From Academia to Private Practice to Business Owner with Ali Arena PhD SLP 052

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About Being a Business Owner

Ali Arena is a source of knowledge for anyone navigating neurodiversity, relationships, and the personal challenges that come with Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In this episode, we discuss the challenges and experiences of running a therapy practice. And Ali shares her journey from academia, working at a private practice to being a business owner with her own private practice where she works with neurodiverse adults in whatever capacity they may need.

As a person with ADHD, Ali shares her strategies for tackling time management and executive functioning issues, such as visual scheduling and meal services, which enhance daily productivity. For the entrepreneurially inclined, Ali speaks about the transformative power of delegation and system creation, underscoring the importance of a balanced work-life integration.

From her transition to a private practice to the nitty-gritty of running a business, Ali highlights the importance of genuine passion for the field and the necessity of being prepared for the initial difficulties, such as finding clients and managing various aspects of the business like onboarding and note-taking. Emphasizing the personal growth and self-reflection that come with entrepreneurship.

Our episode doesn’t just share knowledge; it serves as a reminder of the collective journey towards understanding and managing ADHD. Throughout the discussion, there’s an emphasis on knowing one’s strengths, specializing, and embracing opportunities for growth and adaptation in the field of being a business owner.


Transcript Being a Business Owner

Intro 00:01

Welcome to the Rehab Rebels podcast. Are you a rehab professional ready to transition to an alternative career? Hear inspiring stories from others just like you and learn the best ways to bridge your career gap. This podcast has you covered. Now here’s your host, doctor of physical therapy and podcaster, Tanner Welsh. 

Tanner Welsch 00:20

Thank you for taking the time to be on and have me interview you. I know we’ve been trying to do this since I think it was July. What I’ll have you do, like I have everybody do, is just introduce yourself where you went to school and what you’re doing now, and then we’ll lead into how you got there. 

Ali Arena 00:37

Hi, thank you so much for having me. I’m Ali Arena. My background is that I’m a BCBA, an SLP and an educational psychologist, so we can’t tell I really, really like school. But currently I own a private practice where I work with neurodiverse adults in whatever capacity they may need. So that might need that might be support around communication. It might be support with some social skills in the corporate or academic environment and also the relationship skills for couples. So looking at that as well, that’s cool. 

Tanner Welsch 01:16

You’re definitely all about the communication and relationships and all that. I thought that was really unique about your niche. So before we dive into all that, let’s talk about after you graduated from speech path school. What did you do right after that and what was that like for you? 

Ali Arena 01:33

Yeah, so I am currently in LA, but I was living in New Jersey then. That’s where my family’s from. So I went to Seaton Hall for my master’s in speech therapy and then my CF was, and that’s that clinical placement you have to do was actually my last internship and I was at a children’s hospital and it was what I really wanted and I loved it. I did that for about two years. I look back so fondly on that because I just got to see every type of diagnosis and work with multiple teams. But I feel in typical me fashion after about two years I was okay, I want something different and I knew I always wanted to live on the West Coast. It was just a thing that I felt very strongly I needed to do, but I’m also a person that I’m not gonna just take a leap. So I was oh, I also want to get my doctorate. So I only applied to West Coast schools and then that’s what brought me out here. 

Tanner Welsch 02:26

Okay, cool, your doctorate is in psychology, is that right? 

Ali Arena 02:30

Educational psychology and my thesis was about autistic dating and what are the challenges within dating. And what was really cool is so I finished in 2019. So I remember reading all the neurodiverse affirming research and I was, oh wow, we could be talking about this so differently. And then in 2020, the whole movement really burst open. But what was really cool is so I did my thesis from a lens of socially informed lens, so trying to take myself out and really just think about the people I’m working with, and I realized I assumed communication was gonna be the biggest challenge and it wasn’t. A lot of people were more concerned with maintaining boundaries, how to say their needs, what’s even the trajectory of dating. It was a lot different than I had thought, which was really insightful because I could have been thinking I was helping people and not really addressing things that mattered. 

Tanner Welsch 03:25

For sure. Now you got me interested here. What’s this trajectory of dating? Can you explain a little bit about what that means and what that looks like? I’ve never heard of that before. 

Ali Arena 03:36

So I did a few focus groups and what they were really concerned about, which I get, is okay. So how does it work? I just take a person on a date and then I take them on another date. When do I kiss them? When do I have sex? When do I meet their parents? When do I propose? These were the thoughts. So timeline I guess what is a loose timeline and, as we know, dating is different for everyone but just sort of a very loose roadmap of appropriate or inappropriate or too rushed behaviors, because a lot of our neurodivergent people, they’re learning stuff from movies, maybe even from porn, maybe from one sibling, so they’re not always getting a full picture of what dating could look like. 

Tanner Welsch 04:18

Absolutely. I love that explanation and it is complicated. It’s trial by fire almost, because you don’t really know and if you don’t have a very good, I would say, sample size or resource, then you’re limited on what you know and what you have experience to you know. So that’s awesome, that’s really interesting. Okay, so you got your doctorate West Coast, oh, and you did your advisor. 

Ali Arena 04:42

My advisor was at UCLA. One of them and Dr Liz Loggison she is who I was able to run focus groups with. They’re her peers group. So peers is a social skills curriculum, essentially out of UCLA, but it was what was used. She was a I guess a consultant is the right word On love on the spectrum. If you watch the first season in Australia, she’s talking to one of the groups and she actually has created a full peers dating curriculum through some of the stuff that we had noticed right Around boundaries. And also she does this really beautifully and she’s really good at constantly updating it. Communication channels right, so texting, but then in pandemic everyone started doing Zoom, so she just is really good about talking about how to do that. 

Tanner Welsch 05:31

Yeah, I remember you said about the love on the spectrum and I’ve seen it on Netflix. I really enjoyed it. It was pretty awesome. So I think it just goes to show everybody every human being has to go through these experiences or interactions and figure it out. I think they do a great job of presenting it. Okay, what is after your graduation for your PhD? What’s next for you? 

Ali Arena 05:54

So end of 2019, I graduated. I was working for a private practice At the time. My boyfriend and I moved only 20 miles in LA, 20 minutes away, but in LA that’s an hour and a half. I had to leave the private practice I was at. So I thought, january 2020, let’s start a private practice. And we also got engaged in 2020. 


So I was like, okay, this is my year, and then pandemic it. But I will say pandemic in a way, I always wanted to be virtual, so it made it happen. And then, additionally, I think a lot of people during that time started to realize I had certain skills, certain social skills that only work when I’m in the context of either the office or the context of certain things. So I was able to help a lot with social skills. And then, additionally, I knew I had ADHD at 30, but it wasn’t until we were in pandemic that I realized, wait, I’m not commuting, I don’t have my routines. It really hit me. So I also was able to really do a deep dive into what is ADHD really doing, what is it? What is neurodivergence really? And so that’s another part of my private practice I look at a lot. How does it feel to be late identified and figure out how it’s impacting your life. 

Tanner Welsch 07:09

For sure. I want to dive into that deeper with what to look out for or when should you seek services. But before we get into that, let’s talk about what were some things that were going on that made you just decide to go ahead and open up your own business and practice instead of keep working in the health system that we have and all that. 

Ali Arena 07:32

I have done all of the things that you could do within our field. I worked at a school, I worked at a hospital, I did private practice and I also did them all to the highest degree. I know that can sound a little cocky, it’s not meant to. I got to the part where I was supervising and managing people, and I was I don’t. I love it, but I hated my long hours. This doesn’t work. 


What I really like is when a parent once talked to me about their neurodivergent child and I can give them the time that they deserve, as opposed to a 10 minute slot where you got to get out of my room because someone else is coming in for therapy, so it just didn’t feel right. I’ve also learned about myself. I could literally work 13 hour day, see clients all day, and I’d be, I’d be good, but then I need the next day to breathe and chill, and you can’t do that within an environment of nine to five. I’m so burnt out all the time. This system isn’t working for me. And then I’m also a person that I don’t do unbelievably well with making sure my notes are impeccable and all my reports are in perfectly, and so now you know I have the luxury of. I still have people who need insurance and reports, but it’s few and far between. So if I have a report due, I can do that. It’s not feeling overwhelming, as opposed to a whole caseload that has IEPs all in October. 

Tanner Welsch 08:51

For sure. On that note, I really believe that this applies to everybody in the health field and maybe even branches outside of that. But what’s happening is just there’s so much stress and there’s so much you just can’t be present and you don’t have time to necessarily do maybe even the quality of job that you would like to do and or enough time to rest and recharge within this typical nine to five, 40 hour a week schedules, and I believe that it is causing a lot of health problems for our industry and even outside of our industry, and people have really just had enough and this isn’t working. 


You know what are my other options, what else can I do? And they’re really trying to figure out how to bridge that gap and I love you coming on and talking about this journey and some of these struggles that you’re facing, and you went the route of opening up your own practice and it’s time for a change and we all need to get down and talk to each other and communicate and figure out really what’s best for us as individuals, but also support each other with trying to find these alternative solutions to this system. That’s not good for us individually as being employed. It’s not good for the people we’re serving is a failing thing. So I’ll get off my soapbox. Let’s talk about the neurodiverse versus the neurotypical and then we can dive into some of the services and who you’re for and signs to look out for and stuff. 

Ali Arena 10:13

Neurodiverse means anything that is deviating or different than neurotypical, which is supposed to be the standard. Right, really cautious. Different, not worse, not bad. Different within that could encompass autism, ADHD, learning differences, dyspraxia, dyslexia, I think under some umbrellas bipolar is in there. It’s interesting in the UK I think it includes bipolar, but here it doesn’t. Some people even say if you have complex PTSD, that counts as neurodiverse, like anything that makes your brain chemistry a little different. 


Neurotypical is meant to be the standard. It’s supposed to be, that the brain chemistry isn’t affected. I will say though I don’t know very many people that would be I am neuro-typical. There is nothing going on, because we all probably have some degree now of anxiety or depression hanging out at times, and I think all of our attention spans are shot because of so much media. I would venture we’re going to have to get a little bit more stripped on what is neurodiverse and what isn’t and what areas need accommodations and in what areas. Do just everyone need accommodations? I think most people would like if they got agendas before a work meeting. That doesn’t need to be an accommodation, that just feels an inclusive practice. 

Tanner Welsch 11:36

For sure. Going diving into this deeper now makes me realize just how broad and big this topic and scope is, and how much it just applies to everybody. So what are some things we mentioned before about some individuals maybe discovering that they’re neurodiverse or that they have ADHD, but later in life, let’s talk about what are some things to maybe look out for, what are some things that you see and guiding them into, maybe some services or direction for. Okay, this would be a place that you could go, or this is a time, a good time for you to go and seek some additional care services. Let’s talk about all that. 

Ali Arena 12:10

Yeah, so I think with ADHD, what really dawned on me was so I’ve always had anxiety. I don’t think I was labeling and is that though? I just thought I was a very productive person. I just loved being productive, but really I think I was trying to compensate for anxiety and I always was really late on things. But I’m a good in-person. I’m really good at being a therapist in person, so people would not care that I was late on things as much or maybe that’s the lie I told myself. 


But I really started to look at. I had a lot of these higher level skills, but lower level ones, of just time management, being able to keep up with workload. I truly could not figure out how to food shop myself, that executive functioning skill of how much do you buy and what are you going to cook. Anyone with ADHD, I’m sure, is going to relate to that statement. Really, looking at what areas of my life are really challenging for me, that may look easier to other people. I think that was another reason this journey to having my own business happened is this seems so little, but I have a dog and I had a dog when I was working for a private practice, and just even that time management of how do I walk her, get to the office, come back and walk her at lunch. It was genuinely hard for me to figure that out because of some time blindness and I didn’t know what that was. I was just shaming myself, but really it was having challenges with time and time blindness issues. 

Tanner Welsch 13:40

For sure. Thank you so much for opening up and sharing these experiences, because that’s how we’re all going to learn from each other, right? So you shared some, maybe some things that you noticed and some struggles you were having. How did you personally overcome some of these things? What did you realize after getting through it and being able to manage things and manage your time better? How did all that come out? 

Ali Arena 14:02

Well, one was a real acceptance of I don’t have to do it all, I don’t have to have that many clients in one day, right, and then also making it visual. So now I’ve really started to realize for every client you have, they have notes. They might ever report that you might be consulting. I do a lot of consultation with someone like psychiatrist or psychologist, so I really started to look at one person as a three-hour entity as opposed to a one-hour right. So really thinking about my schedule differently. Another thing that’s helped too is learning limitations. During the week my husband and I do hungry route like a meal to service thing. I have no affiliation, I just like them and that’s really helped. And then on the weekend I will cook because I enjoy it, but I just don’t know if I figure it out during the week. And I think a big thing that helped me was not shaming myself. I’m really looking at where am I saying should and can I do it, or do I actually have the capacity to do it? If I don’t, that’s okay. 


I also did during COVID start ADHD medication. That did really help me with just some of that initial starting of projects and everyone has a different journey with that. It did help me. Other people feel differently about that and then, knowing I had ADHD, I love my therapist. I’ve always been in therapy with her, but we shifted how we’re doing therapy a little bit because she had that lens. The more you know about yourself, the more you can change behaviors and start to understand why you’re doing certain things. I could totally say my parents think, oh, that’s Allie, but actually that’s not a good reason, I can’t get it together on certain things. And when I started to look at that, I was able to bring in some strategies like we would do for our clients scaffolding it or making the goal smaller and trying to shape the behavior over time, and exactly what we would do. I just was looking at myself finally and thinking about it. 

Tanner Welsch 16:00

For sure, and it’s always hard to look basically at ourselves from a third person point of view, Right? So a lot of different courses that I’ve taken about starting your own business, entrepreneur stuff they want you to figure out what your superpower is, what you’re really good at, what your special skills are, and when we try to think of that on our own it’s I don’t even know what to put down. So a lot of the exercises that they say is to ask friends, family, trusted individuals what they come to you for. From their point of view, it’s really easy usually to pick out what you’re really good at and what you’re maybe not good at, and I think that’s important to know in part of that journey of self-discovery and really trying to grow. Let’s say that maybe our listeners out there that have experienced some of the things that you’re talking about, where do you recommend that they start if they’re wanting to address some of these issues? Where would you point them to go? What are some resources or when is a good time for them to start seeking some of these things? 

Ali Arena 17:00

Most things like ADHD, autism, I think, some learning differences as well. There are online self-reported tests, right, so you could take those and start to see. There’s a company called Embrace Autism who has some really cool tests that are different from maybe what you might find if you go to a neuropsych. They have one on helping determine how much you’re masking, which is super cool, so I would start to look at that. I actually I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Instagram does have some people out there with at least some nice precursor lists of does this sound like you? My only caveat is make sure it’s not just a person who has their own experience. They’re only talking about their own. See if the person has talked to a bunch of people or it’s a professional, and then the last route would be to go to a neuropsych and get some testing. There’s something called QV Check for ADHD, which could be a really quick, easy way to look at an assessment. It will tell you your basically your working memory capacity and then also for you to think about okay, how much in depth do I need? Am I a person that’s debating if I have a bunch of things? Because then maybe it is worth going to neuropsych because they’ll really be able to give you a full profile. Am I a person who? I really suspect I have this. I just want a professional to validate that I do. 


I don’t think you have to do a full battery because the more testing, the more expensive. I guess is what I’m saying, right. So really figure out what the need is. For a lot of us, if you’re past, let’s say, school and you’re not doing any more academics, you don’t always need the ND PhD to be siding off the diagnosis because it’s not giving you accommodation or medication or whatever. So I did neuropsych testing, but honestly, because I was interested in it and I was with UCLA at the time, so I was able to go in as a student and do the testing. I’ve seen upwards of $12,000 for full batteries of tests. 


I will say, though, if you have like an eight-year-old and I don’t know what’s going on, I do think getting that full battery is really helpful. But by the time you’re in your 20s or 30s, you probably have a pretty good idea of this. Sounds like me. I think this is it. Let me just sort of steer myself down that one path. I remember going home and talking to my husband and being yeah, my therapist thinks I’m ADHD and I accept as my parents. It was a slotting. How many people relate? Do you not know that? We just all assumed this was a part of you that you were fully aware of. So that’s also very valid. 

Tanner Welsch 19:36

People in your library yeah, so if I’m hearing and understanding right, the professional I guess to seek out would be a neuropsychologist. Is that the direction that they should go? 

Ali Arena 19:49

I did the neuropsych testing honestly for fun, but my psychiatrist that ended up working with could have done that in an hour visit with me as well, so you could just go to your. You can go to your psychiatrist, I believe any clinical psychologist. You might just be going to that for therapy, right, they could also diagnose an educational psychologist can, but it’s more, it’s for educational purposes. One of my really good friends, her therapist, is an LMFT who also is ADHD, who is highly understanding, and they were able to just have a really validating conversation of look, if I’m looking at the criteria on the DSM, I can tell you very confidently that you are hitting all these marks. She did self assessments so she now identifies as someone with ADHD. She didn’t need to necessarily go down the path of all sorts of assessments. I think it’s more just making sure you have a conversation with a professional to guide you. 

Tanner Welsch 20:45

For sure, can you define LMFT or what that is exactly? 

Ali Arena 20:50

Oh yeah, a licensed marriage and family therapist. Yeah, there’s a good chance. If you’re going to therapy, you’re probably being seen by an LSCW, the licensed social worker, or a marriage and family therapist. 

Tanner Welsch 21:01

Yeah, Okay, what are some maybe pros and cons of actually getting an official diagnosis of some of this neurodiverse diagnoses? 

Ali Arena 21:12

So one again, I think it’s your dependence on your brain. I tend to find many of my autistic clients. I want to know definitively and I want to understand my neurology better. I want all the fine details type of thing, so whatever is going to satisfy that. And then also, I am not well versed in this enough, but if you do want to do anything with your insurance or with disability insurance or I think even if you wanted accommodations legally through work I think that’s where it’s yes, you do need more of a signed piece of paper saying you know this is what’s happening, just like if you’re taking maternity leave or something, you have to actually show that you’re pregnant. Same thing. There needs to be some valid documentation. 

Tanner Welsch 22:02

Of course, okay. So if you’re running your own therapy practice, who would be a good person to run their own business Traits you know that I think are important to running your own practice. 

Ali Arena 22:15

I think you have to actually really want to. I think a lot of people go into it being well, I just don’t like what I’m doing, or I know it’s. It makes good money. I’m not really sure if that’s really valid, but I think it’s like I’ve heard. So I think you have to actually want to, because it can be challenging in the beginning. I mean, you literally have to find clients. 


The amount of things that I did poorly and I didn’t know. I didn’t have a system for onboarding, I wouldn’t always get everyone’s initial information, I didn’t have a good system for notes. There were just a lot of things that I learned over time. But if you have a strong desire to make it work, because you know it works for your own lifestyle, I think that makes a big difference. I also think there’s this whole thing out here I work for myself or I don’t, and I don’t think that has to be true. A lot of people have their own private practice and then work for a school district three days a week because they want to fill morning hours or whatever. Right, there’s nothing wrong with doing a balance. It doesn’t need to be, you know, fully on your own for you to really be owning a private practice. 


I would also say it took me a long time to even say I had my own business. So, really to feel you’re ready, I used to say stuff oh yeah, I just see clients. In reality, I had an LLC and a full business and I guess I would say this entrepreneurship will bring all of your stuff out. I did not realize how truly disorganized I was, or that I didn’t really have a flow for things until all of everyone else’s materials went away and I had to figure it out on my own right. So be ready for some of your own stuff. And rejection right. I remember the first time I had an intake call with a client and they didn’t want to work with me and I was so hurt, which just sounds so conceited, but it hadn’t happened before, because normally I just work for someone and they put people on my caseload. I never thought about the fact that someone might not want to work with me, which is totally valid and acceptable. But yeah, just to be ready for that. 

Tanner Welsch 24:18

For sure. I completely agree 100%. I’ve heard what you said before repeated by other, actually healthcare business owners and even, I think, in any business that you open and you’re gonna find that you’re gonna learn a lot about yourself, because there’s a lot you got to figure out on your own that isn’t normally down like what you’re talking about and what. Something simple. Just pick one thing. One aspect about owning and operating your business is even hiring people or finding the right person or Letting somebody go to find a better replacement that fits, and you learn a lot about yourself and I think it’s good to keep in mind. 


What kind of business owner do you want to be? What kind of leader do you want to be? What kind of role model do you want to be? I think it’s important to self reflect and it definitely puts you in a position where, if you haven’t figured it out or realize these things, if you go and try to start your own business, you’re gonna, because it’s gonna put you in situations where it’s man, this is uncomfortable, this is new, I haven’t done this before and you got to figure it out man, what do I do? So, on that note, what have you found has been really helpful for you in growing and opening and this own business that’s yours. What has been really helpful for you with getting through some of these challenges of being a business owner? 

Ali Arena 25:38

Go asking for help. I was very much. I’m doing this is my thing, and my husband is an engineer, so he’s actually really good at systems, and I finally let him in, and he was. You are making your life so much harder. Why are you building this way? He was able to come in at least give me some systems. And I also now have a virtual assistant who I mean, I adore. She’s my lifesaver. She’ll literally be the one to text me and say hey, you just got a new client inquiry, because I am truly bad at email. It’s a skill I wish I’ve developed. It’s haven’t, but I’m. She’s my fail safe, right. Okay, look, you got this email. Make sure you call them. That’s really helped me. 


I’ve gotten pretty strict. I don’t put more than five things on my to do list. I mean, I used to be a person that had 100. And so when I was doing that, I was not doing things like calling a client back, and I remember one time I called and the lady was oh, I didn’t hear from you, we went with someone else. Totally fair makes total sense, right. And so it started to hit me. These behaviors will negatively affect my build of clients, right. 


So really keeping my to do list small and then creating systems along the way. For example, a lot of people ask me hey, do you have a list of books for newly diagnosed ADHD women? So I finally was oh wait, I do this all the time. I should make a list. And then this is where my virtual assistant is amazing. I am terrible at graphic design. I give her the list. She put it in canva announces pre PDF handout that I would have never known how to do. The other day I finally made a thing on how to submit a super bill because I was verbally saying it over and over again. And then I was wait, I can just make a video so people understand how to do it. So, really, looking at what was eating up my time and that I was doing over and over and trying to put it into a system, and streamlining that. 

Tanner Welsch 27:26

I love that. Yes, what is your typical day like? And then, what is your actual week? Like you know, are you working five days a week. 

Ali Arena 27:35

A typical day is I am a really big person. I like my mornings, go to walk, I do a workout class, I have my dog and then I typically have my first client tennis. I will work probably from between 10 till 7pm. I’m not seeing clients that whole time. It’s not getting filled with clients, but that’s my hours. I don’t do Fridays. My husband, his company, is off every other Friday, so I like to keep it open so we can do things and also just to catch up on life is Fridays. 


I am a person that will do a weekend. Some people are very strict about that, with it being LA. I do. I’m 90% online, but I do do a little in person. And I this one kid. I adore him, he’s eight, he has ADHD and he wouldn’t be able to do online, so I will see him Saturday mornings in person because there isn’t traffic. 


I think this is another big thing. Know yourself, I’m up early, so I go see this kid at 8am and come back my husband’s not even up yet, my dogs barely out of bed. No one even knows I left. It doesn’t like my weekend in any way. Really just figuring out what works for you the other thing that I’m slowly trying to do and this has been quite an undertaking and I’m sure other people can relate to this and I need to follow other people’s footsteps is my husband and I are trying to get pregnant, which means eventually this practice has to go to someone else, or or I take a break, or so I’m slowly bringing on people to have some clients now to maybe start transitioning. So you know, on Wednesday someone else is actually seeing for my clients, so during that time I’m able to do other office work type things. 

Tanner Welsch 29:13

I love that. So a broad question I ask is what have you realized from this journey you know, graduating speech, pass school to getting where you are today? What have you learned and realized from this that you didn’t know before? 

Ali Arena 29:27

One thing that I think it’s true most therapeutic fields is I came out of grad school being I am a speech therapist. I’m going to work with all these populations and I’m going to do all the things and I was still in such academic yeah, speech therapy. And I think really what I’ve learned is I love being a speech therapist, I love helping people, but it’s not my identity, it’s not my end all be all. I also actually really like what entrepreneurship is, leadership and learning more about business. You know, I’m always looking at different way, different models and not just the one on one right, or could I do groups? Could I do cohort? I’m always thinking differently about that. So I think I’ve really shifted out of I’m just this one identity and I think I’ve started just thinking bigger and really always coming back to I just want to help people. That’s really the goal. Whatever that looks like for my life at the moment, that’s what it is. 

Tanner Welsch 30:23

Absolutely. Do you have any book recommendations? For it can be anything. It can be about business, it can be about you know those individuals that you know maybe got a new diagnosis, or finding out late that they got some of these other neurodiverse things going on. What would you recommend? 

Ali Arena 30:39

So business, I reread essentialism a bunch of times and then the Body Keep Score was probably the most impactful book, just for me personally, looking at trauma and who I am, I think, for just beginning a neurodiverse journey. Neurotribes is an awesome book. It just sort of explains what neurodiversity is. Those are three that I would really recommend. 

Tanner Welsch 31:03

Perfect. Is there anything else that you would like to share with other rehab rebel listeners that maybe they’re? They’re in the field just getting started and not sure where to go, or they’re looking for ways to transition or move outside of their current job within a typical therapy role? 

Ali Arena 31:22

I think, lean into what you’re really good at. Yes, I’m a speech therapist, but I actually hate treating our tick and I’m not that good at it. I just actually got a phone call for an R kiddo and I was you don’t want me. I referred to another person. Really being able to own, that has been super helpful. And also being okay with, yeah, starting to specialize. I used to see a lot more younger kids Younger kids equals owning a lot of toys and you probably can’t do telehealth, and so, again, I think it’s really important to have a good referral source. I never want to leave anyone hanging, but there are plenty of private practices in LA that are going to see a two-year-old and do it really well and that isn’t me right. So, really being okay with what are you good at, what do you like, and lean in on it. 

Tanner Welsch 32:07

For sure, no one. Your strengths and weaknesses absolutely Allie. Thank you so much for taking the time to come on and share your journey and your stories. Thank you so much. 

Ali Arena 32:16

Yeah, thank you for having me. 

Outro 32:18

Thank you for listening to the Rehab Rebels podcast. If this podcast was useful, make sure to hit that subscribe button and leave a review. For more information about transitioning to alternative careers, head to or follow us on Instagram at Rehab Rebels podcast. We’ll see you next time. 

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