Friday, August 28, 2015


I am meeting with a professional in the video/audio field on Monday to help with production!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Introducing Corinna Gilligan with Tina Bryson this week!

Tina Bryson is rescheduled to this coming week's time-slot due to some professional ventures with her new center (which I am sure she will tell us about). The fun part of having to reschedule is having a bit more time to think about the podcast and how to make it even better!

We will be having one of my very favorite client-mums on the podcast with me in the conversation with Tina. Corinna Gilligan is a brilliant, savvy, and experienced mother. Her son is now 13 years old and enjoys recent adventures in bicycling, summer camps, and his fair share of computer gaming. Her son is verbal, especially for echolalic statements (rote or repeated phrases) and is receptively more aware than he is able to verbally communicate.  Corinna has a wealth of experiences in different interventions for her son, has raised 2 other now-grown boys, and has lived all over the world.

I just know you will love having her on the podcast with Tina Bryson, giving us both the parent and professional perspectives on Tina's work.

Here is Tina Bryson's website:

And a great video with Dan Siegel, who wrote No Drama Discipline with Tina:

Listening and learning

Hello all. I am so encouraged by the numbers of people who said they are looking forward to this podcast. The people I have already and those I plan to have in the future are wonderful and innovative while helping all of us understand autism.

I am in the midst of the editing phase of podcasting. I am listening to podcasts on podcasting, reading how-to books and websites, and realizing that the editing/production part is a much bigger undertaking than I can integrate into my currently highly/over scheduled life. That said, I am tremendously motivated to bring this podcast and these people to you. I am both seeking those to help me AND more time to devote to the production. It will happen!

I am also thinking and working on the mission of this podcast. Loosely, I want to break down the walls of competition between so many interventions for autism. We (those in the field of autism) have not yet figured out the best way to even describe autism let alone how or even what to address succinctly. We all have our own perspectives about what and why autism is "on the rise." Instead of using valuable time and energy to debunk what seem like "competing" interventions, why not consider why some people are finding each intervention helpful? Maybe there is something valuable in every intervention out there or simply a need there that we should all address. Yes, we need evidence based practices to protect people and ensure best practice. However, we already know that nothing has 100% efficacy rates. We know that there are children who become anxious and/or lose ground with one intervention over another. If we are upset and wishing to protect new families from fraud businesses/interventions, maybe we should work on educating parents to be the best consumers possible. If we wish to protect families from harmful interventions, maybe we should have open dialogue about what works for some families and not others, and why. Parents/you are smart and know your children. You can be empowered through information from those who have been experiencing autism for many years before you. I hope that this podcast provides you a place to hear from professionals, parents, and those with autism in a manner that guides you to better understanding without feeling like you have to take sides.

Each child and each family is unique. Let's all listen and learn from one another to understand autism together.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Introducing Tina Bryson, Ph.D

Tina Bryson brings neuroscience into the hands of parents so that children can be "happy, healthy, and fully themselves."

I am incredibly happy to announce that the fabulous Tina Bryson, Ph.D. has agreed to have a discussion with me on this podcast. I have had the pleasure of meeting Tina twice, when she has visited Portland to present twice over the past 3 years. Her work is incredibly inspirational to me as a parent and as a professional guiding parents with children with severely challenging behaviors.

Tina brings together what we understand about brain development into the realm of real-time parenting in a way that makes sense, allows us to better understand our children, and have higher expectations of our children growing "to be happy, healthy, and fully themselves."

HERE is a wonderful article about Tina Bryson in Arroyo Monthly, where you can learn more about her and her work... until you hear her her on Synergy Autism Podcast!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Music by Paul Ashworth!

I am thrilled to announce that the music for this podcast is set! One of my wonderful friends, Paul Ashworth, who is a young autistic adult, has been composing music with his long time piano teacher. He and his family have graciously agreed to let me use one of his beautiful pieces for the podcast you will hear each time.

More coming soon as I attempt the editing end of things...


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Introducing Joyce Bernheim

Joyce Bernheim joined me for a frank discussion about her own journey into understanding the importance of social-emotional intelligence in today's society prior to having her own son diagnosed with autism. She then delved into the neuroscience behind this intelligence with a vengeance while also becoming an incredible advocate for the autism community here in Oregon through her work on the state autism commission.

Introducing Diane Solomon

One of my first guests is Diane Solomon. She is a mental health nurse practitioner who also has a son on the autism spectrum. Her son is the youngest of 4 beautiful children. She was a nurse midwife who did not believe in the use of prescription medications... then learned to appreciate their support with post-partum women with challenging depression. This new understanding guided her into her own pursuit to become a mental health nurse practitioner who could prescribe such medications. Later, when faced with the decision about medicating her own son, she had perspective that many parents do not have. She shares this wisdom, what she chose to do, among other tough decisions and wonderful celebrations along the way.

Introducing the Synergy Autism Podcast....

Welcome to the Synergy Autism Podcast blog.  I decided to start this blog to share the behind the scenes work it is taking to get the Synergy Autism Podcast on air!

The Synergy Autism Podcast Host: Barbara Avila, M.S. RDI®

I am an autism specialist and trainer in Portland, Oregon. I own Synergy Autism Center. I feel extremely blessed to have almost 30 years of experience working in the field of autism. I met a child with autism when volunteering at a weekend "camp" in 1985 and through my one on one work with a child with autism, became intensely curious about the brain, development, and autism.

Over the 29 years, I have been a line therapist and lead interventionist using ABA, an evaluator for school eligibilities, a teacher, a group home parent, a lecturer on autism for university courses, a consultant for school teams and parents, and trainer. I have received and provided training on almost every intervention available over the past 29 years. I am realizing the perspective I have that is different than others who have entered the field since I have. I have seen autism steadily rise in numbers of people identified and parents struggle with the diagnosis regardless of how early or how late. I have watched families and professionals struggle to learn as much as possible in a community that seems to consist of silos versus a collaborative mission. Parents and professionals pick which silo they will put their energy and put that energy in 150%. But then, many find that the silo is limiting or that the child has outgrown the silo or they simply need a different approach.

We all have the same mission: Healthy, Happy, Well-Balanced, and Celebrated People
I truly believe that no child, autism or not, should have just one teaching or parenting camp (or silo). We are all in this together. We all want the very best for all people on the autism spectrum. We want all children to be raised to be healthy, happy, well-balanced, and celebrated members of our communities. Autism does not change that. We now know so much about what works and does not work for guiding those with autism that we should be listening and collaborating vs continuing to support the confusion and division between interventions and therapies.

I have met amazing people in our world wide community who have understandings about our brains and how they develop, our inter-personal interactions that support growth, the ins and outs of diagnosis, social-emotional development (the hallmark challenge of autism), and more. This podcast's mission is to bring listeners the inside view of our autism community and how passionately we all work for the same mission - to better understand autism together.

Come along with me in this blog, as I take the journey into creating a podcast full of the voices of these wonderful people.