1:1 Webinar with the Autism Hippie


In addition to being an autism mom, Autism Hippie has worked with countless families, professionals, and schools for over ten years. She is trained/certified in several therapeutic teaching strategies, including Verbal Behavior, Floortime, RDI, Lindamood Bell, and Montessori teaching methods. She has attended numerous IEP meeting with families navigating the system to secure services. She has been on the end of that ‘first call/must call’ to support newly diagnosed families.

Now, you can consult, via private webinar, with the Autism Hippie from the comfort of your own computer. You get to choose the topics and the webinar is designed to answer your questions and concerns.

Among topics available, Autism Hippie will cover the core deficits of autism, the functions of eye contact, flexible thinking, social interactions, puberty, and the developmental stages required for communication and social interactions. She will help you understand meltdowns and provide you with strategies to deal with and reduce them from occurring. She will review your child’s IEP and help you create an action plan to secure the services need for success.

Autism Hippie Consultation Webinars are offered at $40 per two-hour blocks scheduled at your convenience.

After you schedule your webinar, Autism Hippie will email you a registration form to help design your webinar.

Schedule your Webinar

For more information on scheduling an Autism Hippie webinar, please email your questions to autismhippie@gmail.com.


Working with Autism Hippie: Session #1 – Meltdowns

I have had the pleasure to video consult with Dancing with Autism – you can read about Lilia’s progress in this wonderful update written by her mother.

The holiday season is so busy for everyone. I am not scheduling training webinars until January. If you would like information about the webinar series, please message me your email address. I will add you to the Autism Hippie email list.

Also, go ‘Like’ Dancing with Autism to follow our progress!!

Dancing With Autism


So I’ve been speaking with Autism Hippie…. because she’s intelligent, funny, and has a boat load of autism experience. She’s trained in several different therapeutic teaching strategies, including RDI – we’ve been doing a lot of RDI, floor-time/play therapy at our house since Lila was 15 months old, and it has worked wonders so far.

For this first installment, we focused on how to handle meltdowns.

Autism Hippie has two wonderful blogs about meltdowns, located here:


AND here:


Autism Hippie’s advice included the following:

  • Set up a predictable framework for meltdowns – always act the exact same way, every single time.
  • Breathe slowly and stay calm, keep saying the same things over and over (you can even use a sing song voice – which we did).
  • STAY CALM. I just said it but it warrants repeating, this is incredibly important. The more worked up SHE gets, the calmer…

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Aging Out Meeting Agenda 9/16


Last week, in partnership with the Autism Daily Newscast,  I posted my first piece in the series, Aging Out – Mike’s journey to adult services. Tonight, I am hosting a group local parents of children with disabilities for our first adult services meeting.

You are welcome to attend the meeting virtually by using the Autism Hippie AnyMeeting Link. If you live in the Tampa Bay area and would like to join the parent group, please send me an email at autismhippie@gmail.com.

9/16/15 Agenda

  • Autism Speaks Town Hall Meetings
  • Adult Services in Florida
  • Medwaiver
  • Successful Programs
    • Providers
      • Noah’s Ark
      • Quest
  • University Service Learning
  • Business Opportunities for People with Disabilities
  • Local Agencies
    • CARD Center
    • Autism Speaks
    • ASGO
  • Getting Started
    • Family Commitment
    • Fundraising
      • Treasurer
      • Event Ideas
        • Assignments
    • Timeline


Mike’s Window of Opportunity

September 5, 1997 – Mike was 22 months old – The day it began …
9 yrs old pg 1 8 1

page 2

Shortly before his 2nd birthday, October 20, 1997, Mike had the recommended developmental assessments and the autism journey began.

Over the years, Mike has received a multitude of therapeutic approaches. While I do not believe in a window of opportunity for brain development, I do believe in a window of opportunity for some aspects of functional behavior management. In short, size matters.  It is easier to physically assist a 5 year old than it is to assist a 15 year old.

My best advice; focus on a form of communication to minimize language anxiety, teach your child be recover from meltdowns, and expose your child to everything.

August 11, 1998 – Mike was 2 years 7 months – Almost

one year after diagnosis…

(Exerts from evaluation)

Relating To People

“The child shows aloofness (seems unaware of adults) at times. Persistent and forceful attempts are necessary to get the child’s attention at times. Minimal contact is made by the child.”


“The child imitates only part of the time and requires a great deal of persistence and help from the adult; frequently imitates only after a delay.”

Emotional Response 

“The child shows definite signs of inappropriate type and/or degree of emotional response. Reactions may be quite inhibited or excessive and unrelated to situations; may grimace, laugh, or become rigid even though no apparent emotional-producing object or event is present.”

Adaptation to Change

“The child actively resists change in routine, tries to continue the old activity, and is difficult to distract. He may become angry and unhappy when an established routine is altered.”

Verbal Communication

“Meaningful speech is not used. The child may make infantile squeals, weird or animal-like sounds, complex noises, approximating speech, or may show persistent, bizarre use of some recognizable words or phrases.”

Activity Level 

“The child exhibits extremes of activity or inactivity and may even shift from one extreme to the other.”

General Impression

“The child shows many symptoms or an extreme degree of autism.”

May 6, 1999 – Mike was 3-years 6-months – Almost

two years after official diagnosis …

(Exert from speech evaluation) 


June 2, 2005 – Mike was 9-years 7-months – Almost

eight years after formal diagnosis … 

9 yrs old pg 1 8

9 yrs old pg 1 7

Yes, at 9 years 7 month, Mike was just “beginning to use 2-3 word phrases to communicate”. If there is a ‘window of opportunity’ – it opened after this evaluation. 

If you would like to learn more about the changes I implemented during this time period, please attend the Autism Hippie webinar series.

Taking this trip back in time has been a wonderful experience. If you don’t believe that anything is possible, go watch some of Mike’s videos!









Good Times & Noodle Salad


AH - Castaneda Quote

Autism. In the days following Mike’s diagnosis, I remember a cashier innocently asking, “How are you?” as she pushed my groceries over the scanner. “How are you?” – the question felt like a knife. I just looked at her, pondering her words, pondering my emotions. It was too painful to provide her a canned response. Too painful to form a positive thought or consider ever having a positive emotion. “How am I?” – “How am I?” My son, my 23 month old baby, MY child has autism – how could I ever be simply ‘fine?’

Mike’s 2nd birthday party was scheduled to take place a couple of weeks after his diagnosis. I was paralyzed, simply going through the motions to meet the basic needs of my family. I belonged to my local ‘Moms Club’ and the other mothers came to my aid. They took over Mike’s party – hired the bounce house, cooked the food, helped with setup. I pulled it together enough to robotically attend the party – fighting back my tears and burying my emotions. To this day, I am incapable of looking at the pictures from that party.

In the months following, I quickly formulated and implemented a plan. It was a ‘recovery’ plan. I intended on pulling my son away from the diagnosis that was defining his life. I would not allow the dark thoughts to creep into my mind. I would not allow this diagnosis to define his future, not at 2 years old. I focused on the small progress he was making and threw myself into research. ‘Autism’ became my life – therapy appointments, diets, vitamins, whatever was popular.

A year later, I found myself sitting and watching a movie that would change my life. No, it was not the subject or message of the film – it was one line.

One simple question …

That question jolted my very core and forced me to look at how I was living my life. I was living for the future – waiting for the therapy to work and my ‘perfect’ child to arrive. I had put everything on hold; I was going through the motions. In fact, I was wasting the childhood that I did have with my children.

From that day forward, I have repeated that line, both in my head, and to other autism parents, countless times. It has given me the ability to shift my focus from what could be or could have been, to what is. It helped me decide what kind of life I wanted for myself and what kind of childhood I wanted for my children. It forced me to host great birthday parties and, sometimes, drag Mike into the world. I was able, with modifications, to fulfill the dreams I had for my kids before they were born. In essence, I chose to enjoy life. I chose to focus on each day without obsessing about an unknown future.

For, if this is truly as good as it gets, I choose to make the best out of what I have been given.

After all …


Disabled Lives Matter: An Open Letter to Jason Harrison’s Mother

Video: Dallas police open fire on schizophrenic man

Dear Ms. Harrison,

I just watched the horrific video of your son’s death and I am filled with emotion.

Let me start by stating that I am the daughter of a retired police officer, who was shot in the line of duty. Thankfully, for my father, his wounds were not fatal. I understand, firsthand, how challenging the job of a police officer is and I have tremendous respect for their bravery.

I clicked on the video of your son’s death with an open mind, expecting to see a bad situation gone terribly wrong. Instead, to my horror, I watched a video of your son being murdered.

As the mother of an adult-disabled child, I am heartbroken. I am shocked at how untrained, uncaring, and unprepared the police officers were to respond to your call for assistance. I am sickened by the heartless and calloused way they behaved while your son lay dying in your driveway. Hearing your screams and watching you run to the aid of your child brought me to tears. I cannot even begin to imagine your pain and the loss to your family.

For the past several months, the new media has been filed with coverage of protests and riots between police officers and the communities they are supposed to be serving. I have heard countless times – “Black Lives Matter.” If we truly desire to live in a society that values all life, where is the outrage for your son? Where is the “Disabled Lives Matter” protest?

The news coverage of your son’s murder seems to suggest that he somehow deserved to be shot because he was disabled. They are blaming him for not having the mental capacity and/or communication ability to understand and follow the officer’s instructions.

Weather or not your son lunged at the police, to me, is of no consequence. While a small screwdriver may pierce body armor and cause a wound, it does not justify lethal force. Where is the accountability of the police department? If your house were on fire, you would expect the firefighters to know how to operate the hose. Why is society excusing the lack of basic training of these officers? We can clearly see them taking an aggressive stance and shouting at your son. THEY escalated the situation. Their lack of basic psychological training should have disqualified them from responding to your home.

The sad reality is that society does not care about your son, or mine. There is no outrage at the lack of funding for quality adult programs, mental health services, or family support. We are forced to utilize law enforcement to assist us, while basic treatment is denied and/or cut.

I have had to make that call to law enforcement to assist me with my son, as well. It is not a phone call we make because we are bad parents or because we do not love our children. It is a call made out of necessity. It is a call made out of love to get the help our children should be receiving.

While the news media is minimizing the death of your son, I am writing this to tell you that his life mattered! It mattered to me and it mattered to every other mother of a disabled child.

Disabled Lives Matter, AH

2015, A New Year

For me, 2014 was a year of painful transition. As I look to 2015, I see a year that will be filled with more adjustments that will test my spirit. I am hopeful that in overcoming my challenges I will have an opportunity for peace. If I am lucky, perhaps even personal happiness – beyond the joy I receive from my children.

My beautiful daughter is a junior in high school and her days at home are slipping away. Soon she will matriculate to college and my little family will be reduced to two.

While I am facing a year of unknown turmoil, I refuse to let the darkness ruin the last year that I have with my daughter living at home. I refuse to allow myself to obsess over things that are beyond my control. I choose to have faith in my ability to overcome, as I always have, whatever life hands me.

On a daily basis I receive messages from people telling me how helpful my blog has been for them.  Parents connect with my ability to accept and find humor in my challenges.

What most of you do not realize is that you have helped me, as well. During a year when I could have easily been swept away in sadness and regret, I had you. Knowing that thousands of people were checking in on my life forced me to remain focused on the positive. Helping you through the challenges reminded me just how strong I am – how much I have overcome.

So, as we face 2015 together, let us remember that there is happiness in every day – we simply have to focus on it.

Happy & Healthy New Year, AH


A Happy Day in 2014