I am excited to say that this is my first blog! While my blogs in the future will be a bit more content driven, I want you to get to know me first. My name is Kim Isaac. I am an autism specialist and co-host of “Understanding Autism” radio show. Almost 17 years ago, a friend of mine gave out my phone number to a mother of a 13 year old, non-verbal boy who had autism. His mother had been looking for people to work with him in his home-based therapy program. When she first called me, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to meet them. I knew nothing about autism. After some ‘backing and forthing’ with myself, something inside told me to go and at least meet them. This decision changed my life. I remember the exact moment that I met him… Kyle. I remember his mom walking me back to his room to meet him and he slowly walked out. He had a little cold at the time, so he was sniffing a little. I knew that he was non-verbal and felt a little bit nervous, as I wasn’t sure how he was going to express himself. How would I know if he was upset? Confused? Needed help? I was cautious approaching. He slowly approached us and gently put his index fingertip on my shirt and guided me to his room. His mother said, “That means he wants you to go with him.” His sweet gentility struck me. I was amazed that he chose to engage me on some level. I was amazed that this boy, who had so many challenges was so sweet-natured. At that moment, I realized that I wanted to help this boy. Like I was struck by lightening, it became very clear that my purpose in life involved helping him and others like him. I began working in his home program. At the time, his family was involved in a therapy called, “Son-rise”. Learning about Kyle, autism and this therapy, intrigued me. After awhile, I began working with other children and families. I was exposed to and trained in a variety of therapies and methodologies. I learned about ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis), TEEACH, NACD, and Floor-time. I also had many observational learning sessions from speech pathologists, occupational therapists and autism consultants from all around the country. My initial work with Kyle, led me to working in home-based habilitation programs working with many children on the autism spectrum.
Eight years ago, I earned a professional certification in Certified Relationship Development Intervention (RDI). After being involved in so many different therapies, I found this program to be the ‘missing link’ to all that I still couldn’t define about autism. Since becoming a Certified RDI Consultant, I have changed my focus to working with families, as well as teenagers and adults on the spectrum. At present, I have an autism consulting practice and consult with individuals and families all over the United States. In addition to my professional certification, I have a Bachelors degree in Psychology and a Masters degree in Counseling Studies.
Paul and I met not too long after he received an Aspergers diagnosis (which is no longer identified by that particular name in the DSM, but is identified in the category autism spectrum disorder.). As our work together progressed, Paul began to express so much of what he was thinking and how he was processing the world. He was able to do this in such clear and insightful ways. I recognized that his ability to do this was rare and very powerful- not only in helping me to help him, but also that it was something that could be shared with others. A few years ago, I received an offer to create and host an autism radio show. At first, I turned it down. While I consider myself to be a welcoming and friendly person, I prefer to be in the background vs. the spotlight. Co-hosting a radio show on my own would be way out of my comfort zone. I began to think about Paul. He was in the process of learning about himself and finding some direction. I began to wonder if he would want to pursue using his strengths to move forward in his own life, as well as help others through speaking. As a guide, I knew that we would start out as a team. Even though I was nervous, I knew it would be positive for Paul and had great potential to evolve into something great. After some discussion, Paul agreed to try it out and here we are now…two and half years after “Understanding Autism” radio show was born. Paul continues to offer insight based on his life experience and his evolving understanding of autism and I bring my 17 years of professional experience and expertise, in hopes of helping people to better understand autism.
Our show is focused around the idea of understanding. We want to help people to truly understand autism, not just be aware of it. People tend to fear or judge things that they don’t understand. Many families, individuals and communities need support and an increased understanding of autism, so that they can relate to their loved ones in order to better help them.