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Putting it all Together | The S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Approach Overview | Ep 202

Updated: Nov 30, 2021

Our 13th episode of CONNECT With SUCCESS Autism Podcast is a great overview of all seven pillars of the The S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Approach ~ Ep 202

Want to help your child and your whole family using The S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Approach (sm)? Check out our online course:

Welcome to Connect with Success with Dr. Lynette Scotese-Wojtila, where we help connect you with knowledge. Our mission is to lead you to a new and exciting way of understanding, responding to, and helping all those with autism. We hope to expand your thinking about how to best serve these amazing people and to support you in your daily struggles and elebrations.

Our 13th episode of Connect with Success, a podcast built around The S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Approach (sm) and the person who coined it, Dr. Lynette Scotese-Wojtila is a "Successful Synthesis Session." It's a great overview of the whole S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Approach (sm) and the model that it brings for treatment with those who are on the autism spectrum. So as we revisit this information, we're going to help you integrate or synthesize the past concepts that we've discussed in previous episodes, and how it can be useful for your particular situation.

But what really is impressive is that we have really covered the basics of the whole S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Approach at this point, and we're going to have some really cool episodes up and coming and how to apply The S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Approach (sm) to everyday events that you might be encountering with those who live on the spectrum.

Transcripts From Episode 13: Episode 2 of Season 2

LYNETTE: I think the best way to go about revisiting the seven pillars of The S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Approach (sm) is to think about the word transdisciplinary. We're back to where we started. Transdisciplinary concepts are kind of up and coming. I wish they were here a long, long, long time, but they're relatively new. And they come under the guise of interdisciplinary multidisciplinary, transdisciplinary, inter collaborative all these terms about different disciplines talking and being in concert together, surrounding any one child or group. So if you think about the seven pillars of The S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Approach (sm), and the methods that go with them, it gives us an opportunity to go back to square one and start thinking about ingredients for making a cake making a pie, the part of the analogy we try to use or building a house, you know, the different layers, all these analogies that help us know, multiple things coming together to support the whole that is what we're going to be focusing on as a synthesis today. RICH: Alright, welcome back to the message. We are getting ready to kind of put a nice ribbon and bow on The S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Approach (sm) and what it is. And I think the thing that impresses me the most is that it's really the components, the pillars of it, they aren't new. You are just rebranding it in a new way to make it meaningful. Together, like individually, it's not as strong as we might think it is. But when you pull the power of all of these different pillars together, it really makes for something holistic and worthwhile for the individual. LYNETTE: It does, and the fact that these are tried and true pillars, so we think about developmental theory, a developmental model. Everyone knows it. Tried and true. People in development use it, and they use it well. If we think about social pragmatic therapy, tried and true. We're using it in autism. We are using it to help kids connect and join. And all the theories together, are also researched in concert. This is the beauty of the Capstone that I conducted, wherein The S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Approach (sm) was researched, in its entirety, all seven theories together, and really showed in a very short time, specifically eight weeks some great gains for the kids. So it's tried and true in terms of each individual theory, but getting the theories together and the methods from these theories together is now more and more in the literature. Even speaking to the next study that's going to be conducted by the cohort at Gannon University that's doing another study on the older age group in individuals with autism, so we're excited about the fact that we are research based in that sense, and that it is evidence based, which is so important for clinicians and professionals to hone to. RICH: So let's talk about The S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Approach (sm). What is the acronym? So let's talk about what that acronym stands for. LYNETTE: Yes, it's a sentence actually, as we might remember. So I'll say the sentence and then we're going to pick apart the middle part of it. So the sentence for S.U.C.C.E.S.S. is: Strategic Use of Critical Curriculum Elicits Supported Sense-making. So the C and the C “critical curriculum” is all about transdisciplinary methods, that the child or an adult need; and the removal of any methods that they don't need. So to remind us, The S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Approach (sm) is all about providing what is necessary and removing what is not -- which is a wonderful thing to be able to do for these kids who oftentimes come from a cookie cutter approach program prior to us. So we take out what doesn't apply to them that they got inherent to that particular cookie cutter approach, and only put in its place what the child needs. And this is one reason why their needs get faster and better because it's truly individualized. So the C and the C -- this critical curriculum -- means the just right methods, and only the just right methods, and the beautiful thing is that it could be an OT method, or it could be a speech method, or a special ed method, or a method from the field of psychology, and often is one of those four. And then there are ancillary methods, or theories, that come into play like behavioral optometry, or the theories and principles of dietary care or nutrition. So we have the luxury and this is where it's fun to be success approach oriented. It is fun to fix problems that are kind of foundational. We get the opportunity to look at a child through many different lenses, we say. And there's there are seven in particular, these pillars we keep talking about. But as we look at the child through these pillars, we see a part of them that another discipline probably can't see because it's not their set of glasses. And when you have seven of them, which is a lot again, all these tried and true seven theories that help us to know and understand how kids with autism think, feel, function, etc. You get a pretty unique recipe, and the ingredients that we can each contribute, it's fun. It's like we are in a bakery shop somewhere – Wojtila Bakery in Euclid Ohio -- My wonderful inlaws! Thank you, brother in law Donnie and Barb, for an amazing bakery. RICH: It is an amazing bakery! LYNETTE: Yes, it is. It's their baking as a team, all the different conjuring up the just-right ingredients to make something very unique and potent, and individual. And that's the beauty. It never gets old, Rich, it never gets old. RICH: And I can speak from experience. You know, I have two children who have gone through The S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Approach (sm) in terms of helping them achieve their success, which is what I love about the acronym itself, is that it just spells it out for you in what you're hoping to achieve with your own individuals who are on the spectrum. So let's dig a little deeper into those pillars. Now, the first time that we talked about it was [in our podcast episode on] “observing readiness.” LYNETTE: Yes, readiness is an observable state of the human condition, wherein the child or the adult is adequately prepared to meet the demands of the environment. It's a thing that is either there or is not. Oftentimes, if it's not there, understanding what the child needs to become ready is easy as pie in our analogy, and so for someone who's practiced and knows. For the novice, it's not always so easy. So we have to help shed light on what is stopping the child from being ready. And sometimes it's an internal state of regulation. The child is distracted, or the child is hungry, or the child simply can't sit still whatever it is, but with the right kind of support, those things can change, and they do. So readiness is the foundation to any kind of performance. RICH: So observing readiness is understanding when the person is ready to receive new information. LYNETTE: That's right. And when they do receive new information, we hope that there is sense made about what they're receiving. And so when we look at the Gestalt theory of how sense is made and how we move through what we call the cycle of awareness as we're trying to discern and extract meaning in life, we must be ready before we can be on this circular journey of how we come to understand and then make sense of life. And one of the things that's so cool about kids with autism, is once they have access to what they're supposed to make contact with, and that's by way of us joining them on their process to make sense; they do make sense in natural and normal ways. So if we want to teach the concept of “up” to a toddler with autism who doesn't necessarily have that word or that notion in their head, to do it in a way, with a parachute that is pretty big, and pretty salient, and pretty colorful, and pretty exciting, and highly sensory in terms of its value. It's going to penetrate the child's nervous system, the child's thought process, and have them experience “up” because literally this huge piece of fabric went “up” in front of them. And as soon as it's up, they have the opportunity to know up because they are now under. RICH: It gives them context. LYNETTE: It gives them context. Of course, the teacher speaks to context. There you go. And so that situational learning, that being in the moment that experience of association, gets in, but it's not the only kind of “up.” A parachute isn't the only thing that goes up. Guess what else goes up? A zipper, when you're putting your coat on or you zip up your jacket, or your hand, when you have an answer for a question. All the things that we know and take for granted that have the directionality of up can and should be made available to the child giving them access to the concepts in whatever crazy creative, overt way that needs to be rendered. RICH: You know what I went through the training and I think you've discussed this in the sensemaking episode was the word “trunk.” Yeah, it still sticks in my head about, wow, there are very different ways of thinking “trunk.” LYNETTE: So many. So if you're the kind of child that would get to information processing, that gets stuck by that, then you're kind of trapped, and only understanding a certain kind of trunk. RICH: Right? So we go from observing readiness and then being able to make sense of that, and then we move into sensory processing. LYNETTE: So sensory integration is kind of the basis or the primitive part of our pillars that help the child to have the ability to interpret and make sense of sensory experiences coming in both within their body, and the external environment. And it's easy things that we don't think about, because this again is at the brainstem level right? Remember, that's way down deep in the brain. And so it's things like temperature, it's things like sound, smell, what we see with our eyes, what we're feeling through our sense of touch, and if all that is coordinated well, and integrated well, then the brain is able to do other things with itself like think and function; versus process information and get sort of stuck in that. So these primitive centers of the brain, a lot of times in autism, aren't integrated properly. And so we need sensory integration theory and methods to help fix that. RICH: And so what we've done in the first part, and with these three pillars, that we've discussed of the seven so far, we've gone really to the behind the scenes work of how the brain is interpreting, and being able to make sense and to process that information. So we've hit the middle pillar now, which is learning styles. LYNETTE: That's right. And that's tied to the theory of information processing. So this is your very “Piagetian” very developmental, cognitive kind of theory and method. And what we talk about in information processing, which you'll remember from earlier episodes, is the word “schema.” So we know schema is simply a mental representation of a set of events. And I love to talk about it for the daddies out there that they have a great schema for providing for their family and taking care of vehicles and things like changing a tire. And the mommies out there have a great schema or a mental representation for things like shopping, making dinner and making meals and things that help sustain their children. And so we want to honor both of those as very important roles, but trust and know that each of those roles is possible because we have the wherewithal of how to do those simple little tasks that have a beginning, middle and end and lots of steps in between that we have schema for. RICH: So now that we're in this the space of development and making sense of this understanding, we start moving into socialization. LYNETTE: Yes. Within the spectrum of autism, we know that children have kind of a common core struggle and that seems to be social pragmatic skills. So the social pragmatic theory helps us to understand the simplest of things like reciprocity, the ping-pong of conversation, knowing when to respond and when to initiate conversation. As a given for those of us that don't have autism, we kind of sense what to say trying to talk and when is our temperature is fine, but it's not so easy for our kids. We want to always make sure that we are honoring their needs to process information before we throw more information at them by way of a query. So a lot of times we think we're socializing with a child or modeling how to socialize when they say something, we say something to them, like, what did you have for breakfast? Or was it good? Well, did you finish all of it? Or were you late for school because you didn't? And we're asking, asking, asking, which throws the child into a responder mode. That gives us usually what kind of answers? One word answers right. That's not really a great discourse style, is it? So we want to make comments coming out of social pragmatic theory. We want to make comments about the environment or about the child. And a comment might be like, Well, I had pancakes for breakfast, and you just pause and see what the child says, which might be pancakes, or Well, I had blueberries. I bet they were blue. That's not a question. That's comment. They were and they were sweet. Oh that reminds me of strawberries. They're sweet too. So you have a conversation about food. Impromptu because you're commenting and not asking. Huge, huge learning discovery for a lot of our parents and teachers because they think the best way to get a child to be social and to talk is to ask, and it's actually in my experience, quite opposite. RICH: And then we move into developmental basics, which is the next pillar in TSA. LYNETTE: That's right, we teach developmental basics or developmental model at this point in the course and then this point in the pillar presentation, because it kind of grabs all of the other theories, anybody working with kids, or people across the lifespan, really need to know and honor the developmental sequence of skill acquisition, which just means learning and to be able to master skills. So you know, I always, my go-to analogy is you never have a child run before they can walk, and they're not going to walk before they can sit. So there's a progression to how mother nature and the human body evolves, both brain and body; and the more you know that evolution and the linear trajectory that kids should be on, the more you can see where there's holes in your child and fill them. So trust your developmental pediatricians, trust your doctors that specialize in development. Trust your occupational therapist, we are developmental specialists. Many other professions also have a good handle on development. And you want to make sure that you are building a strong foundation by filling the holes and then making that house more and more broad and sturdy and upright and multiple levels. RICH: And that trust at that level is huge. I mean, just from personal experience. I know that we love everyone that we come into contact with at Integrationist Treatment Center who practices The S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Approach (sm). It's a great partnership. And that leads us to the next one. That's my one of my favorite acronyms. But the model of human occupation, Yeah, MOHO! LYNETTE: That's right. That's a fun one. So the model of human occupation comes from the field of occupational therapy, my own field, and it's also underscoring, as I mentioned. So what that means is it serves as a foundation to understand how our roles develop as human beings. And in order for anyone to really be able to occupy or be occupied in an occupational kind of way, or in a functional daily life kind of way; you have to have the basis of many motor skills. You need language skills. You need toileting skills, skills on every level. And when we have that basic base of the triangle and skills are strong, we start to develop habits. And we start to do things in a routine sort of way where you're developing some good practice at not being able to be upright and hold pants and understand how to pull, but to actually put them on before you leave the house. So you have the skill, you work them into routines, you develop functional life skills. You can be out in society, you can engage the world, and as you do, you're learning about yourself and others, and things like volition, or personal causation, the highest center, the highest point of the triangle. And in that way, you're aspiring to do something with the skills you have and these roles you have developed and you decide that you want to be a choir teacher. Or you have a sense of belonging. You feel the most belonged to a group of people that grow roses growth, the Garden Club. So you find satisfaction and sort of this person causation, you know, destiny over your life, and how you want to live your life, and what ways that bring you pleasure and joy and connectedness with others. RICH: An actualization phase, to realize where you fit into the puzzle. LYNETTE: That's right. Self actualization is a good way to think about the volition outcome of our life that we could not have very well. You can't be in the Rose Garden Club if you can't socialize. And you can't socialize if you if you're not in a routine of dyad and conversation and ping pong of some of the things that we've been taught. And so if you don't have some of those skills, you're not going to evolve in a way that's self actualized. So it's a really good tie in. RICH: And the most recent episode that leads us to the next one is behavior. LYNETTE: And behavior, we know, very freshly from our last podcast is really just a response to a stimulus. So we want to really respect it and not give it any extra weight. A lot of us think behavior is a negative thing, or maladaptive, and certainly, kids with special needs in general or adults with special needs and even autism, can struggle with behavior. Much of the time, because those around them haven't fully asked or answered the question: why? Why is the child acting this way? There's a reason. Remember, there's an antecedent, or a trigger, behind the behavior. And just as important to the trigger is what we do about it in the consequence phase. So this interrelationship of ABC antecedent trigger behavior and consequence. It's a wonderful little trifecta, and they definitely interrelate, but there's a lot that we could do to stop or inhibit or slow behavior, especially if it's maladaptive, by looking at the trigger and stopping the trigger from the being a trigger. RICH: Yeah, what we have really done is taking you through these seven pillars of The S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Approach (sm). And I think as we're thinking about going through all these different pillars, that this is the same for everyone. But the difference between this and TSA [The S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Approach (sm)], is the fact that TSA really helps bring to light how someone can interpret or make sense of their actualization as they go through each phase. LYNETTE: It does. It helps us learn about ourselves, as parents as adults. The S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Approach (sm), it was designed for children with autism because there wasn't an adequate model out there in my professional opinion, so I worked hard to do something about that with a number of wonderful people that also contributed some of the theories and helped me learn about that about them. And so, we do have this sort of gift upon us. And although it's natural and it's seemingly linear, for kids with autism, many of these things aren’t so linear. We have to go out of our way to engineer sense making, or go out of our way to help them quell their sensory sensitivities, or go out of their way to make sure they have information processing and schema developed properly. So, any of these theories apply to everybody, but it is mandatory, in my opinion, or is highly necessary for individuals with autism. RICH: Alright, and we'll be right back with our challenge for this episode right after this. LYNETTE: Well, as for our challenge, we are going to do something very unique. We are going to flip it and give it to Dr. Rich so he can give us this week's challenge. RICH: And I really think that our challenge for this week just given the fact that we're looking at all different pillars, is to challenge ourselves to do some research on how this might help you or help those you know who live with autism by going to dashboard, which is the website that we have our training on, and then you can see the services from Integration Treatment Center, look at all their sister agencies, just to see and look for yourself to see the great things that are possible. You can catch our podcasts out there as well and see all the show notes and resources we have available for you. And just take a moment for yourself to take it all in. Do yourself some justice and take a little personal inventory on where you think you might fit into this puzzle and where you can seek the help of for those who need it. {Music}

RICH: But as we wrap up this episode for this particular successful synthesis session, I just want to say that what really appeals to me about The S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Approach (sm) as a whole is the ability that a parent or professional has to reflect on themselves, and their impact on those individuals that live with autism. You know, in each step of the pillars that you are working through wherever you may be in that process, you have the ability to stop and think about what impact has been made. Where do I fit into this puzzle, and more so, how can I redirect and help the situation in person as they're learning to navigate the world as they see it? And I think that's the beauty of The S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Approach (sm). Is that, it's not just about the person receiving the treatment, it's about their team, and their togetherness and the strength they have when they are together to form the perfect way to help the person make sense of the world around them. What would you say Dr. Lynette? What do you think is a great wrap up for this episode? LYNETTE: I think the wrap up for this episode is to focus on the complexities of our children. They're multifaceted, beautifully unique individuals. And if we strive to honor that individuality, one or more of the seven pillars is going to help bring out the best image child if we're truly individualizing what they need. And the beauty in this model is that there are many methods tied to each of those seven to get to that just-right recipe. So I think if you consider yourself a baker, find those individual ingredients that make your recipe just right, and enjoy the ride. RICH: I would even say, you know, if you're like me and you have trouble making bread, that is where that analogy comes in for me, you know, you've got to find the right use to make the loaf rise. And The S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Approach (sm) does just that, as in terms of human potential, you know. I always think of in terms of education, because that's my background, but to potential growth, you know, the growth potential and a human being and I think that each one of us, despite our differences, really has that potential for growth, and The S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Approach (sm) is just an amazing program to take your individual through to have to realize that. I just want to take this moment to thank Lynette for helping us with this podcast, you know, for doing this podcast because I think it's amazing information to get out to you guys; and I cannot wait to show you the next step in our journey which is to take these pillars and to talk about things that we're experiencing in daily life and talk about it from the lens of The S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Approach (sm) and how you can help your individual with autism. So I really hope that you guys have enjoyed these last couple of episodes where we've talked about, or all the episodes, where we've talked about what The S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Approach (sm) is. Now buckle up for the journey as we talk about how we see life through the lens of The S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Approach (sm). We would love for you to connect with us. Leave us feedback, a story or a question you're thinking about through our Speakpipe page. You can leave us an audio recording and ask away! Who knows, you may even be featured on one of our episodes. You can reach us at and use your phone or computer to leave us a voice recording. We'll put the link in the show notes as well but that's LYNETTE: We hope that you learned something today to help you on your journey with autism. We'll share more on our next connect with success podcast. Until then, expect success. RICH: The S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Approach (sm) is a registered service mark protected under intellectual property law. Unless otherwise specified, all music, audiovisual and proprietary content shared in this podcast is property of AWEtism Productions LLC and its sister agency Integrations Treatment Center. Use of this content is unlawful without the expressed written consent of aforementioned agency. For more information about The S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Approach (sm), Please go to our website at

For more information about The S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Approach (SM), please go to our website at

Want to help your child and your whole family using The SUCCESS

Approach? Check out our online course:

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