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Octavia Walker leads us through the murky world of self- and society- imposed expectations on moms of children with disabilities. Moms of children with disabilities rely on her first hand experience and strategic solutions to learn how to become the best advocate for their child, develop a strong support team, and live out their own heartfelt dreams and purpose. Octavia offers a VIP Day called the “YOU” Roadmap. She helps build a roadmap that focuses on your strengths so you can have the confidence and peace of mind to take care of your family and yourself by building a life that you truly deserve and desire. Visit www.gettingbyisnotenough.com/vip-day to book a FREE 30 minute strategy session to get started.

In this podcast, expect to hear terms like self-care smashed to smithereens (I hope you are as tired of being asked to self-care as I am)… Expect to be held accountable and have hard insights.

Happy listening!

 

Audio Transcription: 

Vaish:

Do you need to be a supermom? And more importantly, what does that even mean?

Hi, I’m Vaish chemist on functional nutrition consultant, and a science educator, a mom to a mind-bending poet with Down syndrome and autism, who just happens to be nonspeaking. It wasn’t too far back in time that I felt helpless at what I saw to be SIDS dysregulation, his severe gut issues, his apparent lack of communication, his extremely low energy and disinterest, again, apparent disinterest in anything that I offered. Now fast forward through 1000s of lessons learned about the gut to the brain and much more important the extreme importance of assuming intelligence, of assuming intelligence and presuming competence falls forward to said, who now lives a motivated ambitious life as point extraordinaire regulated focused individual and me as an okay mom who still gets in his way.

I present this podcast functional nutrition and learning for kids with every week, caring one of the lessons that I have learned and I continue to learn in order to bring you the lessons that have changed my life. If you’re a mom, a dad or a teacher who believes that equal education and sound nutrition and rested mind are the birthright of your child. If you’re looking for answers to help your child find regulation and focus. If you’re looking for out of the box learning and nutrition strategies that have helped kids with Down syndrome, autism, anxiety and ADHD thrive.

You are in the right place. Today, Dear Mom, our guest is talking to you. She is talking to you if you’re overwhelmed if you’re struggling with finding your space and your niche. If you’re struggling to find where you fit in your world, this podcast is for you. I’m really excited to have Octavia Walker today as my guest Octavia has traded in her 20 year media sales career to focus on helping parents who have children with disabilities. When her son was diagnosed with multiple disabilities, she was pouring everything into him. But she knew she was treading water and barely getting by. Octavia is the founder of getting by is not enough, which teaches parents of children with disabilities, how to be rock star parents and still focus on their dreams and goals. You can start now by downloading a free checklist get off the fence and make a decision at decisions dot getting by is not enough.com You can also find her on Instagram at getting by is not enough. Welcome.  Octavia. So glad to have you here.

Octavia Walker:

I’m glad to be here. I’m so excited to talk with you today.

Vaish:

This podcast is a rarity. And I think that we should actually have more updates, because we usually don’t talk about parent support mom support as much and about what we should be, you know, doing to, to stop just getting by. So yeah, so I’m really glad that you came in here today. So we have a little bit of change in perspective. Could you share a little bit about your personal journey, I know you have a childhood disability, so and how you came about to you know, developing this program.

Octavia Walker:

So starting 2015, I was actually traveling for work, I was doing radio media sales at the time. And I got laid off in January 2015. And then that February, we started noticing that our son Son was having some challenges. So we’re like what’s going on here? You know, because we had, you know, a daughter, my daughter at the time was, she was nine. So we we’ve said he’s up for following a typical path. Let’s see what’s going on. So we went and as you know, is a battery of tests that you go through the pediatrician, the behavioral peds.

I mean, you do all the test. So about the same day that we found out that he’s probably going to be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder was the same day I turned 40 on March 23, you know, so and then try and get him situated in him all services that he need, we move at the same time, I had a miscarriage. And so as a matter of January to June, that everything is kind of turned upside down. So I spent the last half of 2015 This really is, you know, you getting the mama bear mode, you just work as much as you can find the services that he needs, deciding on what he needed, which was was tough because as you know, getting into this world I had no I didn’t know anyone who has a child with disability. So figure out the doctors the terminology and what they meant.

You know, it just took a lot of energy and getting back going. So eventually 2016 I found a job went back to work, but I still found that I was kind of like I said treading water. They’re just trying to get him what he needed to take care of my daughter. And it was just it was really tough for me because, again, you know, you have all these expectations of what it’s going to look like raising your child, and they really don’t come to fruition And you’d have to kind of change course with that. And then I got into a career that I really didn’t really want a job I really didn’t want, I just kind of took that job. But let me back up a little bit on that I actually got offered a job that was out of town and I turned it down, because he had just gotten approved for therapy. And I knew we would have to go back to the wanting to go out of state. And so I turn that job down, took another job that I really didn’t want to take. But again, as was moms, we make sacrifices for our children. So took that job, you know, helped my daughter get along in probably bout a year later, I’m at the hair salon, and my daughter at the time since me a podcasting stop overthinking.

Because children I mean, they notice things, and I guess she picked up on that I was doing going through the motions without really happening. So that really started me on this thing to say how can I take this thing that’s going on with my son? How can I really leverage that and really help other moms at the same time, I joined a lot of support groups in the area. And I realized that moms are really struggling.

They were the identity that like was tied into the child’s diagnosis. They felt like they didn’t have any more friends. And it was really heart wrenching for me because I felt like okay, as a mom, granted, I’m married, my husband’s great. But as we all know, moms take the lead. And I felt like as a mother, if you’re not getting what you need, whether it’s emotionally, physically, you know, there’s no way you’re going to be able to help your child, this is not going to happen. So that started me on this question of how can I there’s so much support for children? How can I take another arm of that and focus on helping the moms? And when I say help, I don’t mean self-care in terms of going to the spa? Or can you hear that? Which is great, nothing wrong? I’m

Vaish:

So glad you said that. Because the whole self-care thing has taken on a world of its own.

Octavia Walker:

I mean, that’s great. You know, I don’t have a problem with that. That’s fantastic. I like to get my hair done, too. Yeah, I’m talking about something more fulfilling. For instance, you know, I’ve met women who have given up their careers to take care of their children, or like myself, who turned down a dream job that I really wanted, or they decided not to go back to school because they feel like it’s too much to be able to carry, take care of their child and do that. But my stance is that you can do it all, you have to be able to do it all every day. But how can you still get yourself on the list? Well, at times, we don’t put ourselves on the list.

You know, we schedule all these appointments, all these therapies, all the IEP meetings, but yet we don’t focus on ourselves on what we need to, to make a difference in this world and greater our children are a priority as they always are. But as a human being is a human instinct to want to have a little piece of the pie for yourself.

Vaish:

Right. Right. And that that makes sense. And also, you said the magic word was like you turned 40 Right at the time. And and as we all know, perhaps we’re close in age as well, because I’m going to turn 44 in August, and the changes that come I mean, it feels like I was a different person before I was born.

Oh, yeah. So and and we’re probably regardless, we’re probably working with the majority. I mean, we’re probably talking to a majority of moms who are in their 40s or early 50s. And, and, you know, struggling with their own health issues, struggling with their own with everything that comes with being that age.

Octavia Walker:

And you’re exactly right, that year that my son that 2015 year, we’ve I think I gained 15 pounds. Yeah, to be honest with you, because of the stress, you know, a number of parties. Yeah, in your 40s. And you know, it’s not hard.

It’s hard to lose that late. Yeah. So I had all that. And then I was diagnosed with high blood pressure, you know, so it was like, all those things kind of that was like the perfect storm of what was going on. But then I realized too, that there’s no way this can continue to move forward. If I don’t find ways to build myself up as he can’t pour from an empty cup, right. So that’s one of my favorite sayings. But my thing is, if you fill your cup up, that overflow goes to your children, it goes to your family, it goes to your friends, and so there’s no way that I could be in a state of mind to help my son to think clearly getting what he needs and eat my daughter to have I felt like there was something lacking in myself. And I think it’s important for us moms, yesterday raising a child with disabilities yes, you’re gonna have more challenges, but you also have to again, carve out a piece for you as well to something you can focus on whether you’re turning your passion into a purpose, you know, whatever it is, you gotta have a little piece of the corner for yourself to

Vaish:

That’s fantastic. And that brings to me two questions are one of them. Maybe I’ll start with this is that how do you prioritize yourself when this whole concept of a supermom? You know, we’re living in a world that glorifies being a supermom. And a lot of times I get praised. And I know that I’m nowhere even near a supermom, my mom lives with me and she may be the Superman, but I only do anything that I do because she’s, you know, grandma’s helping with so many other things. But so that and then if you are prioritizing yourself, how do you deal the, with the guilt with the idea of self-sacrifice, because we’re all made to feel that that’s the ideal notion of you know, being a mom, right?

Octavia Walker:

Like in your right, I mean, we have this hustle mentality like a reward in our society, the harder you work, the better you are. I think that’s the less you are I mean, how can you find ways to, and it’s all to me about support. So you’re talking about your mother, my mother helps me to she’s been a big help of my son, pick them up from school. But I also do that, I believe in a village. And I can’t do this alone. So I lean on my husband to help I lean on my mother to help I lean on his therapist. And the thing about for my son, I feel like I built a really good team around him for support. And I think that’s mom, he didn’t know you can’t do this alone, build a team for your child. And that will take some of the pressure off, build that team for them. And then you will have a little bit of time for yourself.

I tell people all the time, my son is having therapy. So like, that’s my meeting, when they’re here in the house. Downstairs, I run upstairs, yeah, maybe do an online course doing modular the online course. Or I write out my plans for the following week. I mean, to me, the thing is, is that, you know, we all, you know, fight with time, we also we may not have the time to do this. My thing is, if you keep your wife front and center, why do you need to do this? Why do you want to go back to school, then you’ll find the time to do it. So whatever it is that you feel like you want to do? What is yours why? Why do you want to go back for me? You know, I want to have this, you know, I would like to have generational wealth, my children. So that’s my why that’s why I work hard every day.

My husband works hard every day because we want to leave something for our children and leave a legacy for them. You’re why maybe I want to go back to school because I want to help other parents. I mean, there are so many things, but I think first and foremost, you have to understand what is your why, then what is your why you’ll find the time.

Vaish:

Tell us a little bit about self-care you already did. But I want to bring that in again. Because in this world where self-care is about spas and massages and hair care. The word is jarring to me when somebody says self-care, I actually flinch. Like I want you to self-care because that’s what comes to my mind. I don’t want to go sit in a spa. I don’t have time to go sit and I’m not even kidding.

Octavia Walker:

I’ll be honest with you, I don’t have the patience to get a pedicure because I am so mixie I just wiped my nails off. I don’t I don’t have the patience to do that. For me. Self Care is okay. What is it that lights me up? What do I want? What do I see is my contribution to the world? And like I said, that goes back to what do you want in terms of your life? I think a lot of times, that’s a hard question for people to really understand what do you want. So I always say start with what you don’t want and go from there. Make less what you don’t want and go from there. But self-care has to be something that you feel like we’re all born with a gift to this world. We weren’t just born here by chance.

We weren’t just born here just to be a mother of God, we have more than we can give to the world that those things are great. But there’s also more to do that. So find out what it is that you want. Even if you think it’s it’s so far out of reach, still put it down on paper and say, Okay, how can I make this happen? So when I talk about self-care, it’s just it’s more than just getting my hair done and getting my nails done. It’s what really is what was I born here to do? What is my gift? And how am I going to find a way to give that to the world?

Vaish:

So the one thing that I kind of started grudgingly but I really enjoy doing it is a morning journal. No, yeah, and I think that because when I started I among the many things that I thought I could never do was journaling. And I because I find that very indulgent I find like what am I going to write about I don’t want to write about myself, but I just started writing stream of consciousness I kind of forced myself through it. Because I read the book about the morning pages, I think the artist’s way and, and it’s been about six months that I’ve been doing it and I feel it is so fantastic. It’s my favorite thing to do. As soon as I get up in the morning, I was gonna ask you, what are your three? Top three things that you recommend or do?

Octavia Walker:

So for me, I love to exercise. I mean, that’s just kind of people don’t think that’s weird, but to me, your body has to move the mind to move the body has to move. So 30 minutes a day. I do that. Now I don’t like gyms. I’ve always just said it out loud. But I prefer to work at home like they have tons of workouts online. So to me, it’s having to intentionally move your body every day whether you meditate, whether you do a lot You know, routine or whatever the YouTube video, to me is moving your body.

The second thing is, I’m just like you, I like to journal. And I may not do it every day, I may do it every other day when I started so funny, I would write about what was going on my day. And I’m like, that’s not what I’m supposed to write about. I’m supposed to write about how I feel. Let’s go on one day how my kids felt my kids would do what my husband did, like, No, this was about me. So I wrote about how I was feeling. And then the third thing is, is that while my children are in school, I’m not sure I’m going to work this during the summer, but on Fridays, I go out, I go, I live in a tourist town Charleston, South Carolina, and his beautiful spots around here. And a lot of times you live in these great towns, you never go out and explore that. So we never do it. Yeah. So for Fridays, I mean, I’ll do a little bit of work. And like 10 o’clock, I’m trying to go out to go for a walk to sit down, drink some coffee, or get some tea, just try to do that.

Vaish:

I love that I’m going because I live in Portland, and people come and visit Portland, the last time that I’ve done anything like that.

Octavia Walker:

So those are the things that I do. I tried to meditate, journal, exercise, get out once a week, and get some fresh air. So I think those things are important too. And I spend the time of course on working my business finding out more ways how I can help and support moms.

Vaish:

Can you lead the moms that are listening to this through to maybe two or three things that they can get started with? With? Or in other words, what are your top three pieces of advice for them?

Octavia Walker:

My first thing is that you know, a lot of times for me, I feel like I get overloaded with making decisions. I feel like there are so many to make. And the top thing that I want to get by is that 90% of the decisions that we make are refundable, which means that if it doesn’t work out, we have the means to go back and change our mind. Nothing is ever a license. And I think that’s afraid we’re afraid to step out into try a new doctor, try new therapist try new, we’re afraid to do that. And so you get stuck with as you know, I mean, I’ve been up to two o’clock in the morning researching on Facebook, looking at doctors looking at therapies looking at Medicare. I mean, I’ve done that. Yeah, but what’s going to get you out of that and to make a decision. But the second thing is that determine what are your goals for yourself? What are they? What do you want to do? What are your goals? And start with baby steps? I think a lot of times we look at the major goal. And we get overwhelmed with that instead of saying, Okay, what are the little steps that I need to take to get there. So every day put a baby step on your to-do list.

I’m a big fan of planners, I like to write things down. I know people have these digital calendars and Google Calendar, whatever. But I’m also write down so you can look at it. And you can see it every day.

Vaish:

I vouch for that, because I used to be a complete digital person and very unorganized. But now that I’ve started writing things down in a physical calendar, it’s really changed my life.

Octavia Walker:

Yes. And you see, and there’s a, there’s a study that talks about how when you write things down, it kind of gets played out in your mind, you think about it more. So it’s almost like your brain takes a snapshot of it, and kind of keeps it in your mind. So it’s there’s a lot of studies that talk about writing things down, we remember it more it stays top of mind. So I’m a big proponent of writing things down. And the third thing is, keep moving forward. You know, a lot of times we get stuck someplace almost like Well, I tell him that you scrambled eggs, I love scrambled eggs. But the only way they’re going to continue to cook it out birds and you got to keep moving. Yeah, he’s failing in the pan.

How life is you got to keep moving. So it’s got to keep moving and keep moving forward. So those are the things that I think are so vital for us when it comes to parents that you have and then get a plan together to get that planner out. Right down, put those baby steps down and check it off and you get there. You know, and again, I’m a big proponent of building a team, building a support system, asking for help.

I think sometimes as these super moms, we don’t ask for enough help.

Vaish:

Because especially the perception, right because we Yeah,

Octavia Walker:

we’re human we’re not I know I don’t have a cake in my closet. But I don’t have a superwoman cake in my closet. You know, I get tired, you know, I get frustrated. I get overwhelmed just like anyone else. And especially again, raising a child with a disability, you’re even more stressed out with decisions you have to make on a constant constant basis dealing with therapists, doctors, and insurance adjusters.

Vaish:

Rookies, I mean, it’s just oh my god, that’s probably like we I mean, insurance is probably the biggest stressor for many parents.

Octavia Walker:

Yes, it really is. I’m like, I didn’t know I was gonna become an insurance adjuster. I had no idea. And it’s tiring. And it’s frustrating and it’s really hard. And I think we just don’t understand the level of the mental capacity that goes into that. And you just have to give yourself a break too.

We all need a break and don’t think you have to do it at all. I mean, I’m a big, I love to cook. But for the past few weeks, we’ve been ordering from a service that provides two meals a week and delivery, we go pick it up and bring it to the house. I don’t feel like I have to cook every day or my kids to eat. And I think we take that on sometimes that we have now for my son, his diets a little different from my husband, my daughter, so I made these a little special for him. But in terms of dinner, don’t think you have to have a full-on eight-course meal out every day. Just don’t.

Vaish:

Yeah, absolutely. When, you know, how can? How can people come and work with you, Octavia? So do you do do do courses? Or do you do one on one counseling?

Octavia Walker:

So right now I’m going to have a course coming out in the fall. And right now I’m just in the process of just getting telling people about what I’m doing and getting them to give me feedback on what they’re looking for. So my goal is to have a course out in October in the fall when kids are back in school. hopefully, everyone’s back in school by then it basically consists of weekly zoom calls and private Facebook and basically saying, How can I help you? How can I focus on you, whatever your dream or your goal is that you want to accomplish? You’ll leave this course with a plan of action. So how can I go back like I said, go back to school, you want to change a career, you want to turn a hobby into a business, whatever it is that you want your personal goal, you’re going to have a plan of action, how to get it when you finish this course in the fall.

Vaish:

Well then do let us know when the course is online. And I will send an email out to this group of people that are listening.

Octavia Walker:

We’ll definitely do that right now. You mentioned my freebie, and my how to make decisions checklist. It’s on my Instagram bio right now. And then in July, I’m going to talk about my two C’s choices and controls. And a lot of times we feel like we don’t have a say I got really upset you know, during March when you know that’s when people go in for their reevaluation for the IEPs. And I saw so many moms who are crying. I don’t know if you saw my face, but I saw the biggest for crying and upset, nothing going why are we in this place? I don’t quite understand that. Because as a mom, you are the team lead. You determine what happens to your child and what their education looks like, you got more control than you think. So we’ll talk a lot more about that I want to have a freebie that you can download on my Instagram bio as well as talk about the choices and control that we really have. It’s sometimes you just don’t know how to play that card. And so we’re gonna talk a lot more about that.

Vaish:

Okay, awesome. I’m looking forward to that. Can you repeat your Instagram handle one more time?

Octavia Walker:

It’s like getting by is not enough. Okay.

Vaish:

Getting by at getting by is not enough. Okay? Yes, thank you guys.

Octavia Walker:

I know some, I keep it basic, so fluffy. Like you know, a lot of times we go through life. And we like you said we go through the motions are going going going every day. And sometimes that’s just not enough to get by, you really want to like that’s going to, you know, again, tap into that gift that you’re made to do what you’re made here for. And of course, we’re all mothers, we wanted to have the best for our children. But we also need to have the best for ourselves, too. Yes, absolutely.

Vaish:

Thank you so much for everything that you shared today. Would you want to leave us with? I mean, your positive attitude. And you know, you’re just, you’re just beaming and such a pleasure to even look at you. Can you share, tell us about one thing that that keeps you happy or that keeps you positive? When everything is you know, crashing around? You have been because I’ve been just looking at you and I’ve just been staring at you actually because you’re just you’re making me happy.

Octavia Walker:

Thank you so much. I appreciate that. You know, the thing that I talk about when it comes to either myself or my son in life, there’s a lot of fear or fear about making the wrong decision. Were you fearful about, you know, taking the step to do this deed. There are a lot of fears sometimes, especially again, when you’re raising a child. There’s a lot of fear around that. But I’ve really found out the antidote to fear is really taking action. Yes. It’s not just sitting there worrying. It’s saying what do I need to do today? What can I one baby, back here?

Vaish:

So even when you’re kind of really in the trenches of that fear, really? And usually when you don’t want when you want to hide and cover your head, right,

Octavia Walker:

Exactly. And that doesn’t do anything. What does that do that solves nothing that helps nothing, you know, take one little step, you know, a friend of mine was telling me that she read a quote that said, you know, we don’t know what to do nothing. And I’m like, No, that’s not true. Make a decision not to do anything that’s doing something. But when something happens you’re you have to do something whether it’s getting on Google, whether it’s write down make a phone call, say I’m going to do this, you have to do something that’s the only way you’re going to look forward I love that. Yeah, no, no, I was saying that. I love that because that’s probably the most valuable thing I have heard about him. And it’s really true because to the listeners and to myself, if if you just look around you and you look at the people and that and you wonder how are they handling themselves, you’ll probably find that there are people like our caveat or that are still afraid, like you, they’re still probably going through harder times than you, but they’re just getting up and getting up and getting out of the door.

Exactly. You know, and I tell people, you know, my son has, you know, is diagnosed with autism, he has sensory issues, he has ADHD, there are so many things that, you know, that I deal with on a day to day basis. And sometimes things are fearful for me, like, you know, I remember when he first that was diagnosis sensor, and I was like, Oh, I don’t want to wear headphones everywhere in week out, you know that. And I’m like, You know what, that’s what he needs. I’m not gonna worry about what anyone else see. That’s what he needs.

He’s gonna wear them, and we’re going to work on it in the meantime. So I think that’s the approach that people have to say, sometimes get to put in your blinders. You don’t worry. And I think that affects a lot of decisions that we make, too, are concerned about what our neighbors think. But our families think but our co-workers think and think it what does my family need? Or what do I need to do? So put those blinders on and keep moving forward?

Vaish:

Keep moving forward. That’s wonderful. I love that. You know, that’s maybe what we should name this episode of, you know, keep moving forward with Octavia Walker.

Octavia Walker:

Yes. And I think that led to say decisions aren’t licenses, they aren’t. And that’s where the anxiety comes from.

Vaish:

Because should I do this? Or should I do that? The answer is nobody cares. Just do something.

Octavia Walker:

You know, I was helping a friend of mine. So think about this. I’m not trying to be me. But people get divorced every day. That’s a decision that you decided that I don’t want to do this anymore. Let me get a refund on this. Yeah, I mean, that’s what it is.

Vaish:

And even that’s not, you know, a life sentence. Sometimes they get back together.

Octavia Walker:

So Exactly. Yeah. I mean, so don’t get stuck in this rut of that I cannot move forward in this. I can’t do this or get in this, you know, analysis, paralysis type mentality, no move, keep moving forward. If you get into something. Do you turn around like another friend of mine was talking about mistakes that she made was like, wait a minute, let’s reframe that. Let’s not talk about mistakes. Let’s say I made the decision at the time based on what I know. Now. I can move forward in a different direction. But don’t say it’s a mistake. I made a decision based on what I do at that time. And now I’m going to do something else.

Vaish:

That’s it. That’s it. Yes. There’s no room for guilt, or, you know, anxiety. Guilt is about the past anxieties about the future. But if you’re just you know, if you’re just moving along, then there’s been and not overthinking like you said, like your daughter said,

Octavia Walker:

Yeah, stop overthinking and just do it. So I really want moms to really understand if you’re raising a child is really I’m there with you,

I get it. I’ve been there at four o’clock when I’ve been there at three o’clock, and what I’ve been there and whether I should take my son to take this medication or not. But what I found out was that I have to make a decision, I have to move forward. And sometimes there are citizens that I was hesitant in making and glad that I made them. And there are some decisions that may I need to do a u-turn on this. And it’s okay. We’re all human beings.

We’re all doing this every day that we can play all snow to the best way I’m going to help him is when I’m helping myself and I’m getting dressed. And I feel like I’m doing something that’s purposeful every day. That’s the only way I’m going to be able to help him when I show up 100% every day with him.

Vaish:

Absolutely wonderful. You know, I think everybody that listened to this podcast I hope you listen to it first thing in the morning like me because I mean I’m sure that made that’s gonna make the rest of your day go by it’s really inspirational. It’s, it’s, it’s, you know, we can see that you walk the talk Octavia. So it’s just it’s I’m so glad that you took the time to share your thoughts, share your attitude, share your wisdom with us.

Octavia Walker:

Thanks so much am so glad to be here. And like I said, I’m all about supporting women.

We’re all in this together. Our lives may look a little bit different with our commonality is our children wanting what’s best for them, but I’m also saying to slice off a piece of that pie for you to in the midst of it.

Vaish:

Dear listener, thank you for listening. Because mindset matters more than anything when you want your child to thrive and when you personally want to thrive. Make sure you check out the free eBook at www.functionalnutritionforkids.com/autismsupports signing off. I’m your host vaish and today’s music was by my daughter my three See you next week. Bye