APC Stories #3

Ever wonder just what exactly it means to be an Autism Personal Coach? Today, we talk to Stephanie, one of our coaches in Cleveland who tells us a little bit more about her career.

Stephanie is a double Buckeye, earning both her bachelor and master’s degrees from Ohio State University. She began her professional life as a special education teacher in Colorado, later moving to Bedford City Schools in both an inclusion and resource room setting. Like many parents, Stephanie struggled to find balance once her first child was born in 2013. She loved working with individuals with disabilities, but craved a more flexible schedule.

She says, “I stumbled across Autism Personal Coach when looking for a new job and was immediately drawn to the company because of its unique, individualized approach and its mission to help others.” Stephanie used her background in special education to help clients learn vital life skills in various settings familiar to them. “As a teacher, it was challenging to teach my students to generalize the skills they learned in the classroom to their everyday lives. Autism Personal Coach discovered a way to make this happen,” she says.

Stephanie loves when her clients feel proud of themselves, and she makes sure to celebrate all successes, big and small. For Stephanie, that could mean a client earns celebration whether they communicate with a family member after struggling with their communication skills or if they feel valued in a volunteer position they worked to set up. To reach these goals, Stephanie finds three core concepts crucial: consistency, communication, and consequences.

She says, “As a parent myself, I know how challenging it is to follow through in these areas.” Stephanie believes in a team approach, working with clients and their families (and often other service providers) together to apply these 3C’s to the skills and goals they’re working towards.

Many people hold false assumptions about people on the autism spectrum. Stephanie likes to reuse the phrase she learned from a woman with autism who stated”if you know one person with autism, you know one person with autism.” That’s why an individualized approach is so vital to helping our clients succeed–every client is different, has different challenges, and has different goals to feel successful.

As for why families might choose coaching with Autism Personal Coach, Stephanie says that the benefits to an individualized program and team approach are immeasurable. Plus, unlike many other service providers, we come to you, which helps to reinforce skills right in the environment clients want to apply them. She says, “If you feel hesitant [about coaching,] start off slow. Spend time getting to know your coach, build a relationship with them, and truly take time to figure out what goals would be meaningful in your life.”

What questions do you have about Autism Personal Coaches and the work we do?

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