Saturday, February 11, 2012

Mike Frandsen

Autism Light #148 is Coach Mike Frandsen.

Mike Frandsen is a coach. But he presides over a unique team that doesn't measure their success in wins and losses. You see he is not the kind of coach you'd find working in loud arenas and under the bright lights.  Instead he devotes his time to individually coaching people with autism to reach their next goal. Mike Frandsen offers in-home tutoring and therapeutic services in the Bethesda, Maryland and Washington D.C. area geared to improve the skills of children and adults with autism in academics, social skills, sports, and life skills. Coach Mike Frandsen is an Autism Light because of the valuable help he gives to those impacted by autism.

Authentic Happiness: When Autism Light asked Coach Mike what made him want to be an Autism Coach, he said, "I believe children with autism have great potential to learn. Autism is also increasing faster than most other disabilities, so the need is there. I like the unfiltered honesty and authenticity of the kids. I like to answer kids' questions about how the world works, help them learn how to make friends, and develop a sense of humor."

Coach Mike Frandsen speaks affectionately about his work:
How could you not enjoy reading books with children, running play dates, taking kids swimming, sledding or jumping on a trampoline, coaching them in soccer, and using puppets to make them laugh? How could you not like answering their questions about how the world works? How could you not get a tremendous amount of authentic happiness from teaching a child to multiply, divide, and do word problems when at one point he couldn't add two plus two? (Source)
To read more about Coach Mike Frandsen's love for his work read an online article at the

Education: Mike Frandsen earned his MBA from American University and has an MS in Education and Graduate Certificate in Autism and other Pervasive Developmental Disorders from John Hopkins University.

Methodology: While most of our Autism Lights who provide therapy do so either through the principles of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) or through DIR/Floortime, Mike Frandsen uses an eclectic approach. On his website he writes:
I believe a combination of ABA and DIR methods is optimal because ABA provides structure and repetitive learning based on behavioral objectives, while the DIR model focuses on relationships and interests, and teaches skills based on emotional development. Children with autism need a combination and balance of both structure and meaningfulness when they learn (Source).
Advice to Parents: Coach Mike offered this advice to Autism Light for all parents of children with autism:
Find out what your kids are most interested in and build around those things. Don't focus on the past or the future, but take things day by day. Don't set limits, but accept your kids as they are. Build friendships between your kids and their peers, and between yourselves and other parents.
Website: There are several websites for additional information on Coach Mike's life and work. would

Social Media: You can follow Coach Mike's work and life at the following social media areas.
Kidney Transplant: Coach Mike has a Kidney disease and after a long pursuit of a suitable kidney donor, he received a transplant of a kidney on November 1, 2012. He is doing well in his recovery and hopes to return to his work in January, 2013.

Special thanks to Coach Mike Frandsen for being an Autism Light. The autism community is cheering and pulling for you to win your battle with kidney disease. You are awesome!

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

Photo: The photo in this post is used with permission of Mike Frandsen.

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