Janeen Herskovitz has an Autism Blueprint | PoP 429

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Janeen Herskovitz has an Autism Blueprint | PoP 429

Are you or do you work with families who have kids on the spectrum? What is it really like and what are some things you wish someone had told you? Are you looking for resources and tangible advice from someone who is an autism parent?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Janeen Herskovitz about her journey into private practice, being a mom to an autistic son, breaking through the stereotypes and her podcast.

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Meet Janeen Herskovitz

Janeen Herskovitz

Janeen is a licensed mental health counselor in the state of Florida and the owner of Puzzle Peace Counseling, LLC. She also has a podcast The Autism Blueprint covers a variety of topics surrounding autism in the home.

She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Special Education from Rowan University in New Jersey, (1995) and her Masters of Arts in Mental Health Counseling from Webster University (2010). Janeen is a fully trained EMDR Trauma Therapist, and also a provider for the Heartmath stress-reduction program.  She’s trained in the Son-Rise therapy method for autism from the Option Institute, and served as an ambassador parent for the program for over four years.

In addition to this Janeen is a Topic Expert contributor on Autism Spectrum Disorders at goodtherapy.org.

Visit Janeen’s website, connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn or listen to her podcast.

In This Podcast


  • Journey into private practice
  • How autism affects the whole family
  • Emerging research
  • Dealing with grief and pain
  • Starting and managing a podcast

Janeen’s Journey

Janeen had the opportunity to do her internship at a doctor’s office (who also happened to be her son’s doctor) where they specialized in autism. She started doing some of her hours at the office and then it transitioned into renting a space from this doctor.

She already knew when she was in grad school that her specialty would be autism spectrum of families because she has a son, he’s now 22, who is severely affected by autism. Janeen realized that there was a lot of help for the children, but not much help for the parents. So it was her goal to provide that help.

The Effects of Autism Beyond The Individual

It can encompass so much of a person’s life and consequently, the parents life as well.

What Janeen finds in her experience and with the families she works with, is that at the beginning with the diagnosis, no matter how affected the child is: whether they’re verbal or nonverbal, have behavior issues or just blend in with their peers, it doesn’t really matter. All parents go through what seems like the same cycle of guilt and grief in having something ‘wrong’ with their child.

Janeen went through this as a mom, and what brought her to be a therapist was going to therapy herself. Not realizing what a big task it was going to be to raise her son, because it affects every aspect of his life. For most kids, it will affect their ability to have conversations, their ability to speak, interact with others, socialize, play with toys, sleep at night or the foods they eat. A lot of them have health issues, chronic constipation, some of them have seizures.

Grief and Pain

Comparative suffering never works.

Janeen is always amazed at the parents that come in with the ‘higher functioning children’, and they hear the stories of the more severely affected children and they start to think that maybe they shouldn’t be here. They don’t know if they’ve got enough suffering to be here. She ties it all together and says ‘It doesn’t matter at what level your child is functioning or not functioning, your pains are the same and we’re going to connect at that level.’

Challenges with the Podcast

And that killed me because I am the kind of person that’s like, I’m going to go big or go home, I’m going to do it. I’m not going to do it half assed. And that’s been my biggest struggle.

As an autism parent, Janeen had to comfortable with the idea that she wasn’t going to be able to do her podcast like anybody else does because her life is unpredictable. Her son has some autoimmune problems and sometimes he’ll be sick for four or five days and won’t be able to leave the house. She needed to be flexible in this way, so she had a really hard time being consistent with it.

Janeen had to reevaluate what she could do and how much she could do. In the beginning, she was really honest with her community as she was growing it and said that she would publish every other week. Her listeners were fine with this and it helped her get her feet wet.

About a year ago her husband decided to retire early from his job as a school teacher to stay home with their son and just be totally in charge of him so that she could just go out and work on her business. So this is the year that she’s bringing the podcast back up to weekly episodes.

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Meet Joe Sanok

private practice consultant

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

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Podcast Transcription

[JOE]: This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 429. The work you do as a therapist is important and your private practice deserves the best website possible to allow you to see more clients. As the industry leading company that makes marketing simple for therapists, Brighter Vision understands exactly what it takes to help your practice grow to new heights this year. Brighter Visions team of developers will work with you to first understand your business and what makes it unique then use this information to build you a website centered around attracting and retaining your ideal client. Best yet, there’s never been a more affordable time to get the website your practice deserves.
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Well, welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. I hope that your week is off to an awesome start, that you are going after big goals here in 2020, or if you listen to this in the future, hope you are continuing to work on your big goals. Today we’re going to be talking about my friend Janeen, who has the Autism Blueprint Podcast and she has just continued to level up over the years I’ve watched her. But, you know, before we go too far in, Slow Down School tickets are now open for early bird and they’re going to be on sale now through February. And you know, the people that come are people that want to achieve more, they want to have more time with their family, their friends, but they also recognize that they can probably really build something that they can be proud of.
They may not know how, but inside of them they say, “You know what, I really want to see what my potential is. I want to see what I can do.” You know, we talked to some of the Slow Down Schoolers this month in the podcast. We talked to Veronica at the beginning and Veronica went from working in a hospital to owning a group practice to launching her own retreat and now she has the Empowered and Unapologetic podcast that’s going to be coming out in probably February or so. We’re working with her through our Done For You Services with podcasting. And so, to see in such a short period of time how people like Veronica have figured out their message, started reaching out and are now helping women worldwide to be more empowered and more unapologetic. Or, you know, we had Jessica Tappana on the 9th of January and it was that Slow Down School, sitting on the couch, you know, kind of after the sun has set, helping people to work on their meta-descriptions and their SEO and now she makes more money off of her SEO company than she does off of her counseling group practice.
Or you know, two weeks ago, or let’s say, last week, we heard from Chrissy Lawler who she made five grand in her first month on Instagram just talking about sleep, what she was doing in her own practice. And then we heard from LaToya who’s growing her big idea and her group practice. These are all the types of people that come to Slow Down School, that are ready for that next phase and they want to be around people that are also ready for that next phase, and they recognize that slowing down is going to really help those best ideas come to the surface. And so, if that sounds like something that might be a fit for you, I would love for you to head on over to slowdownschool.com and then find a time that you and I can talk.
We’ll do a 20-minute, half-hour discussion, I’ll listen to where you’re at and give you honest feedback on whether or not Slow Down School really is a good fit for you. We have anywhere between 10 and 20 people that come to Slow Down School. So, it’s a small group, we get to know each other, we hang out on the beaches of Northern Michigan. It’s a beautiful time of year. Lake Michigan is so big you can’t see Wisconsin, so it looks like the ocean, but without sharks and, well the salty water. And so, come on up to the fresh coast. Hang out with us here. Head on over to slowdownschool.com and you can schedule a time for us to hang out. Well, today we have Janeen who runs the Autism Blueprint Podcast. She’s going to be on it talking about the state of autism and all sorts of other things. So, without any further ado, I give you Janeen.
Well, today on the Practice of the Practice podcast, we have Janeen [inaudible 00:04:47]]. Oh, I screwed it up. I want to nail this. I’m leaving that in. Say it again.
[JANEEN]: Herskovitz.
[JOE]: Herskovitz. All right. Janeen is a licensed mental health counselor and owner of Puzzle Peace Counseling. Her podcast, the Autism Blueprint covers a variety of topics surrounding autism in the home. Janeen, I feel like I can just leave that in because you are one of my very first podcasting fan that reached out to me and I’ve met you in person and I feel like we’re friends. So, even though I can’t say your last name.
[JANEEN]: That’s totally fine. Yes, I’m super excited to be here. I’ve been listening since you first began, so, it’s very exciting for me.
[JOE]: Yes, it’s been so fun to watch your journey from when you first kind of reached out in 2012/2013 to where you are now. Maybe, let’s start with what your practice looked like, maybe 2012/2013 and then let’s fast forward to when you launched the podcast. So, what was your focus of your practice back then and kind of what were, or big milestones for you when you were first kind of doing the practice?
[JANEEN]: Yes, sure. Well, I jumped right into private practice during my internship. I had the opportunity to do my internship at a doctor’s office where they specialized in autism and it happened to be my son’s doctor. So, I had kind of an end and started, when I was a registered intern with the state of Florida, I started doing some of my hours here at the office and then it just kind of dovetailed into me renting space from this doctor. And I already knew when I was in grad school my specialty would be autism spectrum of families because I have a son, he’s now 22 who’s severely affected by autism. I realized that there was a lot of help for the children, even at that time, a lot of help for the kids, but not much help for the parents. So, it was my goal to provide that help.
[JOE]: So maybe paint a picture for those of us that don’t have children with autism. What does that typically look like? Are there stories that stand out to you in your own life or the, you know, in other people’s lives that for you shows the effect on the family beyond just the individual child?
[JANEEN]: Yes. Oh, it’s a great question because most of the time if you say, “Oh, I have a child with autism,” people will think of the stereotypical things that they see on TV and it’s just not an accurate picture. I have yet to see a really accurate portrayal other than like a documentary. What it is is different for every family but what I find, at least in my experience and with the families I work with is that in the beginning with the diagnosis, no matter how affected your child is, whether they’re verbal or not so verbal or have behavior issues or just blend in with their peers, it doesn’t really matter. All parents go through what seems like the same cycle of guilt and grief in having your child, you know, having something “wrong” with your child. So, I definitely went through that as a mom and, that’s actually what brought me to be a therapist. It was going to therapy myself, not realizing what a big task it was going to be to raise my son because it does affect for him, it affects every aspect of his life. So, for most kids it will affect their ability to have conversations, their ability to maybe speak, interact with others, socialize, play with toys, sleep at night, foods they eat. A lot of them have health issues, chronic constipation, some of them have seizures. So, it can encompass so much of a person’s life and consequently the parent’s life as well.
[JOE]: You said that there’s some guilt oftentimes, for the parents. Why do people feel guilty?
[JANEEN]: That’s a great question. For some reason, and I find this mostly with the moms, I mean I’ve had some dads that have had, you know, have come in to see me, but I see mostly moms and the moms tend to feel like, “Why didn’t I see this sooner? Was there something that I did to cause it? Was there something I could’ve done to prevent it? What if I had gotten them into the doctor and gotten them diagnosed sooner?” A lot of parents, a lot of moms especially will say, “I knew something was wrong, something was not quite right. I kept bringing them to the doctor and the doctor kept saying, “No, it’s fine. They’re just a boy or they’re just developing slowly.” I’m hoping that nowadays that’s changed a little bit because back when my son was diagnosed in 2001, it was very different. The landscape of autism was extremely different. Not so much was known about it, the benefits of identifying it early wasn’t such a big thing. So nowadays I think it’s a little bit easier to get your child diagnosed, although I think it depends on where you are in the country as well.
[JOE]: Yes. You know, I hear if someone is not in the community, that, like autism rates are on the rise and I wonder is that that people are just more aware of it and diagnosing it accurately more often or you know, is there something in the water or something that’s culturally affecting us or. Like, speak to that a little bit of for those of us that don’t know a ton about autism, is it on the rise, what are they finding are kind of things that happen? What’s the misinformation that’s out there about how it’s caused? Maybe speak to some of that.
[JANEEN]: Oh boy. We’re going to open a big can of worms here.
[JOE]: Let’s do it.
[JANEEN]: So, oh boy. So, this is a big divisive, topic in the autism community; among people with autism and among parents. So first, let me kind of tell you what I’m seeing, as the people with autism that are my son’s age are now young adults and the ones that are communicating well are basically saying, some of them are saying, “Don’t try to fix us, don’t try to cure us. This is not a disorder; this is a different way of thinking and it’s what they term neurodiversity.” Other people, some people with autism that are severely affected, like I know if you, I call them types because they communicate, they type to communicate but they don’t speak. We have a big typing community here in North Florida and some of those kids will sit with kids, they’re in their 20s.
So those young adults will say, “I would really like to not be trapped in a body that doesn’t work properly. I would really like to be able to talk to you, have a conversation, make friends. So, it’s okay with me if you can help me in any way possible.” And so, the divide there I find is between people that are severely impacted and those that have more of what we used to call Asperger’s, which, we’ve done away with that Asperger’s label and I don’t really know why. We’ve kind of put it all under one umbrella and I think we’ve really done the community a disservice because I do see some striking differences in people that I would say that have Asperger’s and those that have traditional autism. And that’s one of them. It’s how they see themselves.
In my experience, people with Asperger’s will have more of that, that draw to be neuro-diverse. Like, “I’m neuro-diverse, don’t try to fix me. This is the way my brain works. You just going to have to adjust to me,” which I totally get and I’m totally all for, and then there’s kiddos like my son and some of the other people that I’ve met that have more debilitating forms of autism that would rather not have it. And then the parents have a completely different view. The parents will mostly tend to think, “I don’t want my child to have to suffer or struggle at all, so if we can help them, we should.” And so, I feel like we can hold all of that together at the same time. I don’t think it needs to be one or the other.
That being said, there is a lot of research out there. You have to look at who’s doing the research and you have to look at each child individually. It’s a really tough thing to look at all across the board. I can really only speak for my son. My son was born, with a genetic predisposition to not be able to clear toxins from his body. So, any toxins that came into his body did damage and so, for him that could come from the air, it could come from vaccines, it could come from medications. I was told to give him fluoride supplements when he was little because our water didn’t have enough fluoride in it. A lot of toxins went into his little body and he couldn’t clear them properly. Now, I don’t know 100% if that’s the cause of his autism, as you know, it’s really hard to prove the cause and effect of just about any disease, but for him that was a big issue and it wound up causing a lot of health problems for him. And when we treated the underlying health problems, the autism symptoms got better.
[JOE]: Wow. What, what kind of emerging research is showing what helps people, because that’s really interesting to think about in the community that there’s people that say, “This is how I am,” and other people that say, “I would love to be better.” And you know, parents want their kid to feel like they can go after life however they want to go after life. Are there any kind of core things that research is showing now?
[JANEEN]: We are finding a really big link between toxic load and all kinds of disease. So, we’re not just talking about autism and that’s why, you know, I don’t like that we want to normalize it to the point where we’re like, “Oh, this is just a different way of thinking.” Because when we look at the lab work of children with autism, a lot of them have some major viral issues, auto immune issues. My son has something called PANDAS, which is Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Strep. There are a lot of things that are kind of going on in their bodies that aren’t “normal” and aren’t healthy. And then we see research emerging with just nutrition, like general, like a lot of these kids have starving brains. A lot of kids with, not only on the spectrum but with ADHD or OCD or other things, a lot of the research is emerging that you’ve got toxin overload, you’ve got viral overload, and then you’ve got just the crap that we eat. You know, we’re not eating enough nutrition.
[JOE]: Yes. It’s like, you know, this past Christmas my wife and I gave our kids, we wanted to give them some things that wouldn’t just stay in the house. So, they were consumables. And so, we got them sugar cereal, so like fruit loops and lucky charms, which they never get. And it’s funny because they are eating it like it’s going to be illegal, like super, like slow and just like a ball at a time just here and there. But boy the days that they have that versus, and that’s just, you know, kind of this, I mean, they’re nutritionally in a certain, you know, get very low sugar and so when they have that sugar, just seeing that effect on their brain, let alone how much processed food as a society we do. And I’ve been reading this book called Blue Zone Kitchen that looks at blue zones around the world, which is where people routinely live over a hundred and just seeing how different they eat then how our standard American diet is. It’s just no wonder that we’re so sick and unhappy and all that just as a society, even outside of kind of autism.
[JANEEN]: Yes, absolutely. I totally agree with you. So, I think that kind of going back to your original question, which is, you know, is there an increase? Yes. There’s very much an increase. Everybody is in agreement, including the CDC about what a tremendous increase there is. Statistically, I don’t think it’s possible to have that happen just by better diagnosing. The schools are overrun with, you know, special education now where they weren’t before. I mean overrun. So, it’s, I think it’s a combination of things and I think for every person it’s a little bit different.
[JOE]: So then when and why did you start the podcast?
[JANEEN]: So, I started the podcast, one because I was listening to yours constantly because I, you know, they don’t you in grad school how to run a private practice. So, when I jumped into the private practice, I just started Googling like how to run a private practice and that’s how I found you and just consumed as much content as I could to figure out like, how do I do this? Because I’m a real systems person. I’m not so much an outside of the box thinker. I’m getting better at that, but I’m more of a, “Show me how to do this, give me the recipe, and I’ll follow it,” and then I’ll put my own twist on it and do it. So that’s kind of what I did and just, I always tell people everything I learned about private practice, I learned from Joe Sanok because I just —
[JOE]: Ah, thanks Janeen.
[JANEEN]: Jumped right in and was like, you know, you were just so relatable and so real and that’s what I wanted to be for my community. And I had always kind of reached out. While I was in grad school I worked for a local nonprofit, an autism nonprofit and ran some support groups for them and things like that. So, I loved being in touch with other moms and just offering them hope and saying, “Not only can your child improve and get better, but you can get better and you have to. You have to get past this grief, you have to create your new normal, you have to have a life that you can live and not just exist in.” It feels like a tragedy when this first happens to you as parent, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. But it’s a real challenge to kind of create what your new normal is going to look like.
[JOE]: Yes. I remember when our now eight-year-old Lucia was diagnosed with heart issues and we found out she needed open heart surgery and just that grief around just her having a scar, you know, this little baby that comes into the world, so perfect that she’s going to have to go through this really tough thing, and just the grief around that, and on a much different level than, you know, having a son with autism for 22 years now. But I can relate with that grief that comes with it because you have this vision for your kid that rarely plays out in your mind. How it doesn’t in reality as it, compared to your mind.
[JANEEN]: Absolutely. And you know what? It’s all relative. Your pain for your child is going to be there whether it’s a heart condition or whether it’s terminal cancer. You’re going to have pain. You’re going to have different levels of it, you might have to go through it for longer or shorter, but you’re still going to feel that. I have, the support group that I’ve run with moms in particular, I’ve done this support group for over 10 years now and I constantly am amazed at the parents that come in with the “higher functioning children” and they hear the stories of the more severely affected children and they go, “You know, maybe I shouldn’t be here. I don’t know if I’ve got enough suffering to be here.” And so, I always have to kind of bring it all together and say, “Listen, it doesn’t matter at what level your child is functioning or not functioning. Your pains the same and we’re going to connect at that level. We’re going to share what does it feel like to feel the pain you’re feeling?”
You know, comparative suffering never works. It never helps to go, “Yes, but that person has three children with autism. What am I complaining about, right? Because my pain is my pain. My kid is, you know, the kind of kid that will run away. As you know, I think I was on the phone with you one time on a consult call and he literally jumped the fence, get out of the yard, and I had to run after him until I caught him. And he’s now almost six feet tall and can’t keep himself safe. So, living with that kind of stress day in and day out you have to come up with a plan. You can’t do this alone.
[JOE]: Yes. Now for the podcast, what have been some of the ups and downs of doing the podcast?
[JANEEN]: So, you know, I had to really come to a place as an autism parent where I could go, you know, I’m not going to be able to do this like Joe does or like anybody else does because my life is insane. So, I had to in the beginning be able to be there if the school called and they couldn’t handle my son that day and I had to go pick him up. Or if he had you know, a health issue, he has some autoimmune problems, so sometimes he’ll be sick for four or five days and won’t be able to leave the house. Things like that, that I needed to be flexible enough so I had a really hard time being consistent with it and that killed me because I am the kind of person that’s like, “I’m going to go big or go home. I’m going to do it. I’m not going to do it half fast.”
And that’s been my biggest struggle, I think as an autism mom. It’s being able to go, “Okay, you’ve got to reevaluate what you can do and how much you can do it.” And so, in the beginning I was just really honest with my community as I was growing it and said, “Listen, I’m going to publish every other week,” and a lot of parents were like, “Well that’s cool because I can’t listen every week anyway.” So that kind of got my feet wet. And then about a year ago, my husband decided to retire early. He was a school teacher. He retired to stay home with my son and just be totally in charge of him so I could just go out and kill it. So, this is the year that I’m bringing the podcast back up to weekly and I’ve got a plan in place that I can follow and it’s not going to get sidetracked because I’ve got my husband kind of in charge of my son.
[JOE]: So, tell me as you sketch out, you said you’re going to kill it, which I love because we have Killin’It Camp that you came to. So, for you, what’s that plan look like in regards to killing it with the podcast?
[JANEEN]: So, for me, I really had to sit down and just say, “Okay, what does my audience want?” First of all, because I’ve spent the past, the past two years I’ve had the podcast, I’ve built up a Facebook community. That’s a private community where parents can come and they can talk about what’s going on and I can ask questions and kind of, you know. I live the life, so I’m, I do have an insight scoop, but I know what it’s like to really live with my child and maybe a little bit of insight into the clients that I work with and their children. So, I know the pain of the parents, but I really wanted to be able to connect with them and say, “What do you need to make this better for you?” Rather than just giving them what I thought they needed, you know, so, —
[JOE]: And what did they say?
[JANEEN]: A lot of people need help with healthy boundaries and a lot of people need help with, “How do I make time for myself and kind of that self-care piece,” but most of them want the nuts and bolts of like, “How do I get through the day? What do I do about a meltdown? How do I pick the right school?” How do I, you know, I just got a new, I’ve got a lot of parents saying, “Just got a new diagnosis. Where the heck do I start?” So, I just finished filming like what to do in the beginning stages, like right after your child gets diagnosed and just the nuts and bolts of as a parent, how do you survive that and what that will look like for you. I guess the way I worded it is, here’s all the stuff that I wish somebody had sat down and told me at the beginning because there’s no roadmap. You know, I have so many parents say, “I got, went in for the diagnosis. They said, here it is, good luck, find a behavioral therapist and save for a group home and we’ll see you. We’ll see you when we see you.” Because there’s really no medical care plan for these kiddos.
[JOE]: When you kind of dream about where the podcast in this community could go, like what are the things that you’re considering or things that you would love to see happen with it?
[JANEEN]: Oh, I don’t think I’ve said this out loud yet. Let’s see.
[JOE]: Excellent and exclusive.
[JANEEN]: I have so many ideas. So, I was just listening to your last guest, Veronica, who was incredible and really inspiring and when she was talking about doing a retreat that she did, I was like, “Yes, that’s what I want to do. That’s what I want to do.” But I’m not there yet because I want to make sure that I can do it and people will come. But I just see, you know, my heart is with the mommies. They’re just an, you know, no offense to the dads. The dads need help too, but I don’t know that I’m going to be the one that’s going to be able to relate to the dads as well. So, I’ve really niched down into here’s what I know the mommy’s need, the mommies that are on the front lines and they’re just running themselves into the ground, no time for themselves. So, if I can somehow provide that for them, that’s what I really want to do.
The other thing I’m doing is that, I’m doing full podcast episodes every other week like I usually did. And then in between, I’m doing like a mini podcast of this little tidbit of info. Like, “Here’s a quick tip on what to do when your kid’s having a meltdown in the store, quick tip on how to find some time for yourself during the day,” and just stuff that people can kind of like bite-size snack on so to speak.
[JOE]: I mean I think that to get even more listeners and more exposure, I would think if you want some free consulting is that to get onto as many other people’s podcasts, especially mommy podcasts because even if it’s not aimed at autism, the things you know about boundaries or about, you know, being clear on diet. I mean, that’s applicable to any mom. But then also knowing the growing trend with autism, you know, a certain percentage of those moms are going to be having a child that is on the spectrum. And so, I would really go after kind of the mommy bloggers, the mommy Instagrammers, all those folks offer that kind of unique perspective. Do you have a clear email opt-in to?
[JANEEN]: I do. I have a handout for professionals and I have an opt-in handout for parents. The one for professionals in case any of your folks wants is over at my website at, you can either go to autismblueprint.com or puzzlepeacecounseling.com and it’s a, what is it called? It is the best practices for clinicians working with autism families. Because I have clinicians contact me as well that say, “I need a little bit of help on like, I’ve got this family, what do I need to know that I don’t know?” Because a lot of them don’t know what they don’t know.
[JOE]: Well, and it was so cool to see you connect with other clinicians that have children with autism at Killin’It Camp, and to see you having these conversations, just connecting with them and, that was just so awesome to see too.
[JANEEN]: That was so fun. I just always feel like, you know, I’m just living out my purpose because I absolutely love what I do. You know, I didn’t, I’m just going to be blunt. I did not sign up for this life, I did not want a child with autism. You know, I didn’t want it. I went into it kicking and screaming, but I love my kid and I had to figure it out, you know? It affected every aspect of my life, my marriage, my mental health. I have issues with depression and anxiety and didn’t even realize I had them until this happened. And I tell patients this all the time. I say, “Autism isn’t causing the problems that you’re having in your life or in your marriage. It’s just shining a big light on them.”
[JOE]: I love that.
[JANEEN]: It just fixes everything, all the crap that you already had and it brings it to the surface and now you’ve got to deal with it.
[JOE]: And isn’t that true with any challenge? I mean, you know, whether it’s the passing of a parent or a grandparent or some sort of stress at work or whatever, that it really just magnifies what’s already there.
[JANEEN]: It really does, and the problem with autism is that it’s so pervasive in every aspect of your life. You’re, you know, if you have a child that only eat three things, is not sleeping at night, is tantruming once an hour is suffering and they can’t tell you what’s wrong, you just, you’re, you know, like, I understand why you want to stick [inaudible 00:29:42] and drive off a bridge. Oppression has said that out loud, but the autism parents in the audience will totally get that. When I say that to an autism parent and I go, “I totally get that you’ve had this thought. It’s okay. I have to, it doesn’t mean you’re going to act on them.” Then they’re like, “Oh, thank God.”
[JOE]: Yes. Well, I think it’s one of those things where even just being a parent of two daughters that don’t have autism at times, it just feels relentless. Like, “Are you kidding me?” And then, you know, so just being an adult in general is way harder than I think [crosstalk] make it out to be able to have kids. [crosstalk]
[JANEEN]: I mean it’s not fun at all, most of the time. And sometimes I just look at my husband, because thank God we both have a very dark sense of humor. And I’ll just say, “Why do we have these kids? Like what? I don’t know. Was it a good idea at the time?” And he is like, “Yes, I think it probably was.” But —
[JOE]: We just started watching the TV show Vikings and the main character Ragnar, I think his name is, his son says like, “Well, but I want to be happy.” And he said, “What gave you the impression that you get to be happy in life? Most of being an adult you’re unhappy.” It was just like, “Oh my gosh.”
[JANEEN]: I think it would also redefine happy, right? Like what, redefine like our expectations. Like I am so now content when I can get through a day where my child is not running away, I’m able to get through a day without anything broken in the house. And, you know, and I know that sounds a little depressing, but I’ve kind of just re-centered like if I can sit down for half an hour without being interrupted and create some me time and my husband can get the time he needs, and, like that’s our contented life. We’ve just paired it down to the essentials.
[JOE]: Well, I’m so excited to see what you do this year as you grow and beyond and you know, you’ve got my cell phone number. You can always text me if you’re stuck. So, if every clinician in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know?
[JANEEN]: Oh, I would just want them to know that not to be so hard on yourselves. I mean, I don’t even want to make it anything about the autism world. It’s just the biggest lesson that I’ve learned in all my stuff coming to the surface. It’s that I was always so hard on myself as if that would make things easier and it doesn’t. It’s actually the opposite. Like some self-compassion and some downtime and some rest can really help move you forward.
[JOE]: Oh man, that’s so awesome. Janeen, if people want to connect with you, what’s the best way for them to connect with you?
[JANEEN]: You can find me at puzzlepeacecounseling.com. It’s actually puzzle piece P E A C E but I did buy both domain names in case you misspell it, so you’re good.
[JOE]: Awesome. Well, it’s the Autism Blueprint Podcast. Check it out. Also, we mentioned Killin’It Camp. You can go over to killingitcamp.com. Tickets will be opening in spring of 2020 and that’s in Estes Parks starting October 4th. And then, also you mentioned slowing down, Janeen. So, if you want to come to Slow Down School, we have a micro conference. Usually we have 10 to 20 people that come to this and we spend a week on the beaches of Northern Michigan slowing down, then working on your big ideas and your practice. You can go to slowdownschool.com, those tickets are open right now as well. Janeen, thanks so much for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast.
[JANEEN]: Thank you for having me, Joe. It was a blast.
[JOE]: I really loved this episode with Janeen talking all about kind of the state of autism, leveling up through a podcast and not even balance. Balance isn’t even the right word because obviously when you have a child that’s going through and living with autism that’s that severe, it’s just become a part of her life. And so, for those of you that have unique struggles like Janeen, I just want you to know that we’re here for you. We have tons of resources for you. We want to help you get to that next level so that you can work less and spend that time with your family wherever you want to. And so, we just want to say that we’re here to support you. We have tons of free resources. So, if budget is a thing, pillarsofpractice.com is the best place for you to get free resources right away.
We have a bunch also around practiceofthepractice.com. pillarsofpractice.com is our free e-course where you can log in, there’s videos, there’s all sorts of downloads that would get you started whether you’re starting or scaling your practice. Next week, we have an awesome guest. Christine Kloser is going to be on talking about how to get your book done. Christine and I, we actually recorded this interview yesterday of the time of me doing these intros and outros and I bumped her up in the schedule. It was so awesome. I could have talked to her for hours. The content she gave and the structure she gave about how a book can absolutely change your business and how she was in the middle of bankruptcy and had to figure out how to make a bunch of money quick to not lose her house and to figure out housing for her family.
I mean, it’s a crazy story and she shares so much with us. So, on the 23rd, that one goes live. Thanks so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Oh, almost forgot to say thanks so much to Gusto. Gusto is an amazing payroll solution. Nope, they are awesome, but they’re the sponsor of the next one. Can just leave that in. Extra bonus for Gusto. Brighter Visions our sponsor today, brightervision.com on day are having their biggest sale of the year and you can get access to an amazing website so cheap. So, go check that out with Brighter Vision. We absolutely love them. They have done a huge job on that. Actually, we won three awards from Brighter Vision. Thanks to you voting for us. We won the best podcast, best consultant, which was me, which is such an honor and best conference, which was Killin’It Camp that we put on for the first-time last year. You know, it had 140 some people that were there. We’re hoping to have probably 300 this year. It’s the private practice conference and so killingitcamp.com for that. Thanks so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have an amazing day and I’ll talk to you soon.
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