#004 — Understanding Neurodivergence and Activity Analysis with Haley Wens

In this episode, host Melanie Branch engages in a captivating conversation with occupational therapist Haley Wens about neurodivergence, activity analysis, and supporting neurodivergent children. They delve into the six unique capacities of neurodivergent individuals, the importance of accommodation over coping, and the benefits of collaborative problem-solving.

We Talked About:

  • The six unique capacities of neurodivergent individuals: sensory processing, cognitive processing, emotional regulation, executive functions, motor functions, and communication.
  • Activity analysis as a specialty of occupational therapy, which helps break down tasks and understand how these capacities impact daily life.
  • The value of accommodation over coping mechanisms for neurodivergent individuals to thrive.
  • The significance of emotional validation in supporting neurodivergent children.
  • How the NeuroSpicy Academy and its virtual campus provide valuable co-regulation and support for neurodivergent individuals.
  • The upcoming "Unique Me" workshop series, designed to teach parents and educators how to support neurodivergent children effectively.

Links to Haley Wen’s Stuff:

View Full Transcript

Melanie Branch: Hello and welcome to another episode of Trailblazers Rising, where we discuss strategies for scaling beyond Limits. Today I have with me a very special guest, my friend and fellow adventurer at the Neuro-Spicy Academy, Ms. Haley S. Wens. Um, I always imagine.

Haley Wens: Hello.

Melanie Branch: People, um, applauding right now when I say that.

And Haley is a very interesting entrepreneur, and I don't want to butcher what it is that she does. She is a master's of occupational therapy of registered and licensed.

Haley Wens: You got it.

Melanie Branch: So, Haley, tell us a little bit about what that means and what it is that you do.

Haley Wens: Um, what a great question because whenever, when ev anyone hears occupational therapy, they're like, oh, you help people find occupations, right?

No, I don't. Maybe it needs another name. Right. But, um, what I do is I support, um, neurodivergent and disabled children and, you know, being successful, being included in accessing what they want in life and meeting their goals, whether that has to do with emotional regulations, sensory processing, executive functions, motor skills, communication, and play.

Melanie Branch: Oh, that sounds so fun. It's effective for children and adults with neuro divergence. Wouldn't you agree?

Haley Wens: Absolutely. I just broke into kind of the teen young adult realm recently.

Melanie Branch: Oh boy. I'm sure that is interesting. Exciting. I have a house of teenage boys here, my children, so I can only imagine what it is that you were dealing with.

Um, so let us dive into some of the more fun stuff. You know, we really speak to neuro divergent entrepreneurs at every stage of the journey, every stage of the entrepreneurial game. So can you spill the beans and tell us what led you to entrepreneurship in starting your own business?

Haley Wens: Yeah, sure. I mean, I guess it would have started when it kind of all came together in a nice way.

It was kind of like the whole neurodiversity paradigm shift idea started taking off, which is the idea that, can you hear me well? Okay. Which is the, I like, In the past, the model was kind of a more medical deficit based model where it was like, okay, we've got this neurotypical brain, and then by the way, everything else is pathological and Right.

Melanie Branch: Yes.

Haley Wens: That's how it was when I was a kid.

Melanie Branch: Yes, yes.

Haley Wens: You know.

Melanie Branch: A hundred percent agree.

Haley Wens: Yeah. So then we built the world in society and programs and institutions for and by this neurotypical neurotype, and then if you don't fit there, you're either masking to fit there or you're gonna fall through the cracks.

Melanie Branch: Yes.

Haley Wens: So that, I became very obsessed with this paradigm shift, and I wrote a book about it for parents and teachers and providers, and I was like, I'm gonna sell 11 copies of this ebook because. I know because it's just a passion project. This was fun. Like wow, yay. Um, it took off like crazy and I think that's what gave me the confidence to be like, I think I got something going on here.

You know what I'm saying? And NOT, a lot of the times you are working at a hundred percent productivity, meaning that you are, I'm sorry to talk about money, but I have to because this is just a burnout field. If you are not seeing a client, you're not getting paid. Yeah. You know? So therefore you can't really work 40 hours a week because you can, you work at a hundred percent productivity at 40 hours a week, 30 hours a week, 25 even?

I don't think so. To live like a well-rounded, healthy life without burnout, I don't think that's possible. And so I needed to find a way where I can, um, still support my family as a single mother with single income, while also helping the amount of families that I wanna help.

And so that's where I've gotten into the writing And the, the writing has also given me speaking opportunities, which reaches out to more people. Um, and then starting to break out into workshops.

Melanie Branch: Yeah.

Haley Wens: As a way, as a way to reach more people while not burning out.

Melanie Branch: Yeah. Yeah, you know, you and I are very similar in our approach to Neurodivergence because the number one comment I get on most of my videos about burnout and neurodivergence and breaking the cycle of it and accommodating and embracing your sensory needs, first and foremost is everybody goes, how do I go about getting my diagnosis?

How do I go about getting treatment? How do I go about this? And here's, here's the thing, if you live in the western world, I myself am in Florida. So you can imagine the hurdles that we have down here over everything possible. Um, There's no, there's literally no reason in my eyes to obtain a diagnosis. A first and foremost right now, the, if you do get diagnosed, ADHD, if you get a doctor to agree that yes, this is what is going on.

Haley Wens: Mm-hmm.

Melanie Branch: Because you know, you've already done your research and then you walk into the doctor's office that you've been dreading this appointment and you go, okay, I've done my research. Here's my huge stack of information. I have ADHD, I just need you to get me the medication. They don't like it when you do that.

They, hmm. That, that undercuts what they've done. Um, but the medicine's out right now, the FDA wouldn't the DA, DA, all of them wouldn't. So now they're giving everybody sugar pills. So, and secondly, secondly, Secondly, an autism diagnosis. A formal autism diagnosis does not lead to any accommodations anywhere.

Everybody's trying to catch up. Every employer, whether they're a Fortune 500 company or they're a, uh, solopreneur, right? Or somebody, a small business that maybe has five employees. Everyone is trying to navigate this world of accommodations right now. Right. DEI and all. And I'm here for it. Absolutely I am.

But I want to get women, especially out of the mindset, especially late diagnosed, high-achieving women, I wanna get them out of the mindset that you get a diagnosis, then everything gets fixed. Cuz here's the thing, baby, I had, I fought for my diagnosis in my early twenties when my kids were little and my life was falling apart.

I couldn't keep up with everything.

Haley Wens: Mm-hmm.

Melanie Branch: And then I got the diagnosis and took meds for a little bit and went okay. And then the meds weren't working the way I wanted them to be working. So I started navigating life with the mask back on and without anything.

Haley Wens: Mm-hmm.

Melanie Branch: And it wasn't until these past couple years, I was like, oh, hold on a second.

I can take supplements. I can take self-care seriously. I can cut off toxic people. I can start doing things the way that feels good to me. Maybe my body likes a nap around 3:00 PM Maybe there's no pathological problem here that needs to be fixed. Maybe this isn't a fix. Maybe this requires an accommodation.

Haley Wens: It requires a whole restructuring of your life.

Melanie Branch: God, I love you're talking.

Haley Wens: Because the 20, the 24, I mean, we can talk, I mean, are we gonna start talking about capitalism now? What's gonna happen? I don't know.

Melanie Branch: No.

Haley Wens: The 24-hour day. The 24-hour day, and how it's designed in the nine to five, like this is just not.

Melanie Branch: Yeah.

Haley Wens: Who is that for?

Melanie Branch: Men.

Haley Wens: It's for a very niche neurotypical. Oh man. You know? Like that's not for us. And I'm sitting here freaking, luteal, foggy. I don't even know what's going on. I need some Oreos.

Melanie Branch: Okay. Oreos. Get this woman Oreos and a Diet Dr. Pepper.

Haley Wens: And I can do that.

Melanie Branch: Yeah.

Haley Wens: You know?

Melanie Branch: Yeah. And so that doesn't mean something's wrong.

Haley Wens: Nothing's pathological here. If you need to start your day at 4:00 AM and end it at 1:00 PM like it's the diagnosis, it can do things in terms of like, you find your community, you start to, you, you're de demystifying your physiology, your learning, you. It might give you some validity in some areas, but like you said, the real magic comes when you start restructuring your life for your neurotype, for your sensory processing, for your executive functions and praxis and motor planning.

And, and for, for people who menstruate, that's also different. In different times of the month when I'm ovulating watch out. Yep. You know? When I'm in my ludial phase. Also watch out though.

Melanie Branch: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I get it.

Haley Wens: But when I'm ovulating, it's like the most productive, high energy, excited, so much gets done and then you hit your ludial phase and you're like, what is wrong with me?

Melanie Branch: Yes.

Haley Wens: And why did I commit to this?

Melanie Branch: Uhhuh.

Haley Wens: But then you could also not,

Melanie Branch: I just made a video today about including, you know, your reproductive, your, your menstrual cycle in your energy planning for the week and like in the month and all that. And I said out loud that, um, cuz I've really done a lot of work to get my hormones back in check because I have.

Haley Wens: Mm-hmm.

Melanie Branch: PCOS, PMVD, and endometriosis, and when I was watching the video back to edit it, I even wanted to start gaslighting myself. Just hearing me say like, you can't have all three of those. You can't have all three of those because we're ju we are programmed to gaslight ourself and not believe that we could have any of these, any of the, and that they could actually be affecting us.

Haley Wens: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Yeah. So yeah, restructuring your whole day to fit your neurotype and then for menstruating people restructuring your month too.

Melanie Branch: Yep.

Haley Wens: Man.

Melanie Branch: Yeah.

Haley Wens: Can you imagine if you put all your things in your ovulation week and your downtime in your gluteal phase or your whatever phase is low for you?

Melanie Branch: I will tell you because, you know, I have my energy optimization planner, you know, I have my self-care planner, you know, I have the workshop coming up.

Time Hackers Workshop. We've talked about this at length, at the Neuro-Spicy Academy of which you are a member that, I literally have two good weeks every month and one week a month that I. What did Christina call it? She said, I'm thorny. And then one week where I'm literally.

Haley Wens: Prickly.

Melanie Branch: I'm, I'm underground. Prickly, thank you. That's probably what it was.

Haley Wens: Yeah.

Melanie Branch: And then one week where I'm literally like, I feel really sacred and powerful, but I go pretty much underground.

Haley Wens: Mm-hmm.

Melanie Branch: Right?

Haley Wens: Mm-hmm.

Melanie Branch: So it's like I have two weeks outta every four week period to like hit it hard, but not so hard that I'm gonna burn out.

Haley Wens: Mm-hmm. I also think that's what I thought I was doing is I thought I was going hard and then burning out and going hard and burning out, but I was really in my ovulation and then in my lal phase. Yeah. Or whatever, you know?

Melanie Branch: Yeah.

Haley Wens: But also, I probably was burning out though too. Oh. But you know, And as neurodivergent, menstruating people, we are going to be more sensitive to our cycles.

Melanie Branch: Mm-hmm.

Haley Wens: And everything, by the way.

Melanie Branch: Sensitivity, listen, neurodivergence can, we could simp, instead of calling it ADHD and autism, let's just call it what it is. Super sensitive nervous system.

Haley Wens: Yeah. Yeah.

Melanie Branch: That's what it is. That's it.

Haley Wens: Mm-hmm.

Melanie Branch: My neurotype is that it's, it's real sensitive. It's picking up on everything you don't want it to.

Haley Wens: Mm-hmm. And then how is that affected When you're living in a neurotypical world that does not support you whatsoever and you're constantly masking your sensory needs, your how you are social emotionally, you are doing things that do not fit your executive functions. And then that's further dysregulating your nervous system, putting you further into fight or flight or more of a dissociation state.

And then you've got all these health issues that come up.

Melanie Branch: Yeah.

Haley Wens: That are the result, like multiple allergies. Sensitive to barometric pressure, which you were talking about.

Melanie Branch: Fibromyalgia.

Haley Wens: Hypersensitive, hyper-vigilant nervous system that is responding and reacting to everything.

Melanie Branch: Yeah.

Haley Wens: Um, like I personally have mast cell activation disorder.

Melanie Branch: Yes.

Haley Wens: Which.

Melanie Branch: Yes.

Haley Wens: You know, I'm, you know, yeah.

Melanie Branch: If I get excited or mad, I get, I give myself hives.

Haley Wens: Yeah, exactly. And it's like, can.

Melanie Branch: Every time.

Haley Wens: Not experience a range of emotions without, without pooping my pants would be nice.

Melanie Branch: Listen, sometimes the only time I get it going is with a big disability. A big emotion or a big emotion.

I mean, we could start talking about Ehlers-Danlos all day long, baby. And here's one of the things too, as a neurodivergent coach for neurodivergent women. The physical aspect of self-care and sensory care and accommodations is so important because.

Haley Wens: Mm-hmm.

Melanie Branch: We know the comorbidity rate is only gonna go up.

Haley Wens: Mm-hmm.

Melanie Branch: The more research that gets done, what little research is done supports the fact that if you are ADHD, you are most likely autistic as well. If you are autistic, you are most likely hyper mobile. If you have d h, adhd, I guarantee you got rejection sensitivity, baby. Is this thing on, I guarantee you have rejection sensitivity.

Haley Wens: What? Me? No.

Melanie Branch: And, and let's sprinkle on top what the, what.

Haley Wens: Some PDA.

Melanie Branch: Really happen? Some CPTSD.

Haley Wens: Oh yeah. I mean, if you're neurodivergent, you have trauma, right?

Melanie Branch: Yeah. Out, out.

Haley Wens: That's what I say.

Melanie Branch: Which also.

Haley Wens: Unless you live in this amazing society where, That doesn't make sense.

Melanie Branch: People believe you. Nobody believes you because, I mean, here's the thing too.

Any sort of, uh, medical professional that has the stance or argument that, um, CPTSD symptoms, uh, mirror or can I, I impersonate h ADHD symptoms. If the treatments are the same, what's, what does it matter?

Haley Wens: Yeah, yeah.

Melanie Branch: What does it matter her? All right. So we don't have to, we can, we can continue talking.

Haley Wens: I know. Sorry. This cuz I don't.

Melanie Branch: No, it's ok. You know, I like it. You know, I love it. You've got me impassioned.

Haley Wens: Yeah.

Melanie Branch: But, so let's, let's flip the script then, or not flip the script. Let's continue on this path. As a business owner, as an entrepreneur.

Haley Wens: Mm-hmm.

Melanie Branch: How do you handle rejection sensitivity? Do you have any secrets for us?

Haley Wens: So far my, um, I'm a new, I'm a newbie, you know this right? So far my method.

Melanie Branch: I message my coaches at the Neuro-Spicy Academy on Slack whenever something happens.

Haley Wens: Yeah, so far, um, so far I just, um, people please so that I don't get rejected. Is that a good method?

Melanie Branch: I've never had that setting, so I wouldn't know. Um.

Haley Wens: Um, I, you know what?

I'm still working on that and it scares me and that's why I'm really not sure what my answer is for that. I know that something that does help me is having affirmations.

Melanie Branch: Yes.

Haley Wens: Something else that happens to me. Um, in grad school, they had us have the binder and they're like, anytime a client writes you a note, gives you a gift, sends you a picture, writes you a nice email, you're gonna print it or you're gonna save it and you're gonna put this in, in this binder because there's gonna be a day where you are, there's a lot of days where you're like, that imposter syndrome is gonna hit and, or something's gonna happen and you're gonna be like, why am I doing this?

What am I doing? And you're gonna open this binder and you're gonna look through it. So I've been doing that too. And with, I work with kids, so they get, they give me like rocks and stuff, so it's kind of a bag instead of a binder.

Melanie Branch: You know what's funny?

Haley Wens: Um hmm.

Melanie Branch: I, because I, I speak every client that I have, every person I talk to in the neurodivergent entrepreneurial space has a different manifestation or a different internal monologue of that narrates their rejection sensitivity.

So, like, for example, my rejection, sensitivity, sensitivity tells me and my imposter syndrome, you know, when they go together, mine says, who the fuck do you think you are?

Haley Wens: Mm-hmm.

Melanie Branch: Who?

Haley Wens: Interesting.

Melanie Branch: No, nobody. You don't know enough to teach people. Nobody's gonna, you're not good enough for this. Right. And then yours says Totally something totally different. And everybody says something totally different to them.

Haley Wens: Yeah. I've actually been working on that in therapy because mine always says, you're gonna quit, you're gonna give up. Because that was my pattern of starting things. And then the novelty wears off. Or the burnout comes in, or what some of the other executive functions come into play and it doesn't get done.

Melanie Branch: Yeah.

Haley Wens: It starts off so strong and it's so exciting. It's passion. I work on it all the time, and then once that novelty wears off, the dopamine is gone. It's like it's gone. And that's why this workshop thing has been kind of scary because that's what my imposter syndrome says is, you're not gonna make it.

You're gonna give up. You're gonna burn out. Because that used to be my pattern before I knew, you know how this whole thing works with executive functions and the dopamine chasing of the novelty of things.

Melanie Branch: You can.

Haley Wens: So that's my voice.

Melanie Branch: You can, um, just from your coach here, you can flip the script on yourself a little bit when that starts happening and say to yourself, um, like focus on the impact that it's gonna have on people's lives.

Haley Wens: Mm-hmm.

Melanie Branch: And the change that it's gonna have. And I know because you work with kids and teens and, and parents, right? Like you really gotta, Caesar Milan, these parents, Cesar Milan always says, I rehabilitate dogs, I train humans. Right. It's gotta be similar when you're working with parents of neurodivergent kids and teens.

But you can think to the point of this is exciting because, and it'll stay novel and new because you're gonna go all the way through it and because you're gonna finish it.

Haley Wens: Mm-hmm.

Melanie Branch: So it's a brand new experience.

Haley Wens: So finding the dopamine in there?

Melanie Branch: Yeah. And, you know, not for nothing. I like to use visualize.

I'm not much for a vision board, simply because. I don't like arts and crafts. I never have. I literally, my whole life having these kids in my eye. My kids are almost 13 and, and going on 15 this year.

Haley Wens: Yeah.

Melanie Branch: Literally, anytime we ever did crafts, it's because some other parent was in charge of it and doing it, or like.

Haley Wens: Yeah.

Melanie Branch: My single girlfriends would be like, we wanna do Easter eggs this year. I'm like, come on over. I'm not gonna do it. You come do it with these kids. But I, I'm not.

Haley Wens: You set it up. Clean it up.

Melanie Branch: I don't even, I'll just sit over here and watch while they do it. I don't, I'm not interested in any of that, but I do like to visualize and I like to use my powers of rehearsing and rehashing.

Haley Wens: Mm-hmm.

Melanie Branch: And like ruminating on.

Haley Wens: Mm-hmm.

Melanie Branch: You know, when we're in the shower and we're like, ah, this is what I would say to that bitch if I ever saw her again. Like, instead of going there.

Haley Wens: Totally.

Melanie Branch: I like to go to my future. Right. So this is the house my husband and I are gonna buy That's right on the river.

Haley Wens: Mm-hmm.

Melanie Branch: This is.

Haley Wens: Mm-hmm.

Melanie Branch: The vacations we're going to take. This is the stage that I'm gonna walk across that says TED behind me. You know, like.

Haley Wens: Mm-hmm.

Melanie Branch: That's, that's such a powerful.

Haley Wens: Mm-hmm.

Melanie Branch: Way to, uh, change that negative narrative that we get in our brain.

Haley Wens: I will say I did find a really good meditation on the Insight Timer app that it, that kind of structures around that visualization and you could do it every day.

For me, I do have strong visualization cuz I know some neurodivergent people have like, Aphantasia where they can't.

Melanie Branch: Yeah, yeah.

Haley Wens: Have make visual images in their mind and I can, but my problem is the outta sight outta mind thing, where if it's not in front of me, it's gonna disappear because working memory, blah, blah blah.

So I think actually you're giving me an idea to do a vision board because I do.

Melanie Branch: You know, Christina and I are talking about, we're gonna do that at the academy for a student, for members of the academy.

Haley Wens: Well, dang. Are you gonna do it on like a Miro board or how are you gonna do that?

Melanie Branch: We don't know yet. This is what we gotta talk about this afternoon. But that's probably, it's gonna be one of our next things that we do.

Haley Wens: On the Miro board would be so cool. Cause you could just pull images off of google. Yeah.

Melanie Branch: Well ,and you know what they say this is okay, so it's okay. Vision board's happening cuz it's like the ninth sign from my spirit guides about it.

Haley Wens: We hear you, we hear you.

Melanie Branch: I get it. I'm not gonna park up anymore. I get it. Um, if you put, it's even more powerful. So instead of putting a picture of like a yacht in the distance you put a picture of what it looks like to sit at the dining table of it.

Haley Wens: While you're on it.

Melanie Branch: So like you do it from point of view. And I also.

Haley Wens: POV

Melanie Branch: Know, POV baby.

Haley Wens: POV.

Melanie Branch: I also know, know that having it right where it's like the first thing you look at and the last thing you look at every morning and every night is really a powerful cuz that's when our brain is most malleable.

Haley Wens: Theta.

Melanie Branch: Yeah.

Haley Wens: Theta brain. Is it theta the good one or the bad one?

Melanie Branch: Beta. And I know GABA is something that we want. And I just vacuum, so all I can think of is HEPA. So that's probably, that's not even right.

Haley Wens: Mm-hmm.

Melanie Branch: That's the ADHD kicking in.

Haley Wens: And, and Roomba, right?

Melanie Branch: Yeah. Yeah. Oh, no, I can't have that. My house is too old and my dogs are too mean, so, uh, another.

Haley Wens: Wait, hold on. Okay. The only thing about the Miro board is the outta sight outta mind thing for me is I would have to print it and pin it.

Melanie Branch: Yeah.

Haley Wens: On my wall in front of my face.

Melanie Branch: Yeah.

Haley Wens: Which is possible.

Melanie Branch: Well, I mean, we're gonna figure this out. We're gonna do this because I have manifested, I sat around yesterday and I thought about everything that I have manifested and.

Haley Wens: Mm-hmm.

Melanie Branch: It's one of the most important parts of manifestation that we forget about too, is to appreciate what you have now, right?

Haley Wens: Mm-hmm.

Melanie Branch: And it also triggers our competition, right? So I don't compete with anybody else in this world but me.

Haley Wens: Mm-hmm.

Melanie Branch: Right?

Haley Wens: Mm-hmm.

Melanie Branch: So like I am so proud of Melanie. The Melanie from three years ago, two years ago, one year ago, would still be like picking her jaw off the floor about what we're doing right now, you know?

Haley Wens: Mm-hmm.

Melanie Branch: So like.

Haley Wens: Yeah.

Melanie Branch: We get when you're so forward focused and you're so future focused and success focused, which I am you Yeah. Benefit tremendously from like slowing down for a minute and saying, look at what we've done so far.

Haley Wens: Mm. Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Melanie Branch: Like, look at what we've done so far, because you know how important it is to feel things in occupational therapy, I'm sure you work with these kids and these adults technically, and that moment when everything clicks in their brain.

Haley Wens: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Melanie Branch: And that look that comes across their face. I know, as a coach.

Haley Wens: Mm-hmm.

Melanie Branch: That's what I live for.

Haley Wens: Mm-hmm. Oh yeah, definitely.

Melanie Branch: When they just go, ah, okay. Yeah. So tell me, because I'm, I'm expecting this to be a fantastic answer from you, especially since you've been, you've been a member of the academy for a while now.

If I were to drop a camera crew into your life Yes. And film your past week, oh God. Would I be, what would I see when it came to your self-care practice?


Self-care practice.

Okay. You have a bedtime routine.

I do. I do. Okay. Tell us about that. Okay. So some of the things in my self-care routine are, um, the really long hot shower with no device. My child, Ooh. Wants to bring her phone in there. Which I know sometimes you need your phone to shower. I get that. You know when you hit those days where you're like, I literally can't even the executives media profile.

What, what, yeah. Media profile.

Uhhuh. Big time. Yeah,

big time. I'll watch it. I'll watch a show in the shower sometimes. Just because that's the only way I can and there's no myself to agree. Yes.

And that does happen sometimes for me. Um, showering used to be a really, really big thing for me. Hard thing. But now it's better because now it's like where all the downloads are, you know?

So it's exciting, but sometimes I do need to do that. So that's a thing that I've been working on. Cause I used to always bring my phone in there. Um, I do dry brushing. I really like, and I think we've talked about that too. You talked about it on an energy level, but I do it for like lymphatics and stuff.

Mm-hmm. Um, I'm doing this neural retraining program called the Gupta Program, and it's, I've heard it's all about limb limbic and neural retraining, especially as it relates to calming down the react reactivity of like mast cell activation, Lyme disease, chronic fatigue, fibro, um, and it works by kind of trying to move your nervous system out of that chronic hypervigilant fight or flight mode.

So that includes going through some modules each day and doing at least one of the meditations. Um, and sometimes I don't have time for that or I don't have the capacity to do that, and I'll pull up my insight timer and I'll be like, let me find a two minute meditation. Yeah, you know, you know, you talk about like, okay, you're meditating every day and that's for 20 minutes.

Is that realistic? Well then have the high, the high energy system, which is okay, it's a high energy day. I've got the motivation, the executive functions. I'll do a 20 minute, and then you've got your low energy system where it's like, I really just can't even, or I'm busy or whatever. Pull up a two minute, pull up a three minute.

Yeah. You know, and then I am working out is something that really, really, really, really helps with my working memory and emotional regulation. Just getting that heavy work in uhhuh, proprioception, weight training, moving around. I really let that go for about two or three years and it has impacted me so bad.

So I am fresh back on board for that kind of stuff. So, and then we, and then I meal prep too.

Oh, I love that. You'll be very happy to know too. I've done some research and I want everybody to know my research is always prompted by an intriguing TikTok video. Right. I have, I have literally baked into my everyday schedule as an entrepreneur.

I have, I have scrolling social media baked into my schedule. Yeah. Because it's such an important part of what I do as a coach and as, uh, the co-owner of the Neuros Spicy Academy. Right? Like, I gotta be on top of everything that's going on. I gotta have my thumb on the pulse. I gotta know what's new baby.

And they're now saying, um, that five to 10 minutes of exercise, whether it's sprinting, weightlifting, mm-hmm. You know, picking up something heavy, moving it somewhere else, anything like that is more beneficial. Yes. I 30 plus minutes. And that is, if you think about the science behind it. Cause this is the, this is the theory.

Yes. The theory is when you sprint, when you run really, really, really fast, your body naturally thinks we are being attacked by sabertooth tiger. Yeah. Right. Adrenaline goes up, cortisol goes up, all that cortisol. Yeah. So if you stop running after a minute or two minutes or five minutes, whatever it is.

Mm-hmm. Then your body goes, cool, we got away. We are alive. We are. Well yeah. If you're running for 30 plus minutes, yeah. Your body is stressed out that whole time going, what the, what is chasing us? Are we dying yet? Yeah. Are we What's gonna happen? Right. And the same thing for when you like pick up heavy things and move heavy things.

Right. So we know that lactic acid, which is the thing that makes the muscles burn when you're working out. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Lactic acid is really beneficial to the neuros spicy brain. Ooh, I love that. I did not know that. So you lift up heavy thing, you do a little bit of weight lifting, do a little. Mm-hmm.

Do something to get your body burning. Then you want to. W a l k vigorously. They're both right here. I can't say the word. Um, oh God. W a l k vigorously for like 10, 20 minutes to get it pumping all through and get it through that ba brain blood barrier or do significant stretching afterwards. So you could literally be doing a 20 minute workout total.

Mm-hmm. Two or three days a week. Yeah. And see significant improvement in your executive function.

I love that. And I'm down for that. Just a little, a little 20 minute hit. I just designed one this week where it was like, uh, jog on the treadmill, five minutes, do a little lefty jog on the treadmill. Four minutes, do a little lefty.

3, 2, 1. It took perfect like 20 minutes and it felt good. And there's that novelty of switching and variation. Yeah. So I'm like, we got it guys.

Yes, we got it. Yes. So as an occupational therapist, That works primarily with kids and teens. Mm-hmm. And has a workshop coming up for parents mm-hmm. That are dealing with, yes.

All of the challenges of having a neuro child and trying to figure it out. What would you say are some of your most frequent issues that parents and kids are dealing with and what are some of the fixes for them?

Oh, fixes, yes. The silver bullets that I have. Yeah. Right. That's funny. I was actually just making a list of that kind of stuff.

Okay. Well, I mean, I would feel like the most common concern is around emotional regulation. That is number one. Sorry, my child is laughing in the background, which she shouldn't be because speaking of emotional regulation, I love you.

Um, get outta here.

Get outta here. Um, and then transitions in school.

Refusal. Ooh, SQUI. School refusal was this girl right here. Yeah.

School suck.

So I'm like, yeah, don't go just seriously, but we're, I'll tell you what, they're not refusing because they just don't wanna go. Yeah. Cause it's boring. You gotta figure it out. And all of these things come down to what I call, um, like the unique capacities of the child.

These different domains. Which domain say there's six domains. Um, I'll name them off in a second. Which one of them is affecting this specific task that you're having A challenge. And the domains would be the nervous system. Sensory processing executive functions, motor functions, which include motor skills and motor planning, um, communication and the physical body because Yeah, you know, hypermobility, muscle tone, um, gi, you know, and then any medical trauma that comes along with that.

And so we, and that's kind of what I would like to base this workshop on, is learning about these six unique capacities and how they affect and contribute to the child's interaction with the world, their success, their performance, their participation. And how can you support these capac, these capacities for success and wellness and happiness, you know, whether that means, um, I call it, um, P T E Person Task Environment.

Are we going to support the person in their capacities? Are we building these skills, you know, or t task, are we gonna adapt the task for their capacities or e environment? Are we modifying the environment for this capacity? Because a lot of times we put a lot of pressure on the child, on the person, when really, let's look at this task in the environment, which was made for the neurotypical neurotype.

How can we make this more inclusive? You know, take down the barriers. And so it's a nice way to look at a task or activity or challenge or demand more holistically, less pressure on the person, more on society, task environment.

You're really rocking my world because when I was a server, I was a server at many, many restaurants, right?

Mm-hmm. From my, the last restaurant that I worked at for five and a half years is what I quit to do my business full-time. My, the thing that made me like physically angry to do the one task that I, every single time, if I could farm it off to someone else, yeah, I always would, and it doesn't make any sense, but now it makes sense because of all those different.

Indicators and influencers of how you feel and how you process stuff. Was getting the first round of drinks for a large table, right? Diet Coke, regular Coke, Dr. Pepper. How the fuck am I gonna figure out which one? Wh how am I gonna remember which one's which? I gotta carry a heavy tra, but like the physical act of going from the dining room into the, into the kitchen area.

Yeah. And have to scoop that one part of it, start to finish. And bringing 'em to the table was the thing that I dreaded the most, that I hated doing the most. And now I understand why there were so many other people back there. It was loud. I hate the sound of the ice. I don't like having to remember the executive function part of having to remember which one's which.

Right? This one has two straws. This one has one. Ah,

right. Oh my gosh. So let's go through the six unique capacities. Number one, emotional regulation in the nervous system. You have past experiences where this was negative, so you're triggered, you're dysregulated. Do you have a PDA profile? Yeah, there you go.

That's a stress response. Two sensory processing. You are taking in all of this auditory information. I don't know if you're an auditory processor. I'm not. Oh, it's bad. Can you? That's bad. Yeah, it's bad. So I would've to write that down. I don't know if you know. Executive functions. You are th that is the most working memory of anything.

I don't, you know, unless you're writing it down, which still you're even

writing it down, down, that's where you're looking at it and bringing it to like, yeah. Looking at the thing and looking. Yeah. Even that was just like

divided attention. Um, shifting your attention. And then these thoughts are coming in, oh my God, that look at the, on that guy, like, you know, oh, make that thought.

Get outta my mind. Forgot, ran for table 43. Yep. Yeah. Oh, that person just walked in. Did I go to high school with that person? Um, anyway, and then, okay, that was executive functions, four motor functions, you know, strength and motor planning. That's a lot of motor planning, uhhuh, um, communication, you know, and what comes into communication, especially if you're autistic, is you're very direct.

Communicator. I like to say I

used to get in trouble for it.

Yeah. Well that's tone policing. So

I used to get in trouble for it. I, I, in many, many relationships, both working and personal people have said, I don't think you should have told me that. I said, so you would've rather me lied. Yep. So,

well, yes, neurotypical gonna work the fluffy, the fluffiness, and the lying.

So you gotta dig through that. Like, is that what she really meant? Blah, blah, blah. Are you insinuating something? Can I just take what you are saying at face value? And then six, the physical body hypermobility, low muscle, heavy tray. Yeah. Fatigue. Which fatigue is gonna affect your motor functions, it's gonna affect your executive functions and it's gonna affect your nervous system and emotional regulation.

And so while there are all these six unique capacities that are affecting the tasks, they're also so intertwined with each other. I mean, this is my, this is my jam.

And guess what? There's a name for this. What is that? It's called activity analysis. Activity analysis. And that is the specialty of an occupational therapist, and that's what sets them apart from pt, S L P and other therapists, is that we are skilled in breaking down the domains of a task like this, and I wanna teach people how to do that.

For their kids. And so

it's so interesting cuz you, what most people don't know is that we are already accommodating ourselves some way, shape or form with coping mechanisms that may be mm-hmm. Healthy may not be healthy. Right. And I always tell people, I don't want you to cope. I want you to thrive. So I literally had kind of baked into my, my job.

I was like, okay, well I really enjoy working in the bar area because you're more likely to have a bunch of two tops than you were. Like, I would rather have eight two tops than one 16. Wait, what is that? Oh, so like the amount of people at the table. Right. So if you go to dinner with 10 people, that's a 10 top.

If you go to dinner, just you and your partner, whoa. That's a two top. So I would

say that tube top, by the way, I mean was like, I think I'd rather serve a tube top also.

Yeah. It's a party. But I would literally, I would rather take care of eight tables of two than one table of 16. Yeah. Oh yeah, and then I worked with people cuz this was a very busy restaurant.

Very popular. Why do you think that is? Restaurant? Um, well, there's some people that really like to have a large party. They love working a large party. For me it was that you were so much more likely to get stuck with a bunch of dickhead or a bunch of people that are not nice to serving staff and whatnot.

If it was one party as opposed to if it was eight different tables, I was way more likely to run into cool people. Okay, got you. Got. And I was a fantastic server. I was, I know how to take care of people. I know how to host, I know how to make sure that people get the right food. I have a good, I'm very direct.

I actually got in trouble once a lady had ordered a salad that comes with goat cheese on it. And she had even said like, I want this salad cuz it has goat cheese. Is this the only one with goat cheese? I said, yes ma'am. She said, okay. So I bring this salad and I go to check after her first couple bites.

Uh, this is not my most shining moment, but again, how did we not know I was autistic? She kind, I said, how is everything? She goes, it's not good. And I said, why? And she goes, I, it's the cheese. I said, the goat cheese that you wanted. She goes, yeah. She goes, I didn't realize it was gonna be soft. And I literally said, I didn't realize goat cheese came any other way.

And you meant it. I did. I was like, what? Goat cheese is a soft cheese, ma'am. What did we, but like the fact that we had had a conversation about it. Yeah. And that I was trained to have conversations with people like, oh, you know, that dish is spicy. Oh, you know, this is this la la la la. So that these kind of things don't happen.

Yeah. Anyway, you know, hindsight is 2020, hindsight is 2020. Wow. So six unique capacities, and then activity analysis. So this is gonna really crack the code for everybody listening and everybody in my community. And everybody in your community, because those are the things that allow you to understand how to accommodate yourself.

Absolutely. And like you said, teens and adults too. But you know, my passion is children.

I mean, imagine what the, the, the people we can create the people that are gonna grow up with understanding of all this. Like I know,

and you know what's funny is. It's been here all along and it's what you are doing.

It's what's I'm doing. We're doing, we just haven't put it in this way of where we're saying, let me put these into domains. Let me show you how these domains affect a task. And then the p t e part, are we building your skills and executive functions? Are we adapting the tasks to your executive functions?

Or are we modifying the environment to help your executive functions? Like having a caddy in each room, a cleaning caddy in each room to help you get the cleaning done. Cuz it's right there and it's accessible. There's not a bunch of steps to it. Or are you adapting the task? Okay, spray bottle and a rag.

That's kind of a lot. How about a white one step, or are we working on your, you know what, after working with this whole p t E thing, I'm all about the tea and the eat man. Because it's so much less pressure on the person, and there's such a balance between building up these skills and teaching to mask. I think,

you know, burnout, in all the research that I've been doing about burnout, recovery, burnout is not a result of being neurodivergent.

Burnout is a result of masking,

of pretending

to be neurotypical. If if, cause if you think about it, if we have, if you think about a wheel, you know that a wheel has what, 360 degrees a circle, right? This is how much energy you have every day. Mm-hmm. If you are spending. You know, 50% of that time monitoring everybody else's behavior.

Monitoring your own behavior. Oh my gosh. To fit into these, these molds that don't work for you. You know, laughing at jokes that are not funny. Um, feeling like you have to talk back to people when they start talking to at the grocery store and whatnot. Right. Like just for me it's too much to even hear the outside world.

I go everywhere with headphones on.

I have to say something cuz that reminded me of something. So years ago we would talk about this thing and we would call it after school restraint, collapse syndrome. Oh yeah. The kid, when the kid would go through, by the way, this was totally me. The kid would go through the day and was great at school and they were totally fine and then they'd get home and they fall apart and we're like, oh my gosh.

After school restraint, collapse syndrome. Their restraint of restraining their needs and their feelings. Is coming down cuz they're in a safe place where they can unmask and it's just an explosion of emotions. And I'm like, yo, that's masking. Can we just call it that? It's not another syndrome. You're spending your whole day masking cuz you're either a, you're not in a place where you feel safe to unmask because you will not be accepted, you will be bullied, you won't make it through a standard education.

Um, you're pushing your cognitive abilities into burnout and then you go home to your safe space and you unmask and you got all these things. The answer isn't some behavioral strategies for at home. The answer is accommodations for school.

I actually, it's so funny you say that. I say that to my youngest every day when he comes home from school, you know, he's in the airy sun with the Taurus moon.

He is, got a lot of Taurus placements, bless his heart, thank God. Mm-hmm. Um, and he comes home and I can just tell when he's in a and I'll look at him and the first thing I say to him is, did you have to mask a lot today? And if he says, yeah, I literally just leave him alone. Like when he comes home from school, I get one or two sentences in with him and then he goes and he changes outta his school clothes and goes pee and just whatever he does.

And then he comes out about 40, 45 minutes later and we're d we can deal with him. Yeah.

That's great. I mean, that's, that just brings up to me, like parents being concerned about like screen time and stuff. And I'm like, it depends on how it's being used. If that's a decompression after these hours of holding it together, then it sounds like it's a very important tool in their, in their routine.

Yeah. You know, that's a whole nother fricking. Podcast.

Well, I mean, okay, so as an occupational therapist for kids and teens, I would go out on a limb simply with my experience of my own neuro divergent kids and our low demand living that we have going on here in our home that we stumbled upon intuitively and have had great success navigating ever since.

Um, but neuro divergent kids are pretty smart. They're pretty above average. They're hypervigilant, they're able to pick up on everything that's going on around them. Mm-hmm. And instead of, you know, restricting and treating 'em like they're a kid and they can't make any decisions on their own, you know, have you seen parents have a lot of luck if they start treating their kid more honestly and openly and just like, okay, well if you need 45 minutes when you get home from school to just not talk and sit there and play on your tablet or your phone or whatever, weird.

Like, I don't see a reason why that would be a problem. Yeah.

You know, I, that actually reminds me of, um, A, um, a doctor that is pretty popular for, um, school behaviors and explosive behaviors. I'm just gonna say behaviors, but I hate that word. And, um, this kind of thing. Dr. Ross Green has this program called Collaborative Proactive Solutions.

C p s not the best acronym, but, um, it's all about joining the child in collaborative problem solving around these things, taking into account what their concerns are and what their perspective is, and. Which is great for PDA kids because with PDA kids, that whole authoritative, you do what I say because I'm the adult and I, you know, that is stress response central.

Mm-hmm. That's why c p s of Dr. Ross Green, I, God, that better be his name. It is, is so great, is because it's a collaborative activity between, in the parent-child relationship that's gonna, you're gonna do your whole life together. A and B is gonna be a lifelong skill. Yeah. And it's a process and there's steps to it and they, they go into it and there's, it includes emotional validation and perspective taking, you know, and you work together to a shared goal.

And you could do that with device time if you need to,

you know? Okay. So collaborative, proactive, what is it called?

Collaborative Proactive Solutions by Dr. Ross Green. So

the emotional, what did you just say? Um, the word left me. Emotion, like affirming kids' emotions?

Oh, emotional validation.

Emotional validation.

I believe one of the most detrimental things to undiagnosed neurodivergent children is invalidating their emotions. Well, and I tell you agree. The book that I'm going to write my mm-hmm. Whatever I, whatever is going to be called validated, not only because of my, you know, psych abilities and my intuitive abilities, but literally, yeah.

And I am no longer friends with somebody who had a hellan of a child and mm-hmm. He was young, like two or three hellan of a child. He, you know, he ruled the roofs. He screamed all the time just to get his own way. Like he was, he worked every grownup, but he could not work me because I would not allow it, but I did not invalidate his emotions.

So if he fell, I wouldn't look at him and say, you're okay. You're okay, you're okay. Like, I wouldn't freak out. Cause I know better. I've raised sons. I wouldn't like instantly think that he had anything broken. I was gonna wait until there was reason to, you know, freak out. But I wouldn't tell him he was okay.

Right. Yeah. So like, if he was, but she would, so if he felt you'd be like, you're okay, you're okay. You're okay. You don't know if the kid's okay yet or not, and you were freaking out no matter what it is. So like, just look at him and say, you good? Right? Yeah.

Oh, you, you fell. Yeah.

You all right? You fell everything working.

Okay. Slipper. We need to go to the er. Right. So like, I just to be invalidated your entire life, of course we're gonna have like, like I said, I said out loud in a video that I have P D D P C O S and endometriosis, and as soon as I heard myself say it on camera, I said, there's no fucking way. Yeah. But yeah, there is.

Yeah. How? Right? Yeah. Hello? Hello. All right, let's see if we can get this train back on the tracks, cuz I can't keep all of your

time. I don't even know what the, the track is. Yeah, I mean, well I'm good at

this. This is why I run the Neuros Spicy Academy with Christina. We, uh, you know, we welcome everyone, but we catered to a neuros spicy and we design everything for the divergent brain no matter where you fall on the spectrum.

So why I love

it. We, we like to be good at what we do. I don't wanna be good at everything, but I wanna be good at what I do. Let me put this train back on the tracks and we will talk about the Neuros Spicy Academy and simply say what has being a member of the Neuros Spicy Academy really helped you achieve with your business?

I know you've been with us for a month. I don't know, time does that weird thing and

don't, something like that. Yeah. No clue. It ha it has really helped me. Realize what is important to me and where I'm just absolutely spinning my wheels and burning time and energy and money when and where I really should be focusing.

Cuz I am just the novelty queen. It's like anytime something new pops up, I'm like that and I'm gonna do that and that and that and that. And when I sat down with Christine, she was like, dude, you're doing like 20 things and they're all, you are like, look at, this is what is bringing you joy and this is what is supporting your family and this is what is helping the most people.

You need to focus on this, you know? Yeah. You can, these can be hobbies, these can, these can be whatever. These can be upsells or whatever, you know, or like supplemental materials or whatever. But she's like, you're gonna burn out. Yeah, it helps me just realign my focus and realize what I wanted to do. Yeah, because I'm just follow, I was just kind of following the dopamine for a while there, which is important too.

But, um, I was gonna burn out actually. I already did. So,

you know. She is so good. Aren't we all? Okay. Google, turn it off. It's three o'clock. I have an alarm set for three o'clock, so I know it's three o'clock every day. Anyways, good job. It's an accommodation. Uh, so she is so fantastic, uh, coming up with a blueprint, right?

So what's your 10 year plan? Oh my gosh. Every one of our members is like a1 year plan. I don't know what she goes, I know that's why we're gonna do this. And you know, really showing you all of the options and all of the ways that you can really build a successful business and empire, right? Mm-hmm.

Because we're not just gonna make money from our business. Some people are meant to be entrepreneurs and work a job and have side hustles their whole life, right? Like some people don't want to build a big gigantic empire. I do. Mm-hmm. But some people don't. Mm-hmm. Um, and so she's able to really visualize and see all of this for you and give you the blueprint, and then you get to come to me for your playbook.

Yes. Where all of your mindset gremlins are going, ah, what? Yes. I dunno, what am I gonna do? And we're able to talk through and get you to a clear place of understanding which way you're gonna be going.

Yeah, you definitely can't do one without the other.

No, you absolutely

No, absolutely can. I feel like I'm, I feel like I'm cheating you guys because of how, how priceless yet, like, I, how much I'm paying a month compared to the value that I'm receiving has been insane.

Yeah. And it's only, it's no value. Oh my gosh. It's, it's priceless, like I said, but like, like I'm cheating the system over here.

Yeah. It's really unlike anything else that's on the market because it's not just a masterclass that meets once a week. It's not just, you know, a bunch of templates or anything like that.

It's a supportive community with daily access to expert coaches. Mm-hmm.

Haley Wens: And

Melanie Branch: I love the campus. No. Oh, the virtual campus is the best. Are you kidding me? Everybody gets to make their own avatar and we get to just come in and you know me, every time somebody comes into the library, if they don't sit at the table where everybody else is, I go over and I say, what are you guys?

What are you working on?

Haley Wens: What are you doing? Yeah. It's like a video game. My daughter asks about it like every day. She's like, are you going? Are you going on gather? Are you going on campus? Yeah. I'm like, yeah, let's see. Let's see who's at the table. Yeah. Or I'll go sit by the fire and have some background noise.

But what I really love about it is the body doubling. Parallel play. So like, I gotta do my taxes, or I gotta work on my website, or I gotta do something that is just so low dopamine and low motivation. I get on there and I sit at the table and other people are doing it too, and it just pulls up that co-regulating body doubling effect where it's like, oh my gosh, I can do this now.

I had like, when your friend comes over and you start doing your dishes, you know? Yes. You're

Melanie Branch: like, wow. It's the only way to get it done. Yeah. It's the only way to it done on our, our Tuesday night round tables, our Revel round tables, um, we were talking about Cha G B T and how you can, you know, essentially make him an assistant in your business and how to really use him and how to prompt him and all that.

And I had a whole, you know, I have my to-do list sitting in front of me on my notebook every single day, and the to-do list grows and it, and it, and it gets things checked off and things added and it's flexible, but I have one of those. Yeah, I want my, you heard a dog? I want open. Hell yeah. Checkbook. Um, but give me one please.

We got into the meeting and I had this whole list of emails that I had to send the next day. Right? Okay. So send this part, da da da da. Mm-hmm. And I ended up sending half those emails during our meeting cuz I already knew how to use Jeff, g b t. But cuz everybody was there, my body and brain went, all right, do the things.


Haley Wens: what is that? I mean, I've been calling it sorcery regulation. Sorcery. Sorcery, ok, that makes more sense.

Melanie Branch: I don't know. Parallel play. It's such a, you know, parallel play. Really enjoy. And if it were in real life, you would come over to my house and I would make lunch, and you would sit there on your laptop and I would sit here on my thing and we would do what we have to do. And if we had questions or needed input, we'd say, Hey, what do you think of this?

Does this sound good? And then the same way, you know, it's, and you're getting the work done that doesn't require full and utter attention, but enough that you don't wanna do it by yourself.

Haley Wens: So then that's boring. That's co-regulation. Yeah. You're co-regulating with a peer. That's amazing. That is amazing to me.

Yep. How that works. Do neurotypical people have that?

Melanie Branch: No. Neurotypical people are expected to like do the same thing. Like, okay, come over and we'll all watch the same show. No way.

Haley Wens: Oh, okay. Collaborative play. We call that in, um, pediatrics. I don't like it. Gross. I prefer parallel play for sure. I do

Melanie Branch: too.

Parallel play all day. Like I didn't even, like when I was in college for that short period of time before, like I got my degree as an adult when I was in college. I don't even like playing drinking games. Like, don't tell me I have to play. I don't either game or don't tell me. Like, don't tell me how I have to do things.

Can we just hang out and let me do what I wanna do? Yeah.

Haley Wens: Yeah.

Melanie Branch: Oh yeah. P profile. P profile. I could go on for weeks. All right. But Hailey, me too. Yes. I'm going to, before we do the lightning round, I have a few questions that are fun that I ask. They're just fun d h D type questions, right? Okay. Just to, so everybody gets on the same playing field and they're very, very easy.

They're not deep. Uh, it just helps people understand you a little bit further and identify with you a little bit further. So before I do that, mm-hmm. I'm going to ask you to plug your spot. Tell us about all the ways that the audience and myself can find out more about you, follow you, support you, and how they can, uh, benefit from your services.

Haley Wens: Okay. Well, um, my website is haley wens.org. H a l e y w e n s.org. Um, I will be putting a link to the workshops in there. Yeah. Shortly. They're not there right now, but I think by the time this is up and running, everything will be Yeah. Ready to go. Um, I haven't really been doing a lot of social media because.

Well, I guess because I have a wait list for my services, so I don't really need to do a lot of marketing, but now that workshops I gotta get, I gotta get that up and running. Um, what I've been doing the most on is TikTok, honestly. Yeah. So that's at the underscore nd underscore ot. Um, boom. And I'll uh, post about the, the e-book is on there that I told you about.

And, um,

Melanie Branch: what is the name of your e-book?

Haley Wens: Oh my gosh, the name is so long. Are you ready for it? I'm ready for it. Being an inclusive and supportive parent provider and teacher for neurodivergent children understanding autism and A D H D under the Neurodiversity Paradigm, I love it on my website resources.

Melanie Branch: Thank you. Yeah, I love that. And tell us a little bit about the workshop that you have coming up.

Haley Wens: The workshop is gonna be a, uh, probably like a four module series called Unique Me that looks at those six unique capacities of neurodivergent children and how these traits contribute to their interaction with the world.

Um, because, you know, neurodivergent children have unique social-emotional learning and information processing styles that's gonna require distinct parenting approaches to support them and being happy and healthy and successful. And we're gonna look at those capacities and the p t e and the activity analysis and kind of teach how to break things down in that way.

Melanie Branch: You've already rocked my world by these six week capacities and I can't wait to dive into and read your ebook and do some more research myself, cuz you know, that's my special interests is education and research. I love it. That's how I keep everything novel. I love to research. And so that always changes.

Yes, whatever topic it is, love it. Whatever topic it is. All right, wonderful. So before I let you go here, it's time for the lightning round. These are five silly questions to enlighten our fellow neuro divergence. First and foremost, what's your favorite social media platform?

Haley Wens: TikTok. Ah, that wasn't very lightning fast. Ah,

Melanie Branch: listen it sometimes we overanalyze and we overthink. Is this okay? Second question. What's the most recent rabbit hole you've gone down?

Haley Wens: Oh my God. The most recent rabbit hole I've gone down.

Oh, it's so boring. It's gonna be so boring for you, but top, no, it's not Top down approaches versus bottom up approaches to Why would that be

Melanie Branch: boring for me was just talking about that yesterday. Were you? I don't

Haley Wens: know. That's my right. I come in and out of that, but like, you know, teaching top. Okay. Anyway, lightning round.

Sorry, that was


Melanie Branch: I, no, I love top down. For anybody who doesn't know, um, typically deal with bottom-up thinking. So, and top-down thinking is what neurotypicals and thes really do. So, for example, when a autistic person or a neurodivergent person walks into a coffee shop, bottom up means they have to look at the floor.

They have to look at the things. They have to hear the sounds, they have to identify the smells, see the things, right? So you walk into a Starbucks and a neurotypical goes, okay, this is a Starbucks, this is a coffee shop, this bing bang boom. But a neurodivergent forest person is like trees. Yeah. There's, there's tables and there's this, and there's that la la la.

Like, so you literally are you taking in every piece of information in

Haley Wens: detail, which is amazing. Yeah. Like, like I say, you know, like you see the forest, but I'm seeing the trees.

Melanie Branch: Yeah, absolutely. No, absolutely. All right. What is your favorite or current? Either one. Pick your Poison Emotional Support Show

Haley Wens: Friends. So cliche.

Melanie Branch: So cliche. That's all right. Mine's, parks and Rec. Oh,

Haley Wens: oh yeah. I meant to get into that cuz we were, we were talking about Parks and Rec. Oh, I

Melanie Branch: love Parks and Rec. Oh. And I've just recently started Restarted again down Abbey, but it's not going the same as it used to, so it's okay. I might need a new emotional sports show.

Fourth question. Have you consumed any water

Haley Wens: today? I was drinking magnesium and electrolytes while we were talking. You

Melanie Branch: have the best answer out of anybody I've interviewed so far.

Haley Wens: It's the timing was right because I am so dehydrated right now and that's why I'm doing it. Um, But the, I was, I saw this TikTok the other day and he just puts wa full water bottles all over the place cuz outta sight on a man mind.

And then you just, thank you.

Melanie Branch: Um, yeah, diet Coke. I love a diet Dr. Pepper and

Haley Wens: a little Diet coke. Um, so yes, thank you. I do behind on hydration, but,

Melanie Branch: all right. Your final question. What is your current dopamine snack?

Haley Wens: My current dopamine snack is Diet Coke. And, um, I told you the other day that I'm totally a food sensory seeker, and so I like those mama chia pouches, which people probably think are so gross because they give you a little protein. My daughter just goes, they're so good. But I also like the, I think they're called sarto balance breaks.

They're like, yeah, they have the cheese cubes and the nuts and the dried fruit, so it's like every texture and then you put a dried fruit and a nut and the cheese in my mouth at the same time, and yeah, it's just like a flavor texture. Explosion. Dopamine. Yes.

Melanie Branch: I, it's like a travel charcuterie board. I'm, I'm for it.


Haley Wens: Okay. You like those? Oh my gosh, they're so good. Um,

Melanie Branch: I don't eat meat, but I eat everything else on charcuterie boards.

Haley Wens: There you

Melanie Branch: go. In fact, the only meat that I actually probably would mess with ever again would be a charcuterie meat because of that texture. God. That's so funny. That's so credible.

All right, so I won't take any more of your time. I want to say thank you so much Haley wins for being here on Trailblazers Rising all of your information. Love it will be posted, um, for all of our listeners and um, we will talk very soon. Okay, bye bye.

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As a magical speaker, author, and coach, I'm on a mission to help women unlock their full potential, embrace their neurodivergent superpowers, and create a life that sparkles with magic. With years of experience navigating the business world as a neurodivergent entrepreneur, I know firsthand the challenges that can arise when trying to manage burnout, imposter syndrome, and overwhelm.

As an event manager or podcast host, I understand that you're looking for speakers who not only have the authority and experience to provide value to your audience, but also the empathy and understanding to meet them where they are. That's why I'm here to offer my practical, holistic approach to self-care and success, as well as my passion for creating transformational experiences that leave your audience feeling inspired, empowered, and ready to take action.

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