especially as a speech pathologist for so many years, really bringing things together.

Rosemarie:       Absolutely. It just brought it all together as being a speech therapist, learning about the power of applied behavior analysis to help with communication and then reading your book, which is so great because it brings something that can be so complicated into really understandable terms.

Rosemarie:       I mean I, I think I read your book in about a week and then I was ready to go into this new job because I knew that they were using verbal behavior, and that’s really where I learned about it. And then my supervision for my BCBA was with Kelle and she, I’m pretty sure that her supervisor was Dr. Carbone. So really just fell in love with that and just seeing it helped my students in such a way. And me being able to share that with other speech therapist has been really powerful too. And so that’s my kind of, has been my road to really starting to love the science.

Mary:            So we met online a couple of years ago when you reached out to me and told me that you had this awesome background, you read my book and heard Doctor Carbone speak and were supervised under a verbal behavior expert and, and you wanted to, you know, collaborate with me and, and I told you that I have these online courses that that would really be the best way to collaborate. And um, I like now thinking back like I did, I didn’t know you, you know, you are, you are, you are already a seasoned expert. I do think that, and I, I’m pretty sure you’d agree that like my book and my online courses, I mean are definitely the same philosophy, but you really aren’t going to know my way of doing things without my courses. Right?

Rosemarie:       Right. Yeah. And you know, what I think is so amazing about your courses, um, and just being a part of your online community, is that you really set up a way to get started. So, you know, I love the fact that you’re able to reach parents, especially in areas where there is absolutely no access to certified people. So, you’re giving people hope and you’re saying this is a systematic way for you to get started. I think that has to be the hardest thing is, you know, having three children of my own, none affected by autism, but just knowing that you want to do what’s best for your child and having no access to people to help has to be absolutely devastating. So, I think just being a part of your online community and seeing your courses give people a step by step approach with your homework and all those things, it really helps you apply those things either to your caseload if you’re a professional or to your own child, if you’re the one that is in the front line that’s going to start them on this journey of communication.

Mary:            Yeah. And you’ve been a great asset to our community and you remain on there as, as kind of a Facebook adviser if you will. And, and it’s great because if somebody has a real specific speech question, you know, it’s great because it’s not, and you’re not the only SLP in there. Um, there are, there are a handful or two handfuls and so it’s great because it’s, it’s not just parents, it’s professionals, it’s behavior analysts. And that combo is, is so powerful. I think, you know, a lot of people say, well, you know, you can’t make it too technical for parents, for, you know, for the parents. And then it’s going to be too easy for the professionals. But it’s never too easy because you could see Dr. Carbone present right now or me present or I could see you present on verbal behavior and we can all learn like, how to say it or how to apply it different, or I never thought of that specific way of doing things. So, I think the more we can collaborate and learn from each other the better.

Rosemarie:       Oh yes, definitely. It’s a really nice way to do that. Yeah.

Mary:            So, so from your SLP/CVA perspective, we have a lot of kids, I get a lot of emails and I do a lot of video blogs and podcasts, talking about kids who are essentially what people call nonverbal, which you know, there’s even debate about what to say. That’s not really nonverbal. It’s not vocal, but the speech and the ABA… but you know, kids that are aren’t speaking or, right. You know, a lot of times in my, in my background and my experience is that people say, my child doesn’t talk or my child doesn’t speak or they’re completely nonverbal or they’re nonverbal.

And then when I say really they, they make no word approximation… They make no sounds like, you know, oh well no, he does say hi and mama and you know, so it’s like, right, well that’s not completely no speech. Like, you know, I’ve done evaluations on even older kids where they are labeled nonverbal and they are they… but they do have a little bit of speech. And so, like it’s kind of frustrates me because if you have a little speech, we could get a whole lot more with these techniques. Right. So, in your perspective, is that a similar experience to what you’re experiencing and what advice would you have for kids that have no or very little speech on how to improve?

Rosemarie:       Yeah, I mean it really just depends on, I mean I think when you’re working, I think what’s so important is to make sure that the providers that you’re working with, if you’re a parent are all talking to each other. And I think that’s so key because a lot of the times for students who have more complex needs, we have to have a really narrow focus and we didn’t need to make sure that our focus is functional. So, if you have students who are emergent communicators or they’re pre-verbal and we want to increase that spontaneous communication, we absolutely have to build a rapport with that child because oftentimes what goes hand in hand with not having a lot of speech is problem behavior. Because obviously these kids are absolutely frustrated. I’ve met so many students who are, are older who are ten, have no way to communicate, but they have a lot of problem behavior to communicate because they want to make sure that they have control over their environment, which if you really think about it, you don’t, how can you blame them?

Rosemarie:       So, making sure that your providers are using evidence-based practice and making sure that they’re all talking to each other, making sure that your student has a way to request specific things that they really want and need. And I really think that requesting component is really what is a gateway to more complex communication to a student. Being able to eventually label and eventually greet people and things of that nature. But that’s really where we have to start because if you are ever at my house, Mary, I have three kids under the age of nine and I just got everybody ready for school this morning. There is a lot of requesting this going on. If I tallied all the requests on a clicker, it would be very high. And so that’s really where we have to start for our students is saying what do you, what are you really into, and teaching those things as specific requests.

Mary:            Do you see a lot of providers, speech pathologist or even non-speech pathologists who are taking kids with a handful, two handfuls, a hundred words and prematurely, maybe, going to devices to try to get communication?

Rosemarie:       I really think it probably depends on your region. I really do. I think it depends on your region and you know, trying to pick a response form a way for a child to communicate is such a team-based issue. And it really has to do a lot. I mean, if you’re doing it correctly, you have to really think about the whole team, you know, what are the parents feel about this? Are there… are there cultural concerns, you know, is there going to be carry through with everybody on the team? You know, is that going to be the student’s best way to communicate?

Rosemarie:       And you know, I have a student that I’ve worked with and have presented on lived in a different country for most of his life. I met him when he was in sixth grade. He had absolutely no way to communicate. I did not have a whole lot of problem behavior, which was amazing. I thought, okay, when I met this kid, I really did think he did not make any sounds okay. We’re not talking like really was not saying anything. Not vocally, you know, stimming or anything like that. And so, I thought, okay, this student would probably be a good candidate for a device. That’s really what I thought. And what happened is the student did not have a really good point. So, I had to work with the OT and collaborate with her to even shape a point because he couldn’t activate even a cell on the device.

Rosemarie:       And so, me being the good SLP BCBA is taking a lot of data and we were working on requests and all those early learner programs and it was just not going anywhere. You know, the data was telling me like this is not the right choice for the student. And so, we started sign language for specific requests. And then we were also trying to work on echoic training. So, you know, verbal imitation and things of that nature. And I’m telling you what, when we switched our focus to that, it was just like everything exploded for the student. And what’s been amazing about the growth for the student is a student’s very stimulable for lots of different speech sounds. So even an older student, the student is in sixth grade. I just made a morning meeting for the student. He’s saying the word like teacher and you know, obviously he’s still requesting and seeing all those things like that.

Rosemarie:       But now we’re at the point where we’re working on functional words like teacher and different months and days of the week and you know, things that are important for his environment. And so, I really think what you have to do is take the data, analyze the data, and then get everybody on the team, all stakeholders opinion. Um, and obviously the students, what’s the student’s preference? Right. That’s, that’s what’s most important. So, it… what’s so hard about that Mary, is that it’s just not, there’s not one answer for that. It’s just so individualized. You just kinda have to go through all those steps to make a right choice.

Mary:            Right. And I think for parents to know that if your child is saying a handful of words or a dozen words or a hundred words, they are verbal and they are vocal and there are many procedures that can help increase that. And I’m not saying that they shouldn’t also, if a device is working, if they’ve been on a device or their, you know, they might need that too. But you know, I feel like people just go like one way and they forget about the vocal abilities and even trying, you know, vocal… to increase that because that is the easiest response form. I mean, you know…

Rosemarie:       Absolutely. It is. And you know, that reminds me of a parent who really advocated for her son who, I have shown this student in a lot of my different webinars. This mom is really great and knows that I’m into disseminating and talking about ABA and helping. I met her son. He had no way to communicate except problem behavior when he was about eight and now he’s using a Proloquo on an iPad. But he has a lot of problems with behavior still. So, the mom wanted him to be able to say a couple things and move was one of them because he doesn’t let people in his personal space. And so, you know, I was kind of thinking to myself like I just don’t know if we’re really going to get a lot of progress on this, but we did. We put it on the IEP, we worked on it together as a team.

Rosemarie:       And you know, that’s the thing too, is that communication doesn’t just happen when the speech language pathologist is in the room. And I think that is, what is such an absolutely vital for students and that is what is so key. I, I feel like my biggest job is to build rapport with everybody on the team and to get everybody on my side to know that we need to work on communication, what specifically needs to be worked on and that is what moves the needle for our students. That is what helps them make progress. Because if speech is only occurring when I’m in the room, something is wrong with that. What makes my day is when a paraprofessional or somebody that I have trained to work on communication comes up and tells me, somebody said no today, they protested. You know, like those kinds of stories. That is what makes my day. That’s what makes me know that I’m doing what’s best for kids with autism.

Mary:            Yeah, well you sound like you’re a great team member and with varying backgrounds. I’m sure it’s really helpful to try to, you know, in some ways be the mediator within some teams that are disputing or you know, disagreeing with what is the best approach. And like you said, it comes down to a lot of what it comes down to is parent preferences and the cultural backgrounds. But it also, you know, obviously the, the child’s abilities, strengths and weaknesses, and it really does need to be a team approach and it’s happening all day long and half an hour of speech therapy once a week is not the answer. Hmm. No. Okay. So, let’s move on to… You have taken all of your knowledge, which is huge, and you created an online course yourself. You’ve also created products, the Action Builder Cards and a game. And I’m wondering how you moved from, uh, you know, delivering service to kids to product development and online entrepreneurship?

Rosemarie:       Oh yeah. I mean, that’s a great question. I honestly, it just had this vision for these, my first product was called the Action Builder Cards. And so, it has actions in different ways. So, what happens usually when you get a box of action cards is there’s one picture of eating, one picture of playing, you know, things like that. And when I was teaching my students with autism to label those different terms, I wanted to have pictures of eating pizza, eating, apple, eating fry, things like that so that we were planning for generalization. And the behavioral field we have this joke, it’s, you know, we don’t want to pray for generalization to happen, meaning the student can do it with me in the speech room, but can they also do it with you in the home environment when it really counts, we want to plan for that.

Rosemarie:       And so, I know that research backs up having multiple examples of things. And so I was having my staff members who are running some of the communication programs when I wasn’t there in the ABA program and, and at my school program we were making a lot of Google images and putting them on index cards, and laminating and doing the whole thing that we do a lot of the times at ABA programs, because oftentimes what we’re working on is so individualized. And so, I just thought, gosh, this would solve a problem for a lot of people. And so, I’ve never done that before. But I got… found a graphic designer, a printing company, and that is kind of how the Action Builder Cards were born. And I use mine every day.

Mary:            Yeah. Which has been great. Yeah, I did. I got a box and I opened it and did a video with Lucas. I don’t, I don’t know. It’s awesome. It’s on the Internet somewhere. I don’t know what website. It’s great. And it was not only just the actions but you know, you had girls and boys and, and wearing different shirts and, and you can ask a lot of questions for those intermediate learners. And you know, it’s really great that you identified a need with a product and created it. And then also created a game then- can you tell us about that?

Rosemarie:       Yes. Yeah, so the game is called Double Up. And you know, I work with students who are in middle school and high school. And what I see, Mary, is that if you have students who are maybe at a lower, uh, communication language level, it’s really hard to find anything educationally that is age appropriate. Meaning has real pictures, has real pictures of people that are similar to their age. And so, I am always making my own stuff. And so, this game, uh, focuses on vocabulary of leisure and hygiene. And it’s a matching game so you can match picture to picture or you can match picture by association.

So, there might be a picture of a basketball and you match it to the, the basketball or if your students at a higher level, you can match that picture of basketball to people playing basketball. So, a lot of the times, especially in a public school, we may be working with mixed groups, so kids of varying abilities. And so, it’s a four-person game and you can play it any which way that you like. And it’s been really great. I just played it yesterday in therapy. The kids seem to really enjoy it, and it’s engaging and it’s, it’s functional. I think sometimes it’s so hard for us to find things that are age respectful for older learners and, and that makes me feel good about that. And people have really liked that product. I’ve got a lot of good feedback about that.

Mary:            Yeah. And I have that game as well. And I played that with Lucas and you can have up to four, four players, but you don’t need four players. You can do it. Just Lucas and I played. Or you can also use the materials for, you know, just for teaching, for, for getting your child ready to play the game.

Rosemarie:       Yeah. Oh yes. Thank you. Yes. Yeah.

Mary:            So, so that’s all been within the past two years, year and a half? Where you’ve been really busy.

Rosemarie:       Yeah, it’s been about a year and a half. So, it’s been a whirlwind but, but I love it. That’s right. That’s been great.

Mary:            So, um, and we, we’re also both in the entrepreneur space and the online marketing space. So, we did create a little affiliate link, so I’m going to have that in the show notes, but you can purchase either the Action Builder Cards and or the Double Up game by following marybarbera.com/abaspeech. And that’ll be in the show notes for this episode. And then Rose also has an online course and she recently… You recently got ASHA approved credits to provide that guidance. And so, a lot of people don’t know what ASHA is, so can you just briefly describe that?

Rosemarie:    Sure. Yes. Yeah. ASHA is our National Organization for speech language pathologists and audiologists. And so, we have to get so many professional development hours each year and a lot of the times people are hesitant to take a course unless it’s ASHA approved. And so that was so important for me because I remember learning about ABA way back in the day at the Cleveland Clinic. And I remember saying, oh my gosh, this is so amazing. I want to go places and talk to people about applied behavior analysis. And it’s really like living the dream right now and being able to reach so many people, you know, internationally with the course too. I’ve had people sign up from India and just all over. And to be able to know that I’m going to maybe be able to help people all over in that way is really what I said a long time ago when I first ever learned about ABA. And so now to be able to offer ASHA has been really a joy to be able to reach people like that.

Mary:            Right. And maybe in the future we might be able to collaborate where Rose would potentially be able to offer ASHA credits for my courses as well. We’re talking about that, which is great. Yes. Um, to, to have a handful of, uh, behavior analysts or two handfuls that I’m actually working with to try to spread the message that through ABA, you know, and for through procedures like your, your speech procedures and your products that you’re creating, we can make intervention better for kids even without meeting them, which is so exciting. So, you work directly with a lot of professionals and online with a lot of professionals. What do you think the biggest struggles are for professionals?

Rosemarie:       I think the biggest struggle for professionals is really access to information that’s specific, that’s going to help their, their students make a difference. I know that when I was working with students, I’ll never forget, I was working with maybe an outpatient at the Cleveland Clinic and you know, the kid was crying and you know, didn’t like any of the toys. I had him a therapy room and I think I is my second year as a speech therapist and you’re like, what am I supposed to do with this? So, I asked my, you know, asked a supervisor and um, didn’t really get a whole lot of specific feedback that was gonna help me in that specific situation. And so I think that’s really what’s so hard, Mary, is that people go to, you know, maybe their state level conference and maybe they hear a one hour presentation or maybe at that state level conference, there’s not even anything about how to help kids who are nonverbal and have autism, which is really a shame because, you know, now the incidence rate is one in 59 unfortunately, and we really need that specific information.

Rosemarie:       So, I really think that is the biggest barrier is getting that great information and then also being able to apply it. I mean, that’s what’s so hard too is you know, you hear something great and then by the time you process your CEU’s, get home, unpack your suitcase, get back into the daily grind and you’re like, you kind of forget, right? What you’ve, what you thought about. So, and that’s what I think your course provides, what my course provides is somebody to be like a mentor and a coach to say, hey, we can do this. If you want to help that student with autism that is upset every time they have to come to speech or falls on the ground because you took a toy away. You know, there’s reasons for that and this is here, this can help you, this information. It’s important, it’s specific and it’s what you need to help those kids who have more, um, communication challenges.

Mary:            Yeah, I think that’s a great point. And I think you can’t, you know, a lot of what we do involves prevention of problem behaviors and you can’t just give people knee jerk reactions or you can’t just go to a one-hour presentation on this. It is like, you know, it involves hours and hours of learning. You know, just like it involves us, you know, how many hours did you spend on product creation and learning about marketing and the technical back end of things? It’s like this is, this is really complex and we have to have ways to help people systematically more than just one hour or more than just, you know, 10 days. It’s this, that’s why exactly why I created my courses because I, you know, I was flying like literally all over the world and my, my last huge presentation was in Australia, you know, that is a big trip and you know, they paid me my daily speaking rate and paid for, you know, all my expenses and everything and people were flying in.

Mary:            So, like there’s a lot of money invested and then I’m speaking for 50 minutes doing the keynote presentation. I’m like, I am not going to change anybody’s life in 50 minutes, right? Even if I present for two days, you go to try this. And you’re like, well, in Mary’s videos, Johnny wasn’t on the floor when she pulled out Potato Head, and now Johnny’s on the floor. I guess its ABA stuff or Mr. Potato head isn’t a good idea. And then we just, you know, abandoned it and, and people really struggle. So, I think they’re, the more courses, the more information in a more step by step process is, is really what professionals need. And parents need the same thing because they’re struggling with the same thing.

Rosemarie:       So many things. Yeah, they’re struggling with so much. And I think one of the, um, a person that took my course said it best is that, you know, you may be a speech therapist and it may be your caseload is really comprised of kids who don’t need this type of intervention. But you may have like one or two kids who have these complex needs and those one or two kids may take up a lot of your brainpower because you’re just trying to use strategies that maybe you were taught in graduate school and they’re not working. Because everything that I talk about, live and breathe and do every day from my clients are all things that I’ve learned after the fact. You know, because of my own interest in helping kids who are hard to reach. And I think that’s what it is too.

It’s like stop the frustration and increase the communication. That’s kind of my new tagline because it’s frustrating. It’s frustrating for a professional to want to help because people who are speech therapists go to school for a very long time to help. And when they can’t help somebody with all the tools in their toolbox, it can feel defeating for them as well. So, I know that there are a lot of professionals who are struggling and it’s just because there isn’t always that specific information to help and guide you with those students.

Mary:            Great. So, part of my goal for creating this podcast is to help both parents and professionals not only learn some new information about autism, but also to be less stressed and to be happier. Do you have any advice or practices that maybe you do, um, to have less stress and be happier? Either things that you do or things that you recommend if somebody is really stressed out?

Rosemarie:       Yeah, I mean, I think that, you know, everyone talks about self-care, but I do think it’s important as a mother of three who works a lot, um, is just to make sure that you do what you love. And so, I know that I’ve systematically trying to introduce things back into my life as my kids have gotten older. So, I used to play tennis in a former life. And so last year I did a whole restart clinic on playing tennis. And I used to be in a book club. I haven’t gone there yet, but this year, you know, I’m actually reading some books that don’t have to do with autism actually. So just trying to do things that you really love. You know, retail therapy.

I just joined a gym for the first time in 10 years, called Orange Theory, which is probably all over the world and it’s, it’s amazing. So, I think whatever you love that gives you joy, you need to try to just take a little time for that because once you’re feeling so stressed and overwhelmed, it’s just hard to be in your house when you’re feeling that way and to be the best for your kids.

Mary:            That’s great advice. So, people can find you at, um, your website, abaspeech.org… or dot com?

Rosemarie:       So www.ABAspeech.org is where my website is. I have a blog, so I give a lot of free resources. Every once in a while, I do a free webinar. I did one last night on progress monitoring, how to collect data when you’re in the classrooms. So, I try to do a lot of that kind of dissemination, give free information as well. And you know, there’s information about my products, my courses on there too. If you want to learn more. So, I uh, would love it if you came and visited me there.

Mary:            Right. And you can use my link, marybarbera.com/ABAspeech. Get those Action Builder Cards and the Double Up game. I think you have a combo package, which is awesome. If you need both of them then you can save a few dollars by getting them both at the same time. But I think your products are great. I think you and your background just makes you, uh, just a great individual to help us, uh, get autism awareness, get the fact that autism can be helped. And um, I really liked the fact that you’re, you’re interested in working with older kids, working with kids that have more severe needs. And I think it’s just been a blessing to have you join my courses in my online community and I imagine lots more collaboration in the future.

So, thanks so much for taking the time today to chat with us about your background and give us some advice on how you see things as a SLP and BCBA. So, thanks again for being here.

Rosemarie:       I enjoyed it. Thanks so much guys.

Mary:            Take care.

Thanks for listening to the Turn Autism Around podcast with Dr. Mary Barbera. For more information, visit marybarbera.com.

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