111: How to Make Social and Emotional Learning Stick, with Elizabeth Sautter, CCC-SLP

111: How to Make Social and Emotional Learning Stick, with Elizabeth Sautter, CCC-SLP

Picture of hosted by Penny Williams

hosted by Penny Williams

Listen on Apple Podcasts  |  Google Podcasts  |  Spreaker  |  Spotify  |  iHeart Radio

Children with ADHD and/or autism have developmental delays in many areas, which often include social skills and emotional intelligence and regulation. These lagging skills can lead to challenges with social interactions and relationships, listening, communication, appropriate communication of  feelings, transitions, flexibility, willingness to try new things, behavior, and so much more.

In this episode of the Podcast, Speech and Language Pathologist, Elizabeth Sautter, CCC, and I discuss the importance of social and emotional learning for our kids, activities to help your child grow in these areas, and how to weave this type of learning into the fabric of your everyday lives. 


Some of the resources may be affiliate links, meaning I receive a commission (at no cost to you) if you use that link to make a purchase.

Elizabeth’s Freebies for Parenting ADHD Listeners

Elizabeth’s Book, Make Social and Emotional Learning Stick! I already purchased a copy! 🙂

Leah Kuypers, The Zones of Regulation

Michelle Garcia Winner’s work at SocialThinking.com

Beyond Behaviors, by Mona Delahooke

Mindfulness Practice, The Muse II is great for this (get up to 15% off with that link)

Subscribe to Clarity — my weekly newsletter on what’s working in business right now, delivered free, straight to your inbox.

Work with me to level up your parenting — online parent training and coaching  for neurodiverse families.

My Guest


Elizabeth Sautter is a Speech and Language Pathologist, award-winning author, blogger, and sought after speaker specializing in social and emotional learning since 1996. Elizabeth’s interest in social learning began early in life growing up with a sister who has developmental challenges. She is also a mom of two teens with complex social, emotional, and academic needs. These personal experiences have fueled a passion in Elizabeth to serve individuals and their families who are struggling with everyday challenges. Elizabeth is the creator of Make Social Learning Stick, which provides consultation, training (including the Make it Stick online parenting course), and resources to assist children, teens, and their families in building skills and practical strategies to manage emotions, navigate social situations, and achieve their goals. She is the co-author of the popular children’s book series Whole Body Listening Larry. She is a collaborative trainer for the Zones of Regulation, and co-author of the accompanying storybooks, card decks, and games. Elizabeth is the co-founder of Communication Works, a speech therapy practice providing services to schools, individuals, and their families. She lives in the Bay Area with her husband, two teenage sons, a cat, and a dog. She firmly believes that social-emotional learning has changed her life and wants to share those skills with others.



Elizabeth Sautter (00:03): The co-regulation piece is huge because it's inevitable. Just like we need to come to the situations with calm and mindful way kids when they are dysregulated. It's again, it's mirror neurons. It's contagious. You up regulate when they're having an emotional reaction and it's inevitable for us to not have a reaction. So we just need to practice that as much as we can when we're not in that heated situation, but then we can bring our calm to that situation to put water on the fire versus putting oil on the fire.

Penny Williams (00:41): Welcome to the Parenting ADHD Podcast, where I share insights and strategies on raising kids with ADHD, straight from the trenches. I'm your host, Penny Williams. I'm a parenting coach, author, ADHD-aholic and Mindset Mama, honored to guide you on the journey of raising your atypical kid. Let's get started.

Penny Williams (01:11): Welcome back to the Parenting ADHD podcast. I'm really excited today to be talking with Elizabeth Sautter and we're going to talk about how to make social and emotional learning stick. And this is a huge topic for our community of parents who have kids with ADHD, possibly also autism spectrum emotional communication, emotional awareness, emotional regulation is so often a challenge for our kids and a challenge for us to really help them through that. So really excited to dive into this conversation with Elizabeth and give you guys some insights and strategies and tools to help your kids build their emotional intelligence. Thanks for being here, Elizabeth, will you start by telling us who you are and what you do?

Elizabeth Sautter (01:58): Absolutely. Penny, thank you so much for having me. I've followed your work for so long and I'm just grateful to be connected with you and your audience. I've been working in the field of autism for so long, and now I have my own son with ADHD. So you and I are very like-minded and in terms of our shared interests, I am a speech language pathologist by trade. But I call myself more of a social cognitive specialist or a social emotional coach, because I've been passionate about social, emotional learning since I started in the field. And even before then I own a practice called communication works, which is here in the San Francisco Bay area. We used to have a center, a multidisciplinary center where we ran a ton of social groups. Now I am transitioned my work to mostly online and communication work still does exist.

Elizabeth Sautter (02:49): We have school-based contracts with a bunch of amazing rockstar speech therapists here in the San Francisco Bay area, but I've also shifted a little bit to focusing on my work for parents as I'm one myself of children with special needs. And that's my work with make social learning sticks. So the website is make social learning, stick.com. And on there I have, I blog as a mom, I call myself a mama fist therapist and a mom. And so I have wear both hats and share information there about that. And I've recently developed an online course for parents called make it stick parenting, or I put 10 universal brain-based strategies into a pathway with dr. Rebecca brands debtor. Who's an expert in executive functioning, and I'm really excited to share with you today that I'm launching the second edition of my book, make social, and then I've added the words, emotional learning sticks.

Elizabeth Sautter (03:44): So it makes social and emotional learning sticks. So thank you so much for having me. Thank you. Oh, I forgot to mention the biggest part of it. I am, I grew up with a sister whose developmental age. She was in Oakland public schools in special ed. When I was the portables back then she's older than I am. And that really spearheaded me to be curious about this field and be comfortable in this work and wanting to help others so that I'm actually dedicating the launch of my book to her that week of November 12th, that's her birthday. And then I have a cousin who has a son with autism and when I was in graduate school, we were determining what was going on with him and help get him the services that he needs. And then now I have two sons of my own and as they were navigating through school and whatnot, I noticed some differences there as well as I was watching their milestones. And so my older son has struggling a lot, especially in early elementary school. And he is now diagnosed with ADHD, learning disabilities and anxiety, and he has a full IEP he's in high school now and his junior year. And then my younger son too, has some challenges with dysgraphia and emotional regulation and some attentional stuff as well. So I am not just a therapist. I am living it. It's a life endeavor for me as well.

Penny Williams (05:01): Yeah. Yeah. And we have a lot of similarities in common with our boys. I think. Let's start, I think, by talking about what does it mean social and emotional learning? What do you mean by those phrases?

Elizabeth Sautter (05:18): Well, so social is just anything that we're doing when we're interacting with people what we do, what we say and how we're thinking about social situations. And oftentimes they're called social skills. The handshake, the high five, the eye contact, all the, we call them the field is pragmatic language. The rules of language, what you do the output. But there's so much more to that piece of it in terms of social competence and social thinking, which is Michelle Garcia, winner's work of really being able to understand that other people have thoughts that are different than yours. It's also called theory of mind. And so that's like a way bigger picture. And when you think of even the social skills and the social competence in social thinking you really can't separate out the emotional piece of it because first of all, you come to the situation with your own emotions, whether you're regulated or dysregulated or up or down your levels of alertness or energy.

Elizabeth Sautter (06:17): And that affects how you're able to interact yourself and think about the situation, but then there's the thoughts of other people and achieving your goal in that situation, just the executive function piece. And so if you're not able to adjust pertaining to the situation at hand, you're not going to be successful, you're going to have people feeling uncomfortable about your emotional state. And it's going to be challenging to have that be a positive outcome for what you want it to be. So they're both like intwined in so many ways. Leah Kuypers, who's developed a zones of regulation who I work really closely with. She and I used to talk a lot together and we kind of coined the phrase of social regulation because it's everything combined, the emotions and the social piece. And you have to be able to read somebody else's emotional state and also be able to talk about your own. So there's so much involved as you can see, it's vast and complex.

Penny Williams (07:16): Yeah, absolutely. And I think a lot of times for parents, with kids, with ADHD, we think about the social piece. It's more obvious, I guess when our kids are struggling socially, we don't think as much about the emotional skills. I think we often take for granted that that just develops naturally. And for some it does, but for our kids with developmental delay is it is often something that they're really lagging behind. And I have worked with a lot of parents through parent coaching lately who come to me with struggles about behaviors. But what we figure out is that they're really triggered by a lack of emotional awareness or lack of emotional communication skills. And so when you can't get your message across in a more acceptable way, then behavior becomes involved. Right?

Elizabeth Sautter (08:14): Right. So there's so much to unpack there, but behavior is communication and worked in the field for many, many years, right out of grad school. I worked at a school for severely impaired children with autism and behaviors, and I worked alongside behavior consultants and I learned so much. But that was our big mantra. All behavior is communication. And so the output of what you're seeing on the outside and the well-known now that we've been talking about in the field for so many years is the iceberg theory where it's actually research-based down by Mona Dellahooke. And so you see the tip of the iceberg on the outside, which is the behavior, and that could be a child who's withdrawing in our course and make it stick parenting. We call it turtling. Cause you get like in your shell or you're a bigger output those big emotions that you see on the output and that's like, we call it porcupine.

Elizabeth Sautter (09:06): And your parents, how to be the wise owl to manage these situations and to lean in and be curious about that behavior that you see on the outside that tip of the iceberg, what is going on there. And instead of getting triggered, which it does trigger us, of course, when we see dysregulation to get curious and lean in to discover what is going on, is it perspective taking, is, like you said, is that language processing? Is it they're not able to read non-verbal social cues, do they not understand the hidden rules of, of all these various situations? Or is it executive functioning? Like they don't, they can't stop before they say something or, or plan ahead and think or retain information out working memory about what they've learned in the past. There's so much to unpack there in terms of those modeling skills.

Elizabeth Sautter (09:58): And once we can identify what those lagging skills are, then we as parents, or you can find a specialist to help bring up those lagging skills. And I just want to say one last thing about that. Because you hit the nail on the head is that these are developmental skills. So just like we have a child who might not be able to have the physical mobility, or maybe they have vision impairments and those are more obvious, right? Because they might be limping or they might be in a wheelchair or they might have glasses and you would never ask somebody with a visual impairment to stand in the back of a classroom, take off their glasses and read the board. But we're expecting so much from our kids who have social and emotional delays, but these are all developmental skills that happen over a period of time.

Elizabeth Sautter (10:45): And we have to be clued into that and realize what those milestones are and then meet the children where they're at. There's a whole develop milestone on or capacity for being able to have emotional literacy and emotional vocabulary. There's a research on that. And if your child is only able to express happy, mad, sad. Well, then they're not going to be able to tell you when they're jealous or overwhelmed. And so we need to look at where they're at developmentally and then figure out how we can boost those skills to help them so that they can then communicate in a way that's more adapted and expected for the situation. Again, behavior is communication. So if they have the ways to communicate in ways that are going to keep themselves and other people feeling comfortable, then you will see less of those behavioral challenges.

Penny Williams (11:38): Yeah. And I'm so glad that you brought up only seeing happy, mad, sad, because I see that so often in kids where they, they're not seeing all of these feelings that fall in the range of happy, all of these feelings that fall in the range of sad and the feelings that even go between those zones when they can't, it kind of tease those out, then everything is intense, right? If, if there's only one happy, it's this intense, happy. If there's only one angry, it's this intense, angry, and it's not always to scale for the situation. We see our kids get so intense and, and really kind of blow up out of what we would feel like is appropriate or scaled for that situation. And we can help them with that. And this is something that I didn't know when my son was young, I didn't know really anything about emotional intelligence and emotional regulation and the fact that that was a developmental skill and it was something that I really needed to be helping him with. Because no one in our realm of ADHD team said anything to me about it. And I so I just didn't know. And I think that it's really, really valuable at any point, obviously in life, we can teach those, but if we're teaching it, when they're really young, it's so much more helpful, right. Where catching it earlier and making a positive impact earlier.

Elizabeth Sautter (13:07): Absolutely. And I think that that it's never too early because we can be talking about it. We can be modeling it and we can work on it. It starts with ourselves and that's the pathway is definitely us in terms of self-care and self-compassion. And the whole thing that comes along with acceptance of a child, that's not meeting the milestones and maybe different learner. But I also want to say that there's a lot that's being done in terms of training teachers and educators, in terms of supporting students, they have IEP goals and they have social groups and whatever it might be. But I really feel like where we are not doing enough work is with supporting parents. And then parents hear about their kids learning all these curriculum curriculum out there and they feel overwhelmed, which is the last thing we want parents to do is feel overwhelmed.

Elizabeth Sautter (14:00): And so I've really made it my mission. And I think you have to, in terms of making it super simple for parents to just embrace what they're already doing and not feel like they have to add in more it's they can sprinkle it and have it be more of an add on to their daily routines and activities. And that's what I've put together in make it that makes social and emotional learning sticks so that they can feel more confident so that they can feel calm and then connected with their child, which is the goal overall. Right.

Penny Williams (14:31): Yeah. And I love how in the book you have all of these little activities or ways of integrating the social and emotional learning in regular daily life.

Elizabeth Sautter (14:45): Yeah. So what I've done is so this all stemmed from the work I was doing at the center. Communication works back in the days and wasn't too long ago, actually, but now I'm a consultant there, but we had a ton of social groups and we were seeing the kids once a week for 45 minutes to an hour. And our model was always to train the parents on what we taught the kids. We can teach the kids all about flexible thinking and about being a social detective and about the zones of regulation and whatnot. But if we are not teaching that to the parents, there was no common language and we can't create a culture of building social, emotional learning. So that's why I started to blog and started to write about this and train the parents as well. And we pulled them into the groups to train them.

Elizabeth Sautter (15:32): And so in the book, I've really it's not read cover to cover. It's a little bit of an overview. There's a big graph in the beginning, a chart that shows if you're struggling in this area, then this activity might work. But the rest of the book is divided into home community holidays and special events. And now I've added a whole section on bridging home in school too. You can just flip to any page and open up a context in that situation to be able to just have an idea for teaching social, emotional skills. Like, for example, I just opened to page 21, it's start the day and it talks about how to do a body check. And that's just how check in with your body and do a body scan and see how you're feeling that level of alertness and arousal.

Elizabeth Sautter (16:21): Kelly Mahler actually is one of the contributors to the book. I have 10 contributors to the book, leading experts, Sarah Ward, Michelle Garcia Winner, Rebecca brand center, Kelly Mahler are lots of different experts and I'm excited to share their work as well, collaboration. But so the body scan is something that you can do in the morning to just see how your child is feeling and do that check in with that emotional regulation. And then that's when you can talk about that labeling, okay, you're feeling a little bit your stomach is tight or you have a knot in your stomach. Is that anxiety or is that hunger? What is that inner work that we work on? And then also starting the day there's being a weather detective. So when your child says, what should I wear today instead of saying, Oh, it looks like it's going to rain, get, grab your rain jacket and you can say, Hmm, let's look outside and see, what do you think?

Elizabeth Sautter (17:16): What do you see? And right there, that's social inferencing and predicting and problem solving. And that's all in a related to social, emotional learning. So there's activities throughout the whole book, but I wanted to make it simple for parents and not an add on, but more of an add in. So when your child does ask you what what did you wear or what's for dinner, you can do that. Detective work versus just being their prefrontal cortex yourself and not building those skills. So that's why it's called make social learning sticks so that we can have the activities for us as parents to build that confidence so that we know what to do and say in these situations, but then help our child to make those skills stick.

Penny Williams (17:56): I love that it's very integrated in daily life. It makes it so much easier to work on skills when it's just part of our daily life. I talk a lot to parents about talking through your thought processes, your problem, solving processes, things like that with your kids, leading them to say, Oh, here's an idea that we could do to solve this problem, or asking them questions so that they come up with the answer instead of just telling them what the answer is or telling them what to do. An example I use all the time and I think I used in my own online course is the shoes in the middle of the kitchen floor. So if my son came in and took off his shoes in the middle of the kitchen floor and then left the room, I could say, Hey, come get your shoes and put them in the spot by the door where we keep the shoes, or I could say, Hey buddy, I noticed that your shoes are in the kitchen floor.

Penny Williams (18:55): What do you think needs to happen? And it's just so much more valuable and yes, it takes a little more time, but when we're teaching skills that our kids really need and really need help with, and we're just making it part of the day to day, it's so much more well received from them, especially when your kids are teenagers, right? Because they don't do not want us to tell them what to do or how to do it. So, but it can just really be part of anything and all of our interactions with our kids, even from really young age.

Elizabeth Sautter (19:29): Oh my gosh. I could go on and on and or so on the same page here and we have a free parent training on and that they actually have some free scripts of the things that you're talking about here. And my favorite one, because my kids, I don't know what it is, but I guess their feet like change temperatures all the time, get hot and cold, but there's socks all over this house. Like my thing is socks. And so I watch my tone and I take my own one breath for me, one breath for you before I say, and my whole thing is, Hey, I notice some socks. What's your plan. My biggest thing with my teenage boys is what's your plan. And yes, I could absolutely say pick up the socks, put them in your room or are they dirty?

Elizabeth Sautter (20:13): You know? And that's us being their prefrontal cortex, doing it for them, telling them what to do. But if we ask those open-ended those declarative language questions, we are opening up their brains for turning on their prefrontal cortex and being a problem solver, a social thinker and emotional regulator themselves. So yes, I love those simple phrases. They're so hard to remember, but those are the things that we want to, and you are on the same mission as I am empower our parents to just have those embedded and get used to saying those things in a positive, compassionate way, the skills so that we're not continuously needing to do everything for them. So yes, I, 100% agree.

Penny Williams (21:03): Yeah. And if you want your child to be independent, at some point in their life, you need to be doing these things. If you do everything for them, they do not learn how to do for themselves. And for me, with my oldest child, that lesson probably really didn't strike me until she was a teenager. And one day I was like, Oh my gosh, she asks me to do everything. Why is she not doing things herself? She's perfectly capable of doing these things? Why is she asking me to do these things? Well, because I always did them for her and I didn't teach her that she really could do things for herself. And I just didn't I was a much more independent spirit as a teenager. I couldn't wait to drive. I couldn't wait to leave home. I couldn't wait to do all of these really independent things.

Penny Williams (21:54): And so I really took for granted that everybody isn't like that I just assumed that every teenager wanted those things and that's not the case. And I think it's especially not the case with this generation, but that's, that's another whole conversation as well. And actually something that Jeffrey Kranzler and I touched on in his podcast episode earlier as well. But, if we don't teach these skills, if we don't foster independence early, our kids will just still rely on us. And when we're talking about kids who have executive functioning challenges, we're talking about our 30 something year old kid still needing us to help them balance their checkbook, clean their apartment. All of these things that we just take for granted. And we really need to be very mindful as their children and they're in our homes that we have to foster that independence. It isn't just a natural thing for everyone, a natural development,

Elizabeth Sautter (22:54): 100%. And I I have so much on this as well. I coach a lot of teens and young adults actually. And it's one of my favorite things to do. I mean, a little working with all ages and I love working with parents as well, but you know, I'm focused on the teens because I have them living in my house now and it's such a push pull, right. Because they say leave me alone. I don't need any help. I can do it. I got it covered. Or back off mom you're so over-protective, I'm never going to blah, blah, blah. So they want their freedom and their independence. And then when it comes to, can you make me breakfast yesterday? We, and we're busy, right? So sometimes it's just easier to do things and just get it done.

Elizabeth Sautter (23:36): But here's a perfect example. My son had to go to a doctor's appointment and I've been so busy with getting my book, all the, and all the details and working a lot. And so I've decided to do a reframe and say like, Hey where are your moms? They love to go catch Pokemon with me. I do the social fake and catch Pokemon with them. Because it's one of the ways that I connect with them and it's kind of fun. And so they've been wanting to do that a little bit and I haven't been as available and I feel that have that mom guilt so, but then I said it's good for them to be able to deal with some disappointment. And then also some resiliency in managing the breakfast.

Elizabeth Sautter (24:18): And my son had to go to this doctor's appointment. So there was this online portal and there was some paperwork to fill out and I'm like, ah, I don't have time for that. So I just, I said, Hey, you can do this. And so he actually figured it out a little bit. And then when we got to the doctor's office, it was filled out. He only did like his name and his date, or she's like, you were supposed to get here an hour and a half or half an hour ahead of time to fill it in. He's like, well, I thought I filled it out. So all of these things are good resiliency lessons learned. And for him too, even though he was balking and having to do it he's learning and by mistakes or successes and then feeling like he can launch into doing more and feel proud of his accomplishments as well.

Elizabeth Sautter (25:04): So absolutely we need to be empowering them and coaching them. I mean, with our children, with social emotional lagging skills, there are ways that we can coach them though, because we do need a scaffold that building and then take the scaffolding down so that they can stand on its own. And that's all the things like you figure out where they are lagging have lagging skills is it with understanding hidden rules? Do they need those to be explicitly taught? Is it the vote emotional vocabulary, do they need to expand on that? Do they need to be able to understand read other people's emotions? There's so much, and that there are so many simple ways to do that in a fun way to embrace these teachable moments.

Penny Williams (25:49): Yeah. And I liked that you brought up scaffolding too, because we're not talking about letting go of your seven year old and saying, you need to do everything for yourself. We're talking about age appropriate, developmentally appropriate for your child, independence with boundaries. I often talk about giving measured choices. Do you want to drink your juice with your lunch out of your Frozen sippy cup or your Cinderella cup or whatever. Do you want to wear this shirt today or that shirt today? So you're not giving them free rein you're still supporting and having some control over what is appropriate and what happens, but by giving them that even tiny sense that they have some control is huge, huge for behavior, huge for your relationship with them. For so many things, it's really beneficial. But even as we're talking about fostering independence that still comes back to social and emotional learning, there's a lot of social and emotional learning in fostering independence, right. With your son and breakfast and completing his forms when he got to the office and they weren't so happy because he hadn't done it and he didn't get there early that was a social confrontation of sorts that he had to learn how to navigate. Right.

Elizabeth Sautter (27:10): Absolutely. And those are happening every day, all day. And, you have to figure out that balance of meeting them where they're at developmentally, figuring out what the lighting skills are that they need help with to boost them up and not making it too much of a leap. So they feel stressed out and overwhelmed, but we do need to like get in that sweet spot to support their needs. And so that they can grow bit by bit, step by step and be able to be as independent as they possibly can. And we talk a lot about co-regulation in the course as well and how we, as parents can model and mirror and support them. That's a whole other topic as well in terms of being able to be have ourselves in a place of regulation. But yeah, so to meet them where they're at and model and scaffolds and help them build those skills

Penny Williams (28:05): Co-Regulation is a really big part of it though. I mean, it's a really important part because we're teaching them when, when we are regulated, we are teaching them and modeling for them appropriate ways to interact socially appropriate ways to handle your emotions, maybe reading body language and tone of voice all those non-verbal social cues. They're getting all of that from us when we are kind of really on track, we're on target with our goal of staying calm and we're co-regulating, and it's so helpful in a myriad of ways. Again, it's not just, Oh, I'm going to be calm and it's going to help my child calm, but there's so many other layers of things that are coming out of that, and that are developing from us better managing those interactions and being an appropriate co-regulation tool, I guess I would say.

Elizabeth Sautter (29:04): Yeah. So this is a big part of my own journey. I learned about mindfulness about seven years ago through mindful schools here in the Bay area, Oakland, and went through a training and we started implementing it with our students because I think it's a big missing part of the field. We teach all these social skills and executive function and whatnot, but if we're not able to like pause before we react like you can, our kids can talk the talk, but they can't walk the walk. And it's because they're not pausing to see what's going on around them or how they're feeling in the moment to be able to figure out which tools to need they need, which is the tools that we've taught them. So mindfulness is something that has been a big part of my world for a long time and implementing that in my own life.

Elizabeth Sautter (29:50): And then also with my own children and with the clients that I work with. But the co-regulation piece is huge because it's inevitable just like we need to come to the situations with calm and mindful way our kids, when they are dysregulated. It's again, it's mirror neurons, it's contagious. It's up-regulating when they're having an emotional reaction and it's inevitable for us to not have a reaction. So we just need to practice that as much as we can when we're not in that heated situation, but then we can bring our calm to that situation, to put water on the fire versus putting oil on the fire. And there's a lot to unpack here, and this is why in our, make it stick parenting course. We started it out of the pathways, not just a magic bullet that's going to fix, nobody needs fixing.

Elizabeth Sautter (30:44): I didn't mean to use that word. Actually, that's a huge trigger because we all are accepting here in neurodivergent thinking and learning and being in the world, so there's no fixing, but I'm just saying in those situations that are uncomfortable, that a child might not want to be feeling that way. And it might be uncomfortable for us. We can calm. There's a lot of things that we can do to stay calm and to help diffuse that situation. And so we started it out with self-care for parents and we have a huge we call it the wise model which is wisdom, intentionality, self-care. And then the everyday strategies can be layered on, which is all the things in my book. And I explained the why as model in my book as well, but we have a huge journal for self-care which actually I will be giving out a bonus of the journal during the launch week of my book.

Elizabeth Sautter (31:39): And so I'm happy to share that as well, but there's a free training that we have right now that when, and in our course, we have a self-care assessment to see where you are on this, because it really does have to start there because as we're talking about co-regulation, that starts with us. And if we're putting oil on that fire, or using the terms, and you said this way versus telling your kid to do this barking at them, versus getting their prefrontal cortex involved, it can really change the situation. And so that's why it does need to start there with the co-regulation and it make, it can make a huge difference.

Penny Williams (32:12): A huge difference. Yeah. I liked that you used the word contagious because our moods and energies are very contagious to people around us. And it is a biological thing. It's a physiological thing with our autonomic nervous system. It's not that, Oh, mom is grumpy. So I'm going to be grumpy. It's not a choice. It's truly almost this contagion of what is happening that spreads throughout everyone, around you.

Elizabeth Sautter (32:44): That's the mirror neurons. And our calm can create their calm or our dysregulation can create their dysregulation. And we talk a little bit about this in the neuro anatomy neuroscience. Part of it is we are looking to increase that oxytocin and that we call it absorbed the oxytocin and calm the cortisol. Because you can do that. And there's studies shown on how everybody can feel it. You can deny it when there's somebody who's, even if it's hyping them up and dancing around, it's like it's contagious. The mirror neurons are there. And so if I change my tone of voice and I'm calm like this versus like, Oh, Patty, I'm so excited to talk to you and whatnot. I mean, it's just changes the energy of our conversation and the dynamic. And so parents out there to do a little trial and see how calming yourself in calling your kids. Okay.

Penny Williams (33:41): It's remarkable. It's really remarkable. I wouldn't say that it's magic, but it's close to magic. It really is so effective. Versus what happens when you mirror their intensity and you give it back. It's so much of a different outcome. It's it's night and day, there's a wide divide between you being calm and what happens then with your child and you matching their intensity and what that outcome is. And it's really very close to magical. I will say it was a big shift in our house when I realized that when he yells at me and I yell back, what am I teaching him? I'm teaching him that when you're, when you're frustrated with someone, you yell at them, that's not what I want to teach them for, right when I'm yelling, because I want him to stop yelling, but that doesn't make any sense.

Penny Williams (34:32): And for kids on the spectrum, things really need to make sense a lot of the times but it's just, it's remarkable the difference. And just being that calm anchor for your kids, it really does make a big shift and the dynamic and in your relationship again, so much of this comes back to your parent child relationship as well. We've covered so many different topics in this conversation and we've barely scratched the surface. I know there's so much more to be learned in this area. I definitely encourage parents to pick up your book and to have it as a reference it's structured for them so that they can use it as a reference in different situations so they can incorporate the social and emotional learning. And I think it's amazing. Anything else you wanted to make sure that we add before we wrap up?

Elizabeth Sautter (35:29): Oh, we covered so much Penny, we're going to have to have another conversation. I really enjoyed this and I'm excited to share my new edition of my book, Make Social Emotional Learning Stick and all the free resources we have over on the website, make social learning stick. I have a free calendar that I give out. And once a month we do calendar theme based and interviews with leading experts. And I cannot wait to watch your summit and just stay closely connected with you and your audience because this work is so needed and it's a passionate and purpose for me in life.

Penny Williams (36:07): Yeah. I'm so glad that we had you on that. You shared some of your time and your insights and wisdom with us. For everyone listening, you can get links to lots of resources that Elizabeth has mentioned as well as links to her website and social media, by going to the show notes. And the show notes for this episode [email protected]/111. And with that, we will end and I will see everyone next time. Thanks for joining me on the Parenting ADHD podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and share, and don't forget to check out my online courses, parent coaching and mama retreats at parentingadhdandautism.com.

Thank you!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it. Have something to say, or a question to ask? Leave a comment below. I promise to answer every single one. **Also, please leave an honest review for the Beautifully Complex Podcast on iTunes. Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and appreciated! That's what helps me reach and help more families like yours.

I'm Penny Williams.

I help stuck and struggling parents (educators, too) make the pivots necessary to unlock success and joy for neurodivergent kids and teens, themselves, and their families. I'm honored to be part of your journey!

Pinpoint the
Help You Need
right now

Take my free quiz to cut through the overwhelm and get focused on the information and resources that will help you and your child RIGHT NOW.

free video series
Quick Start: 3 High-Impact Actions to Transform Behavior

Transforming negative or unwanted behavior is a long and complex process. HOWEVER, there are a few actions you can take right now that will provide a big impact. These 3 high-impact strategies address foundational aspects of behavior, empowering you to help your child feel better so they can do better.



Makes time visual for those with time blindness.


Blends gaming with off-screen activities to teach coping skills through play.


Manage chores and routines while building self-confidence and independence.


A chair that gives kids a sensory hug.

About the show...

I'm your host, Penny.

Join me as I help parents, caregivers, and educators like you harness the realization that we are all beautifully complex and marvelously imperfect. Each week I deliver insights and actionable strategies on parenting neurodivergent kids — those with ADHD, autism, anxiety, learning disabilities…

My approach to decoding behavior while honoring neurodiversity and parenting the individual child you have will provide you with the tools to help you understand and transform behavior, reduce your own stress, increase parenting confidence, and create the joyful family life you crave. I am honored to have helped thousands of families worldwide to help their kids feel good so they can do good.

Listen on Apple Podcasts  |  Google Podcasts  |  Spotify  |  iHeart Radio

Share your thoughts.

Leave a Reply

751 420 Penny Williams

Leave a Reply

Start Typing

Join us for Back-to-School Prep Week!

Back-to-School Prep Week is a series of live, DONE-WITH-YOU workshops. Together, we’ll prep you, your kid, and their teachers to stress less and succeed more.

I’m providing my roadmap for a more successful transition and school year and we’re going to get your prep done at the same time! 👏🏻

$47 USD