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Episode #022: Autism as a Family Experience- An Interview with Michele Portlock
Michele’s oldest daughter’s first word was “calculator”. Because she was highly verbal and seemed to need less intervention, Michele struggle to get a diagnosis for her. Her second son’s presented quite differently, but Michele suspected that he too had autism. Knowing that early intervention was key, Michele was so disappointed to realize that it took until they were pre-teens to get help. She just wanted to understand why her children behaved the way that they do, and this sent her on a journey to get a Master’s in Behavioral Therapy.
Michele speaks directly to parents in her podcast Navigating the Spectrum. As a mom and an ABA therapist, she knows that an autism diagnosis can have an emotional pull on parents. For her though, the diagnosis was a relief since it mean that she could get to work helping her children.
In this episode, we have a great conversation about some of the negative perceptions about ABA therapy, and how she approaches those challenges in her practice. She points out that you can do speech all day when you’re in the office, but that it only starts to click when the child also does speech at home with their family. One of the major reasons that she approaches therapy as a whole family event is that she knows exactly what it’s like as an autism mom herself. She practices inside Colorado, and outside the state she provides teletherapy services.
We are putting together a top notch teach of ABA therapists and SLPs to provide teletherapy beyond Ohio. I am so excited for this new venture that will be able to help more children and parents around the world. Check out my website for more information.
- For girls and highly verbal children, getting an autism diagnosis can be especially difficult since they don’t present like the checklists that most doctors are working from.
- Because she knows that there may be a team outside the school system, Michele works hard to include parents in the IEP goals so that everyone can be on the same page.
- As a parent and an ABA therapist, Michele would like Speech-Language Pathologists to know that she doesn’t always understand their lingo.
Michele is a wife and mother of four children. Two of Michele’s children are autistic and these diagnoses led Michele to pursue a Master’s degree in Behavior Therapy. After completing her Master’s program, Michele started her company Navigating the Spectrum, LLC where she helps to guide and educate parents by teaching useful and evidence-based tools and techniques to use within their own homes. Michele also works with autistic adults by teaching social skills and working on everyday tools and techniques used in navigating life.
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