Robert Schmus is one of the coaches that we found this month and we did a little interview with him. He impressed us with his vast experience, publications, and countless public speaking appearances and presentations addressing autism and its struggles. But the greatest part about him is that he dedicates his life in advocating about autism, teaching others with autism how to advocate for themselves and find their inner strengths. Here is what he said.
Meet Life Coach Robert Schmus:
Name: Robert Schmus
Pillar: The Mind
Who is this coach for: Autistic people or anyone who supports them.
How they can help: Through presentations, sharing his own perspective, finding each client’s strengths and helping them utilize it by teaching them the skills they need to advocate for themselves.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these Pandemic times?
Despite the pandemic, we are doing very well and healthy.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your clients? Did it affect you at all?
Many in the autism community had reports of anxiety during the pandemic.
For me, it has affected my self advocacy work. However, I was able to do virtual talks to help with this.
What are the biggest lessons that you learned in this pandemic?
Take one day at a time and don’t be so hard on yourself. Life is too short for that.
Tell us about you, your career, how you started with your coaching career?
As a self advocate, I bring refreshing and insightful perspectives as an autistic person to my presentations, providing helpful information to families, those with autism and other neuro disversities, as well as people who support them.
What was your biggest obstacle that you had to overcome in your life that made you who you are today?
The biggest obstacle had to be when I was younger. I’m my early years of high school, I had great anxiety to the point of needing to be hospitalized.
It was there that I received my full autism diagnosis and where I knew that I wanted to help others in life.
There were also obstacles like being told I wouldn’t be able to live away at school due to being autistic. However, I worked hard both academically and socially while living away at school to prove them wrong.
The Coaching Style:
How do you innovate with coaching your clients?
I help other fellow autistics obtain the skills they need to advocate for themselves.
Such topics that I speak about include behavioral health, relationships, employment, independent living, and transitioning from adolescence into adulthood.
What’s unique about your coaching approach?
What makes my approach unique is that I bring an autistic perspective in my coaching.
Although each autistic is different, I share my experiences to help clients see that anything is possible and that they can overcome obstacles in their way.
What benefits do your clients get after working with you?
I feel that those attending my talks will learn the skills they need to advocate for themselves. Such as advocating to become independent or start a relationship.
Do you use any specific tools to be efficient with your clients?
Along with presentations, I have clients focus on their strengths and use them as tools to reach their goals.
For instance, a client might be good with numbers and wants to do something with that as a career.
I would help that person use that strength as a way to advocate for themselves.
If you had a super megaphone that, when you speak into, the whole world will hear your message, what would you say?
Live your life!
It’s okay to be afraid, but use that nervousness and turn it into courage to go forth and live the life you feel best suits you.
What is the greatest lesson you have learned in your life?
Never feel that there are limitations on the things you feel will make you happy in life.
Your final thoughts?
I want to thank you for this opportunity.
Where Can You Find Robert Schmus?
If you liked this interview and you want help with your autism or someone who is autistic, go to www.schmusstclair.com where you will find how this amazing person can help you.
If you want to connect with him more personally and directly, do that through LinkedIn. When I say amazing I really mean that, his public record and speaking experience shows exactly that. It was an honor having this interview with him.
Here are few of his gigs:
1. Panel Speaker, Autism, Mental Health, and Self Care (Virtual)
Life on The Spectrum
November 16, 2021
Participated on a panel with other self advocates, in which we discussed the importance of self care, shared our own experience utilizing self care, and how it has helped us with maintaining wellness.
2. Co-Presenter, Don’t Disguise Me (Virtual)
Schmus & St. Clair
May 16, 2021
In this presentation, my colleague and I discuss the dangers of masking autism. For instance, masking autism can lead to a great deal of anxiety and depression to the autistic person. We also describe how certain autistic characteristics can be a strength for the autistic individual, such as how stimming can help with managing anxiety.
3. Co-Presenter, A Bit of Self-Advocacy (Virtual)
Schmus & St. Clair
October 3, 2020
For this presentation, my colleague and I discussed the importance of advocacy in the autism community. Such advocacy issues discussed include advocating for employment, housing, education, and social skills. We also discuss the importance of autistics to advocate for themselves.
4. Guest Speaker, 43rd Philadelphia Developmental Disability Conference The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
May 10, 2019
Conducted workshop on the advantages of being on the autism spectrum while helping others on the spectrum in a therapeutic role, as well as its barriers.
5. Panel Speaker, Building Bridges Autism Conference: Best Practices in Autism Across the Lifespan
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
March 1, 2019
Participated on a panel with other self advocates, in which I shared personal and professional experiences while being on the autism spectrum that have positively shaped my life.
Few of his pulications:
1. “Where will Autistic Adults Go?” published in The Daily Pennsylvanian, July 2011
2. “Getting Through My Struggles with Aspie Anxiety” published in The Mighty, October 2017
3. ”Why Do We Mask How We Cope as Autistic People?” published in The Mighty, August 2020
4. ”I’m Autistic and I Don’t Want to Be ‘Fixed’” published in The Mighty, November 2020
5. ”I Will Not Apologize for Being Autistic” published in The Mighty, April 2021
6. ”4 Reasons Why I’m Proud to Be Autistic” published in The Mighty, June 2021
7. ”Come on, Guys: We Need to Talk About Our Emotions and Mental Health” published in The Mighty, June 2021