Autism Matters and ABA Insights from a Senior Executive, Entrepreneur, and Author

LISTEN TO THE EPISODE

Dr. Ronit Molko is the author of Autism Matters: Empowering Investors, Providers, And The Autism Community To Advance Autism Services

Jarbly University · Episode #14 With Dr. Molko (1)

 

Summary: Do you want to take part in a nationwide movement towards improving long-term outcomes for people with autism and behavioral disorder’s. Join Dr. Ronit Molko, a licensed clinical psychologist and cofounder of one of the largest autism service providers in the nation, who will share some of her 3image of a boy sitting and looking up, smiling around puzzle pieces0 years of experience to innovate the current model of service delivery, forge new programs and create opportunities that will better equip individuals on the spectrum with the skills they need to build quality, self-determined, independent lives.

What You Will Learn in this Interview:

1:49 – Background on Autism and how individuals and caretakers can help those with autism live a fulfilling life

13:56 – Studying and looking to establish purpose and path forward to have a career path like Dr. Molko (supervising, clinical psychology, behavioral analysis, investing)

19:28 – Current support systems that are in place and preparations to handle and support with proper treatments during Coronavirus.

24:08 – Core traits and characteristics that have led to entrepreneurship and investment leadership, advancing behavioral healthcare across verticals.  (Environment for high quality intervention)

30:06 – Keen insights on evolving relationship between technologies and the broader population who have disabilities and diseases (IoT, apps, connected devices)

36:34 – Trend to reduce overall healthcare costs (advice to help families dealing with autism diagnosis)

41:00 – Personal thoughts on Senior Care, especially in assisted living communities which are in full focus right now and desperately need an overhaul

Dr. Ronit Molko Executive Profile

Dr. Ronit Molko is a dynamic senior executive and entrepreneur recognized for combining strategic vision and technical expertise to drive business initiatives. In 2001, Dr. Molko co founded Autism Spectrum Therapies Inc. (AST), which grew into a highly respected, multi-state provider of services for individuals on the autism spectrum. In 2014, she sold her company to Learn It Systems, a private equity backed strategic buyer, and then she served as President of Autism Services for the combined family of companies until early 2016.

Today, as CEO and Principal of Empowering Synergy, Dr. Molko conducts due diligence for investors. She also consults as an expert in the field of service delivery for healthcare, with a special focus on behavioral healthcare and companies that provide services to families affected by autism and developmental disabilities.

In 2018, she released her latest work, “Autism Matters: Empowering Investors, Providers and the Autism Community to Advance Autism Services,” published by ForbesBooks.

Dr. Molko is currently a board member of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Autism Society of America and the Galt Foundation, which places individuals with disabilities in the workforce. She has been actively involved in many healthcare-based committees and organizations throughout her career and has received multiple awards in recognition of her business prowess and leadership abilities. She is a licensed clinical psychologist in California and Washington states, and a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst.

VIEW DR. RONIT MOLKO’S LINKEDIN PROFILE

ASK DR. MOLKO A QUESTION

sensory

How to Overcome Sensory Issues While at The Dentist – by Dr. Greg Grillo

After 17 years of practice in North Central, Washington, nobody’s more familiar with dental anxiety than I am. For dental patients who have autism, especially children, this anxiety is compounded by challenging sensory elements such as bright lights and loud noises.

Dental care is an extremely important part of living a healthy life and living with autism shouldn’t prevent you or your child from getting the care they need. Fortunately, many dentists—including myself—are sympathetic to the needs of those who experience sensory overload. Here are a few things you can do to help overcome sensory issues while at the dentist:

Talk to your dentist

Before you schedule your first appointment, you should speak with the dental professional in question and ask them what accommodations they make for patients with sensory issues. If the answer is “none”, it’s time to find a new dentist.

However, most dental practitioners will be “on your side” and will want to make an autistic patient’s visit as comfortable as possible. Here are a few things a dentist might do to help avoid sensory overload:

  • Schedule a desensitization appointment (see next section)
  • Schedule the main appointment at a time that is less busy
  • Use the patient’s favorite toothpaste flavor—a taste sensation that they’re already comfortable with
  • Provide the patient with a soft blanket to use during the appointment
  • Provide the patient with sunglasses which can help with the bright lights
  • Provide the patient with headphones that will play soothing music or sounds during the appointment

If there is something specific which you know your autistic child needs to feel comfortable, tell your dentist about it and they should do whatever they can to accommodate that need.

Schedule the Desensitization Appointment

Desensitization appointments (sometimes known as “familiarization appointments”) are becoming a standard procedure in the growing field of special care dentistry and are one of the best things a dentist can do to make a patient with autism more comfortable. Despite the scary name, the idea is quite simple: a desensitization appointment is an appointment scheduled before the actual procedure in order to show the patient the operating theater and explain the function of every piece of equipment in the room. This is a great opportunity for your child to meet staff members and become familiar with the dentist office before any work is done on their teeth.

Practice at Home

If you have a child with autism, sensory calming strategies at home can be one of the most useful ways to make sure they’re comfortable with going to the dentist. You can do your own version of the “desensitization appointment” by showing your child pictures or videos of a dentist’s office, or by reading them storybooks about dental appointments. This can help your child become more familiar with the practitioner’s office and what goes on there before their actual appointment, which can help them feel more at ease and less likely to experience unpleasant sensory overload.

Some parents I’ve spoken to have also found that turning the dental visit into a role-playing game helps their child become more familiar with the unfamiliar concept. In this fun and interactive form of practice, you can play the dentist while your child takes on their actual role of the patient while you act out some of the basic steps of a dental appointment. This is a particularly good way to work through some of the physical aspects of their visit: have your child lie flat with their hands on their stomach and practice opening their mouth as wide as they can.

I understand that the dentist’s office can be an overwhelming and frightening place, but regular checkups are essential for any person’s physical health and happiness. As long as you find a dentist who is dedicated to making the visit as comfortable as possible—and I’m happy to say that I truly believe that’s the vast majority of practitioners—the appointment can become a great learning experience for both you and your child. I hope these tips will help you overcome any sensory issues you may experience so that all involved can have a positive experience the next time you visit the office.

 

Visit dentably.com to get in touch with Dr. Grillo.