August 14, 2020 | Michelle Antle, Field training coordinator for KATC; Michaela Evans

Michaela: Okay, so I’m Michaela Evans with Kentucky SPIN. I’m an educational specialist, very thankful to have Michelle Antle here today, who is a field training coordinator for the Kentucky Autism Training Center to answer some frequently asked questions about behaviors for all the families that we serve.

[00:00:18]So, Michelle, do you care to just explain a little bit about your backgro...

Michaela: Okay, so I’m Michaela Evans with Kentucky SPIN. I’m an educational specialist, very thankful to have Michelle Antle here today, who is a field training coordinator for the Kentucky Autism Training Center to answer some frequently asked questions about behaviors for all the families that we serve.

[00:00:18]So, Michelle, do you care to just explain a little bit about your background?

[00:00:22] Michelle: Yes sure. So I don’t have been a field training coordinator at the Kentucky Autism Training Center now for a little over six years, but I have actually worked with individuals on the spectrum and with behavioral concerns for about 20 years now.

[00:00:35] So I worked as a school psychologist in schools., working with kids with autism or different types of delays or struggles. But I also worked in the home setting. And so I’ve done a lot of work with families, I worked in the mental health sector. Really focusing specifically on those children that have lots of behavioral needs and needs of those supports.

[00:00:57]So my background really is I have a lot of training in applied behavior analysis. So a lot of the things probably that we’ll talk about today will have its basis in that.

[00:01:06] Michaela: Okay. Wonderful, so our first question is, do you have any advice for handling aggressive behaviors right there in the moment?

[00:01:15] Michelle: Yes. So the very first thing I can tell you is don’t panic. And that’s easier said than done because when we start to see those around us, that we love start to get upset, then our bodies kind of have that reaction where we want to respond in that same way. And even if we don’t want to respond in the same way, our bodies are kind of programmed to be that way.

[00:01:33] So I want to take a second, just to kind of talk about the brain and how all of that works, because regardless of what intervention we use, we really need to be understanding kind of how our brain works and not kind of, how that can impact our intervention that we use. So Dr. Dan Siegel, he’s actually a brain researcher and he came up with something called the hand method to kind of explain the functionality and the structure of the brain.

[00:01:58] So he kind of references something that looks like this, in utero, the very first part of our brain to develop is that spinal column. And then from there we get the base of our brain’s kind of this part, like around our wrist area. And a brainstem is really responsible for getting all the information from every other part of our brain and then being able to kind of process that, and it does other things that we don’t even realize it does, like being responsible for digestion or keeping your heart beating. You know, the production of digestion and things like that.

[00:02:28] The next part of our brain to develop is kind of what we call this cerebral cortex or kind of the thinking part of our brain. And this is where our brain stores information. So if I have an experience and I think, oh, when this happens, this is how I reacted in the past. And this part of our brain kind of creates a map that it goes back to right, to help it to be able to remember and access, oh this is what I’m supposed to do when this happens.

[00:02:54] The last part of our brain did develop this kind of this frontal lobe, which is right here. And that’s responsible for emotional regulation, reading social-emotional cues, kind of in our environment, reading nonverbal cues of others, things like that, but really that emotional regulation. And it also is directly tied to this cognitive piece. So as we have different emotions or different experiences, then we can tie those emotions to what we know is in our cognitive brain.

[00:03:21] Also underneath our brain down here, kind of tied to our brainstem and connected to all of these other parts is something called the limbic system. And the limbic system is responsible for survival ultimately. So if our brain starts to perceive danger, it just reacts right, in order to keep us safe. And so there’s this little bitty thing, this piece down here, I’m going to reference called the amygdala and it’s responsible for fight or flight response. So if my body perceives danger, whether that’s real or not, right, my amygdala fires and it sends a message and it says danger, danger.

[00:03:56] And so this part of our brain just says, okay, do I need to fight, do I need to flee or do I just need to freeze right, and just kind of stay there. And so the reason why this is so important as we kind of talk about behavior is because if I’m in a situation and I start to feel overwhelmed, then my body activates that limbic system. And it says, keep me safe. Right. But when that activation happen in our limbic system, our cognitive piece of our brain goes away. So even if we have taught our kids coping skills, like, okay, we know how to breathe. We know that you need to ask for a break. We need to X, Y, or Z. Right. When my limbic system takes over all of that information becomes locked in the vault and they can’t access that. Because my brain takes over and says survive, just survive at this moment.

[00:04:44] And so the reason I take so much time to explain that is because for some of our kids, we start immediately. When we start to see them get upset, we immediately rush in right. And it’s okay, let’s take a break, let’s do this. Do you want to do this? Do you want to do that? But really when this part of our brain is in control, we don’t have the ability to make choices because it just becomes more and more and more overwhelmed. And so especially us mamas that want to rush in and say, hey, it’s gonna be okay. And we touch them or we rub them or, you know, we’re talking to them and trying to give them options or choices, what we’re really doing is just flooding that limbic system even more. And so sometimes it’s not what we’re doing that is wrong. It’s just that their brains are not in the right place in order to be able to hear us.

[00:05:26] And so figuring out what can we do to get my kids fight or flight response system to kind of calm down. So then I can use the tools that I have in my toolbox to really help me to intervene. Does that make sense? Michaela?

[00:05:39] Michaela: Absolutely, that’s great. Thank you.

[00:05:42] Michelle: So when our brain is in the amygdala and the amygdala is in control and that limbic system has kind of taken over, you know, using as few words as we possibly can, remembering to eliminate as much sound or as much touch as we can, because any of those outside stimuli that are flooding the brain contribute to whether it stays here or whether it can kind of go back in that cognitive or that thinking mode where we can kind of get them kind of over the hump.

[00:06:07] Michaela: Okay. Great. And then what are some things that we can do when your child is not willing to comply or is trying to avoid a task?

[00:06:17] Michelle: Okay. First of all, figuring out whether it’s, they don’t want to do it, or if they think it’s too hard. Because if it’s, what we call a skill deficit and they don’t know how to do expected of them, then sometimes we freak out because we do that as adults. If you ask me a question, and I don’t know the answer, I tend to kind of freeze up a little bit and make excuses about how or why I’m not going to do that. So figuring out first and foremost, is this a skill problem where they’re not really understanding or are they just choosing not to do this?

[00:06:47] And so for many of our individuals, they lack that internal drive or motivation to want to perform for us. And so thinking through, you know, what are some things that are motivators to them, right? So we might hear that called reinforcement, right. So what are reinforcers that we can use that are those magic, like live or die kinds of things. And so, you know, really kind of understanding and keeping a list of those in our toolbox or in our brain to go, okay, you don’t want to do this. Okay. First you do undesirable activity. Then you get desirable activity. And I know that sounds like a really simplistic way, but ultimately you’re not going to change their position. Right. They’re going to like kind of bear down and dig their heels in and go, I’m not moving. But if you say here’s some money for you, all of a sudden I’m a little bit more motivated to listen and maybe even try something, even if I don’t really understand what they’re doing.

[00:07:38] And also remember that with those reinforcers, if you’re going to use that approach in that making sure that you reserve those things only for when you need them so that they kind of retain their power, right. Cause if I, you know, if I get access to M&M’s all the time, it doesn’t really matter what my mom says. Well, if you do this, you get M&Ms, I’m going to get M&Ms anyway, hey, I’ll just wait it out.

[00:08:01] So really thinking through, you know, not just what you can use, but also how can you use those and kind of keeping those in your back pocket for those important moments, you know, things like refusing to move and I’m in the middle of a parking lot. You know, when I’m going into the store and how am I going to do that? So hopefully that will be a good strategy.

[00:08:21] Michaela: Okay. And do you have any tips for how to safely handle elopement? I know a lot of kids, especially with autism, are runners or when that fight or flight kicks in they just kind of bolt or take off. So how do you handle that?

[00:08:36] Michelle: Well a couple things. It depends on their age, based on what strategy that I might choose, but the key here is prevention. So if you it’s going to happen after the first time, don’t necessarily wait for it to happen again. After that kind of event kind of problem solve through and go okay, why did they flee? So going back to that fight or flight, was it really that they perceived danger and so they just kind of took off? Or was it more, Hey, I don’t want to do this activity, so I’m just going to run because I know that’s going to get me away from it.

[00:09:04] So really looking at kind of what’s the function of that. So if it’s more of a fight or flight, then you might want to be more preventative in terms of when we get here, when we get to the store, I know last time you got really scared because a car came through and its engine was really loud. So this time, if we hear one of those cars, mommy’s gonna automatically grab your hand and we’re going to hold hands till we get inside the store. Or, you know, coming up with kind of a plan to say, this is how I’m going to react as the adult to help you.

[00:09:35]Now if your child struggles with kind of understanding that verbal language, maybe having some pictures of some alternatives of when you get scared, this could be what you do. Because if it is that fight or flight response, just having that replacement behavior would be helpful also for you as the adult. Because what I find is, is if their amygdala is in control then sometimes they don’t remember right, because it’s locked in their brain. But us as the adult, before our amygdala kind of hijacks our brain and takes over, and we panic cause we see our kid run across the parking lot. If we have a plan in our head to say, okay, this is how I’m going to respond if this happens.

[00:10:11] Some people, you know, some kids, they run farther and faster if you chase after them. Well, as others of us, we have to go after them right. We know that they’re not going to stop. So really just kind of having that plan ahead of time and knowing what your plan is.

[00:10:24] Now, I’ve also played games with kids. Like, teach and this would be in a downtown, obviously when you’re at home or in a setting that they’re more calm. So practice like red light, green light, with visual cues. And I’ve had parents that actually put  just a little piece of construction paper, that they laminated on their key ring. So on one side of that red and one side it’s green.

[00:10:44] So if you practice kind of that stop light game at home, and when they see that color, then they know to stop, right. Or the green means that they can go, then you’ve kind of pre-taught that skill. So actually, you know, being in a parking lot and practicing that after you’ve mastered it at home before they ever get spooked, can you kind of take that to the next level. And so what you’re doing is training their brain to even though starting to feel overwhelmed when I see the color red, that means I’m supposed to freeze.

[00:11:11] And so I know that sounds a little farfetched and you’re like, Oh yeah, easier said than done. Been there, done that. I took kids in the community all the time. And so it happened to me frequently, but it’s all about figuring out on the front end, what can I do to either get their attention? Or to stop.

[00:11:26] I can remember I had one kid that was fascinated with wheels. He was 12 years old. And when he saw the wheels go by and that was in the day and age where they used to have those spinners. And so he could kind of like target for those cars and would sell them in the parking lot. And, you know, having a 12 year old male kind of dart away from you is terrifying. And so we had a code word that we would use. And so I would say, you know, motorcycle, which was his favorite and he got to ride on his dad’s motorcycle. So if he stopped and I said the word motorcycle. He knew that automatically when he got home, because he complied with the request then he got to ride on his motorcycle around the yard with his dad.

[00:12:06] And so really tying that with reinforcement is really important too so that way that sends a message to their brain that says, Hey, good things happen when I stop.

[00:12:14]if you, your child does elope, I know Autism Speaks hasn’t really short, like little safety toolkit. And within that toolkit, they have an elopement form and it kind of gives you some questions that you might be able to answer about your kids. So if they were to run away and you were to need to call a first responder, then you can hand that to that first responder. And it has all the information on there. And there are questions, like, what is, you know, what would your child prefer to do, so do they like water? Do they like, you know, the fish aquariums in Walmart? You know, so that way you have that filled out ahead of time and you can keep that with you. Because if my child runs away, I’m not going to be able to think clearly to tell those first responders how it is that they need, you know, where they might look or what are some things that he might enjoy.

[00:12:59] So that will be more kind of on the preventative end of things. But you might want to consider filling those out because I know for me, I can’t think on the fly when I’m panicked about where my kid might be, but it would be really helpful and useful information. We do a lot of first responder training, at the Autism Training Center. And so that’s something that we really capitalize on and explain to those first responders is you need to go immediately to where their interests are, right. So being able to quickly communicate that to them can really save time and will therefore be, you know, have a better outcome for sure.

[00:13:31] Michaela: That’s a great tool. Thank you.

[00:13:35] Michelle: You’re welcome.

[00:13:35] Michaela: And then how can we, as parents look for triggers or figure out what is causing those challenging behaviors?

[00:13:44] Michelle: First of all, I typically start by looking at the environment in that moment and saying, okay, what was unpredictable about this environment? Because we know that with our kids with autism, they love especially, that they really love sameness. They like those things to be the same. And so typically I programmed my brain to go, okay, what was different?

[00:14:02] Because sometimes those are the triggers, and kind of what set our kids off. And so, that kind of gives us kind of clues to that, but sometimes we kind of got to take that a little bit deeper. And so I do, what’s called, the fancy word, but it’s called an environmental analysis. So I just kind of take a minute and think through the five senses and go, okay, what did they see in this environment? What did they hear in this environment? What did they smell in this environment? Was there a new texture that was involved? And so really kind of just going through those five senses really help us to be more in tune to maybe what their bodies were feeling. Things that we kind of take for granted because our bodies just adjust for them or we tune it out and we don’t pay attention.

[00:14:40]So I typically start there and just kind of see alright, is there something that was different or changed or challenging in the environment for them that they didn’t know how to deal with? The other thing I do is kind of think through, okay, did I clearly communicate the expectations of what was happening in this environment? Right. And so, because they love predictability and they like sameness, knowing that if I can tell them upfront kind of what to expect in an environment or what they can do, if they start to get upset, then that kind of sets the stage for us being able to kind of know those triggers and kind of plan ahead just a little bit.

[00:15:15]For some of my older students, we do, what’s called an autopsy, after an event. You know, just like you would do an autopsy after a death. So we kind of pick apart the situation and kind of say, okay, what happened to make you feel upset? And then they’re like, I don’t know, I have no idea. Right. And they’re not going to be able to tell you. But you could say, okay, what did, you know, I started to notice that you were looking around like this, like really quickly, were you scared of something? Yeah, bright lights. There were bright lights, all of a sudden. Ding, ding, ding, right. And then I can kind of go that way.

[00:15:45] So you can even do, depending on the age and ability of your student, be able to kind of walk through that with them, step by step and help them problem solve through that.

[00:15:55] Michaela: Okay. Great. And then how can I teach my child to self-regulate their own behaviors? And how do I know when they’re ready?

[00:16:03] Michelle: Oh, hard. What I always say is pick something concrete first. So something that is, like for example, are the clothes in the hamper? Yes, or no. Right. And so if you tell us to, you know, tell a child, hey, you know, you need to put those clothes in the hamper. Then I would come back and say, hey, are the clothes in the hamper? And they’re like, yeah, right. Then you, if they can kind of start to respond to that and look and say, okay, I was given a direction and then I can reflect back on that direction to see if I’ve done it or not. Then you kind of know if they’re starting to get ready, you know, to kind of be able to do those kinds of things, to kind of go back and double check themselves.

[00:16:40] So I always start with the very concrete kinds of things. More of the yes, or no type questions, because those gray areas are really, really hard. We need to reserve that for much, much later. So you may want to have them practice some very concrete skills like that. Like, okay, you know, the expectation at the dinner table is after we finish dinner your plate goes into the sink. And so instead of saying, Get back here and put that plate in the sink. Bring the child back to the environment and say, is there something that you forgot to do? And then have them, and maybe gesture down at the plate, you know, in that kind of a way. And so what you’re trying to do is kind of promote that problem solving ability to where they can start to go, Oh yeah, that’s what I was supposed to do.

[00:17:23] And so if they can kind of have some success with those little things, then you know, that you might be able to build up for some harder things. So one of the biggest mistakes that I always see is people pick the hardest skill ever to want to kind of teach and to walk through how you’re going to regulate yourself in those situations. And really, and truly, we need to have them have success with the smaller things first and not necessarily start with those more difficult things.

[00:17:47] So if you start with like the yes or no kind of concrete things, and you can do that, or they can do that, over three or four different types of tasks. So cleaning the dinner plate, remembering to brush your teeth in the morning, is your clothes in the laundry hamper? You know, you can do three or four of those then you might want to start to expand to maybe having where there’s a yes, no, maybe. Right. So instead of just a yes or no then go to a yes, no, maybe.

[00:18:12]And then from there, if they really get really competent at that, then maybe bumping it up to do maybe, I know many of you probably have seen the incredible five points scale. And it kind of talks about, you know, a five means that I’m completely and totally out of control and a one means I’m completely and totally calm. And then you can kind of gauge in the middle kind of, you know, how, so we can pick any type of tasks, and kind of break it down into five parts. So that’s more of an advanced kind of thing.

[00:18:39] And some people, because it’s so heavily advertised, and a lot of people talk about that incredible five point scale, we think we need to start with five, right. And they can modulate themselves that way. No. Start easy and have some success with that. And then maybe move to like three different pieces, instead of immediately, and then eventually can get up to that five point piece.

[00:18:59] So it really depends on the types of behaviors that you’re wanting to self-monitor, but just think about how can I break it down into that minute skill at first, and have some success.

[00:19:09] Michaela: Okay. Would you recommend trying to get to work on several things at once, like brushing teeth and putting clothes in the hamper and clearing plates from the dinner table, or would you recommend sticking with one skill until they finish that or have been successful?

[00:19:28] Michelle: I probably would start with one just because you don’t want to frustrate them and you don’t want to confuse them. And so I usually tend to pick one thing that I know they can achieve pretty easily, right. And so once you can kind of do one thing easily and maybe pick a second thing they can do easily, then maybe you’d want to do it, like, once in the morning, once in midday and then once in the afternoon or once in the evening, right. So pick those things and not just necessarily do the one thing but have one expectation that they can self-monitor multiple times a day. Does that make sense?

[00:20:00] Michaela: Yeah, that’s great advice.

[00:20:02] Michelle: Yeah, then work up to that because if their brain thinks that it’s overwhelming, then they can’t really think about that amygdala’s in control again. And so it really makes it difficult for them to be able to process through. And so that predictability really helps. And that helps with generalized ability as well, which I know you didn’t mention, but sometimes we get frustrated because they’re like, well, he can do it at my house. Why can he not do it at school? Or walking up to go to his grandparents’ house? And so thinking about when we’re introducing it to a new environment, so when our kids are starting to go back to school, hopefully in August, right, thinking about how can we communicate with that school staff to say, Hey, I got him to put his, you know, clean up his area after a mealtime, can you make sure that you’re doing that at school as well?

[00:20:44] And so that way you’re biting off those little pieces and making sure that it really is generalizing across environment and with different people too.

[00:20:52] Michaela: Okay, great. And then what do we do as parents when we we’re just at our wit’s end and we’ve done everything that we know to do? Do you have any advice for that?

[00:21:03] Michelle: Breathe. First of all and it’s been really helpful now that I, and I am a brain geek, but sometimes I’ve just had to take a minute and think about where is my brain right now? Because sometimes when my amygdala is firing and I’m kind of in fight or flight mode, then I’m responding emotionally. And our kids are not gonna respond to that. And so when I reflect back on it, it was more my reaction that was inappropriate. That kind of got me to that point. So  I’m hard on myself and I kind of beat myself up a little bit and think, okay, Michelle, had you not responded back with the sarcastic remark or had you not responded and just said, no, you’re going to do this now, right. Which I knew was a trigger for them. Then that kind of, you know, I kind of put it on myself.

[00:21:47] But in that same time, you can’t beat yourself. You know there are going to be unpredictable things that are going to happen. And so I think for me, figuring out what my coping skills are, you know, knowing when do I need to kind of take a minute. And I tell my kids that when I go to my bathroom and the door’s shut, I’m taking a minute. And so really kind of just setting those boundaries for myself, to allow myself to kind of calm down and have that hard reset to get me back in a better place where I can make better decisions as well. So that’s one.

[00:22:16] I also say have a pen and write it down because again, when our brains are overwhelmed and we think we’re not doing this right or I’m not responding the right way, just having some kind of, even if it’s on a post it note, I had one mom that stuck it on the refrigerator that just said, you know, these are the three things that I need to do when he starts to get upset. And it wasn’t an exhaustive list. It were just three things that she was going to try. And at the end of those three things, if those three things didn’t work, she was going to ensure that kids’ safety and she was going to walk away, allow the passage of time and then she could come back and kind of regroup.

[00:22:50] And so I think sometimes we see our kids’ behavior and we automatically jumped to, Oh my gosh, I’ve got to fix it right now. When the reality is, is that sometimes the passage of time is just what we need. But I think we have to take care of ourselves in order to be able to take care of someone else. And so it’s equally as important to know what coping skills we have as well as how are we going to prompt those coping skills in the kids that we work with.

[00:23:12] So, sometimes I find that finding another parent, that I can kind of just vent to or say, I need your help problem-solving through this. So having that connection, just that person to call and even if that person or that friend of another parents on the other line said man, today was a really bad day. Wasn’t it? You know, they just sit there with you in it for just a minute and you don’t feel alone. And so I think just knowing if there’s someone, whether it be through your church or a parent’s support group, or, you know, even a neighbor, I think that that’s helpful. And having somebody to just kind of be with you in the moment for a minute, even if they don’t have a solution to offer.

[00:23:50] Michaela: I think that’s very helpful as well. And then, if there was one go to tool for handling all these challenging behaviors, what would it be?

[00:24:01] Michelle: Wow. I rely on reinforcement a lot. Because when I cannot figure out, you know, why a behavior might be happening or how I can teach another more appropriate behavior, then ultimately I have to think, okay, how am I going to get this kid’s attention in order to change this situation? Right. And so I rely probably on that reinforcement, more than other people, but if I don’t have something that that kid finds desirable and they don’t pair that with me, they’re never going to listen to anything or, you know, participate with me and I don’t have a rapport.

[00:24:36] And so whether you’re a provider, or whether you’re a parent, you know what that magic bullet is. And so if you have that, you know, you have to be careful to make sure that you don’t want to attain those behaviors together. So you don’t want them to think, Oh, when I start to throw a chair, then I get access to, you know, my favorite thing. No, you don’t want that. But kind of in your brain, you’ve got to think about okay, how can I prompt this kid to do something, like just one little bitty thing that is positive, that I can kind of open their world and give them a little piece of that to.

[00:25:06] And it’s not going to work beautifully all the time as we know, but I think if you can constantly think about what is motivating this kid, then that helps you to be able to kind of take charge of the situation. And to kind of go with that also, I would say offering choices. So, you know, if you had two favorite items or two preferred items or activities then you could say, okay, do you want to go to your bedroom and watch a movie? Or do you want to watch YouTube on your iPad? Which, you know, are two very important things. Then sometimes giving that child a choice can force their brains to kind of go back into that processing mode again, because you know, they’re getting to choose between two things that they really enjoy.

[00:25:46] And parents say, well, aren’t you giving into them? No, not really, because if you were the person who are offering the two choices who’s in control? You. So ultimately it’s not about being in control, but it is about regaining control so that you can ensure their safety, and kind of get that situation back under wraps. Once they’re calm, then you can talk about interventions that you can utilize, you know, that would teach a replacement behavior or other things like that.

[00:26:13] Michaela: Okay. And what advice would you give parents that have no idea where to start when it comes to handling their child’s challenging behaviors?

[00:26:23] Michelle: We also, and I mentioned this earlier, we have a tendency to jump to the most difficult behavior first. And that’s usually because that behavior is getting, you know, it’s the most powerful, it’s the most scary to deal with. But just like we would do with, with any skill, I think picking a smaller behavior and kind of experimenting with that, right? Whether it be saying, excuse me at the dinner table, or sitting on your butt instead of sitting on your knees to eat dinner, you know, those little bitty things, maybe start and with that.

[00:26:49] I always talk about the antecedents and the behavior and then the consequences. So antecedent is just what comes before the behavior. So right before he flipped that chair, what happened? You know, did you ask him to do something and desirable and then after that looking at, okay, so after he flipped the chair, what happened? What did you do? You know, did you accidentally reinforce that behavior? And that’s why it’s sticking around, or, you know, kind of what exactly happened?

[00:27:16] And so really getting into that mindset of being able to kind of observe the environment to see what happens right before the behavior, because we know that if we can predict it, we can prevent it. And so really kind of getting in that mindset, I think will be really helpful.

[00:27:29]I think, you know, kind of going back to that experienced parent, whether that’s a parent support group or a neighbor or something like that, when we’re in the moment with our kids, sometimes we can’t see those antecedents and sometimes they’re really hidden. So it could be even a specific smell that’s in the environment and our brains are not programmed to really focus in on those kinds of things. And so if we have kind of that third party person and, you know, obviously in a perfect world, if we had a professional, that would be great. But even if not, if you could talk to other people and say, Hey, what did you see? So right before that behavior, what did you see? Then that can kind of give us some information.

[00:28:05] Siblings that were really good at this, by the way, because they capitalize on all the things that those kids do wrong and they know the predictability factor and how to analyze it. So, I’ll always say tap into some of those natural resources that you have too because they’re going to call it every time.

[00:28:23] Michaela: Awesome. And so for our last question, who can parents contact when they really, truly just need help with their child’s behaviors? Are there any resources that you can recommend?

[00:28:37] Michelle: Yes, every part of our state is different. And so it’s really hard to say I’ll go to this person because it’s different in every region. But I typically try to start with our community mental health centers. So whether that’s Life Skills or Adanta, or, you know, Green River or wherever that might be. You know, looking for providers because that is probably the most easily accessible because they accept all insurances regardless, they’re kind of wired that way. And so I recommend there.

[00:29:07] Also thinking about, you know, are there university training programs, because I know that financially that’s a huge burden sometimes. If the insurance doesn’t cover this and how am I gonna pay for this? And so some of the local universities have great kind of programs where they’re training individuals, through the educational department, the psychology department or the speech and language department. So they offer really cheap services, affordable services, but you’re getting kind of quality instruction of someone who’s new, that’s learning and also kind of a supervisor that’s supervising them. They can do that through the mental health part as well. There’s some online, some clinics at those universities. So looking there.

[00:29:44] But also thinking about if you can’t access those, you know, what are some reliable websites that you can look to, especially for behavior?  There’s on our website, which is We have a plethora of information that’s on there and it’s all parent friendly. So for example, through COVID, there’s a section on there that says, you know, what are resources? And so there’s visual supports that you can readily download. There’s small little snippets of video that are like a minute and a half to two minutes long that tell you how to implement those kinds of things.

[00:30:14] And if you’re like me, I don’t have time sometimes to sit down and watch an hour long, you know, webinar or something like that to figure out how to do something. And so those small snippets can really help. On on our website as well, you will see that there are some free webinars for parents and we’re in the process of uploading those. So if there’s something specific that you want to know about, you can start it and stop it as many times as you want.

[00:30:35] And you know, if you’re interrupted, you can go back and have access to that. They’re all free of charge. There’s no charge for any of those. There’s also some other websites specific to behavior. So PBIS which is positive behavioral intervention strategies, PBIS is what it stands for.  they have a ton of information on there as well. I really like to stick to those reliable web resources that, you know, have a lot of information behind it. I know you guys have a ton of information, great information for parents on your website and you also search those through your listserv.

[00:31:09] I know immediately, sometimes we think, Oh, we’ve got to get into a provider. And sadly, right now there’s just a provider shortage, it’s really really frustrating. And so, there is also on our website a provider list. So you can put in like what County you’re in and what kind of service that you’re looking for. And then you can just click find provider and it can locate one. And if there’s not one in your County, maybe search the surrounding counties that are near you and would give you kind of a list. We update that list constantly. And so, you know, it does change every single day, of what person takes what insurance and things like that.

[00:31:42] Are those the type of resources that you were talking about?

[00:31:45] Michaela: Absolutely. Those are really, really great.

[00:31:49] Michelle: And one other thing that I would say, I know that right now it’s difficult to do, but really tapping into your child’s school resources, for some people they have a lot of supports there. And so, you know, if they’ve already created like for [inaudible] and doodles supports, that might be helpful in the home. Just asking them for big [inaudible] copies to send home. All of those resources for the school are free. So some schools have really, really good school psychologists as well, who can provide you with free resources or talk you through, you know, different ways that you can be able to do, you know, like mini- functional behavioral analysis at home and things like that. And that’s very specific based on where you’re located and what school district you’re in, but don’t forget about them because all of those are free resources as well.

[00:32:34] Michaela: That’s really great information. Thank you so much, Michelle, again for sharing your wealth of information with us. And I know that it’s going to be a blessing to all of the families that we serve.

[00:32:46] Michelle: I hope so. Please feel free to reach out to us anytime you need to. All of our contact information is on our website, you can just easily Google, Kentucky Autism Training Center, and we’ll be happy to help any way possible. We appreciate the partnership with Kentucky SPIN.

[00:33:00] Michaela: Thank you Michelle.

[00:33:03] Michelle: All right, have a good one.

[00:33:04] Michaela: You too.