Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Episode #13: Home Versus School Behaviors with Pam Smith

When Behaviors Happen Only At Home or Only At School

For more information about Pam and Barb, check out their websites:

Here are few resources we shared and/or alluded to during our conversation and/or ones
that we find immensely helpful in our work:

A broken feedback loop between the parent and child when the child has Autism is discussed in this
article. It is a mainstream article that glosses over some of the research but can be a good starting
point if you want more information on how the feedback between parent and child can be impacted.

Effects of Teacher Greetings on Student On-Task Behavior: This 2007 study of the effect of a
simple verbal interaction with each middle schooler in a class goes to the part of the conversation
where Barb was referring to a greeting from a teacher to a child impacts the attention to task
during class.

And a couple of fun videos of teachers doing the above with students:
3rd Grade Teacher in Wichita: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VzOmZ4bdTw

Inclusion resource that we love….

One of my all-time favorite TEDtalks on supporting creativity (and neurodiversity by default)
in schools:

We love Pam’s social goal regarding a student engaging in contingent exchanges rather than
just “turn taking.” Here is a sample:
A student will actively participate in up to 4 contingent exchanges with a familiar adult then a
less familiar adult then a peer across settings. A contingent exchange is either verbal and/or
nonverbal (e.g., Student asks peer “can I have a crayon, please.” Peer nods and holds out
crayons. Student takes the container of crayons and says “thank you.” Peer says “your welcome.”)

Conformity and autism - the autistic perspective. A great resource for learning more about
autism from the inside perspective.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Epidode #12: When a child is "being bad" with Pam Smith

Barbara and Pam discuss the notion that children are not being bad when they exhibit a
challenging behavior. They delve deeper into one specific case that Pam brings up where
a child is being characterized as choosing to engage in difficult behaviors or is “being bad”.
They talk through how they support families and school teams to move past that thinking
to understand that behavior is communication.

Barb's main website: www.synergyautismcenter.com
Pam's main website: www.pjsconsultation.com

Here are few resources we shared and/or eluded to during our conversation and/or ones that we find
immensely helpful in our work:

Ross Greene
Lives in Balance (wrote Collaborative Problem Solving which he has since renamed Collaborative and
Proactive Solutions)

Stuart Shanker
Helps us move from thinking a behavior is bad to a behavior being a stress response.
Excellent book and resources - available through his website

Temple Grandin
Well known speaker, advocate, and specialist in autism and livestock handling. She is extremely well
known and respected for her ability to share the “inside view” of autism, as an adult with autism. She
has several books and we will provide her website:

Insanity quote
“Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”
Turns out we were both right! Or we were both wrong? Many people trace the quote back to Einstein but
apparently, there is no proof that he actually said it. It IS widely used, as Pam suggested, in recovery programs.
For more discussion on the origins (or non-origins) of the quote, you can read more here:

The Power of Habit Book
Some good ideas for changing habits and what it takes to change them. He dives into how we develop habits,
how triggers and routines continue them, and then how to create new ones. This is a nice introduction into
how setting events, rewards and consequences all shape behavior (the basis of many autism interventions)

How Habits are formed
There was a study in 2009 by Lally et al that found that it takes an average of 66 days to create a new habit.

Healthcare Information Portability and Accountability Act
We will not be disclosing identifying details from the cases we discuss due to the fact that we are governed
by HIPAA which is a law that protects the privacy of medical information.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Episode 11: The Boy Who Dives Under the Table with Kristie Pretti-Frontczak

Hello and welcome to another episode of our wonderful Synergy Autism Podcast.

Today, I am chatting with my good friend and colleague, Dr. Kristie Pretti-Frontczak. She was working with a classroom team in one of her trainings who was perplexed as to what to do for and with a child who dives under the table at the end of the day.

Listen in as we "unpack" what to do in the middle of the storm but then also how to return to the issue to teach and support in different ways. We explore what to do to:
  • Decrease stressors
  • Engage your whole classroom team in decreasing stressors
  • Engage a parent who is there to pick up the child
An extra special thank you to Dr. Kristie Pretti-Frontczak for another great question for us to discuss and share with you.

A couple of our favorite resources we mentioned during this podcast:

Our website for further exploration for teachers, parents, and administrators:

And my main website where I have links to local and online training and support services specializing in autism:

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Episode 10: When A Child Will Only Be Held with Kristie Pretti-Frontczak

Listen in to episode 10 where Barbara Avila and Kristie Pretti-Frontczak discuss a question Kristie got from the field (early childhood preschool classrooms)....

What do you do when a child will only be held and will "meltdown" if put down onto the floor, a chair, or elsewhere? How can that child be successful and how can I run a classroom when I am having to hold a child all day!?


Friday, June 2, 2017

Episode 9: When A Child Just Won't Join The Group! with Kristie Pretti-Frontczak

When a child says "NO WAY!" verbally or through their behavior - what do you do?!?

What IEP or IFSP can you possibly write?

What do you do when they refuse to join?

In this podcast, I am speaking with Dr. Kristi Pretti-Fronczak. We answer a question from one of her ECSE teams about a child who just won't join the group or any other activity for that matter. The team wants to know how to teach and what IEP/IFSP goals to write when this happens. Listen in as we hash this one out together!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Episode #8: Child with autism who seems to eat constantly with Kristie Pretti-Frontczak

Synergy Autism Podcast - Episode #8
With Kristie Pretty-Frontczak and Barbara Avila

In this episode of the Synergy Autism Podcast, Kristie and I chat about a child who seems to eat constantly. Kristie travels the United States providing professional development trainings for early childhood classrooms and was asked about a child with autism who is featured in this episode. We do not use names or identifying information.

Listen in for a few tips and ideas for connecting with a child with similar issues and to connect home and school surrounding eating concerns and/or needs.


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Episode 7: Interview with Jonathan Chase

Interview with Jonathan Chase

Fall 2016

Jonathan Chase is an autism advocate, musician, magician and now an author. Please listen in to this wonderful conversation with Jonathan about his life, his mission to help students in schools today and in the future. His new book is called From Surviving to Thriving: Classroom Accommodations for Students on the Spectrum and can be purchased on Amazon HERE.

Jonathan's website is:  www.jonathanchase.net