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Adult Autism Advocacy with Becca Lory Hector

According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism affects an estimated 1 in 54 children in the United States today, causing individuals to have difficulties with social interaction and communication, noise sensitivity, sleep problems and executive function issues. For instance, young adults with autism may have challenges in obtaining a driver’s license.

While awareness of autism in children has increased over the last few decades, what’s not known is how many adults are affected by autism. That’s something Becca Lory Hector is on a mission to address. She is an advocate for autistic adults, with the goal of spreading acceptance, building understanding, and encouraging self-advocacy.

On this episode of the Live. Love. Engage. podcast:

    • You’ll learn what autism spectrum is and how it affects people
    • Becca shares how autism affected her as a child and adult, and how she finally got diagnosed on the spectrum
    • Learn why autistic adults have trouble getting the help they need to function effectively
    • Find out how you can use the Spoon method to get things done

Connect with Becca:
Becca’s website: https://beccalory.com/

Autism Organizations
Autism Society
The Asperberger Autism Network
Autistic Self Advocacy Network

TRANSCRIPT

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Live. Love. Engage. Podcast: Inspiration | Spiritual Awakening | Happiness | Success | Life

TRANSCRIPT

Gloria Grace Rand
Namaste and welcome to live love engage. I am Gloria Grace Rand, your hostess. And or host. I don’t know, whatever. Anyway, I’m glad that you are joining us again on the podcast because today I have an awesome person that I’m going to be sharing with you and she’s going to be really enlightening us about a subject that I have not touched on in the show and one that I think a lot of people, including myself don’t necessarily understand fully. And it’s about autism. And her name is Becca Lory. Just Becca Lory, or Becca Lory Hector because that was more

Becca Lory Hector
Becca Lory Hector, Yeah,

Gloria Grace Rand
Okay. And she was diagnosed on the autism spectrum as an adult and has since become a dynamic autism advocate, consultant, speaker and author and with a focus on living an active positive life. Her work includes autism and neuro diversity consultant, consulting, sorry, public speaking engagements, and a monthly newsletter as well as a weekly youtube news show called Neurodiversity Newsstand. And if that’s not enough, she’s also assistant editor, feature writer for Spectrum Woman magazine. So she has published multiple articles and books about life on the autism spectrum with the goal of spreading acceptance, and I forgot to mute my phone. So when we fix that right now, I’m apologize. Oh, my goodness. Hopefully they couldn’t get picked up. But anyway, she is wants to be able to spread acceptance, building understanding and encouraging self advocacy. So there’s a lot more, she’s got dual certifications as a certified autism specialist and cognitive specialist and is just an all around, passionate woman. So I’m delighted to have you on live love engage. Becca,

Becca Lory Hector
thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.

Gloria Grace Rand
Well, I would like to, I guess just start off with I mean, the first question is, why are you so passionate about actually being an advocate in particular for autistic adults?

Becca Lory Hector
Right? Because I am one. So that’s part of it, right? Um, I was diagnosed with autism at the age of 36, which was eight years ago. And I sort of went on a very personal journey about it. But from the beginning, I felt really strongly about paying it forward and giving back to a community that had helped me in a very important time in my life. And so, on that journey, I ended up in nonprofit and I ended up kind of just following my path of wherever it was going to take me on and helping other autistic adults navigate the world today. It has become my passion and purpose. We are missing services all over the place for autistic adults. And so if we don’t have them right now, I’m going to make them. And so I did it. Because it’s time.

Gloria Grace Rand
That’s awesome. So, um, I know, you know, like I said, I don’t know a lot about autism, I would say probably what I’ve known is only from like watching shows on television, which is hardly a good way to get education about it. Because I’m sure it’s probably misrepresented like crazy. What? Can you maybe just give us a little bit of education for people maybe who even are familiar with autism at all? What is it and why is it called like an autism spectrum in particular?

Becca Lory Hector
Well, so there’s a whole bunch that I could say about it. But first, I want to start by just kind of busting a few myths about it. Because most people you’re not, you know, that unique. Most people’s experience with autism, unless their life has been personally touched by it, the experience that you get and all you get comes from the media. Right. That’s it. That’s where we all get it from. Right. And so, for most of this time, the media has been representing autism with a, usually a savant type. white male, right. And that’s it, you know, like, that’s kind of the box. And so very recently, guys have gotten some TV shows with some girls with autism. And there’s been some changes, and you’re seeing a few adults with autism, right? So it’s changing from what it used to be. But it’s still not a realistic portrayal. It’s TV, right? So what is autism? in its essence, I explain it as a filtering system. So basically, we all have our own brains and our brains process information, right? That’s how we function in the world. It’s how we make decisions. It’s how we know we’re hungry. It’s how, you know, it’s how all of those things happen, right? Everything goes through our brains and everybody in the world has, you know, there are a majority people that have this very basic communication system in their brain and the way that connections happen. And there are a handful of us that for whatever reason, we still don’t know exactly right. For whatever reason, our connections are a little bit different. Maybe it’s a longer path, maybe it’s a shorter path. Maybe it’s an unrelated path, and nobody gets it, right? Sometimes we get people who have sensory systems that they can smell color, right. And so there’s all kinds of ways the brain can make connections. And so that’s what defines sort of the autistic brain. And then the autistic experience of autism is a filtering system. Anytime I’m doing anything, even doing this interview right now, everything in my environment, everything we’re talking about everything I’m feeling in my body right now is being processed through the filter of autism, right? Because that’s my brain. That’s how my brain works. Right? If I didn’t have an autistic brain, it would process through whatever other filter I have, right? And so that’s my filter. And what that means is that I filter out certain things that most people don’t And I can’t filter out other things that most people can right? And different experiences like that. And because the human brain is the human brain and it’s amazing, spectrum can’t be defined in one way, every single individual with autism experiences it in a different way.

Gloria Grace Rand
Wow.

Becca Lory Hector
So if you’re, it’s a human difference, and so it has variations beyond right. And so what we… there are certain red flag or type system connections that we know are buzzwords, right things like sensory issues we know about and there’s certain issues sleep, we know come with it. And there’s some really like, basic overriding things. But we’re also finding out Oh, shockingly, there’s almost 50/50 men and women and all this time we’ve not been looking for women or girls, right. And there’s a real disparity in people of color, and people who are in poverty and not being able to be counted or formally diagnosed. It’s not covered by insurance. It’s not so it’s totally out of pocket. So if there are any therapies because they don’t exist for adults. So when we’re talking about kids, that stuff gets covered when talking about it as a kid syndrome for a very long time,

Gloria Grace Rand
right, right.

Becca Lory Hector
When we get to the adult ages, even though it’s a lifetime disorder, we don’t have any coverage. So it becomes an adult to the question of money. Can I afford the $6,000 for a formal diagnosis? And if so, what am I getting for it? And if nothing, then why should I pay $6,000?

Gloria Grace Rand
Yeah,

Becca Lory Hector
we don’t have an accurate number. We don’t have any kind of accurate statistics. We have broad guesses. That’s what we have right now. The CDC has been doing its best for a very long time, but they’ve been counting eight year olds. So anybody who was above eight when they started counting wasn’t counted. And so we don’t have that. And so that’s the kind of autism In a nutshell, it’s really that basic of a difference that because of its expression gets pointed out. and so that’s really what it’s about.

Gloria Grace Rand
Wow. Um, well, that’s enlightening for me because yeah, cuz definitely I’ve have totally well, especially because I can know there’s organizations called Autism Speaks. And I and I know I have friends who’ve, like, who are involved in that and but it has been more geared for children. So it is, but children grow up and it’s not like it’s something that you grow out of necessarily. You just have to learn maybe different ways of handling

Becca Lory Hector
everything in your autism. That’s how we say it, because you really do you go into your diagnosis you grow in just like you grow into adulthood. Right? You grow into it, right? You don’t as a kid, you can’t accurately describe your needs or articulate what you want or your priorities right? We don’t have that skill set as a child so it looks differently on kids, then a really frustrated autistic adult who’s having a meltdown doesn’t look like the four year old in the supermarket screaming and banging their head, because we’ve learned as adults different ways to cope with what we’re dealing with, right? So it looks really different than the way it gets described. And then the other piece of that is the spectrum piece that you asked about, which is really the answer to that is, it’s called a spectrum because there’s no one of us looks the same, right? We all kind of have similarities. But we fall on this broad spectrum where two people on the spectrum can look so different, right? Like I have, most of my challenges are internal challenges. So most of what I deal with is struggles with sensory issues. I deal with interoception issues, which is the brain body communication. I struggle with that a lot. I have something called alexithymia, which is a struggle to identify your emotions, right? and express them. And that’s part of my struggle and all of those things happen in here. And then here, right And I’m struggling, but I don’t need necessarily anybody’s help. And also nobody can tell that I’m struggling. Right. And so it’s an internal representation of my autism. Right. Now there are some folks for whom it’s external, for whom they’re fidgeting for whom their sensory issues, or they have dysgraphia, some coordination issues, maybe something that’s more visible to the outside person.

Gloria Grace Rand
Yeah.

Becca Lory Hector
Right. And that’s more external facing autism. Right. And so that person and me are going to look totally different from the outside. Yet, we’re both struggling with the same thing, right. And so that’s where we see that disparity for a long time. It’s still called a lot high functioning versus low functioning autism. But functionality labels really just do a disservice to everybody. Someone like me, who will get classified as high functioning, is seen as someone who needs no help and no support and no services and I have no challenges right and on the other end is Someone who needs a lot of external supports, but they’re have no voice. They don’t think they don’t have an opinion. They can’t write. They can’t write, they can’t communicate. So they’re dumb. And they have to deal with that struggle. Right? And so because it doesn’t describe what’s really going on, whereas internal versus external clearly describes what the difference is. And so that’s sort of where that spectrum piece comes in.

Gloria Grace Rand
how did you how did you come to even get diagnosed? What what prompted you to to seek especially since it, you know, wasn’t even until just a few years ago?

Becca Lory Hector
Yeah, it was. It’s an interesting story. It’s kind of sad. I think now that I have lived through it, I look back, it’s a little bit sad. But you know, so for 36 years, I was living my life and being told that I was quote, unquote, normal, but I wasn’t functioning normally. And everyone was always looking for the thing. What is it? What is it right? And so from a very young age, even in my baby books where my mom was writing about my struggles and her struggles, you could see that it was there. So autism was there the whole time. The problem, I didn’t just like get it, you develop it right. But at the same time I was living in the late 70s 80s is when I was being raised. We talked about autism only as the others, right? They went to another school, a different building took a different bus. We don’t want the cooties. It does, right. And that was the mentality that I grew up in. And so my mom was no way would she be looking for me for that? Right? Like, it wouldn’t have in her head made any sense? Right. And the same thing was happening with doctors and anybody who was seeing me they were looking for autism meant little white boy who starting up trouble in the classroom. Hmm, that’s what autism was and like wasn’t any of those things. I was thinking. I was a quiet shy girl who read and didn’t disturb the class, right? I was all of these things they weren’t looking for and so there was struggling and everybody’s trying to figure out what it is. And I’m getting mislabeled a lot of negativity, a lot of dramatic, manipulative, stubborn. All of those kind of things, got a lot of those labels, got some psychiatric labels in there. People tried borderlines, schizophrenia, bipolar. And so I was, you know, medicated for these things as a child. And obviously, when you take medication that you don’t need, it makes you feel worse. And so there was a lot of time I was feeling even worse than I needed to feel. And over that time, I stopped trusting doctors, I stopped trusting clinicians. I didn’t trust adults in general, right. And by the time I got to 18, I wasn’t going to see anybody anymore. I was done. And the irony of that is that when I turned 18, it was 1994. And that was the year that Asperger syndrome came out in our companions. So just when I left school, there it was right and so I missed it. totally missed the boat, and I’m out in the world and I go to college and I do really well in college actually. And I was very happy in college I was in my zone in college, graduated, got into law school. hated it. And, and everybody’s like, what? And I left because I had that distinct feeling. I looked at my neighbors, they did the thing, look to your left and your right, and one of you isn’t going to be here.

Gloria Grace Rand
Yeah,

Becca Lory Hector
And I saw how it was and it was please let it be me. Please? I don’t want to be here, right? Yeah, I had that moment. It was like, oh, man, I gotta get out of here. Right. And so I left and I went out into the world of work, which was uncomfortable as an autistic person, especially as an undiagnosed autistic person. The hidden social expectations in the workplace are unreal. And so what ended up happening to me is that in the next following like 15 years, I did 13 jobs. 13 different jobs, like no repeats in there, and I Would do it for three or four months pick up the skill set, no problem, all of a sudden get bored and pay attention to the social and boom, quit, fired, something gone. And so I lived a life of a cycle of like four months in a job, then I get depressed. And I right, and I would just cycle through this thing. By 33. I was on that last job. And I remember the second it happened, it was in a meeting and I decided I didn’t want both weekend nights. It wasn’t fair as a woman to be closing a bar, both weekend nights, and I wanted one of the nights off. And in the middle of this meeting, where I could tell that I wasn’t going to get what I had asked for.

Gloria Grace Rand
Yeah,

Becca Lory Hector
I felt my brain crack. Like I literally was like, Oh, I know, like my face just lost expression, everything and I just walked out of the room and I left. And I never came back. And I went into my bedroom that I grew up in into the bed in my mom’s house. And I didn’t get out for three years. So for three years, I was a suicidal person, completely housebound. No Contact with anybody isolated entirely. I’d given up but I didn’t want to kill myself because my mom was there. And it was just her and I, was the only child of a single mom. And we only had each other and the idea that you should find my body was like, destroyed me.

Gloria Grace Rand
Yeah,

Becca Lory Hector
So I laid there dead, but not dead for a very long time, lots of plans, lots of ideations. And then all of a sudden, my migraines started to change. And so I’ve had them we’ve kind of been following them since I was nine years old. And I always said, Oh, if it changes, you know, come see us. Oh, my God. Right. And so I all of a sudden got a smell proceeding that migraine, and no one else could smell it. And that wasn’t unusual to me. I often had sensory situations that other people didn’t have. But it was frustrating.

Gloria Grace Rand
Yeah.

Becca Lory Hector
And so I started journaling. And I started doing all the things I’m supposed to do and play as a responsible adult, but because we can’t leave the house, I didn’t want to go to a doctor. So I went to Web MD, and I started doing my research, right like a proper adult…

Gloria Grace Rand
self diagnose, there you go.

Becca Lory Hector
That’s right. And so I’m looking looking looking and sure they have olfactory hallucinations and pituitary tumors and all these very big. This. This is not for me. I’m going to Wikipedia clearly I can find me onto Wikipedia. I went and into the vortex I go clicking around and round about halfway through I got to sensory processing disorder. And i thought, oh, this is so incredibly familiar, right? I do. I struggle with all of these things I have my whole life. And then the bottom of it was Asperger’s syndrome. And I’d never heard of Asperger’s syndrome. The only thing I knew about autism was what we discussed, right? And so I freaked out a little bit and I started reading it. And sure enough, I felt like I was reading my biography. And that was the moment for me. And I just took that link and I sent it to my mom and email. I told her nothing. I didn’t want a biased opinion. And I waited three days for her to read it and then she came to me and said you found it. Nobody else did it, but you found it. Like, where do you want to go? And that was such a validating moment. That was just the beginning of everything for me. Going through that diagnosis, it changed everything saved my life, most literally, autism saved my life.

Gloria Grace Rand
Wow. That’s awesome. That is an incredible story. And, but I am grateful that you were able to figure it out. Because obviously, you were meant to be here and to be a force for change and to be a force for good. And that’s why you had to kind of get through that. So you have accomplished so much. I mean, it was just like I said, I didn’t even read her whole bio, but there’s so much. How do you, as someone, well, I’m just gonna say, you know, I feel I actually I was just having a message with a with a friend of mine. And she was telling me all the things that she’s doing and I just said Felt like so like, Oh my god, I haven’t been doing anything lately. So it’s like, sort of this feeling like, Oh my gosh, so, um, and yet I know that’s not true. I know I’m getting things done, but I think a lot of us sometimes have those feelings. And so you’re, you know, I don’t know, challenged with, with being having sensory things does, how does that even factor in those days maybe where you don’t even feel motivated to accomplish what do you want to get going?

Becca Lory Hector
I mean, it’s I’m human, it’s the same discomfort that we all feel when either we have an obligation that we really don’t want to do or we’re too tired to do but we have to, and that’s the thing. We all know that feeling right? It’s just that what makes me get to that point is different for me than what it is for most people. So like I have, we talked about an autism world we stole from the chronic pain world they have this great theory called Spoon Theory in the chronic pain world where they talk about how in the morning you are given 20 spoons to do your day, right your whole day.

Gloria Grace Rand
okay.

Becca Lory Hector
You can’t recharge them. You can’t get them back, you can borrow from the next day. But if you borrow from the next day, that means you’re starting out with less The next day, right?

Gloria Grace Rand
Yes,

Becca Lory Hector
So that’s Spoon Theory. And as an autistic person, there are some self care activities that are a little bit more difficult for me. For example, my least favorite self care activity is a shower. There’s a lot of executive function that has to happen in the shower, you have to remember all the things you have to do while you’re in there, right? It’s also a crazy sensory experience. For me, I’m very sensitive to the water pressure, the smells in there, all of that stuff. Heat being wet and cold. When I come out, it’s very painful for me. And it’s like, all of that stuff is part of a shower, right? It’s not just get in and get clean.

Gloria Grace Rand
Right, right.

Becca Lory Hector
And so for me, that’s state takes the average person one spoon, for me It takes three, right and so if it’s a shower day, I have to plan accordingly. That means I know I’ve committed to that that’s minus three spoons for my 20 already, right? And so that’s the difference between both, you know, in the motivation piece, um, there’s also something we call autistic inertia, which is probably going to sound familiar. It’s just I think we give it a name because it’s excessive and very common for folks on the spectrum. But I think it’s a human condition. It’s that thing when you’re stuck on the couch, and you’re comfy, but you know, you have a million things to do and you want to do them.

Gloria Grace Rand
(laughs) Yes…

Becca Lory Hector
that effort to get off the couch just isn’t happening. Right? The day’s going and you’re five more minutes. 10 more minutes, right, but you’re not moving off the couch. And that’s what we call autistic inertia. Many of us push ourselves to being so tired and past our spoons for so long, that we crash and that little crash sometimes we call it a shutdown. And sometimes if it’s really bad, we call it burnout. It can go for months for us. But what happens as a result is this thing called autistic inertia. It can also be caused by depression. if your depression kicks in, or anxiety, if anxiety kicks in, if you’ve had a really sensory high day, the day before it can kick in the next day, right? Any kind of strain, that your excess strain that you’re putting on your system, right? And it just feels like that I can’t get off the couch. And the thing that I tell all autistics is you can’t avoid that. We are you are going to have days of inertia. The trick is, how are you going to handle it? How are you going to plan for it? What’s your plan while you’re in it? What’s your plan to get out of it, not avoiding it because you can’t entirely but having a plan throughout it right? And so what we do we keep really good track of our spoons and we make sure that we understand that they are the most valuable thing that we possess and that we ca’tn give them away willy nilly to other people. Right, and all of that stuff and you get selfish about your spoons, and you should be all humans should be selfish about their spoons um and you know you get there and you’re on the couch because you just screwed up once you know or an activity you thought was going to be a four spooner ended up being a sixspooner, whatever happened and there you are in the inertia. And so part of it is a) give into it and be kind to yourself if you your body and your brain are telling you you need that day by gone take it right Don’t argue with it. Take it but truly take it don’t go check your email. truly take it and mean it.

Gloria Grace Rand
Yeah,

Becca Lory Hector
right. Take that day. You can cancel your plans let people know you’re not feeling well. Something unexpected happen. You don’t have to explain that you can’t get off the couch. Right? Just reschedule with somebody and move on. If there’s stuff that you have to do, that’s going to be a planning day right that’s a lot about Okay, well do I need to shower to do this thing can I get away with not so I don’t waste those spoons. What else can I ditch? What else can I, right? And to leave yourself just with the half do’s, right? And then I think if you stay in that inertia place for too long, it will turn into a depression and it will become a shutdown and a burnout. So I always say to people, when you’re wanting to get off the couch and you genuinely want to get in gear, but you just can’t motivate yourself, you need to motivate yourself with something small and simple. And it’s really easy. Like, I’m somebody who says, I can’t function in my house, and I don’t feel well about myself if my house is dirty. So if I can’t get off the couch to do something big, I’ll get up to do the dishes or start a laundry.

Gloria Grace Rand
Right.

Becca Lory Hector
or right… something that I know at least I’m doing something I’m not. Right. And oftentimes, that’s the kick you need. You’ll start the laundry then you’ll do the dishes, then all of a sudden you’re doing right. So that’s one trick. And the other trick is to look for something to create, right? If it’s bake cookies, or make a painting or dye your hair or put on makeup, Do something creative that keeps doing, right. That sends, sends, like signals to the rest of your body that you’re ready to get off the couch now, like this is happening, and that will kick you out of that space. But it’s the knowledge that you need to get kicked out of that space. Right. That is what we really need to work on. Not avoiding the days that they happen.

Gloria Grace Rand
Yeah, absolutely. And I think that advice is spot on for anybody, whether you got autism or not, because I’ve definitely been there. And some days, it’s like, yeah, I’ve just had to just give myself the grace to say, you know what, I’m taking this day off. I and because fighting it just makes it worse.

Becca Lory Hector
And then you just work and it means the next day, you’re also going to be crappy. And the day after and right.

Gloria Grace Rand
Yeah,

Becca Lory Hector
you can’t show up to anything. Well, and frankly, if I have a meeting with you, and you’re not going to show up to it well, I would rather reschedule right?

Gloria Grace Rand
right. Yeah.

Becca Lory Hector
So it would rather the rest of the people in your life. They don’t want to have to deal with you if you don’t feel good, they’d rather you take care of you. But we do that guilt thing. Oh, they’re not gonna like, if I right? well, I’m not good enough if I, and that’s our own garbage. So remember that and not put it on somebody else. Right? And that’s that catch all of like changing your self talk and all of those things, you know?

Gloria Grace Rand
Yeah, absolutely. I understand that you have a personal development course that you’ve designed for autistic adults. Can you tell us what that is about and why, and what what kind of benefit do they get from it?

Becca Lory Hector
Sure. Well, one of the things that that I experienced as someone who went through an adult diagnosis is the lack of what now services supports information. So there were a lot of books and memoirs from other autistic people who talked about their life experiences leading up to their diagnosis in the same way right. And those were very reassuring to know that I wasn’t alone to hear voices of other autistics, but they always ended with their diagnosis. But I have one now and right like what now? Like, what can you do for me, what’s the point? Like somebody, you know, next steps, and it didn’t exist. It doesn’t exist, right? And part of that is that all funding and research is going to 21 and below, and all of these other parts in politics of our community, I don’t want to care about parts and politics of our community don’t. Because that’s not changing my life.

Gloria Grace Rand
Yeah.

Becca Lory Hector
And it’s not helping, you know, in the now it’s not helping the folks that are alive now and are struggling.

Gloria Grace Rand
Exactly

Becca Lory Hector
right. And I appreciate the research that’s being done. I am a supporter, I go to the meetings I do. I participate in all of it. But I know that’s for the next generation. Like that stuff is going to impact people that are younger than me. I’m doing it for them. But what can I do for the me’s? Yeah, what can I do for folks that are getting late diagnosis now and they want their life to be different. So many of us that you know, end up either because their children get diagnosed, then they get diagnosed, which is really common. And the other one is that people are in a mental health crisis of some sort and autism comes up right? At an adult. That’s when we find it. So what we’re often looking at is people who are late in life diagnosed who have lived an entire life doing all of the suppose to’s and the shoulds. To make everybody in their life happy, because everybody was telling them, that’s what they needed. And they just did it. And they have any instinct that they have always been corrected and changed, right? None of their behavior is considered normal. So you stop listening to your own inner voice, your wants and needs disappear. Your joy disappears, right. But this is what it’s supposed to be. This is what adulthood is, right? That’s what we’re told.

Gloria Grace Rand
Yeah, yeah.

Becca Lory Hector
So I have a lot of autistic adults, they’ve lived that to like 20s 30s 40s. I have one client under 70. Okay. And that’s what we’re talking about. And these people have been living somebody else’s life for most of their life, and they are unhappy, but the idea that it could be different has never occurred to them. The idea that it doesn’t have to be that way. No one’s ever told them that. No one’s ever taught them how for it to be different. No one’s ever given them enough validation about their experiences, their reality, their wants and needs their inner gut. Nobody’s ever just said all of that stuff is good. Like, it’s okay for you to listen to those things, especially in adulthood. You’re not four anymore you have like a life history you you know now, right? And so what I teach is a course that that is to take people from that survival mode, and I call it white knuckle survival mode because autistics do we take the 40 hour week job because supposed to. We get married – supposed to; have children – supposed to; house – supposed to. Don’t know how to run our finances, children upset our sensory needs, never wanted them anyway, right? So all these little things that are happening in these people’s lives now they get a diagnosis that blows their brain away, like how did I live on this planet and nobody knew this whole time. And now what? So I’ve been you’d like get delivered this information that’s life changing, and then no one tells you what to do with it. So what I want to do is teach them that they don’t have to settle for survival. There’s a choice beyond that there’s a way out, there’s a way to take apart your life and rebuild it in a way that honors your autism, that honors your selfhood, that honors your authenticness. And you can live your best life. Now the trick to it is it’s not going to look like what everyone else tells you it should look like. And you have to get past the point of caring that people right will make judgment.

Gloria Grace Rand
Yeah.

Becca Lory Hector
And that’s the people that I work with. So I walk them through those mindset changes. I give them the tools they need to kind of meet, set their goals, decide where they want to focus on in their life where they want to make the changes, right? And then walk them through how to maintain that. How do you maintain that over the course of time, because the goal of course, and I teach it to them the whole time is that these cycles run through all the time. You’re not finished with it once, and no, you’re going to keep growing, evolving. And so you will keep doing this. But if you keep doing it, your life will always look to you the way you want it to. It’ll always feel in alignment with yourself. And that’s an option that nobody’s given autistic adults yet. And I only know it works because I just did it. I just just walked through it. And I all I had available to me were all the personal development tools that everybody else does. Four Agreements. The Secret that’s not a secret, right? We all all of those things, yeah. And I read them but I have an autistic brain and it picks up patterns. So I saw all the repetition. I saw different words with the same message right over and over again. And I took those repeated messages, and I express them in a way that the autistic brain understands it. I do a personal development course with the meat and not the potatoes. We just are in it. There are the guts.That’s how the autistic brain works. I don’t need the lovely stories that surround it. OK? So that’s what I’m producing. That’s what I’m giving folks right now.

Gloria Grace Rand
That’s awesome. So do you do that? Is it like a group program or how?

Becca Lory Hector
Well it’s sort of just coming into existence.

Gloria Grace Rand
Okay.

Becca Lory Hector
Because it was one of my backburner projects that COVID gave life to

Gloria Grace Rand
Oh, yeah.

Becca Lory Hector
My entire speaking calendar got canceled, and I had time to do my baby project. And I did. And this was one that I’ve been working on for the last couple of years in bits and pieces as I could. And I had the time to make it come to life. And now it’s out. So what I’m how I’m running it Is it broken it down into three units. I’ve broken it down into that, because it’s digestible, but also then I can make it affordable for my autistics. We have an 85% unemployment rate currently. And so asking people who are unemployed for money but also need the help to make the change? So I do. I get sponsors that help me give out scholarship seats for those folks. But I also broke it down into sizable chunks, unit one already came out. So what I’m doing is doing them live, and I’m doing a live q&a following for that one recording session. And then afterwards, the replay is available for purchase. And then what I meant, you know, I may re record them or whatever, after the third unit is out, they’ll be available all together. People can do them all at once they can do them out whatever format, they want to do them, and they get worksheets with it, and they get a group coaching call. And they you know, there’s other things that come with just the course. And yeah, and so I’m walking through it, and it’s, it’s exciting, it’s vulnerable to be sharing, like my baby project, you know, it was okay when it was on the back burner, because I was excited. And now it’s out here for touching and working out. So it’s a little bit of a vulnerable baby thing. But I’m proud of it. And I’m excited to just be offering an option that to give everybody something it may not be for everyone but at least it’s something right at least it’s it’s not the void and it shows people that we can create our own support.

Gloria Grace Rand
Yeah, that’s awesome. Well, congratulations. That is a very big deal because I know putting together courses and things like that is not easy, so good for you. And because that was something I was actually going to ask you about, too, is like, can you however, how have you been, you know, handling the pandemic? What have you been up to? But now we know. So that’s good.

Becca Lory Hector 34:21
Yeah. I mean, it was part of the whole idea was, I didn’t want to get stuck on the couch. I know it’s a pandemic. But I still don’t want to be alone, because that’s what happens to me in the winter with seasonal depression. And now is the summer I don’t want to know you can’t have my time. So I didn’t want to give it up. And so I said, I need to create something. Yeah. And so I took my own advice, and I created and it felt wonderful, and it feels wonderful to in the middle of all this negativity, put something out there. And it’s definitely kept me off the couch.

Gloria Grace Rand
Very good. I’m glad Yeah. Yeah, it’s interesting. I’ve been, you know, really doing this podcast during the pandemic. As part of sort of, I mean, I have I have my other work that I do. But I’ve really been embracing this. And even for a while I was doing my two interviews a week and posting them and it’s like, it’s the highlight of my day. Because it’s just I really love meeting interesting people like yourself, and being able to share that and it’s just, it’s so gratifying. And so,

Becca Lory Hector
and it keeps you off the couch, it keeps you going. Keeps you feeling like you’re human, right, you’re still connecting with people. It’s all of that good stuff. And and we need to do you know, and so you live by example. That’s what I tell people, right? Yeah, no, I created this course. What do you want to do during your quarantine? That’s right. What do you do? How clean is your house? Like?

Gloria Grace Rand
Yeah, exactly. Actually houses, okay, it’s my office that needs a little work, but it’s alright. It’s coming along. If someone wants to be able to, actually to first thing, first thing I want to ask is how can someone maybe get involved in, maybe even just supporting you or supporting autism, like being an autism advocate and so forth. Do you have like an organization that you work with?

Becca Lory Hector
Yeah, I mean, I have some, our community is filled with some of the most amazing people. And I, that’s part of the gift of autism for me is my community. And I am happy to tell all about all the people in my community all the time. So like, Yay, cheer us on. So we have some amazing, amazing folks and some great organizations, depending on where you are in the country is going to depend a lot on the availability of services. And also these organizations because of high population, East Coast, West Coast best services, right? I mean, that’s just the way that is in the middle of the country less so. Right. So when you’re if, in particular for adults, if you’re looking for diagnosis, services, supports, answers to questions, you may have to look outside of your area, you might have to look into the bigger cities and things like that, but you want to trust me, when you if you to go to get a diagnosis, you want a clinician that has diagnosed adults previously, if and has experience with adults, because you don’t want someone who’s just testing for kids, we look different and they won’t see it. And then if you’re particularly a female on the spectrum, as an adult, you also want to look for someone with experience with women, because we also present differently than men. So that’s like, it’s gonna be a little bit of a search right now, we don’t have a national hotline yet. We don’t have any federal support or any organization that you can call right now. And so you’re gonna have to do a little bit of research. Some of the better organizations are Autism Society, they have chapters across the United States. So that’s a pretty good call. They may know someone in your area if you need them, and they’ll know local resources and that kind of thing. The other one that I really recommend if you’re on the East Coast, I recommend AANE. It’s the Asperger’s Autism Network of New England some big long acronym, but they’re New England based, they’ve just taken over also the New York City area. So they’re nice and big, they’ll they should have a selection of things they have I, they’re one of the better organizations in terms of resources. I also recommend if you genuinely want to support the autistic population, to support the organization, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, so it’s ASAN, they are fantastic. It is entirely autistically run. So it’s all their employees are autistic. And they support the community from the point of view of the stakeholder. So from the autistic perspective, a lot of the other organizations seem to be in the early stages, so they’re very parent focused, and very kid focused. Yeah. And that’s okay, but it’s time for that to change. Right. We have a large vocal adult population, it’s time for us to get services. And we also are making more autistic children and so it would be nice for you to take care of us That’s, you know, I struggle with some organizations because they are children focused, because they have a history, whatever. But the ones right now, I mean, if you genuinely say, you know what I have 50 bucks to share with the community, and I’d like to support the autism community, give it to the Autism Self Advocacy Network, their work is genuinely reaching actually autistic people now.

Gloria Grace Rand
Yeah, awesome. All right. Well, I will make sure that I’ll put a link to that in the show notes. So that make it easy for people to be able to do that. And then what about someone who wants to be able to find out more about your course? What would be the best way to get in touch with you?

Becca Lory Hector
I’m very, very attentive, and so everything is on my website, because I need to know what’s there. And so it’s there. So the Self Defined Living is the name of the whole course. It’s called a Path to a Quality Autistic Life. And that has its own tab on my website, which is Becca Lory, l o r y.com. And I also have a sponsors page there so you can see my sponsors or become a sponsor, if you want to donate some seats to my class, and then everything else is on there too, all my social media, all my writing, my YouTube channel, my newsletter you can sign up for there, all of that stuff is just in one place for you. You can even reach out to me from there directly so you can use the contact page.

Gloria Grace Rand
Awesome. Well I thank you so much for being here. You are a lovely woman and just with an incredible energy and drive, and I am proud to have met you and gotten to know you. And I wish you all the success in the world with helping to really get more adults, to get them the support that they need. So, I’m…

Becca Lory Hector
Thank you so much for the opportunity to speak to a non-autism community. I’m trying very hard to step out of my comfort zone and get out of just the autism podcasts, because I know that folks like you really want to learn. And if we give people the opportunity to hear it, they want to listen. And the opportunities aren’t so easy, so I’m trying to make it a
little easier.

Gloria Grace Rand
Well, awesome. I appreciate that. And thank you again for taking time out of your schedule to talk with us today.

Becca Lory Hector
My pleasure.

Gloria Grace Rand
And for everyone who is listening and watching, I also want to just thank you for continuing to do that, to be a supporter of this podcast. I really appreciate you. And in closing, I’ll just tell you my wish for you is to just go out there and to live fully, love deeply and engage authentically.

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About the Author
Known as The Insightful Copywriter, Gloria Grace Rand is also an inspirational speaker, author and host of the Live. Love. Engage. podcast. Prior to launching her SEO Copywriting business in 2009, Gloria spent nearly two decades in television, most notably as writer and producer for the award-winning PBS financial news program, “Nightly Business Report.”

Gloria turned to writing as a way to communicate, since growing up with an alcoholic father and abusive mother taught her that it was safer to be seen and not heard. But not speaking her truth caused Gloria problems such as overeating, control issues, and an inability to fully trust people. After investing in coaching & personal development programs, and studying spiritual books like “A Course in Miracles,” Gloria healed her emotional wounds. Today, she helps entrepreneurs develop clarity, confidence and connection to the truth of who you are, so you can create a business that has more impact, influence and income!

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