247: Listening Isn’t a Behavior You Can See, with Elizabeth Sautter, CCC-SLP

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hosted by Penny Williams

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I’m thrilled to bring you another compelling episode of Beautifully Complex. For this episode, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Elizabeth Sautter, CCC-SLP for a truly eye-opening discussion about the often wildly misunderstood concept of listening and showing that you’re listening.

Elizabeth — a speech language pathologist and social cognitive specialist — emphasizes the importance of allowing individuals to find what works best for them in terms of regulation, challenging the notion of a one-size-fits-all approach.

We dive into the myths surrounding what it looks like when a kid or teen is listening, the significance of regulation as a foundation for education, and the diverse ways in which individuals process information. From the concept of “Listening Larry” to the need for tailored support for neurodivergent children, our conversation offers a newfound appreciation for the complexities of listening and the impact it has on learning.

3 Key Takeaways


The importance of recognizing and accommodating diverse listening and learning styles, especially for neurodivergent individuals, to support their regulation and understanding of information.


The impact of individualized regulation approaches in promoting engagement and learning, emphasizing that listening goes beyond using our ears and making eye contact and requires considering the whole body’s needs.


The need for educators and parents to be open-minded and supportive of diverse listening and learning styles, challenging myths and embracing tailored approaches to support children’s engagement and cognitive functioning.

What You'll Learn

The importance of recognizing and accommodating different ways of processing information, particularly for children and young adults with neurodiverse traits.

The significance of individualized approaches to support regulation for learning and cognitive functioning.

The negative impact of forcing a specific listening style and the benefits of embracing diverse listening and learning styles.

How to understand and accommodate individual needs, rather than imposing standardized listening approaches.

Actionable strategies to engage resources for kids that help them learn without realizing it, and where to access free resources and additional support.


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.

“Listen, Learn and Grow” by McAlister Greiner Huynh, Elizabeth A. Sautter, Kristen Wilson

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My Guest

Elizabeth A. Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP

Elizabeth Sautter is a speech-language pathologist, speaker, author, and trainer, with expertise in social communication, emotional regulation, and executive functioning. She is the author of Make Social and Emotional Learning Stick! Practical activities to help your child manage emotions, navigate social situations & reduce anxiety, along with many other resources, including an online course and community for parents. Elizabeth collaborates with the Zones of Regulation team as a trainer and is a coauthor of the Zones children’s books, card decks, and games. She is also part of the Everyday Regulation team where she has helped create the revised neurodiversity-affirming Whole Body Listening Larry resources focused. Elizabeth loves connecting on social @elizabeth.sautter (IG), ElizabethSautterMACCCSLP (FB) or www.ElizabethSautter.com


Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:00:03]: That's what the whole purpose is of this is, like, you figure out what works for you and, you know, the regulation as being the foundation. Because if we force a listening style on somebody else, it's gonna create a cognitive load that is going to make it so overwhelming for them that they are gonna be so focused on what we're asking them to do that they're not in process information.

Penny Williams [00:00:26]: Welcome to the Beautifully Complex podcast where I share insights and strategies on parenting neurodivergent kids Straight from the trenches. I'm your host, Penny Williams. I'm a parenting coach, author, and mindset mama, honored to guide you on the journey Of raising your atypical kid. Let's get started. Hey, everybody. Welcome back to The Beautifully Complex podcast. I'm really excited on this episode to be joined again by Elizabeth Sauter, and she has been here, I think, multiple times with us because she's such A fountain of information and wisdom and just really great nuggets that we all need as parents and educators of Neurodivergent kids, that we can really understand where these kids and teens and young adults are coming from and what they need from us. Today, we're gonna talk about listening and listening, Larry, and how that has really adapted to our new understanding of neurodiversity and really to be very neurodiversity affirming.

Penny Williams [00:01:35]: Before we jump into all of that goodness, though, I want to ask you, Elizabeth, really quickly to just introduce yourself. For anybody new here or somebody who doesn't know you, Who are you and what do you do?

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:01:46]: So I'm Elizabeth Sautter, and I'm a speech language pathologist by trade. I'm more of a social cognitive specialist or social emotional coach because that's what I'm about and what I've been interested in and focused on for 25 plus plus years in a private center that I owned in Oakland, California, and now online and supporting parents. Because I have 2 neurodivergent kids myself, and those are their needs as well. So that has been my focus for the work that I do, mostly supporting parents of neurodivergent kids just like you. So thank you for having me in front of your audience.

Penny Williams [00:02:18]: Absolutely. Always welcome to have you. I think we should start by talking about listening, Larry, and kind of the Ways in which he has morphed, he has changed a little bit in his message for the Signals that we are looking for and how kids are listening. Right? Mhmm. Do you wanna start by kind of where we used to be and then how that's changed?

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:02:43]: So I mentioned before that we had a center in Oakland, and we were doing a lot of speech and language and social and Regulation work there and executive functioning, and some of the kids, you know, were needing some support with listening. And, you know, when we were teaching it then, we were looking for different resources. The old way of thinking was, like, clear is kind. I mean, Clear is kind, and breaking down abstract concepts is super helpful. So when we heard of the concept of whole body listening and breaking down all the different body parts that are involved, We thought it was really helpful. So this is the old concept of whole body listening where you have your eyes watching, your mouth quiet, feet still, brain thinking, ears listening, hands still, body facing speaker, heart caring. And so we practiced that a lot, and we taught it. And we actually then another therapist and I thought, oh, we need a book about that to teach kids and a poster.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:03:40]: And so that got out there in the world. And what it did, though, after listening and learning ourselves from autistic Voices in the neurodivergent community were the loudest, and I'm so grateful for them that we were creating a standard of listening that was actually focused on performance based and compliance.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:04:02]: So this is sort of like what us as adult facilitators or teachers or parents maybe we're wanting and asking of our kids based on our needs, not necessarily really what works for them and their needs for processing and comprehending and doing what's best for them in terms of understanding and using information. So we listened, and we did a little bit of a revision in the book. And then, you know, thinking that was We've kind of we're putting a Band Aid on a peg, I guess. And oh, no. Sorry. That's I always mess up cliches.

Penny Williams [00:04:41]: Stick on a peg. Yeah.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:04:42]: Thank you. That's my dislike.

Penny Williams [00:04:44]: I mean, Band Aid works.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:04:46]: I was thinking of, like, Band Aid over the mouth. Oh my goodness. Putting lipstick on a pig and put the 2nd edition out there, and it still wasn't right. You know? It was still talking about how to listen based on what was the adult facilitator the teacher was asking for. So Larry was selling 1 size of too when we know that one size doesn't fit all. Another cliche there. So what we did is I did more listening and held a focus group. And I, you know, I said that this really has to go away, and we were thinking that it would just go away.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:05:22]: But the focus group autistic voices, the neurodivergent Population community really wanted there to be something else so that we could replace the old Larry, which we knew what needed to be done, which was focusing on Regulation. So that's what we have done, and that's the background. So as Maya Angelou says, know better, do better. Mhmm. And so that's what we're trying to do is lots The deep listening, following the neurodiversity affirming practices movement, and contributing in our best way, humbly saying that this created a standard that was actually harmful and potentially shameful for people who need to flap their hands or look away and move their body and echo or whatever it is that they need to actually regulate and listen.

Penny Williams [00:06:07]: Yeah. I love that you brought up that we needed to change our ideas around listening Mhmm. Rather than trying to change kids, which I think is what So many of our traditional approaches, including that traditional idea of listening, is doing. And you said, you know, that it's about us. It's not about what the kid needs. And we get stuck there so often, and we have this conversation all the time here on the podcast And in other ways that I show up in the community that it's us. Mhmm. We need to stop focusing on what we need, and We need to focus on what the kids need, and so I'm really thankful that you brought that up in that conversation because it's so so valuable to just even recognize that.

Penny Williams [00:06:52]: So many adults in kids' lives don't even recognize that yet. They don't know that there's a better way yet. So I also love that this autistic community and the neurodivergent community said, Don't just get rid of it. Mhmm. Help people understand what we actually need, which is fantastic. And I think that leads us into talking about What is the new listening Larry? What is he teaching us now?

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:07:16]: I also wanna give credit to Kristen McWilson as the other speech therapist who developed the book with me originally. And then we hired, neurodivergent consultant, McCallister Wen, who also not only did the neurodivergent community, we have a focus group and and help there, but she was super helpful in getting us to where we needed to be Yeah. And not throwing with a whole body listening concept out, but really focusing on regulation.

Penny Williams [00:07:42]: Yeah. So what does listening, Larry, teach us now about listening.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:07:46]: Yeah. So we have a while ago, we developed a new posters because Larry was up on Walls of many classrooms, you know, teaching the things that I mentioned before, like, you know, body quiet, eyes looking, mouth quiet, you know, body parts turned on or off based on what the teachers potentially what made them feel comfortable. And now this is the new poster,

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:08:09]: this is a free poster, so we can provide that link for you to download. Yep. So it still looks really the same, which is we did that on purpose for branding because I think we we thought that, you know, teacher would be like, if we had a new poster that looked different, we'd be like, oh, I have my old poster. I'm good.

Penny Williams [00:08:25]: Right.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:08:25]: But if you have one that looks Similar with Larry again, even though people were probably done hearing from Larry, that it's like, oh, you know, it's branding. It's like, wait. What? I I have that. I need what's new. You know? So then they would take a look and read here that on the top, it says, how does your body help you listen. And at the bottom, it says all brains and body listen and learn differently. It's important to know what works for you.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:08:51]: And then we have all the same body parts, and there's an open space for teachers in classrooms to brainstorm and determine what works for them. They can do this as a class. You know, they can have all the different things like using a fidget or, You know, maybe a standing desk or sitting in a beanbag during read aloud, they can figure out what works for them as a class, or we also have a whole bundle that we made a lesson plan where we can really dive into kids determining what works for them. So this is a whole packet of a downloadable bundle because people ask for that. And we actually hired a autistic artist to develop a poster. We call it ways of listening. So showing different ways of listening. I'm trying to find it here So I can highlight that.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:09:44]: It's really great.

Penny Williams [00:09:45]: I love that.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:09:45]: These are all different ways that listening can look.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:09:48]: So then they could be a visual a reminder that, you know, you can have headphones on and still listen.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:09:53]: And you can sit different ways and listen. You can have background music on and still listen.

Penny Williams [00:09:59]: It's amazing.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:09:59]: So there's all these different ways. It's now focused on regulation over compliance.

Penny Williams [00:10:05]: Mhmm. And individuality. Yeah. That's what I'm hearing again and again in the way you're describing it. Each person is different. Each child is different. What do they need? How do they listen? I can interject a short story here really quickly about my own kid in kindergarten. We didn't yet know that anything was different with him.

Penny Williams [00:10:27]: He just seemed like a really rowdy, rambunctious little boy. And When he stepped into the kindergarten classroom, it all went awry, of course, and, like, day 2, his teacher calls me and she says, You know, at carpet time, he's running around the room, he's playing with all these things, I'm trying to read a story, it's so distracting, but every time I ask a question, He's the 1st one to answer, and he always answers correctly. Mhmm. And I'm like, ding, ding, ding. You know? But The call was still, I need him to comply. I'm like, but he's listening. You know, we have to find the balance, right, between what a kid needs and having 25 or 30 kids in a classroom and being able to manage that as well. Right.

Penny Williams [00:11:14]: And I know that's so difficult for teachers, But, you know, we have to recognize that kids learn in different ways, because if he's just punished to sit down and Stare at the teacher, he's probably not actually gonna learn at that point because he needed movement to process what he was hearing.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:11:32]: Absolutely. And, you know, I think it is daunting for teachers. And even, you know, if you're a therapist or educator working in small groups Or if you're a parent that might be feeling overwhelmed at home Mhmm. It can be overwhelming. And I also wanna mention too that this is not just for kids. Right? Like, we all listen differently, And I've learned about my own listening styles and what helps me to really process information. But so back to the what do we do for teachers, educators, therapists, parents, 1st and foremost, it's a lot of our own regulation needs. Right? So we can manage and be more flexible in a larger environment with more energy and movement when we have our own cup filled, whether we're parents at home or educators in the classroom or small group, but also laying the foundation of regulation.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:12:20]: So starting the year off with focusing on, you know, what is energy, what are emotions and feelings and all those things, and how can we meet our goals and tasks, including thinking about the group and not, you know, realizing that everybody else needs to listen, and this person might listen best sitting close to the teacher and looking at the you know, what's on the board and keeping their body still. So taking that perspective and consideration of all People involved, you can't stand in front of somebody else just because that might work for you. We're not saying, like Right. Do whatever works for you. It's like, you know, thinking about others and the whole is a part of this as well. So it just is about laying that foundation of regulation and situational awareness and really taking that consideration of the importance of that, and how that then spills over into other things. Academic learning, working in small groups independently, larger groups, being able to go on field trips and transition from place to place and being able to have, you know, friendships and potentially, you know, move out and live on your own and have work and jobs and things like that. So we lay the foundation, which is this is all related to social emotional learning and executive functioning

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:13:37]: Then we're gonna help our kids in so many other ways. So I know that listening is a huge standard and, like, one of the foundational things that we teach with young kids. Yeah. But, you know, we can back up and do this with all kids and even and adults and adults, because I work with a lot of teens and young adults, and talk about what works best for them as well as the foundation.

Penny Williams [00:13:58]: I'm thinking that maybe we should dispel a few myths about listening, calling out some particular examples that have, You know, my kids are young adults now. They came up year after year after year, complaints or or, you know, concerns from teachers. The first one, of course, I think, is eye contact.

Penny Williams [00:14:19]: A person can listen and process without looking you in the eye when you're talking. Correct?

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:14:26]: 100%. And I would say that we I mean, nobody just that's freaky. Right? If you just, a 100%, like, you know, look somebody in the eye, stare. Like, you know, that is just yeah. The other person wouldn't be able to process information either, and they would be like, what's going on here? That's super intimidating. And it just can be super overwhelming, the simulation you get from 1 eyeball to another and from 1 brain to another, so looking away is definitely advised. And then, you know, most people look away. I mean, I have this beautiful window over here, and I'm constantly looking outside to regulate my brain and get my thoughts together.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:15:00]: So Mhmm. I think that's huge, and it's huge for kids and young adults and adults to know that, you know, that's Typical. And when it's a little bit more than, you know, the neuromajority, then when they go to that job interview, they can say, I I'll let you know that I am thinking about you. I just need to look down to gather my thoughts and to, you know, be able to be in this conversation more presently and let the other person know so they don't think that they're not thinking about them or they're, I hate the word, but respectful for whatever. Yeah. Disinterested. Yes.

Penny Williams [00:15:35]: Yeah. And so if a kid doesn't look at us when they're listening, How can we measure? How do we know if they're actually listening? What can we rely on to figure that out? Because we don't want to be going through a whole lesson in the classroom and then realize that they really weren't with us. Right. So what can we do instead?

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:15:57]: I think that that's really individual as well, but there can be you know, you can work that out as it which works in your classroom, whether there's little ways that you can have them engage. I mean, I think the whole thing is what we're looking for is engagement and true processing of information. So teachers know that best and parents know that best of, like you know, it could be that little, like, smirk of I you know, like, make them laughing at different times or, like, looking up and nodding or, you know, doing that engagement piece of raising hands and, you know, having some sort of communication around what the topic is at hand or what the activity is. And that's another whole thing is making sure that we're, you know, doing engaging activities and having Right. Skills as educators and parents to have that connection and bond to be able to know when our learners and listeners are truly engaged in processing seeing what we're talking about and doing in the moment. Mhmm.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:16:55]: So I think that can look different. I know that was a not a concrete answer, but I don't think that there is one answer for that question. Right.

Penny Williams [00:17:01]: We could certainly set up, like, a hand signal or a little gesture

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:17:04]: Yeah.

Penny Williams [00:17:05]: Just between that student and the teacher Mhmm. For the student to go, hey. I'm listening. You know? And nobody else knows and they're not called out. You know, we use that a lot in elementary school too for my own kid, and it was really valuable kind of to protect his self esteem, honestly, because otherwise, he would be called out constantly.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:17:23]: And some kids could be part of the teaching of the lesson. Maybe that helps them process and learn. Yeah. You know, like little teaching assistants or whatever, and or maybe you have a cooking assistant at your home. But some kids would really be overwhelmed by that, and that would make them feel like they had to perform in front of others and probably shut down in terms the processing engagement. That's why it's different for each learner.

Penny Williams [00:17:49]: Another myth that I hear a lot, one that we sort of battled in school sometimes, is if you are doodling, you are not listening to the teacher and you are not learning, which we know is totally false. Right?

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:18:01]: Yeah. I mean, we all fidget in different ways, whether it's, you know, twirling our hair or, some people pick their nails, their fingers, And that helps with the the movement piece, and sensory piece can help with cognitive function and engagement is what we found. So doodling can be a really great way to stay engaged and make little doodles and notes on your page as you're listening and processing information, for sure.

Penny Williams [00:18:30]: Yeah. So we know that just because a kid is looking down And maybe they're drawing. It doesn't mean they're not listening.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:18:38]: Yeah. We have it right here.

Penny Williams [00:18:39]: Doodling. Love it. Yes. And then I think you also have the next one on there, which is listening to music or listening to something else while working. And this is one that was really hard for me to sort of wrap my head around, because if there's anything else going on, I cannot focus on what I'm doing. I cannot have music. I cannot have, you know, a video in the background. I cannot have even people milling about.

Penny Williams [00:19:05]: Like, It always sort of astonishes me that people go into busy coffee houses to, like, write, because what I would write is all the words that I was hearing around me. Like, I would not be able to focus, but yet I have 3 people in my household who need music in their ear every minute To be able to function, and so I had to be open minded enough, right, to accept that that's also possible, That their brain can focus in a different way. That's been a really tough thing to get teachers and educators on board with, Having a kid with a headphone in while they're talking, I think there's more work there to be done to help people really understand that that is a potential way to help someone focus.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:19:49]: I'm the same as you. I cannot even have background, like, a fan. Like, when there's a fan even, like, in a bathroom and the fan finally turns off, I go Yeah. Like, you just, like, just relax. I can't even have a But I have 3 listeners and learners in my house as well who not only do they have earphones in when they're studying, it's like Music, like lyrics and loud. How do you process? Because they're, like, maybe even singing, and I used to, you know, sort of say as a, you know, a parent, like, Turn that off. You can't. You blah blah blah.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:20:24]: But now I just it works for them. Yeah.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:20:26]: It really helps them regulate, and I think the silence maybe makes their brain, my kids have ADHD, sort of go off on a different tangent, and maybe having that competing noise and lyrics helps them focus in and the the rhythm and, I don't know, the beat to what they're listening to and learning and processing with studying. I don't know how they do it. Mhmm. But, again, On the bottom of our poster, all brains and bodies listen and learn differently.

Penny Williams [00:20:53]: Yeah. What what works for you?

Penny Williams [00:20:54]: That's what we're driving home. Mhmm. Yeah. My son has 2 different YouTube videos going full blast to fall asleep. And I'm always like, This has to be your sleep struggle. He's like, no. If it's quiet, my brain just runs a 1000000 miles a minute on a 1,000 different things. And if I can try to just focus on 1 of these videos and have 1 in the background, my brain isn't going everywhere

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:21:20]: Yeah.

Penny Williams [00:21:21]: And I can be calmer. To me, it's like sending me over the edge. For him, it's soothing him. You know? And I think, you know, that's just case in point of what you're saying, what your whole message is here in this conversation. Everybody listens differently. We have to be Open Mhmm. To the possibility that someone is listening in a way that we think is shocking or couldn't possibly work.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:21:46]: We have to at least let them try. Right? 100%. And that's what the whole purpose is of this. It's like you figure out what works for you and, you know, regulation as being the foundation. Because if we force a listening style on somebody else, it's gonna create a cognitive load that is going to make it so overwhelming for them that they are gonna be so focused on what we're asking them to do that they're not gonna be able to listen and process information. And so that's why, you know, the The new book is focused on listen, learn, and grow, and we super cute rhyming format. Thank goodness for Kristen and McAllister, who are really good at rhyming, the coauthors, and we go into all the different body parts and what it could look like. And it just gives that agency and the awareness and acceptance, and then the advocacy piece needs to come as well for what works for each individual listener.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:22:37]: So that's our goal, and that's why we really wanted to take this mission based goal and not just turn away and take the old posters and the old books down, but really make resources that show people how to have that mindset shift and what this could look like. Mhmm.

Penny Williams [00:22:54]: And the things you're talking about too, like agency, that also helps with engagement Mhmm. And motivation and self esteem and, you know, so many things. The other thing that came up just then as you were talking too is The availability to learn, that availability for cognitive functioning, when we're trying to force a kid to do something This is working for them. We're adding stress. Now their emotional brains, their survival brains are flooding. Their cognitive brain Is cut off. They're no longer able physiologically to learn. You know, there's so many reasons why We just can't keep forcing compliance.

Penny Williams [00:23:37]: We have to be more open to that individuality In so many ways, in our classrooms and at home, everything we're talking about is true for home too. You know, when we're asking our child to do something in a way that doesn't work for them, We're stressing them out and making it less doable. Right? And we know that when kids are regulated, they're able to do well Mhmm. In all different environments. So how do we sort of shift our focus to regulation? What does that look like? Do we teach kids regulation This is both in the classroom and at home, and it sounds like there's definitely some of that in the book that you're talking about as well. Listen, learn, and grow. Is that it?

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:24:17]: Yeah. So just laying down the foundation for regulation as a whole, and that's why schools are doing this so much more in terms of developing curriculum that they teach, you know, daily and starting out the school year with a foundation of, when I suggest, You know, picking a social emotional curriculum, I make sure that they are focused on regulation first and not just, like, skill based, not just like, you know, be kind and be respectful and be a good citizen because, again, what does that even mean? Mhmm. And how can you do those things if you're not regulated? So, you know, I'm a huge component of the zones of regulation, and that's part of what I do as one of the hats that I wear with Leah Kuipers and her team. So we teach a lot about the different levels of alertness and energy and awareness and then building a toolbox as a whole community, as a classroom, but also individually for what works for each individual regulator so that they can then navigate their jobs and tasks and goals and demands and all the social engagements and fun things that they wanna do in a school and home and community environment. So just laying that foundation, whether it's in morning meeting or you have check ins or you do group activities and lessons, or systematically just laying that foundation for regulation. And then the conversation of listening can come out within, okay, and what do we do as a whole when we're listening? What works for you? You know, our goal right now is to listen to this story or to this guest speaker or to comprehend the instructions that you need to be able to do this science task. And so how can we do that best? What works for each of you? You have your toolbox. What can you access?

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:26:02]: What can you use? And we have it as a, you know, a classroom, maybe on the board or on the wall. Maybe there's a regulation station where they have tools that they can access, or they could potentially have it individually at their desk for kids that need a little bit more support with this.

Penny Williams [00:26:17]: Yeah. And giving them permission to use it. Right? Like, you know, my own kid didn't ever want to seem disrespectful to a teacher, so he would just hold it in until He couldn't anymore. Right? So instead of maybe getting up and walking in the back of the classroom or, you know, sitting on the floor Or doing something that he needed.

Penny Williams [00:26:38]: He was trying to comply with those traditional ideas of what he should be doing, so I think It's really important that educators, parents, we tell our kids very clearly and specifically It is okay to do a regulation activity when you need it.

Penny Williams [00:26:58]: And we worry that it's gonna be disruptive, but In my own experience, it's not the case. Our kids actually just take what they need Mhmm. And they don't take advantage of it for the most part.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:27:09]: And I think that this is where it's super important for parents who are the experts of your kid to let the teachers and educators know what works for them. So I have a letter on my website as part of my book too as a freebie to just, like, sort of write down what works best for your kid and, you know, what helps them. Because, yes, when we are having a child that is focused on compliance and performance all day long, then they get So overwhelmed, it's just piling on and piling on of just doing things Mhmm. For the adult facilitators or what is the standard that's being asked of them, and then they explode and maybe run out of the class. Or then they come home, and they're more comfortable at home. And then they have these big meltdowns at home. You a lot of times, teachers are like, they don't act like that in class. Like, that's because they're holding it together all day until they get home Yep.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:28:00]: Because of all the compliance and conformance they have to do. Or sometimes it's vice versa where parents say, well, I don't see them, you know, doing that at home. And that's because at school, they're being asked to do things, you know, way more strict. And so if there's a little bit more flexibility there, then maybe, you know, some parents like, they don't they don't act like that at home because there's, like, more stability at home. Mhmm. So there's just communication that can happen there, and we can just, you know, help the individual learn what works for them and then help them advocate for that in a structure that works for the class and the group or the home and community situation. Yeah. Everything looks differently, but we're just trying to lay that foundation.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:28:41]: It doesn't take away from education. It actually is the foundation of education and academic learning.

Penny Williams [00:28:47]: Thank you for saying that. Yeah. If we have classrooms where every kid can learn, we don't have so many behavior challenges. We don't Have, you know, kids who are falling through the cracks or falling behind. It really is the foundation for the human experience regulation. Do you wanna read a little excerpt? Yeah.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:29:07]: I do. I wanna show off I wanna show off the rhyming from McAllister and Kristen. We've all worked on this, but they are the genius with rhyming geniuses. So this is the book, listen, learn, and grow. So there's Larry, and there's a new, well, that's not new. She was in the old books as well. Lori is also highlighted. I'm not gonna read the whole thing.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:29:25]: I'm gonna start from, like, a couple pages in because there's some graphic designs too because we wanted to make this not just for, you know, the younger elementary school ages. But this one says listen with your bodies. That seems so silly to say. We use our ears to listen. Is there any other way? It's true that when we listen, we often use each ear, but listening is more than receiving what we hear. When we truly listen, we both hear and understand. Our whole body helps us, ears, eyes, mouth, feet, and even hands. Our brains have to be ready to think and take in information.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:30:03]: Our hearts have to be open to see another situation. Are you ready to listen? Hooray. I can't wait. Let's use our whole bodies to listen and regulate.

Penny Williams [00:30:13]: I love it.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:30:14]: When you're truly listening, your brain plays a very big role. You think about what you hear so the message doesn't fall apart. If your brain is wandering, not focus on what you hear. Take a deep breath. Count to 10. This will help your brain stay clear, and then it just goes into each of the body parts. This is one of my favorite.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:30:37]: Look at this cute poster Listening with your eyes, and it says, your eyes can help you listen by hunting for clues that show you what you're learning, where to go, and what to do. Looking at the teacher can't always make you understand. Your eyes can look in other places and still learn what is the plan.

Penny Williams [00:30:57]: So cute. Yeah. But it's so good. Like, I love things that are really engaging for kids, but they're really learning and they have no idea because they just love The book or the story or the character, you know, it's so great. I wanna make sure that we tell everybody where to Get some of these resources and to be able to take action. I think a great first step for everyone is to go to the website, download The new listening Larry poster, get your package of information with a lesson plan and stuff, And just start really having conversations with kids about the different ways in which your body helps you to listen or signals when you can listen. And we'll link everything up in the show notes, the book as well, but they're also available, of course, on your website. Correct?

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:31:46]: Yeah. They are. I have a hub in my shop for just a listening Larry, and I've written a couple blogs and doing some Instagram posts on there. It's published by Pessey Publishing, and it's also on Amazon, the book, there's a free poster on my website. And then we have another website too that I developed with Kristen and McAllister where we have a couple of blogs. We're trying to be more active over there, but we're also busy. Mhmm. So you can go there too for a couple other blogs.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:32:10]: That's everyday regulation.com.

Penny Williams [00:32:12]: And we'll have everything linked up, as I said, in the show notes, Which you can find at parentingADHDand autism.com/247 for episode 247.

Penny Williams [00:32:25]: I'll make sure that you have a link to the book, the poster, the package, All of Elizabeth's websites, social media, it will all be there in one spot to help you to have access to these resources and start taking some action. It's great to have that understanding and the knowledge on our end as the caring adult in these kids' lives, but we also have to put it into practice. Right? And Sometimes that can be really difficult, and so you've really created so many resources to make that easy for both educators and parents and anyone else. You know, even, like, I think about after school programs. I went and did a training for an after school program they invited me to do for them to help them to Work with the neurodivergent kids after school, and some of that is, like, an education environment, and some of that is, you know, more of, like, a free, Flexible home, sort of a group community environment, and so, you know, things like this would be super helpful Yeah. For them as well in those environments, so It's really a great resource for all.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:33:25]: Thank you for having us and saying that too. We're happy to do read alouds and, you know, teachers that's another reason why we developed these resources because When you're reading them, then it's an moment for us as adult facilitators, trusted adults, and educators and parents. So they can download the poster and get a lot out of that, and then the other resources are available for you as well. And we are too. So we're gonna be doing a little bit more, hopefully, on Instagram and, through our website. And just reach out if you wanna read aloud or anything else to support. So we just this is all mission based to spread the knowledge, and to help people get to where we are now because it took a while.

Penny Williams [00:34:01]: Yeah. And I think a great way to wrap this up is where you started. When we know better, we do better. And we're learning better all the time, and so now it's time to do better by our kids. Thank you so much. Again, you are always so generous with your time and your expertise here on the podcast and in other things that we do, like summits, and I just am so thankful for you and thankful that we get to collaborate and help the families and the educators out there And helping kids, you know, through that work. So, hopefully, we'll have you back again in the future. I'm sure that we will, but I'm so glad that we had this conversation about listening and really helping adults to open their minds to what that looks like and how it's really different for every individual.

Penny Williams [00:34:48]: And I really encourage everyone, go to the show notes, take advantage of these resources, and learn more from Elizabeth. Follow on Instagram. You have great videos all the time on Instagram. They're so useful for parents and kids and Young adults too. I know that at least for a while. I don't know if I haven't been on as much in the last month on social media, but your son, your young adult son, or Older teen son was helping and very relatable, so I encourage people to follow along there too.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:35:20]: He says that he's not so much into social media anymore, which is really interesting. So but he said he will answer questions. Nice. So if anybody has questions, just DM me, and he will answer them. But he's not gonna So you show up all the time because he's really charismatic and fun to watch, but he's not on social media very much. I guess he's sort of anti social media right now, but he will answer questions you want that. Awesome. Thank you so much for having this platform and all that you do, Penny.

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP [00:35:43]: We couldn't really share this work if we didn't have platforms like this, so thank you.

Penny Williams [00:35:47]: Thank you for everything you're doing as well. With that, we'll end this episode, and I will see everyone on the next one. Take good care. Thanks for joining me on the Beautifully Complex podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and share. And don't forget to check out my online courses and parent coaching at parentingADHDandautism.com and at thebehaviorrevolution.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!

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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.

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