Q&A with Jackie Martin-Sebell Autism Mom

” Zachary has several food and environmental allergies, so the epi-pen and allergy medicines go wherever he goes. We also always have some of his ‘safe’ foods. In the case of over-stimulation or stress; the sensory bag comes which includes weighted blankets for the boys, sensory brush, and sensory necklace .”

Q&A with Jackie Martin-Sebell Autism Mom

photo credit Jackie Martin Sebell

My name is Jackie Martin-Sebell. I am a student studying psychology, an independent consultant with Tastefully Simple, a parent mentor, autism advocate, a wife to my husband Michael, and most importantly the mom to three and stepmom to two.
Our kids range from sixteen and seven years old. Our youngest two; Zachary and Michael, have autism as well as many other medical needs.

We try to use every moment possible as a teaching moment; whether it be visiting the local nature center and learning about animals, or using flashcards in the form of a game.
We love to travel and try not to let our individual needs deter or stop us.
 I grew up in a military family who traveled a lot, and as much as possible, I would like to give my kids the same.

Because of my boys’ needs, we always go on outings prepared for anything; whether it’s a day trip two miles away to nana and papa’s house, the local park, or a mini-vacation (which are usually for doctor appointments) twelve hours away.
If I’ve learned anything over the years; it’s that I’d rather take something and not need it, than be somewhere needing it, and not be able to get it.

Zachary has several food and environmental allergies, so the epi-pen and allergy medicines are life-saving necessities and go wherever he goes.To be on the safe side, we also pack some of his special foods since there have been instances that we couldn’t find any foods to suit his restricted diet in local food venues.

For those cases of over-stimulation or stress; we always bring a sensory bag along that includes weighted blankets for the boys, sensory brushes, and even sensory necklaces.
Because our son, Michael gets frequent energy crashes, leg pains, and has recently suffered an ischemic stroke, we always have his heated blanket and stroller, handy for times we will be gone longer than a couple of hours.

One tip we swear by is that we should always have plenty of stuff for the kids to do in the car, depending on the length of the drive (books and pen/paper for the shorter rides and a movie and toys for longer trips.) Although it may seem like a lot to bring; believe me, it is totally worth it.
And if all else fails we can always play the license plate game.
We also try to drive during ‘good times’ which means that if the drive is a long one we’ll drive during the night while the kids are asleep and take a few breaks along the way. 

For the most part, it works out well for everyone, and so far our children still enjoy outings as a family!



  1. Elizabeth S says:

    Good for you not letting your children’s health issues stand in the way of traveling and having fun outings. Good looking children there Jackie!

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