Does ParentAbility work? (Don’t just take my word for it)

Former client of Parentability, Heather, talks about her experience in Parentability. Heather is a mom of two who lives in Maryland and her boys are autistic. Heather was a Parentability member for about a year and a half, and I sincerely adored working with her. So let’s get into it.

Before joining Parent Ability, what were things like at home? What was going on?

When I joined ParentAbility, it was, we had already been or I should say the kids had been outta school for a year because of the lockdown. In Maryland, the schools were really slow opening up. My youngest, he just went from happy chill. He had his preschool routine to being. Upset all the time, throwing tantrums, stopped watching his favorite shows, stopped eating his favorite foods or any foods at all.

He wasn’t sleeping, was having problems with potty training or using the bathroom. He was just on a whole other level of.

My kid is having a bad day. My kid is having bad months.

It was one of those things and I was, I was at my wit’s end.

A year after everything shut down, we were just done!Everyone was just done.

We were done. I was done.

I remember talking to his Pediatrician and she was saying that he needed to have behavioral therapy.

We had done that with my oldest child and quite frankly, it didn’t really work!

I mean, it worked, but it didn’t fully work because it was a lot of external.

Similar to a chart. You do this, you get a sticker, you do this, you, you get another sticker.

I was like, I can’t do that. I don’t have the capacity. I don’t wanna do that.

I wanted a different approach. I forgot where I found you, Allana.

Through OT Butterfly, Laura. I found you through her and I was looking at your page and you invited your follower to send you a DM with questions.

I sent over a DM.

Heather and Allana had chatted a but before joining the ParentAbility program.

Heather was wondering if Allana could like help you because E is Autistic.

Is this gonna work?

Allana had told Heather that she had done the, the ABA therapy and as soon as Heather had stopped doing the charts and the rewards and all of the stuff her oldest backslid.

Allana was going to try to make that not happen giving Heather and the kids the skills s that Heather and her husband didn’t have to constantly be on their children anymore.

Allana took time to talk to Heather, this made a real impact as Heather realized how much knowledge and client care Allana had for not only her ParentAbility clients but for stressed out moms..

Heather: “This lady’s for real. She’s legit!”

Sometimes you don’t know what is on the internet.

It’s a big decision to choose somebody to guide you on your children, right?

That’s a big deal.

Allana understood what this decision can be like. She was happy that Heather had trusted her and they would b working together. Allana found a lot of fulfillment in working with Heather over the last year.

When you first joined, what was your initial win? What was the first hurdle that we had gotten your son over?

It was the videos!

He’d say, I want this video. We turn it on. Two minutes later, I want this video. Right. Well, you gotta watch this one first, then a meltdown.

Heather used the timer to keep her son on one video, which is funny because for some parents, they would not consider keeping their child watching a video a win.

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This is a good example of how, like it depends on the kid, what our goals are.

When Heather achieved that, Allana happy with the initial WIN where they could then build off of that.

Heather’s son was able to keep watching one video through to the end, pretty quickly.

Heather first started off with 10 minutes. She could at least I could get a cup of coffee or could sit and do something. Then Heather was able to expand into 15 and 20 and now he will watch an entire DVD. Which is amazing!

“It does sound funny. I’m trying to get my kid to watch tv, you know?”

It was really important for Heather because they were having to be the entertainment all the time.

No parent can do that! It’s not sustainable.

When Heater started doing visuals, her son was like, what? And Sam, Heather’s oldest was curious about what Eli got. Sam wanted visuals too!

They really leaned hard into visuals.

What changes have you noticed in Eli and Sam’s behavior since joining ParentAbility?

I would say transitions have been huge. They used to be really difficult. Now, they go so smoothly and, of course with the timer. Also them knowin, on the schedule. This is what we’re doing next.

This is on my end is that when I am not pointing to the schedule orr I’m not following the schedule, I wonder why are the kids acting weird?

Oh, it’s because I’m not saying, okay, what’s next?

They’re a little slower on the skill development. Yeah. Which ispretty typical for autistic kids. Yeah.

It’s there, it’s becoming more natural.

An example, now Eli will grab his socks, put them on, and then go look for his shoes. He used to never even do that!

This was a huge deal! One more thing I don’t have to do!

It’s the mental load that you were having to carry for them because they couldn’t plan and prioritize, they couldn’t organize.

The biggest, wins, Allana had heard, was about the situation at Eli’s school and he was able to use his flexible thinking and not freak out.

The flexible thinking, Eli is still working on, it’s still not his strongest, but he is getting so much better.

The other day, we were in the car and we were just listening to music. The whole family, we like to go for drives and all of a sudden he’d just go, blah, like really loud.

So I said to him, Eli, you can’t scream like that, we’re all in the car. You can say mom or dad. Excuse me, but you can’t scream.

Aa couple minutes go by and he does it again.

I said, Eli, what did I say? And he says, don’t scream. I’m like, that’s right.

The third time he does it again and I just look at him and he looked at me and he is like, don’t scream, don’t scream.

It’s like he remembered I’m not supposed to scream and then he was quiet, that was the best part!

He remembered.

Allana had said sometimes you have to wait extra long so that they can process it and then they can get it in their own.

It comes from them. It’s not them repeating or this is the rule. They’re remembering the recall, I’m not supposed to scream.

A beautiful and visible example of recall.

Neurotypical kids do that too, but they’re often, it’s often less visible. They’re doing it a little bit more internally and often with a lot more attitude.

It really is about slowing down so that they can take the information in and then use it rather than just bombarding them with information.

Heather, also learned that when Eli is having a meltdown, To just zip it.

Just be quiet because I have a tendency to be like, what’s wrong? What are you doing? What’s going on? What’s bothering you?

I’m asking all these questions and when you talk about the parts of the brain. Blue brain and red Brown. I always think, okay, he’s in red brain, he’s not hearing me. Zip it.

That has really helped a lot too. I keep him safe. I try not to say anything or very little. I notice when I do that, he tends to escalate, you know, come down faster. Yeah. Than if I’m asking him, oh, answer my question on top of this.

It just frustrates him more. It requires more output from him when he is already struggling with output or input.

What would you say was your favorite part about ParentAbility?

First of all, I love the coaching calls.

Those are my favorite, I thought those were great. Lately I was like I’m just here to listen. ’cause there’s always something that you can glean from somebody else’s experience that they’re going through.

The app was great, again, you can read everybody’s experience.

You get cheered on, you cheer on other parents. It’s a community. It’s nice.

Before Allana had started ParentAbility, she had coached privately and every single parent that she talked to was like, my child is the only child that does this.

My child is the only one that has ever done this in the history of the world and nobody else knows what this is like.

Allana has literally have thousands of parents who are going through the same thing.

In creating Parentability, that was one really one of her goals was to, even if y’all aren’t best of friends that you can see that other people are going through the same or very similar things as you are.

In this digital age, while things like this are awesome ’cause we get to connect, across countries and state lines and all that at the same time, it’s really put us in a silo, hasn’t it?

Heather liked that on the app, it’s not just social, it’s also educational.

The other day she was actually reading the Get Outdoors. It’s informative, it’s educational.

It was a good, good addition, cause oftentimes you’ll maybe meet someone who’s trying to help you, and then that’s it. Then you gotta make an appointment for another time.

The app is little bit more how, I dunno what’s going on right now. Then you respond, you usually respond within like five hours max. You’re right on point. It was really good, especially on those really hard days in the beginning.

Allana loved when Heather joined because some parents are a little bit more conservative and they’ll come in and they’ll just kind of read for the first couple of months and won’t really engage much, which is fine.

When clients like you come in and we are kind of working through things a little bit more actively, it’s, it was just so neat to see how quickly their progressing and how the tone of your messages even went from crisis to okay, I can see your crisis coming right, most of the time.

Heather very quickly went from, okay, we’re dealing with this immediate crisis to I see the storm on the horizon and I would like to keep it there and deal with this a little bit more proactively.

Which is a dream come true because being in crisis mode is exhausting and this is a goal for ParentAbility clients.

Heather especially, do the work so everyone can be happy, calm and chill.

She was going do the work and put in the effort and it, you see results.

This isn’t similar to taking a pill and you have to wait three months down the road to see if you actually lost those 10 pounds, or something similar.

The timer, immediately it worked. Let’s keep going.

These small wins that just kept Heather motivated to keep doing it!

How would you say being part of Parentability has impacted your relationship with your kids?

First of all, a calm and happy mom makes for a calm and happy kids most of the time!

YMost of the time when I’m dysregulated I can totally see it reflect in my kids.

Eli actually listens to me. If he’s in the middle of a tantrum, nobody’s listening, right? Afterwards we talk about it and he’s listening. We’ve gotten closer.

He’s still testing boundaries and at times he’s not listening but I do know that he understands, or he is kinda listening ’cause he’s looking at me. Before it was like he was just in his own world.

He trusts me. With, Sammy, Sammy’s is oh mom, thank you for all your hard work.

This kid used to never compliment me on anything. He was very much daddy centric, but Sammy’s like, you’re such a good mom.

I think like anticipating their needs, not just like physical needs, but their sensory needs.

I think they really appreciate that a lot.

I just feel closer to them. I feel closer. I feel like we’re more bonded. I feel like they understand, mom is loving and caring and helpful. If a mom’s having a hard day, I can try to be like mom and be loving and caring and helpful.

it’s been good for our family.

I’m thinking back from, I’m just thinking about when we first started. It was overwhelming!

Heather had a good team. When Heather and Allana had talked about Eli’s speech therapy, and Heather had to go find out that the speech therapist . Heather had to advocate for Eli with his teacher.

Allana recalls, when school did go back and there was ha there was some difficulties at school, you really had to go in and state this is why this is not working!

Allana often talks about about having the vocabulary.

When Heather would throw out certain words, the teacher and speech therapist were more open to implementing what She knew would help Eli.

When Allana was starting ParentAbility, she had a lot of people who initially joined and were put off by that, by the fact that she insist on parents using these more clinical terms, um, because it wasn’t natural.

This where the glossary like came in because people were like, oh, these, there’s a lot of jargon in here. This is exactly why we do that, is because when Allana was an early interventionist, she saw it so many times where parents couldn’t describe their child’s needs or describe their child’s behavior.

Doctors, teachers, therapists would be like really dismissive of them because their lack of conncise and specific terminology made it sound like the problem really wasn’t that big, or was vague.

We’re human, so even if those doctors, therapists and teachers really wanted to help, if they didn’t really have a clear picture of what the problem was, then it was very difficult for them to make those changes.

This concept that Allan had put in was implemented with Heather and became a great additive for the program for parents to advocate for their children with specialists.

If you had to pick like one thing that you thought was the most valuable thing that you learned in ParentAbility, what would you say that that was?

I don’t remember if it was a workshop or not, but it was taught teaching us about the parts of the brain, the brown, blue, and red and what happens in each part.

I like science and stuff like that, so this makes sense.

Even when I would see Eli having a fit. I would say to myself, he’s in red brain. Okay, he’s in Red Brain. All right, but he’s gonna come down.

We’re gonna get him back into blue brain.

It’s much easier to manage your child’s behavior, even when they’re in a fit or something like that, when you know what’s happening.

The program gave me the why. Yeah. This is why, and this is why it’s happening. This is why the behavior is that way. It’s going crazy and it needs to chill out and go this way.

I just thought oh, that makes sense. You know, I, I’m a why person. This helped tailor what I was doing to help Eli to intervene when he would be having tantrum.

Also, knowing that not everything should be taught in the moment and saying things like, calm down.

No one calms down when they’re told to calm down, I don’t calm down. In anything, I’ll be like, don’t you tell me to calm down, you know? Gets you more belligerent.

Waiting until Eli is like more available, that’s when you do the teaching. When he’ll be able to accept it and understand it, sort of a thing. It builds that trust you were talking about earlier where, you know, you feel like you’re more bonded to him and it makes it, I remember it wasn’t that long until two, us working together.

He’s calming down faster because he knows I’m not going to bombard him with that information while he’s upset. A stronger trust between Heather and her son because he knew he could come to her and she wasn’t gonna make the meltdown worse.

If you had to give advice to a parent who was thinking of joining Parentability, what would you tell ’em?

Don’t hesitate. You’re not a failure as a parent.

The fact that you’re looking for answers means that you’re hell of a good parent.

You love your kids so much. You’re looking for answers and just fully immerse yourself in the program. Watch the workshops, read all the materials and then implement it.

You’ll get results. You will get results.

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About Allana

Hi, I’m Allana. I teach parents of toddlers and preschoolers why their children are misbehaving and what to do about it without yelling, shaming, or using time-outs. When not teaching parents about behaviour you can generally find me chasing around my two boys, reading cheesy romance novels, or hanging out with my own parents.

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