230: Twice-Exceptional Speech Therapist and the Autistic Community

I’m excited to introduce you to a speech therapist whose work is informed by the autistic community and her personal experience in identifying as twice-exceptional. Her heart and passion are to help give a voice to those who can’t speak for themselves. Join us!

Mara McLoughlin has over ten years of professional experience working with autistic and other neurodivergent people and their families. She has been a student and teacher of yoga and mindfulness for over 25 years, knowing that building these skills can help build a better world. She is a certified provider of the PEERS program that exists for the educational and enrichment of relational skills. With both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Communication Science and Disorders, she knows that communication is fun, difficult, and the key to life. To learn and gain confidence in the initial steps of founding friendships and self-regulation skills can help improve the lives of everyone.

Show Highlights:

  • Why Mara is intensely passionate about yoga and working with autistic people and their families

  • How Mara’s intensity looks like a strong sense of fairness and fiercely advocating for those who can’t speak for themselves, especially those with autism or aphasia due to stroke

  • Growing up, Mara was a precocious speaker who struggled in school and was a determined but difficult child

  • How the masking component has affected Mara in “code-switching” according to different situations

  • The misconception about autism and the children who aren’t identified by their response to social cues

  • The relationship between non-binary gender identification and autism

  • How cultural factors affected Mara as she grew up in white, conservative, suburban Chicago as she didn’t follow the “rulebook” or the status quo

  • Why she was unsuccessful in toning herself down or tuning herself out because she couldn’t conform to others’ expectations

  • How Mara moved to the West Coast and found where she fits in and feels at home

  • How a stroke affected her partner at age 43 and brought out Mara’s advocacy skills

  • How Mara uses her fire for good by being a fierce advocate for people who have different brains, helping to build capacity in environments for different learners

  • How Mara harnesses the power of her intensity through breathing, yoga and movement, meditation, mindfulness, and gratitude

  • How Mara helps others use their fire through the PEERS program with social and emotional development in making and keeping friends and solving conflict

  • Mara’s business, IRL Social skills, which is a collective of speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists who help families of autistic teens and adults

  • How Mara uses immersion therapy in her work


Connect with Mara:  irl Social Skills.com

Find IRL Social Skills on Facebook and Mara McLoughlin on Twitter and @pawsomesocialskills on Instagram.

There are lots of upcoming great events happening in the EI Community. Check us out at Embracing Intensity