Join Me as I welcome Dr. Taylor Day A.K.A Dr. Tay to the show, to speak all things Autism and sleep in toddlers and younger children.
- Website: drtaylorday.com
- Facebook Group: Facebook.com/groups/evolveautism
- Instagram: instagram.com/the.dr.tay
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/the-dr-tay/
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Podcast Episode Transcripts:
Disclaimer: Transcripts were generated automatically and may contain inaccuracies and errors.
Welcome to the kids sleep show where we help tired children to fall asleep independently, sleep through the night and build healthy sleep habits for Life. I’m your host, Courtney Zentz. Now let’s sleep together. Hey, everyone, welcome to this week’s episode. I am super excited this week to be joined by a very special guest. It’s somebody I actually met over on LinkedIn of all places, and we have just connected and really hit it off. She’s an amazing human and doing amazing work. She specializes in working with children who have been diagnosed with autism and supporting the family on this journey that they are on together. So I’m going to take a few minutes here and talk to you a little bit about Dr. Tay. And we’re going to jump in and get right on with this interview. So Dr. Taylor de also goes by Dr. Tay is a licensed clinical psychologist and she specializes in the diagnosis and intervention of autism and feel so passionate about supporting parents as they navigate their own unique autism journey. Dr. Tay developed the whole family approach, which is a comprehensive model including evidence based interventions for autistic children and their siblings. And for coaching parents to become more aware of their own thoughts and feelings on this journey. Her methods focus on promoting neurodiversity, and listening to autistic voices. Dr. Tay provides high touch concierge clinical services in 30 state and coaching services worldwide. Without further ado, let’s jump into that episode, and meet Dr. Tay. Hey, everyone, welcome to this week’s episode, I’m joined today with a special guest, Dr. Tay, who is a licensed psychologist for children with autism. And she is joining us to talk about all things autism sleep and ways that she works with so many families around the world. So I’m gonna give it a minute to allow her to do a proper introduction of herself. And to tell you a little bit more about her background. So welcome. Thank you so much for being on the kids sleep show today.
Thank you, Courtney. It’s so I’m so excited to be able to be here and just share about autism. And I know, you know, right off the bat when we connected, there’s such an overlap between your world in mind. So like you said, I am a licensed psychologist and my specialty is in autism. I work with autistic children ages 12 and under and really in focus though on supporting the whole family. So through my private practice, it is a concierge private practice, meaning I’m here to support the entire process. This is high quality care. This is unlike traditional therapy, where you go for your appointment and you see your provider the next week, I’m here to support you in every single element. Because I saw such a need that there are a lot of great resources for autism. But often the parents are pretty unsupported in the process. And you know, the rest of the family too, you know, thinking about siblings and what their experience is like having an autistic sibling. And so yeah, I just I saw a need. And this is always been my passion. I’ve been in the autism field for over a decade, and just decided that I wanted to do things differently in order to provide more comprehensive support. And so yeah, and then one other little thing too, is I have my clinical practice, but I also then just saw a need for parents own emotional well being and, you know, having a space to process into feel. And so I recently launched a group coaching program that is designed for parents of autistic children as well. And literally that can go worldwide. You can tune in from anywhere, it is completely virtual. But you will find a community of like minded autism parents,
I love that because I feel like the space itself is something that to your point is a community. Right? One of the consultants here at Tiny transitions, focuses with just children who have autism and works with families to support their sleep needs. And you know, we’re seeing that space growing, you know, and I think that it is such an interesting way in which you can work with families in the concierge way that you do. Because you bring up a great point, I see it in the sleep coaching space, right, you’re hiring a sleep coach, you talk to them two or three times over the course of a couple of weeks. And it’s terrible support for families at you know at any situation. And one of the things that we do differently here is similar in that like high touch accessibility to parents because they’re going through a major transition. In our case, it’s around a child’s sleep, you know, and while that can typically be resolved in a matter of a few weeks, right families with children who have autism, it is a lifelong journey that changes based on their II age developmental milestones like all of the above So, you know, how did you decide to get into the concierge practice? Did you traditionally practice as a psychologist initially and then realize that that format wasn’t working? Because I know you mentioned, you know, that it’s, it’s much different than what many of us experienced, you know that one to one, you talk to a doctor for an hour, and they’re like, Alright, good luck. See you next week, you know, go get them.
Yeah, so I actually was in the research space before I launched my private private practice. And, you know, in academic medicine, writing, manuscripts, like publications and journals, writing grants, all of that, and truthfully, I thought that was my lifelong dream. And one day a week as part of this, in order to accrue enough hours for licensure, I was doing clinical work. And I started to realize, wait a minute, I’m looking most forward to the days that I’m doing clinical work and my identity through and through was as a research researcher, all through my training. And so that was a little weird for me at first, and I started to realize, wait a minute, when I can start doing things, the way that I, I want to do them, I feel that much more passionate about it. And so I slowly, you know, in the entrepreneurial space really fascinated me as well. So I slowly was like, you know, I think I want to go into private practice. I also had hired a coach myself and saw how much that transformed my life in one way learning to let go of this identity of researcher because it wasn’t my identity anymore, I just kind of was that old habits, right? Diehard So, and I started to realize, wait a minute, there is such a need. The other element of this story that I think is important is I grew up knowing what autism was. So my brother was diagnosed with autism when he was 23 months of age. This was over two decades ago, though, that’s what’s crazy. So really, really young for back then, but we are 10 years apart. So I was 12 when he was diagnosed, so I was very aware of what was going on. And so when I took a step back, and I started to realize what the needs were in this autism space, I started to realize I could be entrepreneurial, and design the business that I wanted to, and then bringing in my own personal experiences and seeing how my family wasn’t supported. You know, through this journey, my brother got great services. But my family and I were not supported. I just saw such a need. And I am all for like, rocking the boat breaking status quo. And I was like, why can’t I do it this way? And so that that is what I was, like, I’m doing it. And it has been absolutely incredible to work with families in this manner.
That’s amazing. And I think to your point, right, two decades ago, it was not a common diagnosis with a lot of resources and support, especially for the family. Right? And so we in the sleep coaching space, have parents that come to us and go, Hey, you know, sleeps an issue right now, we got to dive into why how? What does it look like? What’s going on? Is it habit based? Is there something else going on? It’s more of a clinical issue. Right? And, you know, we’re, we’re capacity wise, we’re trying to assess like the whole picture. And I think to your point, your brother was 23 months old, right? What do parents who are in that situation? Look for? Right? Like your parents obviously noticed some things were going on? What do parents today if they’re sitting there going hmm, I’m listening to this particular podcast, because I’m kind of curious, you know, if there’s something going on in my own family with one of my own children, like, where do you start?
Absolutely, yeah. And I think one of the things to know, is because I think this is an important piece way back when my mom had to advocate so much for this diagnosis. And so that’s what I want to empower you to do that if you have concerns about your child. Don’t be afraid to advocate don’t be afraid to have the squeaky wheel. You know, you are the expert of your child. And so things that you can look for to start to, like calibrate your own intuition. First off, I want to address sleep itself. I will say I do a lot of early diagnosis. And when I’m talking early, I’m talking maybe much younger than parents listening to this might think so we can start diagnosing autism as young as 12 to 14 months of age, it it’s really understanding where what typical development looks like and then how a child is deviating. That doesn’t mean all children can be diagnosed that young. But if you start to have concerns, you know, talking to your pediatrician about your concerns, or even starting to look for someone like myself as psychologists who specializes in autism, but we often see sleep being a huge issue. When I’m doing these clinical interviews, we talk I asked about sleep routinely, because I want to know, and it is an area of challenge. But it’s not specific, right? Kids can have sleep difficulties for other reasons other than autism. But I just wanted to kind of tune you in that that might be one of the things that you’re going by listening to this podcast, you’re already like, okay, my kid is struggling with sleep, what other signs and symptoms are there. And so one of the things that we know about autism is that generally the way the brain is wired, that there is this preference for objects or activities over people. And that doesn’t mean I want to be clear, that doesn’t mean that your child might not be interested in interacting with you. But are they just naturally gravitated to doing something their own way, or playing with toys in a specific way, or kind of getting hyper fixated on the activity itself, we’re also looking for things like, you know, really young children should be sharing their enjoyment, they’re excited about something they’re looking at you, they want you to be excited about it. You also might see, you know, difficulty, like getting them to respond to their name or eye contact, things like that. So there’s so many like different signs that can come up transitions tend to be a really big one, which also can be related to sleep, that difficulty trigger from that difficulty to transition from one activity to another. I literally could do an entire podcast episode on this. So those are just like a few pieces. And I will say I do have my own podcast is called evolve with Dr. Tay real conversations designed for autism parents, I’m actually going to have Courtney on it here shortly. But I did an episode on what is autism. So it’s episode four. So if you’re starting to be like, Hmm, maybe my child has a few of these things, that might be a next step for you
know, and I think the resources are so incredibly helpful. A girlfriend of mine here has a son who has special needs, and he is in the Philadelphia area. And she just launched an entire collaborative around families with children who have special needs, because she’s like, there’s just such a gap in resources, and I’m navigating this world that is so hard. And he’s 12, you know, so she’s like, I’ve spent 12 years just like trying to find a specialist for this and trying to find a specialist for that. And I think as parents already it’s overwhelming to be a parent, right at one kid, let alone two kids, and then you throw in, you know, all of these additional appointments that are necessary and evaluations that are necessary, right. And I think parents feel already overwhelmed. And then it gets further complicated. Right? Yeah. You know, you deal with kids up through 12. Right. So talk a little bit about older children, like now you have that diagnosis, right? So somewhere, typically, before, I’m going to say kindergarten, right, there’s usually enough of a potential gap somewhere in a milestone, right, that starts to lead you down that like, hey, maybe we should be tested. But what if there isn’t anything? Right? How often do you see that it’s later that children are being diagnosed? Initially? And then how do you work with older children? Like talk a little bit about that? Because I focus a lot on younger kids, because that’s predominantly who we work with as children, you know, kind of eight and younger, but we could work with older children, you know, we do from time to time, but you know, talk a little bit about that side of it, not just babies and toddlers, right? Yeah.
Yeah. And I think this is really important. Because there, there are so many kids that don’t get that early diagnosis, whether that’s the system miss them. I hear a lot of parents saying, Oh, I was saying over and over how concerned I was, and no one was listening to me, which can be so incredibly hard. And then, you know, elementary age, they are finally getting that diagnosis. We see teens getting diagnosed, and even more so we’re seeing adults getting diagnosed for the first time. I think some of it is you know, there’s a lack of education sometimes on what autism looks like pediatricians literally saying, well, your child looked at me, they can’t have autism. And it’s like, they absolutely can have autism and still have eye contact. And so I think that’s one thing to note is that diagnosis, yes, we can do it really young. And I’m emphasizing that because within the autism field, that’s even more my area of expertise is early diagnosis and early intervention. But we absolutely see kids who are not diagnosed, so don’t be afraid to keep advocating. And then if your child’s already diagnosed, I think some of the kids common things that I have presenting to me, in terms of, you know, families is lots of emotion dysregulation, so really big emotions, difficulty handling those, we often see anxiety co occurring very strongly with autism, lots of worry, or lots of avoidance. And it’s so fascinating even to think about these these areas that I’ve mentioned so far. And that can relate to sleep. And I will say, like, I’m getting school aged kids who, you know, they aren’t sleeping, or, you know, it’s really difficult for them to transition off of technology into bed at night, or there’s anxiety, there’s separation anxiety there. So you know, the child’s sleeping in their parents bed, I have a case right now that that’s literally what we’re working on through an exposure framework, because there is, you know, a clinically significant anxiety, diagnosis and all of that. And then the last one, I’d say I commonly see are like more behavioral issues that can be confused. As opposition ality now, autistic children can have Oppositional Defiant Disorder co occurring. But I think more often than not, it’s, it’s a mismatch of the way that our world is structured, and what’s placed on them, and it’s not aligning with like, what they need and what they’re trying to communicate. And, and so sometimes, it’s actually a lot of times it’s supporting the parent to kind of shift the environment and help the child you know, get more positive attention for the things that they’re doing well, and learn how to, you know, if they are verbal, learn how to advocate for themselves, things like that.
And that is something I’m actually working on right now. Because I see a lot of toddler parents that we work with, who have children, just flat out kind of challenges in the day, right, and they come to me and go, Hey, this child is not sleeping well, at night, they’re waking multiple times are coming in and waking us up and doing all these things. They throw a temper tantrum at two in the morning, if I won’t lay with them or rub their back are, let them twirl my hair for 90 minutes and stuff, you know? And I’m like, okay, so you’re letting them twirl your hair for 90 minutes, right? Like, where’s the boundary around that? And then we start immediately diving into daytime behaviors. And I’m like, take me through a typical day, like, where do you see defiance coming from your toddler? Right? And they’re like, well, they throw their food. And then I have to clean it up. And you know, I get upset and say, please don’t throw your food. And I’m like, Okay, what happens next? Or like, we throw the food again, right? And I’m like, Okay, we got, you know, so it’s interesting, because you start to see the behavior that happens during the day, then is manifesting at bedtime, and overnight. And frankly, it’s far worse, because parents fuses are shorter, everybody’s tired. And when you don’t sleep, well, nobody functions well. cognitive, emotional, behavioral, they’re all down the toilet for the whole house. And so, you know, one of the interesting things you just said was listening to your children, understanding what they’re working on, or working towards, or looking for, even if they either can’t communicate it, or aren’t communicating it yet for their age or through the right means that a parent understands it, right. Like, this kid was throwing their food, but why? You know, and so it’s also setting a boundary kids are looking for consistency. I think they like boundaries, right? And I think it helps them to feel safe and secure. And so when parents are like, well, I don’t want my kid to have any boundaries. It’s like a free for all around here, you know, and then you get the behavior, like what happens when you throw their food and like you pick the food up and say, I’m assuming because you’re throwing it, we’re done until dinner, and then they don’t get a snack, right? Like, there’s a boundary, you made the choice to throw your food. And now we are finished with that meal. And we’re going to move on to the next activity, but it’s, it’s reframing a lot of the daytime activities to then feed the behavior at night. And often when we fix the daytime, it actually makes bedtime and overnight fixing of those issues so much easier, and better and different, because I think kids feel supported. And they also know that there are some boundaries, you know, and I think what you said, engagement, right? Like, I’m a working parent, I’m up at five on my computer every day at 501 by choice, I’m an early bird, but by three o’clock, I’m spent, you know, and so I’m in bed with my kids, like they go to bed at eight. I’m in bed by 830 reading for half hour and I’m asleep at night and you know, every night and it’s clockwork, but I also unconscious in the day to play with my kids and to say what would you like to do? Sybella Max, what would you like to do and have separate time where I’m also allowing them to tell me what they want to do you want to print pictures of some football player you’re obsessed with? Great, we’ll do that. You want to go play beads cool. Barbie is great. I got that I’m good with hair. Right, you know, but I’m also listening to them. I mean, I’m curious. Just from your perspective, right? If you have a child who has autism, right and maybe either nonverbal, or you’re trying to figure out as a parent how to navigate the, the ups and downs of the emotions, like what are some practical pieces of advice like that you can afford to a parent right of a toddler who’s sort of struggling to to find their voice or might not have a voice yet, right?
Yeah, I mean, a couple of things come to mind, the first one being and you you said this, but the behaviors themselves, they have a function, right, and we need to figure out, when these challenging behaviors are arising, what is the child trying to communicate, they’re not just doing it out of the blue there, there always is what we call an antecedent, which comes before the behavior, it’s like the trigger. And then there’s the consequence. And I don’t mean consequence in the sense of like, you know, timeout, for example, consequences, just what what is happening after, how are you reinforcing that. And so the example was throwing the food, if you pick it up every single time, that is reinforcing the likelihood, they’re going to be, you know, throw their food, but the other side of it is on the antecedent side, you might be missing some way that they’re telling you, I don’t want this. And so you know, actually realizing these behaviors have a function. And I actually recommend parents to spend about a week or two, if they’re not, in, even if they feel like they know the function, start tracking what it is because it starts to have a pattern. And like you’re talking about that pattern transitions from daytime to nighttime to because again, those behaviors are reinforced, one of the things to keep in mind is kids will take any attention they can get, of course, they prefer positive attention, but they’ll take negative attention to them, it’s still attention, that’s still a win. And so what you’re also describing about, you know, sitting down and playing with your your kids, and you know what they want to do, that’s a form of positive attention. They’re realizing they’re getting mommy’s attention, you know, in that moment, and that they don’t need to act out in order to get that. And as a parent, there is no judgment here. Because sometimes it’s easy to get in these habits where you might be like, Well, I don’t sit down and play with my child, these are small shifts you can make, and, you know, just starting to become aware that the time you’re spending working on these negative behaviors and giving them this negative attention, that takes time to and so this is where you can start to shift it. And I think one of the best ways to do this is similar to what you were saying, and this is true of any kid, I don’t care what their developmental level is, I don’t care what their ages, I don’t care what their verbal ability is, is sitting down with them, and just follow their lead. They don’t even need to identify an activity that they want to do. Just let them in that moment, it’s a short period, follow their lead and join in or make commentary, even if you’re not, you know, reciprocally playing with them, because they don’t have those skills. Even just, you know, like short little like annotation of like, ooh, read Korea, scribble, scribble, you know, really simple language that’s entering their world. And that is a form of positive attention that will go really, really far. And when we’re thinking, what’s fascinating is those two tips I just gave, those are the basis of, you know, when parents are presenting with behavioral difficulties, that’s where we start, we start with positive attention, we actually don’t start with things like timeout and consequences that are, you know, removing privileges, things like that. We start with the positive. And then we also try to understand why the child is doing this.
And I think for a working parent, right? To your point, no judgment, right. I was just writing something this morning about working and how I did a different podcast on the first day of daycare, right for babies, and my kids went to daycare from 12 weeks, through five years of age, every day, five days a week, I worked full time in corporate I dropped them off at 730 picked him up at 430 we got home at five, we ate dinner, they took a bath, we played for 20 minutes, and they went to bed, you know, and there was guilt associated with that. But they also needed sleep, so I wasn’t going to keep them up so that I could play with them. I was going to put them to bed because that was what their body needed. Recognizing that in that little bit of time I had, I was gonna do my best to try to make it fun. Right. And it I think for many parents is like where do I fit this in? Right now? You’re telling me I got to sit, play with five minutes. That’s all you got to do. And I do it even with my kids now like I get done working and they’re like Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy and I’m like, Hey, why don’t you help me Cut cucumbers and I got these like kids safe knife that you know my daughter sits in like butchers is cool. Out of these cucumbers, but you can still eat them. And she feels like she’s helping. We’re in the kitchen together, there’s one on one time, you know, and she cuts the cucumbers. And so I’m engaging with her in a way that still allows me to get what I need to get done. Because I can’t always sit and play Barbies, you know, even today, she is six. But I think, you know, to your point, like just trying to make some of those activities. Not so much pressure, but more, just do your best. And try to also pay attention, like a lot of our private sleep clients. I’m like, we’re not doing anything for a couple of days, I want you to watch and listen and journal. What behaviors are kids are exhibiting during the day, what their diet looks like, you know, some of this stuff, and, you know, sometimes stating the obvious, they’re like, oh, my gosh, this is a pattern or Yikes, vanilla yogurt has a lot of sugar in it. And I’m giving it to a seven month old, that’s probably part of the problem, you know, but I think it’s recognition and sometimes just pausing like we are on autopilot, and we’re going a million miles an hour every day. So I feel like sometimes taking a step back and just looking at the whole picture can actually be eye opening for parents, right, including myself, are you need to take a pause, you know, so to your point, not all attention has to be like the yelling time you’re like, do the thing. It’s more, you know, just balancing grace in the moment and trying to there’s going to be positive and negative in every house. I feel like in some capacity tweak, right, we’re all doing our best but giving yourself grace, but also like taking a step back and looking at the whole picture of what might be going on through your kids eyes.
Yeah, absolutely. And like you are referring to this can happen. This positive attention can happen during everyday activities. So it doesn’t have to be you’re always like sitting down and carving out a ton of time, quality over quantity. And I really want to say that because I think if you scroll social media, and you see you know, some parents do these really elaborate things and that is amazing for them. And but then that guilt sets in of like, oh, well, I don’t make these arts and crafts with my kids or I don’t have all these activities setup. It’s like no, like you’re talking about during cooking, what can you do, or even they’re eating, instead of you know, you are multitasking, can you sit down for a couple minutes, and just go numb, numb, numb, you know, and like, make silly faces. And all of that are during bath time, like actually sitting there. And you know, developing a routine, like, you know, one of my patients actually just yesterday, the patient is too so and has autism. And the parents literally were giving a bath and they were doing Ready, set go and just dumping water. And that was that moment. And he was smiling. He loved it. The parents were so excited. They they sent me a video of it. They’re like, look, he’s saying go for the first time. And it really just was about that everyday activity. How can we create this predictable, fun routine, and structure in a way where the whole family, you know, is involved mom, dad and the kid happened to be involved. It’s okay if it’s just one of you, too. But it can be these small moments that I think sometimes that you know, maybe we just aren’t realizing that there is an opportunity to connect and interact with your child. And those small moments make huge, huge progress. That is when I work with parents in terms of early intervention for autism, we are literally doing the intervention during everyday activities like I am coaching parents of okay, here’s an activity. Let me give you some ideas right now in this activity, what you can do go ahead do them, I’ll support you through it. And that gives them future ideas too. So it doesn’t have to be this huge, elaborate thing. Quality over quantity is what is the most impactful?
Yeah, definitely I learned about I mean, it might be going on two years now. Frankly, it’s been a while years go quick for my business coach at the time, who is an amazing human and she taught me three awesomes one not awesome. So she did this with her family. I do it with mine. And we either do it at dinner every night. And if we don’t happen to sit down to dinner, which I try to prioritize, but I recognize we got a million things going on right but if we don’t do it at dinner, we always do it at bedtime, which is three awesomes and one not awesome so every person that the table has to say three things that were good and only one thing that was not awesome that day. It has opened up our eyes to our children’s feelings in a different way. It has also opened up our eyes to both positive and negative things that they say that is having an impact right like that. I’m like, Oh, well we would have done that anyway, but to them it was something like super special right like the bath and you know, like that moment in the moment. But it was super special to that child for whatever the situation He was and that has been hugely impactful in our home. My kids love it. They’re like, we didn’t do our awesomes. You know, so then we call them our awesomes. We didn’t do our awesome. So so we do our awesomes at bedtime, you know, and, and we’ve worked in things like meditation, right, like just helping a kid to learn to breathe differently. We’ve used zoo animal, which is one of my favorite products of all time and owner is amazing and came into my life at just a time when I felt like I needed it because my son was struggling with my own cancer diagnosis and like getting major surgeries and stuff. And he was very, very anxious. And he was already a real sensitive kid still is, you know, my daughter is definitely the Bulldog. But this product is like mindset and meditation, it’s a little turtle, it’s device free. My two year old can turn it on my three year old could turn it on my four year old, can you like hit a little button and hit play. And it becomes this sense of like part of our routine at night, but we do it together. So I’ll lay in bed with my kids during bedtime and do the sleep meditation, or sometimes if we’re having a day where they’re just like, I want this and I want that, right? I’m like, oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, we’re gonna put the gratitude meditation on now because there’s people that are starving in other parts of the world. And so I try to like level set that, like, they need to take a check back on their breath. And it’s interesting, because even at such a younger age, they have learned to control their emotions with their breath, and I 100% accredited to the zoo animal. And I have clients of all ages that use that product I bought, they have an adult one as well. And I have these little turtles travel everywhere with me, because they’re just such beautiful little things. And there’s no screen time, you mentioned that right? Screens are so addictive for adults, for kids, right? That blue light is a stimulant to that part of the brain, it takes about 60 minutes to unwind, like all these things. And, you know, it’s like, this is a great alternative without the devices, right? I mean, devices are, are tough, because it’s just the way of the world, you know, my son yesterday was like I want to draw, I’m gonna get the iPad and print a couple pages, I’m like, You are not going to touch the iPad till Saturday, you can use your imagination and draw something or you can use another picture that you printed last weekend, and you can try to redraw it. But like, we’re not going to keep going for just a minute to jump on the computer or print a coloring page. Because it just creeps in slowly, you know, talk about that with with the children that you work with, like device heavy stuff, because there’s such a balance, like, I want my kids to get extra reading and I can’t always read to them. So I have the epic app. Well, the great, but then they gotta be on the device to use the epic app. So I’m like, I fight even with their teachers. I’m like, I don’t really want them on the device. But I like the apps from a learning standpoint, but then you’re still reinforcing their own device, like how do you find that balance?
Yeah, I mean, I think in our modern day society, that it is really, really tricky. And what I really suggest to parents is moderation. That sometimes to this, this like, no devices, it’s really hard to be able to navigate. And there are some, you know, higher quality apps out there and higher quality shows, for example, but we do really need to make sure we’re regulating the amount of time. One of the things actually I do really like devices for and to the point that if it goes against the AAP, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation, they say no screens before age two. But listen, parental mental health is so incredibly important. And if that is the only way that you can get a 15 minute shower, you know, that is okay. Right. And so it’s this balance, but then it is a transition away from it that I think becomes really important. So that’s one of the things that I actually do find to be helpful, because a lot of times it’s one of the few things that allows a kid to I mean, they do they zone in right, but if that’s going to also improve your own mental well being and give you a little bit of a break. In that time, I actually am all for it because I’ve seen the impact that you know a parent feeling like they always need to be on and they’re demoting their own self care in it how detrimental that is. So it’s a pro. It’s a cost benefit of analysis, basically, you know, in that moment. The other thing is that what we do know about autistic children. Again, I talked about the brain wiring earlier that just naturally there’s been so many research studies on this, that just naturally for autistic children their brain is wired more towards objects and things and devices are part of that where you know they’re gonna prefer devices likely over social interest. Question just in terms of their brain wiring. So that can make it more challenging to to get them off of it. And then we add in, you know, a symptom of autism is transition difficulties. And so then you’re you’re having this difficulty of transitioning them off. So I would say the biggest thing I would say is that in this sounds like you what you’ve done, Courtney is really clear guidelines of when technology is in isn’t allowed, if that makes sense.
We use these little timers, I keep one at my desk, the Handy penguin like, yeah, it’s on Amazon. And I’m like, we’re gonna go up and take a bath when the timer goes off. Yep, exactly. You know, and it’s like, okay, the timer went off. Not Can I have one more minute? Because kids are always going to push the boundary one more minute. Yep. Like, no, we’re going to put that down now and move on. And let’s let me help you to put that away. Right. And, like, by that away,
you know, yeah, because I think it’s digital supports are so helpful. Yeah, because
it’s a it’s not a device, like bringing that beings all the time with other stuff. It’s like when the penguin says it’s time to go. And the penguin travels with us outside and on vacation and stuff. And I eat my own dog food with this kind of stuff. Because it it works. And there’s that balance to the transition. Right? I you know, when my daughter was a baby newborn, like three months old, we would drive to the beach every Friday night, she screamed the entire way. Dr. Day I was like, oh, for the love of God, please shush your mouth. She wasn’t hungry. She just hated the car. But I’m like, What are we supposed to do? We’re driving to the beach, you know, and I’m like, I don’t want her to cry for an hour and a half while we’re driving. Because otherwise she was fine. But something in that car she didn’t like for those first couple months. But what are we supposed to do. And to your point, I was like, I’m put on Baby Einstein. So I downloaded the Baby Einstein app. And I’m like, You know what, it what is more detrimental, you crying for 90 minutes while we drive, and me wanting to smash my face into the mirror, or putting on the Baby Einstein on the iPad, and you could watch the fish swimming around for 90 minutes. And it’s like, um, you know, I’m doing my best as a parent. And to your point, we got to make it all work. And that was great. Like she, she’d watched a fish on duck Baby Einstein, and I’m like, alright, well, at least it helps Baby Einstein. But it worked. And I’m like that is it is less detrimental for you to watch Baby Einstein than it is for you to cry for 90 minutes, because there’s nothing I can do your strap safely in your car seat. You’re not hungry, you didn’t poop. And you don’t have a burger. You just don’t like the car. But we gotta go the beach. So we got to work it out. Yeah, exactly.
And by the time you arrive, if she’s been screaming for 90 minutes, your nervous system is fried. At that point, you know. And so that’s where that yeah, sometimes the cost versus benefit it, there’s so much more advantage just to being like, Okay, I need the silence so that when I show up, you know that you’re not screaming at everyone, you know, because your nervous system is so fried. It’s like the trigger, if real quick, if we go back to the antecedent behavior consequence, the antecedent would be your daughter screaming, the behavior might be you, you yell at your partner for something, they don’t even know why they’re getting yelled at, you know, and then then they shut down, and then all of a sudden, you’re not getting the help you need, because your partner is like, well, I didn’t know how to help. I just got yelled at, you know, and this is a really real life example. I hear all the time. And so sometimes switching up that antecedent, you know, being like, Baby on son is going to be okay. In order to gain your sanity back, I think that that can be really, really important.
And everybody’s just doing their best to say, No, we are all doing our best as parents to try to figure out what we’re navigating in that particular moment. And, you know, so like, give yourself grace, you know, give yourself grace, because I, like so many of you listening are just like, ready to crumble in some capacity or other, you know, and, like, just take a deep breath. And do your best in the moment to figure out what’s going to work for you. You know, there’s times where I’ve raised my voice at my own kids. And I’m like, Why did I do that? Like, you know what, we’re not perfect. Like, guys, I’m sorry that I raised my voice. That was not the right choice. And I will do better in the future. So I own it, man, you know, I own it, and they appreciate it. And then, you know, we move on and try to salvage what’s left at that particular moment. Right. None of us are perfect. You know, and I think it’s given yourself some grace and parents, especially if you’ve got a child who has autism, like, you’ve got additional challenges that you’re trying to navigate at so many different ages. I mean, I know you have so many amazing resources. Dr. Tay, like, talk about the resources. I know you have a Facebook community, why don’t you take a minute to talk about that? Because that is a community where parents with children can go to get a village right that they might not feel like they have.
Yeah, this is something you know, that I’ve been building over the last few months. So it is the Evolve Facebook community. And it really is a place where you can ask questions about your child, I live stream my podcast there every week, where I do a podcast episode. And then there’s a q&a that’s exclusive to that group. So you can ask questions about the podcast topic. But it’s also a place for you to get support yourself. So one of the things Courtney, as you were just talking, you know, is reminding ourselves, if you’re and I guarantee, you’ve talked about this before, but if your child’s not sleeping, you’re not sleeping, and so your emotional capacity and your emotional bandwidth is so so much lower. And so your nervous system is going to be more fried. And you know, this is a place where you can share that and share the hard things that are going on. Because I think a lot of times too, in this autism journey, I hear parents say how lonely it is, you know, that other parents aren’t understanding, and your your wins, and your struggles are going to look different. You know, your win literally might be my child slept for a three hour stretch, you know, and that that feels amazing, and another parent might not understand it, or my child finally signed more for the first time. And sometimes, you know, with neurotypical children, those moments don’t feel as exciting because they, they haven’t had to work as hard to get those moments and you are working really hard. So you should be able to celebrate those. And so it’s just facebook.com forward slash groups forward slash evolve autism, I’ll be sure to send it to Courtney. So it can be LinkedIn, you just can click on it. But it really is, it’s a free space for you to feel seen, heard and supported.
Awesome. I love that. I love Facebook communities. We have one for for families as well around sleep. And it’s just such a beautiful way to work with families to meet families to help families feel supported. Everybody wants community. And I think it’s super awesome that you have that. And then I know you do a bunch of different type of coaching, you have group coaching, you do concierge coaching, like where can people find out about you and some of the services that you provide? You know, I found you actually on LinkedIn. I love LinkedIn. And it’s been such an amazing place to meet practitioners like yourself, but where can people find you? If they’re just parents who are kind of going home something seems amiss, or you know, let me just learn a little bit more about Dr. Tay?
Yeah, I mean, one of the things is I love providing free resources. So I have the Facebook community, I have my podcast, but I just love educating on social media too. Like I am constantly, you know, making posts that are speaking, if you are a parent of an autistic child that’s speaking directly to you, if you have concerns about your child’s development, a place for you to learn, I’d say the place I’m most active is on Instagram. So it’s at the period, Dr. Dr. Period, Tay. And so come come over there. And you’re welcome like to we can chat in my DMs for sure and see, you know, are any of my resources appropriate for you or any of my services appropriate for you. Another great place is my website. It is at the time of recording right now it is not fully launched. But there is a one one page up and live, but it’s just Dr. Taylor de.com. And this will provide you information about the different services that I provide. So, you know, I on the clinical side have my concierge practice. And this is really working one on one with your child providing evidence based treatment, but then also, you’re gonna get much more access to me, you actually get my personal cell phone number so and I encourage you text me in between let me know how things are going because Courtney, like you said at the start of this podcast, life doesn’t happen in just this, like I have this one hour support. Like that’s when things are happening, like this is a journey and you know, this can be a transition time when your child is in therapy. So I love being able to provide that support, and then just launched group coaching. And just so excited to be able to, you know, share with parents and and provide that community even more. So it is a curriculum designed for you as an autistic parent or a parent of an autistic child. You know, we’re going to talk about your own personal growth and development. We’re gonna talk about, you know, your thoughts and feelings, you know, what are you doing with your feelings? Are you suppressing them and pushing them down? Or are you giving them space to breathe? And you know, what, what thoughts are popping up through the day? Are they making it more difficult for you to get things done? And are you stuck in this cycle? And then also, like, we’re going to talk about your child. We’re going to talk about neurodiversity, too, and how you know, autism. Our society views it as one way but we’re seeing this movement of acceptance of like, Understanding that people’s brains think differently. And we’re literally going to dive into it all so that feel free at any point you can, you know, go to my website learn more you can connect with me on Instagram or even LinkedIn is just has dashes instead of periods. So the dash Dr dash Tei. And I’d love to be able to connect with you and chat with you.
Awesome. I’m so excited that you were able to spend some time today. I look forward to coming on to your podcast to talk all things sleep. And I really appreciate you and the work you’re doing and I know the families do as well. So thank you so much for being a guest, and I appreciate you very much.
Thank you so much for having me. This was awesome.
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai