Parenting a child on the autism spectrum with dr holly

Parenting a child on the autism spectrum

In this episode we talk with Dr Holly Sawyer of life first therapy in Philadelphia Pennsylvania, about being a parent with a child on the spectrum. The need for self care and support is an integral part of fulfilling the needs of the child. 

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Hey guys.

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Oh my goodness. So I believe I’m coming down with a coal.

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Happy November if it’s November when you’re listening to this but it’s November when I recorded this. So I am fully congested I cannot wait to you know be able to breathe through my nose and having sinus issues and this is the first time I’ve been

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sick in a while usually because I work in the hospitals. I take the flu shot and so I haven’t had a flu in years but the last time I won

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I was like 1882

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is this like a 1765 flu like I felt like it was gonna really take me all the freaking way out but I’m I’m really glad that obviously it did it but so yeah, I’m a little under the weather right now, but you know that don’t stop the show.

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Mama’s bills still gotta be paid. So if you have not registered for our first free webinar, we I told you guys that I’m moving to a process where I’m doing more online coaching or teaching and stuff. And so

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it’s kind of like an informational

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session workshop where I it’s very intimate where you get to work with me one on one and I want to have a lot of time or at least some time in there just to kind of speak to you guys to see where you need specific motivation,

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Connect connections, the gaps in your, between your idea and creation.

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And so, I’m holding this first informational session. I don’t even know what date I picked. I believe it’s November 14. But if I was you, I wouldn’t wait to get in because I already have

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more than 50%

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I have the registration done and I’m only taking a certain amount of people because I want to be able to have time to speak to everybody and like, I mean really speak to people, I’m going to probably try to do it via zoom, you don’t have to be on camera if you don’t want to, but you can actually speak to me and communicate with me, because I really want to be able to provide, you know, more resources to people of color who are looking to make 2020 in their visit for 2030 and beyond, executed and executed perfectly. I feel like I’m in a great place in my business. You know, I do a lot being a I’m say, I’m a small business owner, a solo printer, pretty much. I do have help. This year, I don’t have interns, which is a gift and a curse. And so, you know, hiring staff and speaking to support people so that I can get some of the support that I need to do but looking over the goals that I have

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For the next three years of my business, I really feel like I’m going to be able to hit those metrics, and do it all, and keep my sanity. And so I want to be able to, like at least have a cohort of people that were kind of working on the same things together and kind of problem solving together. And if you would like to get into that,

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as it suggest you join our mailing list. Or even if you join the mailing list, like shoot me an email and say, hey, I want to you know, join the program, because it’s going to close really soon only have a certain amount of seats, because it’s not going to be very long just because of restrictions and you know, the way the technology works right now. And so yeah, there’s that if you have not joined, join, if you want to join, hit me up DM me, shoot me a message shout out to the people that have already been doing that. Shout out to the people who have already signed up, shout out to the people that are actually going to make it if I were you, I will mark it on your calendar and go live because I

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There probably won’t be a replay, I don’t think I’m going to send out a replay for it.

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I don’t know if I’m going to do a free one again after this. So the goal is to do it for free. I used to teach previously, I haven’t taught a long time. So I was like, let me just see if I could like have these chats and see what people want to learn and see how I can help them get started in their businesses, because I do so many different things. And I have my hand in so many different pots and so wanted to make sure that I would give people what they want it. So it was basically like an informational session, where I will be giving you guys concrete solutions, where you will walk away from it either, you know, able to implement in the business that you already have or directives to start the business that you want to start. Okay. And this is ideal, obviously, for therapists or coaches because that’s what I do. I know that back and forth. And so if you haven’t signed up, go ahead and do that now. So I don’t think I put what would you do last

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But I had one prepared so I’m going to give you guys one for this week. So if you listen to this podcast wherever you listen to this podcast, I read the comments THE hora

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and I answer everything by myself so you know thank you guys for everybody who’s given me

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wonderful radio on Apple podcast or Spotify wherever you listen Google Play

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I Heart Radio Please leave me reviews and comments because I leave them now one of them from not that long ago. The gentleman said hey says I love your show but my brothers need love too. And you guys do right so the reason that I haven’t done that is because I don’t know a lot of black male clinicians to come on the show. And if you are black male conditioning, you are listening to the sound of my voice please

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apply to be on the show. Send me a DM shoot me a message reply on my post when I’m asking for therapist. I’m looking for

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You guys, and your community is looking for you. I don’t cover a lot of male topics. I wish that I would. The reason that I don’t is because I feel like what explaining men’s issues to men is really not

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what I really want to want to do, I really want, you know, there to be a space for men to have their own say. And so I would love to have a male clinician come on and talk about whatever they want to talk about on the show. And I want you guys if you are males to come on and let me know what you want us to cover on the show that we haven’t already done. Okay. All right. So that is the what would you do? What would you have me cover? What would you have me do to be a better advocate for men on the podcast platform? Because it is for all of us. It is not for women, but of course I’m a woman. So I talk about my issue and

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Yeah, all right. Okay.

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Today we have an interview with Dr. Holly Sawyer, Holly

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is a PhD and she therapists at life first therapy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but we’re going to get into that interview right now.

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Introduce yourself to the people. Hello, I am Dr. Holly Sawyer, clinical, licensed professional counselor and certified addictions counselor in the city of Philadelphia.

Unknown Speaker 7:29
Originally no i’m not i am originally from Chicago about almost six years ago. So I’m here this is like a home away from home. You know, I said whatsoever ironic about that is that those are two cities I would relocate to. Oh, like Philly is on my really, really short list and I’m kind of looking at Philly. out the side of my eye.

Unknown Speaker 8:00
I went to Chicago, I would have visited Chicago now twice, only twice in my, my illustrious life. But the first time I went, I felt so at home. It was it was it was definitely not what you see on the news. Yeah. Yeah. And actually what happened was is I have a friend that lives in Chicago went to go visit him. He had been like, harassing me to come see him forever. And he’s like, the mayor of the city of Chicago. I feel like everybody I know in Chicago is like, super popping, though. And like, very connected. I mean, I have like friends will comedians who are like from Chicago and then this guy is a sports agent. And then my friend she she works like in government out there. Like I feel like everybody that I like I know personally, and I may never have having gone to Chicago before, but just knowing people who are from there were like, super connected. And so I was like, if I’m gonna go to Chicago, I’m gonna go with somebody who’s connected, not knowing that just like everybody I know who’s kind of

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on that level it’s like reflecting on that now and we went to what is it silver lines block party yeah and I remember being like oh my god everybody at this block party look like they read a book

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wasn’t what I expected like not even like a little bit but like

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my metric for like house how educated black people are but it was like at and I remember asking my friend I was like well how do you keep like the the hood out of here because there’s no way we could have a block party anywhere in New York or even I wouldn’t even dare to say in Philly

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knows about and they not come into and he was like they’re not gonna come over here and I was like what

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he was like not and not coming over here.

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And like he lives by like Obama’s house. America’s house

Unknown Speaker 10:04
Well, you know, Chicago is a second city to New York. So I’ve never met a New Yorker ever. It is close second. Yeah. So I’ve never met a New Yorker and they go to Chicago and they don’t fall in love with it. I promise you. I mean, I’ve gone to school with so many people from Brooklyn, from Harlem, from Queens, and I take them home or they’ve gone and they like, Oh my gosh, I felt like I didn’t leave New York. I’m like, yeah, we are called Second City for a reason. So

Unknown Speaker 10:30
I won’t go that far. Definitely had contrast. But I think in terms of like a metropolitan city that like has, you know, a thriving black culture.

Unknown Speaker 10:45
You know, it kind of felt like what maybe he’s because they Aereo it was it was that Hyde Park? Yeah.

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I bought a T shirt that said I heard Hyde Park

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but it it feels very

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It feels homely. But it also feels kind of like, you know, Buffy ish. Okay, like educated, black. Like the conversations that I was having. It was like, I’m not like what is this? So culturally, it just felt so rich and enriching. I was like, at this point in my life, I can definitely like do this. Oh, yeah.

Unknown Speaker 11:25
So it sucks that that’s not the narrative that people have of likes of Chicago. And then my last day there I didn’t have a great time suck. I knew somebody who lived in Chicago and put an SOS out like SOS I’m in Chicago. I’m having a bad time now.

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And my friend was like, you know, from Chicago and I met her once and she was like, send me your address. I’m coming to get you and when I tell you she came to get got me and we had a blast.

Unknown Speaker 11:58
Thanks. We had a blast.

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I’m at one time in New York for like a business.

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And so she’s like, are you in Chicago? She’s like, I’m coming to get you right now. Just send me the address. And she did. So just kind of like that feeling of like, love and like taking care of

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somebody and taking care of

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her. Great. Yeah. Anyway, shout out to Chicago. Good.

Unknown Speaker 12:29
Okay, so you and I met on Instagram. Yes. Because you bought one of our ST. So yes. And I wore it during a black mental health documentary that should be released. I put a couple of snippets on my Instagram page, but I’m actually wearing your shirt while I’m be part of this mental health roundtable with like three of the therapist.

Unknown Speaker 12:56
Oh my god, I saw that. Yeah, that’s your shirt.

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my dad cuz, you know, I couldn’t I really couldn’t see just the way it was shot. I can see it you

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know that’s that’s how we met and then you hit me up you said I’m coming to New York for my book tour. And I was like I’m going to show you JU was super surprised. I was I was no because you meet people on Instagram. And you know people are like, Oh, you know they’re going to come or they support you where the case may be but then for somebody to actually physically show up, show their support BJR live in a live in color give you all the love. I was just like so taken back. I was in tears when I really was. So the room felt good though. No, he did. It really did. It really did.

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It really start there. What made you become a therapist?

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Oh, wow. A couple of things. But mainly, I went through depression prior to having my children and definitely post and I sought therapy.

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Pre getting married, having children, and I had a white therapist, and we just, we just didn’t click, we just we clash. And for a life of me, I’m like, Why can I find a black therapist, not that they didn’t exist, but I just felt like they were not at my disposal when I lived in DC at the time, and I was like, This is crazy. So and

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once I got married, and I had my son, I had some postpartum depression, and then he got diagnosed with autism at the age of four. And I was trying to navigate that world. I went to therapy again, found that I had another like therapist and I’m like, Okay, this is killing me. So I could imagine what other moms who have children with special needs that are black if they’re going to therapy.

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What does this look like? Are they even helped or understood culturally?

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And I was like, I gotta change the narrative with this. And that was upon many reasons, but that was my main reason I want it to represent

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as much as I could, culturally, the need to see a black female therapist. I kind of feel like that’s the that’s the narrative to I mean, I’m adding to that. But that, you know, a lot of therapists have their own mental struggles.

Unknown Speaker 15:35
I mean, I don’t know if that’s true, per se. But I think I think a lot Well, you know what, I mean, a lot of overweight people become fitness experts. So I guess it kind of is, you know, it’s kind of in human nature, to want to help other people with the thing that helped you. But

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how did how did you find it

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That going to the white counselors at the time that you needed them, like, how did you find it? It was helpful for the work that you needed to do on yourself. It was helpful because I realized that therapy was something that is therapeutic and that it could work. But I just needed the right therapist, I realized that I was in the right space in the right room. I just wasn’t with the right therapist. And I said, in order for this to work in a change, I need to find somebody that is a cultural fit for me and add competent, I think that it needed to be a mix of both you can be compensated go to you know, you go to school, get your degree, get your hours, you know, but where’s the cultural competence and I felt that that was a big component that was missing. And so I said, You know what, when I become a therapist, I won’t come in with the idea that just because you mean and the client is black and female that we are

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That we’re just going to automatically jail because even being black, we have our subcultures within our culture. So as we business and so I had to also realize that as well, but I could at least identify with some level of oppression, I could at least identify with some level of trauma. I could at least identify again being black and female and what that looks like for you.

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So, yeah, that was a space I was that I operate your firm as well.

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Yeah. Now you you doctor,

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your credentials. Oh, yeah. So I have a doctorate in higher education. I’ve been in higher education for about 16 years working mainly with, of course, adults, who also have a lot or a very a variety of mental illnesses. And so in a classroom,

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they will come to me with their issues and their problems. But as a professor, you couldn’t really cross that line. It was like, Hey, I’m just here to impart knowledge.

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If you have mental health issues, you just had to send them born wherever they needed to go. And I got tired of that as well. Because for me, I’ve always wanted to work with the whole person. I’m not a person that has to separate or compartmentalize the individual, you’re a holistic person. So when you come in and you’re trying to learn something, and you’re thinking about your mental health, or how you going to feed your kids, or whatever else is going on, and then you come to the professor to explain to them and I’m looking at you like my hands are tied, I got tired, so very inhumane. So that’s on the back end, as it’s also why I went back to arm or my license, so doctorate in higher ed, which I still teach, and create courses for. I have my license and the professional counseling with the state of Pennsylvania and I’m also certified in addictions counseling because a lot of our people brown and black, brown and black people use substances to cope.

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Whether they are high functioning low function users

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This is for some people is just an easier route versus facing the issue in itself. So I have about six years working in addictions, managing different drug alcohol treatment facilities

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and working with clients like dual diagnosis between mental health and substance abuse. Okay, them what dual diagnosis me because I don’t think people outside of us would Sure.

Unknown Speaker 19:26
Sure. Okay. So adore diagnose person basically is someone who is suffering from substance abuse in addition to having a mental illness. So for example, it could be someone who may be addicted to crack cocaine, who also suffers from schizophrenia. And I often tell my clients like we at me or maybe you can tell me but I feel like me as a clinician, if a client comes to me and they, they tell me what substance they’re using. I can usually tell what they’re trying to do.

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would you find that that would be accurate? I think a lot of people would treat you know, a lot of cocaine use or drug use period it indicates some trauma.

Unknown Speaker 20:15
If you’re using cocaine usually sometimes it’s a it’s to counteract the symptoms of depression. A lot of people use, you know, marijuana to relax.

Unknown Speaker 20:26
So, I mean, I usually ask people what substances they’re using in order to kind of get a gauge on like what they’re trying to treat. Because sometimes when we’re trying to do symptom ology, we don’t know exactly like, what the situation is or like, what symptoms they have people come in and they don’t they know that they have problems, but they don’t properly know how to articulate it. So for me, I use the substances they’re using as kind of like a guideline or

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I look at what we do is like logging on.

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A story of like, what the underlying issues are. And so for me sometimes just figuring out what substances they’re using feeds into that. No, I agree. That’s definitely an approach. I have a client who uses marijuana because they refuse to use their world nutrients. And it’s like, No, you should probably use a review trend. If you know, you will prescribe that instead of using the marijuana because you suffer from depression and the marijuana is not going to help you. Exactly, exactly. And it’s like, Whoa, no, that’s not the case. I’m like, Well, do you find that you’re out of your head after you smoke marijuana? Because nice into your thoughts.

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paranoia. Yes, exactly. So you have intrusive thoughts, and now you have more into thoughts and more

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than Zack, no, that’s not a good No, it’s not. It’s not

Unknown Speaker 22:00
Is that so use the word trend as it was described. And for those who don’t know what that is, you know, that’s, you know, a medication that can be used as a depressant medication that can be used to treat depression. But a lot of times we were like, No, I just want to go smoke my weed vape and I’ll be fine. And I’m like, not with her depression, honey. But yes, escapism for that yesterday and in the convenience of access. Yep, you’re right. You’re so right. Yeah. So I work again with just a bunch of professional women who I try to help them build

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interpersonal skills to cope with different instances versus going over. Like I said, the smoke of the marijuana or whatever their substance or drug of choice is as a coping skill versus really leaning upon themselves and building resiliency.

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And I know we can

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Bihar and you’re right it’s just so easy to just go right up it is easy. Yeah, I’m not mad at it. It’s just not helpful. It’s no, we have my my on my substance uses and one day we were talking about you know drinking and I was like I don’t mind drinking I absolutely don’t like getting drunk

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as I was like it’s literally like giving yourself a stomach ache like why would I want to your stomach bug? Why would I want to do that to myself like

Unknown Speaker 23:33
I got matter age now that know how, what my limit is, but like to purposefully get like smashed. Why would I ever want to do that? And my mom was like, Yeah, like you, you would be drinking to get rid of your problems. And now you woke up with your problems, and I had a hangover.

Unknown Speaker 23:53
And I was like, exactly. She’s like, it’s not it’s not escapism, it’s just putting it off. Yeah.

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Yeah, nothing is

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anything and I was like, oh, man, I guess that’s a good way to look at it. But you know, she’s, she’s had her she’s had her bouts So, you know, she would have a different perspective on it than I

Unknown Speaker 24:16
can we talk about what it’s like to be the mom of a special needs child? Sure. Or my nephew was diagnosed f2 of two family members who would be diagnosed with autism.

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And I also have a background in education. So when my when the oldest family member child was diagnosed,

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I was the lone person first. So I’m like the outcast in my family period. I’m not even though it was a black sheep. That’d be fine. But I’m like a purple sheep, hot pink.

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So for me, I was like is nobody else going to talk about the

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This baby doesn’t speak.

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And so I kind of just wait, wait, wait at one on one and I had a conversation with his mom and I was like, all right. I really think you should take him to the pediatrician.

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He’s not verbal.

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And I got the cousin out of my life he there’s nothing wrong with having EZT don’t gotta say, he Wow, he speaks to me. Sometimes he just don’t know you. You’re not talking to you. And I was like, Okay, well, that’s fine. But I’m just telling you out of love, like, I really think you need to take him to a pediatrician. Like I’m not that wasn’t me telling you anything wrong.

Unknown Speaker 25:42
My nephew was was diagnosed. And with him it’s still a constant battle. My mother’s raising my nephew, okay and constant battle to get my family to recognize that he needs special attention.

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My mother is one of those old school

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Mothers is like you don’t go get welfare you don’t go get public assistance you. So he, so I feel like the services that he’s entitled to because of his diagnosis he’s not getting and even though I’ve tried to guide them through the, the IEP process, wow, you know, get my brother to, to, you know, be more supportive of his son and like be more active in certain things that are going on with their life. I’ve kind of do my hands up

Unknown Speaker 26:31
with it just me personally, right? Because five year old black people is the hard job. Hello. That’s a bad girl. So it’s it’s kind of difficult to put yourself in that in that situation.

Unknown Speaker 26:48
And so, I mean, I know that a lot of parents who have newly diagnosed children, they end up be going through denial, which is fine. I think we all kind of have that stage of

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grief. Because when you’re when your kid is sick in any respect, but they have something that is going to present a specific challenge to the dream and the narrative we as parents have when we have these show, right, right, right.

Unknown Speaker 27:18
A mourning process that has to go, do we have to go through with the diagnosis and I feel like that goes, it’s similar to the process of like, you know, the stages of grief, where you’re in denial and then you’re angry, and then you’re, you know, you finally reach acceptance. So like, what was what? What was that like for you? So what you’re describing is, I mean, dead on like, for you to only be that I like that is crazy how you’re describing it because it literally was like that it was literally like a grieving process because you have a child and the thing that people will say as long as they have 10 fingers 10

Unknown Speaker 28:00
told they can see, they’re healthy. But okay, my son had all of that, but he was autistic. So on the surface, you have all those things, but you can’t see it, at least for my son because he’s high functioning. But then I started to notice things and I was like, wait a minute, something’s not right. When my child, and then you got people in your ear who were talking about the vaccinations and all these different theories as to why or how autism came to be. And so then once the diagnosis was official, I literally had to green the process of one, okay, my child is no he’s not. He’s not your typical normal, or the normal that doesn’t come with autism. He’s normal, but it’s just normal, no artistic level. And that takes years to accept because you have to let go of like you said that marriage

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of having this quote unquote normal child and then adjusting your whole life because it comes with you really learning to adjust to what nail this person needs in order for them to fly as a child with autism. And that process was, it was very depressing. It was sometimes isolating because

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some people just don’t get it and just don’t understand. Some people want to, you know,

Unknown Speaker 29:29
describe or treat your child as if they have ADHD when the site know. My son is autistic. I had to do a lot of fighting for specialist and his school because at this time, my son is now 12, about to be 13. So about eight, nine years ago, there were not a lot of ABA, which is applied behavioral analysis.

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Type therapists or

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counselors that will work with my son I had to fight to state the school because he wants to

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charter school in order for them to get this ad a person to work with them one on one, I could not hold down a job because my son had behavioral issues.

Unknown Speaker 30:12
And that whole thing is about accepting where you are, you could be very angry, which is one of the stages of grief before you even begin to accept it. You’re like so angry because now your whole life has just totally changed versus if he was a portal normal for you, oh, that can just go to school, you know, assimilate and be in a homogeneous classroom or just be quote unquote, normal know, your whole life now has to adjust and change. So I think when you can, when you start to work through that process, accept it, and really kind of roll up your sleeves and get in and say, Okay, what does my child need to live on a spectrum, then saying, I won’t say anything let up but they do become a little bit easier.

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As you start to really become your child’s advocate, because I knew what resources he needed, but it was up to me at the end of the day to go and get those things and make it happen. And for my own sanity, I had to go to therapy because it was just that transition was well.

Unknown Speaker 31:17
And that’s the part that I think is missing. With SA with both of my family members.

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With my cousin,

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I feel like her sister and her daughter has stepped up as much as they can to help lighten the load. for for for

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him and he used to be nonverbal, but now he does speak. He don’t speak when he’ll feel like it. But he has something when he has something to say he talks.

Unknown Speaker 31:49
And it’s not a it’s not a matter of I think a lot of people think that they’re just like mutes like not everybody speaks. But like he was he doesn’t have anything to talk about. He talked about

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CU, but when he has something to say, like it, it’s profound. So she has some assistance. My mother rarely has me.

Unknown Speaker 32:12
And my mother has been raising children. She’s been 15 years old. My mother was a teenage mom with my sister. My sister was born. And so to me raising children all these years she’s kind of tired. Number one, she just she has all school parenting thinking. Number two, which is not what you have to be a proactive parent if you have a child with special needs.

Unknown Speaker 32:36
See that she’s not a good caregiver. I just don’t feel like the extra support she needs he has she has the extra support that my nephew needs or they both need.

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Does she have the the energy do I the current skill set to be able to do what she needs to do with them.

Unknown Speaker 32:56
So I try to empower his father to be more and more accurate.

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But if you kind of don’t know what you don’t know, and you don’t,

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you don’t fix what you don’t acknowledge.

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And so for me, it’s a very painful situation to watch him struggle. He’s, he’s completely verbal, he he, he’s more,

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say Asperger’s Asperger’s than anything. Okay. Okay. Um, so he’s, he’s very verbal. And he’s, I mean, he’s gorgeous. So I’m like when he gets older,

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these girls are going to be on

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the work necessary, can really be thriving. I

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fear for him is that he won’t drive. Again emotional, but my fear for him is that he won’t thrive just because people won’t get out of their own way. assistance that they need to give him the assistance that he be

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your collect and

Unknown Speaker 34:00
They are, they are so unique. And it does seem like a lot going through. But I love having in mind, I love them My son is on a spectrum because it makes me step up in a whole nother way. And in a different type of capacity than just like in this nothing against parents who don’t have a child on the spectrum, but it just challenges me as a parent at a whole nother direction.

Unknown Speaker 34:27
That I’m thankful for it because they have taught and brought a lot out of me as well. And I love his normal because again, I’m meeting him and his face and where he is. So it’s a beautiful thing. You know, and I hope that your nephew can get the things that he needs.

Unknown Speaker 34:46
Because you got to be a warrior.

Unknown Speaker 34:49
I used to teach inclusion class. And there were parents that I used to be like, yo, come up to the school, okay, like I work for the school. I can’t tell you that

Unknown Speaker 35:00
Your kid is that being pulled out for services. But maybe you want to ask if your kid is being pulled out for service.

Unknown Speaker 35:07
Maybe you want to come up here, maybe you want to review his IP now.

Unknown Speaker 35:13
Maybe you want to be more interactive with their power, like what are you doing? So you have to be a warrior parent. In this, I think this this is where parenting goes hard to paint, where

Unknown Speaker 35:28
it really, really is. And that’s the thing. It shows you your resiliency and your toughness, and just where you are and how you show up. And I think again, for me, it just allowed me to be like, Oh, if I can go hard to advocate for the pain for my son.

Unknown Speaker 35:44
It shows him how to also advocate for yourself because at some point, he’s going to be an adult as well. We know that he’s going to age out of services at some point. So how does he show up? So he see me grinding and doing all these things as we go for him, and I still got an IPTV incident day, he’ll eat

Unknown Speaker 36:00
Come he’ll have his meeting here today. So like, I include him. I don’t you know, try to hide for him What It Is he has because he knows that he’s quote unquote different from other kids, when we have these conversations because this is who he is. So I, I embracing he embraces it. And it’s so many different growth spurts and themes that it goes in and out as far as on a spectrum and he latches on to and doesn’t know more have interested in. But I don’t think that’s any different from other kids. Again, it just comes with a different set of challenges. So I encourage any parent who has a child on a spectrum as burgers, get like you said, Go hard in the paint for your kid because they are so unique. I just I love them. I feel like I gave me my own unicorn. I’ll be honest.

Unknown Speaker 36:51
And my nephew, he’s probably around the same. I think he’s around the same age. But I mean,

Unknown Speaker 36:57
recently someone told him he had Asperger’s

Unknown Speaker 37:00
My Asperger’s who’s autistic. So he became a thing in the family were like, Oh, don’t use the a word. And I was like, whoa. So he ki was at my son’s graduation. So he and I was driving in the car. And so I asked him, I said, Can I ask you a question? He said, what I said,

Unknown Speaker 37:21
Do somebody say that you will autistic? And he was like, Yes. And I said, How did that make you feel? He said, I didn’t like it. I said, Why? He said, because I didn’t like it. I said, you know what that means? He said, No, I said, GS, you don’t know what it means. He said, No, I said, What did you think they will call it? He said, I think they were saying I was dumb. And I said, Well, they were telling you that you were special.

Unknown Speaker 37:45
Now you’re different. Yeah. And I said, Well, I said we’re all different. So I don’t ever want you to feel bad because somebody called you something. I said people call me people who

Unknown Speaker 37:57
okay and a not so nice with those be words. Oh

Unknown Speaker 38:00

Unknown Speaker 38:08
clearly he laughed too. But I was like you know don’t ever feel bad because somebody calls you something I think everybody has their thing that makes them different

Unknown Speaker 38:19
different I was like oh it says it makes you is different

Unknown Speaker 38:25
than okay cuz I’ll be I don’t want us to be pussyfooting around it and I don’t want him to feel like we can

Unknown Speaker 38:33

Unknown Speaker 38:37
it a condition like knock it off. So I just kind of like had the separated from my mother and had that discussion with him. Was that told as a girl but here we have talked about it. Good. Okay, good. Then we were on our way back. He was telling me like some think he was doing online.

Unknown Speaker 38:56
Like he has a whole like online life.

Unknown Speaker 39:00
Yes, they are good with computers, technology science lab, artistic. My nephew. My cousin’s son is amazing with computers. My nephew was just like he was explaining something. He has a YouTube channel. And it was like James Bond something. I was like

Unknown Speaker 39:22
what is this? You decide to tell us?

Unknown Speaker 39:27
You got a teenage son now so you gotta like Check.

Unknown Speaker 39:31
Check it.

Unknown Speaker 39:32
He was like, I heard him say that. Like I heard Bobby Toby but I didn’t believe it. I was like, he told me all of like the intricacies of what he was doing. I was like, if anybody thinks this boy is just sleeping on him. Yeah. And so and that’s the point like my son. He makes do, he has his own SoundCloud

Unknown Speaker 39:53
account. I buy him with all types of instruments and beat machines and he makes music. That is his

Unknown Speaker 40:00
Twist right now and so I just invested in that because I don’t know where it’s gonna go now a year from now he may say it’s something else but it doesn’t matter I’m invested in it just trying to feed that scene so yes you are correct they need a better way he could be making a million

Unknown Speaker 40:16
Yeah, and what I love about that situation too is um

Unknown Speaker 40:22
you know they’re gonna have their own lives. So when I see like how he usually on the show, or Hello my second

Unknown Speaker 40:54
so yeah, when I see like how hugely on the hugely show or oh my god

Unknown Speaker 41:00
When Holly Robinson Peete used to have a show and yeah, episode of her son get his driver’s license.

Unknown Speaker 41:11
Like I was like Nikita show baby but she was like you know all these cops killing and killing black boys driving I was like no get him a driver you have money

Unknown Speaker 41:27
you know live their normal lives denim trait of Toni Braxton son. So just kind of see them be represented as like round boy. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 41:40
Yes, it really was. Yes.

Unknown Speaker 41:44
I agree. I agree because we need more exposure to that. I have a friend down in Florida. I heard she has a daughter who’s autistic and it’s even rare for black girls to be diagnosed.

Unknown Speaker 41:56
And so I like call her and and and like, talk to her about

Unknown Speaker 42:00
Like how did this how do you feel is different of course she she has a son but he’s autistic, but I always just kind of like talk to her about it because it’s, again it’s even rarer little black girl so I’m always interested to see like how they vary and what is it you know, what is it like and it may not be a difference across genders, but I just always find it interesting.

Unknown Speaker 42:21
My girlfriend has a child who was recently diagnosed, and

Unknown Speaker 42:26
I think it is different. Okay. black boys are characterized especially with the outbursts. Like I don’t want my nephew’s to have like his outbursts and like he would go get violent.

Unknown Speaker 42:42
Like, he was like he was incredible hulk I could not hold him down.

Unknown Speaker 42:48
I couldn’t, couldn’t battle him to stop him and my mother used to just be like, go close the door.

Unknown Speaker 42:55
The door and lab like work it off. Be you’re not going to calm him down.

Unknown Speaker 43:01
Like it’s not gonna happen. So when when black boys have that outbursts, we kind of expect it right people look at our children as like bad and ugly and whatever boys will be boys. But when girls are not just cute and like, you know, well behaved or whatever because they have these emotional disturbances.

Unknown Speaker 43:22
People look at you like you’re a bad parent. Oh, not that that they don’t feel that with boys. I feel like it’s a little bit more expected with boys than it may be with girls who have autism and because it is where

Unknown Speaker 43:37
I agree with that. I can see that and I think boy, little boys black boys especially are kind of astrocytes already to kind of be like that violent that aggressiveness. So if they exhibited any kind of way, they won’t kind of tie it to, you know their diagnoses.

Unknown Speaker 43:55

Unknown Speaker 44:00
For me, I had only heard about autism when I was pregnant. What a What a wonderful time to hear about it. But I was reading Mario Puzo book, I think was the last dawn. I’m like, I love him as an author. He wrote Godfather, which is the first big book I’ve ever read my life. Okay, father.

Unknown Speaker 44:21
We had it in the house, it was on the shelf.

Unknown Speaker 44:25
In the movie, either. This is like in high school and then never seen the movie was like this read this book. But anyway, um, there was a character in it. And she was a movie star and her daughter was autistic.

Unknown Speaker 44:40
The way that they talked about it in the book was like, it was just a random thing that happened and a lot of people had it and the girl was not verbal. And I’m like, sitting there pregnant, you know, you bacon babies. You just feel like oh my God, that’s going to be me.

Unknown Speaker 44:56
So it was like the first time I had ever heard of it. So

Unknown Speaker 45:00
I was just like, you know, grateful that my kid was not born with any kind of challenges, because I mean, you you, you may be a wonderful Mom, I definitely wouldn’t have had it. I wouldn’t have had it if I mean, at that point in my life to be able to raise a child with special needs and be gods. No, I wasn’t equipped for that. And so

Unknown Speaker 45:24
I wonder what the change is. I’m not sure if science is looking at why it’s increased like that. But I mean, that was 22 years ago, I had never heard of it before.

Unknown Speaker 45:37
And now it just seems so pervasive. I really wonder with the changes, I know that, you know, clearly some of its environment. Yeah, exactly what I don’t know what else could

Unknown Speaker 45:49
be causing. Um, I would say it’s a combination. Again, I’m not a science expert either, but I think it’s a combination of age. Like

Unknown Speaker 46:00
Wasn’t a spring chicken when I had my son and notice his father, his father is older than me. So I do think like as we age, as black women

Unknown Speaker 46:09
and as black men, how we take care of ourselves and then kind of like our genes or any other predisposition and conditions may handle that could pry apart into that, again, I’m no scientist, but I just think like the older you do you or your spouse or both of you all get up in age, I think you run a higher risk on top of environmental things where you can’t believe that Yeah, where you can possibly have a child on a spectrum. I can’t confirm this but I can just speak from again for me.

Unknown Speaker 46:43
And, you know, my experience so I do definitely do be there the age factor there in the environmental in the industry, being predisposed to a lot of genetical conditions that his father and I have some our fathers and mothers so yeah

Unknown Speaker 47:00
That’s what I would say. I I can’t say my family is genetic.

Unknown Speaker 47:07

Unknown Speaker 47:09
We don’t we don’t have any

Unknown Speaker 47:12
outside of those two and this is on my mother’s side of the family.

Unknown Speaker 47:16
We got a lot of crazy on my father’s side, but that ain’t got nothing to do with autism. Um

Unknown Speaker 47:24
but I do think that as you age, it is a it is a

Unknown Speaker 47:31
Yeah, for sure. For sure. And I also think too, that our children has been under diagnosed. And so for a child like I mentioned before, that may be a DD ADHD, all alone they probably were just autistic. And Dave, which is never taken into account when it comes to black and brown children.

Unknown Speaker 47:54
I think my children will always properly diagnosed So for us, it was always just behavioral issues. So it

Unknown Speaker 48:00
could be you know the opposition to phi it then a DD or ADHD when No, this person could very well just be autistic on a spectrum. So I think a lot of that is kind of renaming the children who were

Unknown Speaker 48:14
not properly diagnosed two

Unknown Speaker 48:18
years ago, we would have never known any way because society would have had these children away.

Unknown Speaker 48:27
Like maybe that black children, but, you know, 50 years ago, they were putting the kids in

Unknown Speaker 48:36
treating them they weren’t integrated into society. People weren’t like, Oh, I’m gonna take this dis child home. It was like a great family shame. There. Sure. Sure why let alone a few came out, you know, with down syndrome, or any other type of physical elements. Oh, yeah. You were put away. Yeah. Yeah. So no, thank you, Holly. for coming on.

Unknown Speaker 49:00
And I’m going to thank you guys for listening to the interview with with Dr. Holly Sawyer. We’re going to actually be playing part two of that interview next week. And it’s, it’s, I’m having a good time.

Unknown Speaker 49:12
I don’t know what I was gonna say, but I’m really having a good time to have these interviews. If you are therapists and you want to be on the show, make sure you hit us up at Black therapists podcast and sign up to get on our calendar. If you haven’t already signed up to get on our calendar and we haven’t done an interview yet. Trust me believe as soon as there’s open in the schedule. I’ll get everybody on. I want to be a resource for not only clients, we’re looking for therapists but therapists who are the good clients and so

Unknown Speaker 49:40
yes, read another episode of black therapist podcasts. Stay tuned.

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