We had the good fortune of connecting with Julie Sando and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Julie, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Let’s be real. Work-Life Balance is a struggle. I think when you love what you do, it is easy to want to work more and more. And in the autism world, with 1 out of 54 children being diagnosed, there is always work to do.
I see how overwhelmed families in the autism community are. They are sleep deprived for years, they are always on guard, they deal with a lot of challenging situations, and they are on a life-long mission to help their kids in any way they can. We are always sharing strategies about balance with our clients. We do our best to give them bite sized pieces. We are in it for the long-haul with them, one balanced step at a time.
In teaching balance to them, I find that I am teaching balance to myself, right alongside them. I often find myself saying to them “We teach what we need to learn.” We create space to be messy and play and learn together, all while keeping it real.
Balance has become so important to us that it is one of our three Foundational Principles: Trust, BALANCE, and Freedom. Without balance, we burn out. And we can’t afford to burn out, especially in the world of autism.
I am excited to create a greater work-life balance and am in the process of figuring it out. The global pandemic has been a bit of a reset for me, forcing me to slow down and re-evaluate what is really essential. I am feeling more balance. I am asking questions like “What is most important for my clients?” “What is most important for myself?” and “How can I give my most while maintaining personal wellness to continue giving?” So stay tuned! We are re-evaluating, re-branding, re-modeling, and restructuring at Autistically Inclined so that we can live more fully into our foundational principles of Trust, Balance, and Freedom, all while inspiring families to be able to do the same!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
What sets us apart from others? We live in a technique-based culture. I spent the first decade of my career and experience becoming a walking technique. When I broke free from the system and ventured off on my own, I realized just how sensitive people on the autism spectrum are. They can smell a technique from a mile away. I have learned how to be human, how to be genuine, how to be real, and how to let go of rules. And now our business helps families do the same.
In the autism world, when you are first starting out, as a parent or professional, you have NO CLUE what to do. You need rules. You crave rules. You just want someone to tell you what to do. But then we become dependent upon those rules and we lose touch with humanity. So, in the name of balance, we provide families with guidelines to experiment with. We help them think for themselves. And we remind them how to be human with their loved ones who are on the spectrum.
We recognize that we are never done learning and there is value in every approach. Our goal is not to get everyone to be the same, to do the same approach, to get on the same page. Our goal is to find the value in each way of being, and to create something unique for each family. The value comes in our differences.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The first place I would take a friend who is visiting is to Griffith Observatory. There is something extraordinary about having a bird’s eye view and being surrounded by nature within a city.
What I love about LA is having healthy food accessible! We will be found at Cafe Gratitude, in the Arts District, ordering Ecstatic (Roasted Brussel Sprouts) and Gutsy (kombucha) for starters.
What is a trip to LA without a visit to the beach? Our next stop would be the Santa Monica Pier. The Ferris Wheel on the pier will give us another bird’s eye view, with an ocean breeze!
Of course, there is so much the city has to offer, and in the spirit of living a balanced life, the rest of the trip would be up to my friend! There are plenty of options to choose from!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My team makes everything possible. Without them, I can only do so much. I would be forced to stay small without their support. They have helped me reach people near and far, from here in California to India, Pakistan, and Romania! In running a small business, I have become clearer on my strengths and weaknesses. I have learned to find others who are better than me to do the things I am not as good at.
I started out on this business venture by myself in 2009. Within a year, one of my childhood best friends was my book keeper! She has been with me from the beginning and she is still here today! We’ve been besties since third grade. Thank you Kerilyn, for keeping me in check and for having my back this whole time! You bring so much more ease to my life!
And I know this guy doesn’t want a shoutout. But Jake really has taken what I do to the next level in a big way. He is often behind the scenes, which is where he prefers to hang. He has created systems, copy, structures, and brainstormed countless actions that make up our DNA. We share a brain and complement each other’s weaknesses. My trust in him is immense. Sorry Jake, the gratitude was real.
Another BIG team member is Kate. Kate has a heart of gold and always knows just what to say to bring balance and understanding to the conversation. When I flounder, Kate is there to step in and lead the way. She has a natural connection with our families and knows how to take them to that next level. She is an adventurous spirit who brings quality to the experience.
Thank you to the families I work with, who allow me to be innovative, try new things, learn from alternative experiences, and who are stepping outside the box with me! There are countless others who are in my heart that have helped us grow and expand in incredible ways. Thank you team Autistically Inclined!