Panel 3 - segment from Autism Live TV Show

Panel 3 - segment from Autism Live TV Show
Panel 3 - segment from Autism Live TV Show | Kids in the House
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Panel 3 - segment from Autism Live TV Show

- So now we're having some other incredible guests join us. We have Asa, he's a father of two children. And he's a creator of a youtube channel, Fathering Autism, which chronicles his life and all the things he's navigating on a daily basis. I'm so honored to have you here, and it's so great to get a parent's perspective. And we also have Tali, she's an autism specialist. And have been teaching and guiding families since 1997, and you have a great book, called Play to Grow, with over 200 games to help your special child develop fundamental social skills. Very interesting. - Thank you. - So I'm so honored to have you both here today. How are you? - Doing great, how are you? - Great, very good. So I'm gonna start with you, Asa. When your daughter was diagnosed, can you tell us a little bit about your story and your journey? - Sure, absolutely. My daughter was diagnosed at 2, you know, we started, we saw some developmental delays and she wasn't developing as our son did. Our son is older, he's neurotypical, he's 15. And she wasn't developing, and we got kind of the age-old story from our pediatrician that we were just expecting her to develop like our son did, and that there was nothing wrong. My stepdad actually, he's a physician assistant, he was the first one to mention autism. And the only thing we knew about autism at the time, 10 years ago, was Rain Man. So we had no idea what we're in store for, and it was kind of scary. We were actually, you know, we were mad that he would suggest that, you know, kind of give it a label. But we got a formal diagnosis, kind of heartbreaking, then also it opened doors for us, and since then, we've been on this journey, like I said, for the last 10 years. We met some amazing people, we've have some major heartbreak and then we kind of found our calling. We created Fathering Autism. I started off just kind of wanted to upload videos to share with people, to answer some questions that they had, and it got bigger and bigger and it's continuing to grow. So we've kind of found our calling. You know, creating a community of parents out there and reaching out to others that kind of feel like they're alone, so. - It's a great YouTube channel. Can you just say how they can find you? - Sure. If you actually go to YouTube, and you just type in Fathering Autism in the search, it'll be the first thing that comes up. Even on Google, whatever. Just type in Fathering Autism. We're also on Snapchat and Twitter and Instagram and Facebook and everywhere else. - And all those things. Tali, I know that one the things you talk a lot about is how to cultivate a positive sense of self in your autistic child. Can you tell us a little bit about that? - Yeah, sure, absolutely. And I think a lot of people who are represented in this show today talk about some really important aspects of helping a child with autism, whether it be from a biomedical perspective, nutrition, detoxification, things like that, and these are all really important pieces to helping a child heal and move forward. And in my experience working with families for the past 20 years, what I see that can often happen, and maybe you can relate to this as well, is that a child with autism feels like a project oftentimes and a parent feels like a project manager. And then that relationship really shifts, versus a sort of more natural relationship that a parent would have with their neurotypical child. And so what I really have been talking about a lot in the past year is the importance at looking at the child beneath this project. You know, with all the therapies you're doing, and all the interventions that you're doing and all the different special diets and parents are always on the constant search for what else they can do to help their child. What I really want to make a stand for is simultaneous in that process, is to really be able to get a sense of the child beneath that whole process, the child behind that whole process. And you know, a couple of different ways they talk about to really help that child on that journey, through all the challenges they're being asked to meet, develop a really positive sense of who they are, especially because they're often experiencing the world differently, communicating possible very differently, sometimes judged or misunderstood or underestimated, and so really helping that child feel good about who they are in their own differences, I think is a really important thing that is often neglected for a child. And that can mean things like really validating their own motivations and their passions. Teaching and speaking to them to their true intelligence, cause oftentimes their intelligence is underestimated. So there's lots of different ways that I talk about but I think the biggest piece is making that a focus, when there often isn't is helping this child have a quality of life where they're really feeling good about who they are. - How do you think the sibling is affected, and how do you balance that as a parent? - We're kind of gifted, because we have, you know, we believe in the nurture supplementing the nature. And my son, my 15 year old, Isaiah, his nature is to be compassionate, and to be empathetic toward others. He is, a lot of times he acts as third caregiver for his sister, and we kind of have to very often, say, no, I'll do that, son, you know, that's not your job. But balancing that, because I know even as awesome as he is, and I talk about him all the time, and we have a video that talks about him as a sibling, and as awesome as he is, I know he has his frustrations, and I know he feels like a lot of attention is put on her, and put on autism in general, just in day to day life. We do make it a point to put him first a lot of times, you know, she doesn't go to his football games. First of all, she doesn't enjoy it, cause she doesn't like sitting still for that long, but when he's on the field playing football, I want the focus to be on him, not on her. She likes to, she does guttural noises, and she likes yelling, it's part of her stimming behaviors, she likes the feeling of it in her throat, and we will leave her either with a grandparent or one of us will stay home, and the other person, you know, the other parent go to the football game, or she has respite care that comes into the house, so Abigail will stay home when we go to the football games. And it's important that we make things about him. I think after 10 years, we've, it's become habit, and we do that naturally, but I think it's something as new parents that you really have to focus on, because like Tali said, we do make it a project. We make our child a project and so part of that project is neglecting the neurotypical sibling, and I think it happens a lot, I really do, we made a point to put him at the front in a lot of situations, do special things just for him, and I think it has made him, I think it's made him a better brother to an autistic sibling just because of that. - We're getting a question here on the website that maybe you all could speak to. And that is, my son was just diagnosed with autism and I'm so overwhelmed with all the treatments and suggestions for treatments and which ones are really important. Maybe you want to start with that one. - Well definitely start with speech therapy. That's the most important place to start. And behavioral therapy as well. So I would say those two are top. I often recommend for a very overwhelmed parent to just start with those two and then regroup in a couple of months to make it sort of baby steps if it feels too overwhelming all at once. - Tali, do you have something to add to that? What are your thoughts on that? - Yeah, no, I think that's great advice, and the thing that I would add to that too is really looking into a biomedical approach. Because I think that once a lot of healing can happen within the gut, inflammation issues, allergies they might not be aware of, then the kind of development that can happen in a speech therapy, or the kind of behaviors you might be addressing in behavioral therapy can really be taken care of and addressed at the core, so that instead of only addressing it from the symptom perspective, that I think that has shown to be a really powerful way to really address things at the heart of the issue, to sort at the why speech can be challenging, or why your child might be having meltdowns or tantrums. A lot of it really can be addressed from a biomedical perspective. And the biomedical perspective can be definitely an overwhelming one, for parents. So I would just begin to do research on diet, just start with diet, to see what kind of modifications could be made to support your child in all the work he's going to be doing in the speech therapy and all the different behavioral therapies so that it makes it that much easier for that child to succeed. - Asa, you posted a very emotional video on Mother's Day and it said, Today autism sucks. What advice do you have for parents after having a bad day? - Well, and like I would say to that parent that just commented on the website, take a deep breath, and pat yourself on the back. You know, the fact that that parent specifically is commenting on the website speaks volumes, and you're doing a great job and you're doing everything in your power, and your kid's gonna do great. And you know, your family's gonna do fine, and just keep going. Mother's Day was a little rough, you know. The one day we get to celebrate mom, mom has kind of a tough day because of the bad side, you know, the hard parts of it to deal with, the meltdowns, and the things like that, the staring when we go to take her out to brunch but take a deep breath. Tomorrow will probably be better, so that, I think that would be my advice. - You know, that is great advice, and you know, I can see where people relate to your videos so much, because you have a lot of empathy about you, and I can tell you're a great dad. Tali, you, in your book Play to Grow, you give some great tips. Could you just share a few highlights, maybe? - Yeah, sure, sure. And this goes back to the kind of project manager idea we were talking about before, where oftentimes like you were saying, Asa, parents sometimes forget how to connect to their child. You know, how do the nurturing relationship that kind of comes oftentimes without parents thinking about it can be really be lost in the process of trying to help a child with autism. So my book, Play to Grow, it's really about, it's 200 games and the games are about helping a child, helping a parent really play with their child in a very fun and engaging way, and each game focuses on specific skills. There is that whole idea of yes, we want our children to grow further, we want to help them grow in their communication skills and their social skills and their turn taking skills, but first and foremost, we wanna focus on that connection. And that relationship. And the joy of the parent playing with the child. Because that's just as important for the child as it is for the parent. That's the thing all parents will agree when you have that joy and that delight in that moment with your child, that's the fuel that keeps you going, that's the fuel that gives you all the energy you need to do the endless amount of work that parents and especially parents of special needs children need to do. So the book is really about creating the context for meaningful and joyful play, and giving really structured ways to focus on specific goals that are important for the child and that are really rewarding for the parents, to see their child grow in that way, and they become then these facilitators of growth but in a way that's also really enhancing and deepening their relationship. - Where can you get the book? Amazon? - The book can be -- yeah, get it on Amazon. - What's your website, quickly, - Website, it's really simple. - Thank you so much for being with us. We really appreciate your time and your insight, and you wisdom. - Awesome, thank you for having us. - Pleasure, pleasure, and thank you all for all your efforts. I really feel like we're all in this together, each one of us playing our important role, and it's really an honor to be amongst you trying to help families as much as we can. - That's very nice. Thank you. - And I subscribe to your newsletter, Tali, so. - Aww, thank you. - I appreciate the info. - And now I'm gonna subscribe to your YouTube channel, I didn't know about it, but now I do. - Awesome. - Okay, bye you guys.


Expert Bio

More from Expert

Jane Tavyev Asher, MD

Division of Child Neurology - Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Dr. Jane Tavyev Asher is a board certified Child Neurologist and Director of the Division of Child Neurology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.  Upon attaining her medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine, she completed residency/ fellowship training in Child Neurology and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities at Baylor College of Medicine/ Texas Children’s Hospital, where her clinical training focused on behavioral neurology, specializing in autism and other developmental disorders, and her research focused on epigenetic factors in autism.  She currently maintains a clinical practice at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where she sees patients with a variety of neurologic conditions such as Autism Spectrum Disorders, developmental delay, ADHD, learning disabilities, tics, headaches, and cognitive/ behavioral management in neuromuscular disorders.  She holds an academic/ research appointment as Assistant Professor at UCLA in the Departments of Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences.  Her current research interest remains in the area of autism.  Dr. Tavyev Asher is proud to contribute to the training of the next generation of physicians including those specializing in Pediatrics, Child Psychiatry, and Child and Adult Neurology, and she enjoys giving talks on various neurologic topics locally and nationally.  She is a member of the Child Neurology Society, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, UCLA CART (Center for Autism Research and Treatment), and The Help Group-UCLA Autism Research Alliance.  She also serves on the Advisory Board of Healthy Child Healthy Child Healthy World.  She enjoys art, music, yoga, skiing, and relaxing with her family.

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