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Welcome to the BY YOUR SIDE Autism Podcast!

BYS – Autism Therapy Services podcast is an interview show featuring open and honest conversations with therapists, parents, educators, authors, and experts from the autism community. BYS provides therapeutic services in three different environments (in-center, in-home, school-based) in Northern IL and Atlanta, GA’s Northeast suburbs offering ABA, Speech, and Occupational Therapy. The BYS podcast topics include therapy tips, coping skills, ideas, strategies, and candid conversations from parents who live with autism in their lives.

To subscribe to the podcast, please use the links below:

BYS 041: Autism Eats

Released: June 20, 2023

Lenard Zohn started Autism Eats because he grew up in a family where going out to a restaurant was a family event and an enjoyable experience. Unfortunately, for those of us who have a child with autism dining out can be anxiety provoking and stressful. Under the philosophy of seeing a need, filling a need, Lenard created Autism Eats to bring the fun into eating out.

BYS 040: From Nonspeaking Autistic Child to Professional Speaker

Released: September 15, 2021

Dr. Kerry Magro is autistic and also a force in his community. His journey started as a nonverbal child and he has grown into an award-winning professional speaker, best-selling author, movie consultant, mentor, and non-profit founder. He cares deeply for individuals with autism and his personable and compassionate communication style provides a multitude of insights into an autistic child growing to adulthood. In this interview, Kerry addresses what he calls a parent’s million-dollar question, “What will happen to my child when I’m gone?” Dr. Magro has published best-selling books including such titles: Defining Autism from the Heart, and Autism and Falling in Love: The One that Got Away, and several others. He has given TedTalks on the topics of what happens when children with autism become adults and their path to college. We hope you enjoy this podcast. To learn more about Kerry, simply search him on YouTube or visit his website at

BYS 039: Multidisciplinary Collaboration / Our Top 5 TV Shows

Released: August 30, 2021

Hear what the BYS therapy leaders from ABA, Speech, and OT have to say about their best practices for collaboration and a multidisciplinary therapy approach for children with autism. Useful tips for parents, therapists, and teachers. We also provide a countdown of our Top 5 TV shows over the past year.

BYS 038: Back to School / Top 5 Vintage Video Games

Released: August 17, 2021

Brett Balduf is the principal at Carpenter Elementary School in Park Ridge. We take a look back at the 2020 school year and the lessons learned for the upcoming year. This episode includes a new segment, where Brett and I provide our top 5 list of the Best Vintage Video Games for TV Systems.

BYS 037: How to Help with Communication

Released: May 7, 2021

Brittany, a Speech-Language Pathologist with BY YOUR SIDE, discusses best practices for communication and helping your child. The conversation begins with one of the most asked and complicated questions we get from parents… “When will my child talk?”

BYS 036: Dr. Temple Grandin - Three Different Types of Thinkers

Released: July 22, 2020

Dr. Temple Grandin is worried we are not utilizing  all the different types of minds. She wants us to identify and developed our thinkers; and the business world needs to do a better job putting teams together of all the different type of thinkers. She once again brings her passion and her no-nonsense approach on what we need to do to develop our children.

Dr. Grandin is the author of multiple books including, The Autistic Brain, Thinking in Pictures, and this past April revised her book The Way I See It. She is also doing a series of webinars in conjunction with Future Horizons. To register go to

BYS 035: I'm More than Just His Mom

Released: March 20, 2020

Jen Ivey, parent of four kids, including a 12-year-old on the spectrum, offers what it’s been like over the past 12 years of dealing with Mitchell’s autism, raising her other three kids, keeping her marriage together, and more.

BYS 034: Structure of ABA Therapy

Released: February 17, 2020

Unlike other therapies, ABA is a tiered system. So, what is the role of a BCBA, BT, and RBT? How many components make up ABA therapy? How important is parent training? What are the ethical boundaries between parents and BCBAs? Sami Baker, BCBA and Director of ABA Delivery at BYS, gives an informative interview discussing all the components that, when put together, is ABA therapy.

BYS 033: SIB on Stage

Released: August 26, 2019

Playwright and actor Jessica Cavanagh turns her personal story about her dealing with her son’s autism, into a stage production called Self-Injurious Behavior, making its world premiere in North Hollywood.

BYS 032: Anna Kalinowski-Kluzik

Released: May 22, 2018

We have always known that parents who have children on the spectrum are special people. Yet, we sometimes forget that our parents are facing battles outside of the autism world. Anna Kalinowski-Kluzik is a single mom, has two children on the spectrum, and is currently battling cancer. She talks about her love for life, her love of music, and her love for her children. A true inspiration.

BYS 031: A Principal Talks Education and Learning

Released: February 19, 2018

Brett Balduf is the younger brother of BYS’s President Brad Balduf. Brett is the principle at Carpenter school – grades K through 5th – in Park Ridge IL. Mr. Balduf’s career started as a social worker and he has always been a proponent of rethinking how we look at education. He has great insight for any parent looking for best practices educating their child both at school and at home. In this episode we discuss: Do grades and classrooms designs need to be rethought? Why kids needs goals. Mr. Balduf gives an insight to the teachers of today. We discusses fidgets, standing desks, and more.

BYS 030: A 67-Year-Old Learns He Has Autism

Released: February 5, 2018

Garret and MaryAnne Mathews give an honest look into their marriage of 38 years with Garret recently finding out he’s on the spectrum. In what ends up both answering questions and yet bringing up new questions. They use this recent discovery to try and help others who may going through a similar situation.

BYS 028: SibShops

Released: June 19, 2017

Six BYS therapists went to the official SibShops training where they learned how to facilitate a workshop for kids who have a sibling with special needs. Hear these therapists talk about what kids can expect during the workshop, the benefits of giving these kids their own time, and first-hand accounts of being someone who has a sibling with special needs.

BYS 026: Gaining Cooperation from Your Child

Released: May 15, 2017

Brian Katz, BCBA, breaks down in detail an article about gaining instructional control from your child. Brian talks about methods and prompts that will help parents with their child to act more independently. He focuses on the concept of positive parenting. A must listen for those seeking guidance in getting their child to respond to their requests.

BYS 025: Dr. Temple Grandin

Released: January 9, 2017

Dr. Grandin’s passion is in full force as she clearly defines what parents and kids need to be doing and how to prepare for the next stage of their lives. Her philosophy of “Mentors are attracted to talent” offers as a great reminder of getting kids “doing” things that fit their ability.

BYS 024: Brian and Matthew - Explaining ABA

Released: November 21, 2016

Brian Katz and Matthew Zaffos are both BCBAs at BY YOUR SIDE. In this week’s episode, they discuss their strong views on topics such as, parent training and early intervention, and explain how they are passionate that these are the keys to a child’s success.

BYS 023: An Insightful Perspective of Speech Language Pathologists

Released: October 10, 2016

This week, we speak with two BY YOUR SIDE Speech Language Pathologists; Natalie Halm and Susan Theis. They discuss the importance of playtime as a family and how the Speech Pathologists work with the ABA team to tackle some of the issues.

BYS 021: Andrew Blaha - A 19 Year-Old with Autism. Part 2

Released: July 18, 2016

Andrew discusses the difficult topic of bullying in this interview as a teen with autism himself. He also discusses how help at school literally changed his life from anger to one with knowledge and comfort.

BYS 020: Andrew Blaha - A 19 Year-Old with Autism. Part 1

Released: June 14, 2016

Our first interview with someone on the spectrum and it offers some great perspectives on growing up with Autism. Andrew Blaha is a 19 year-old on the spectrum. He offers insight through – what he calls – his lens.

BYS 019: Laura Mahlmeister BCBA, Sr. Manager of ABA Therapy (North)

Released: May 17, 2016

Laura is a BCBA at BY YOUR SIDE. She received her M.A. in Clinical Psychology, specializing in Applied Behavior Analysis, from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology in 2010. Laura’s interest in working with individuals with developmental disabilities started at an early age.

BYS 018: Nick Johne - Second City Teacher: Improv and Autism

Released: April 18, 2016

Nick and his wife Sinead have a daughter named Emma who is on the spectrum. For about two years now Nick, along with one of his improv partners Molly Fisher, have been teaching improv classes to people who are on the spectrum.

BYS 017: Samantha Mitchell - Occupational Therapy

Released: March 16, 2016

Samantha is the Sr manager of OT at BYS. She holds a Masters of Occupational Therapy from The Ohio State University. Sam talks about areas of therapy most people don’t know OT’s can do. She gives tips and ideas about everyday household items that can be turned into OT activities.

BYS 016: Caitlin Dalton - Navigating through an IEP

Released: February 8, 2016

Caitlin Dalton is a certified special education teacher who has her Master’s in ABA. Before working at By Your Side as a behavior specialist, she worked as a teacher in both public and private autism classrooms. Caitlin has a passion for educational rights and teaming with local school districts.

BYS 015: Julie Stretch - Parent of a Child on the Spectrum Talks About How They Found ABA

Released: January 25, 2016

Julie has recently been on both sides of her understanding of ABA therapy. The before, where her son didn’t start yet and she was researching if it was the right fit. And the after, seeing firsthand what ABA can do. Julie walks us through the good and bad of what she heard and ultimately the positive results she sees in her son.

BYS 014: Senior Manager of ABA Ginny Nikiforos, LCSW & BCBA Talks About: What is ABA?

Released: January 11, 2016

ABA is not only a therapy model for the child. An effective ABA plan includes a team of people: child, parents, siblings, teachers, therapists. Ginny explains the team concept of ABA and how it works, how it’s performed, and how it’s a team effort as parent training, supervision, and assessment are all part of the ABA plan.

BYS 013: ABA Therapists with a Brother on the Spectrum

Released: December 23, 2015

An emotional and a poignant interview with three of BY YOUR SIDE’s ABA therapists, each who have a younger brother with autism. Alex, Lizzie, and Natalija give their insights to being in a profession that hits close to home.

BYS 011: Katurri Phillips: BCBA - Transitions

Released: November 2, 2015

Preparation is your friend. Katurri walks us through an example of dealing with a situation where you go to the grocery store and your child is not ready to come out of the car. Katurri goes into specific details on how to handle difficult behaviors when it comes to a child needing guidance going places.

BYS 010: The BY YOUR SIDE Community Outreach Team

Released: October 23, 2015

The BYS Community Outreach Team – Tom Trimingham, Nimra Irfan, and Kimberly Childs talk about what it is like working for a therapy services business in a non-therapist role. They discuss what surprises them, what they have learned, and how they work within the local community to help spread the message about the value of the different therapies that BYS offers.

BYS 008: Karen Kabaki-Sisto, M.S., CCC-SLP - Founder of Autism Breakthrough Solutions

Released: September 14, 2015

What common characteristic of autism are parents and doctors quick to dismiss?

In episode number eight, we have the pleasure to talk with Karen Kabaki-Sisto, M.S., CCC-SLP. She has been helping children with autism all over the world for 20 years. Karen is the founder of Autism Breakthrough Solutions and creator of “I Can Have Conversations With You!™”, an interactive iPad program that enhances social skills and language abilities.

BYS 007: Sarah Henderson - Occupational Therapist

Released: September 1, 2015

Sarah is a licensed and board certified occupational therapist. Since graduating from Saint Ambrose University she has worked with children in outpatient clinics and schools. Sarah is one of our therapists in both the school and our clinic.

BYS 006: Cindy Zinzer - Parent

Released: August 17, 2015

Cindy has a 9 year old daughter who has been dealing with seizures her whole life. Cindy talks about a very scary moment in the middle of the night where her daughter was having an episode, and a touching insight when her other daughter wrote a paper for school about her sister seizures, a feeling Cindy never knew until she finished reading the assignment.

BYS 005: Julie Martin - Transitions

Released: August 3, 2015

Julie Martin is the center director, as well as the lead SLP and BCBA, of BY YOUR SIDE autism center.  In this episode, we spend the full podcast discussing why it’s sometimes difficult for a child to transition from one place to another and tips on how those transitions can be made easier.  The conversation moves into the topic of change, which as Julie points out, is the same as transition, yet can have its own set of challenges.

BYS 004: Eunice McConville - Parent of a Child with Autism

Released: July 20, 2015

Eunice has been taking her child to BY YOUR SIDE for over 4 years and has become the parent that we send other parents to talk to if they have questions about having a child of the spectrum. Eunice tells us of her low points and how community involvement has been one of the best moves she’s made.

BYS 003: Theresa Petru - Speech-Language Pathologist

Released: July 6, 2015

Theresa is a certified licensed Speech-Language Pathologist holding a Master’s of Science from Governor’s State University. Prior to working at BY YOUR SIDE Theresa gained extensive experience working with children with a variety of speech-language disorders including Autism in both public and private school settings. Theresa has received training in PECS, Kaufman Protocol for Children with Apraxia, Stanley Greenspan’s Floortime/DIR model, and S.O.S. feeding.

BYS 002: Jen Ivey - A Parent of a Child with Autism

Released: June 26, 2015

Jen starts the show with a story of her neighbor’s misguided attempt of “helping” by calling DCFS on them, an act that could lead to having Jen’s children taken away. Jen discusses not being afraid of putting it out there that your child is on the spectrum. How her group of friends became smaller, but how smaller is better. And Jen gives us honest insight to why she has a difficult time reading success stories.

BYS 001: Julie Martin: BCBA - SLP - Center Director of BY YOUR SIDE

Released: June 25, 2015

Julie Martin is the center director, as well as the lead SLP and BCBA, of BY YOUR SIDE Autism Center. In today’s podcasts, Julie covers basic topics about how a BCBA’s job is finding out the “why” in the Child’s behavior and what is happening when a child with autism is having a meltdown. Julie also leaves us with a tip on what parents can be doing more of with their child.

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