Concluding Season 3 on a high note Philip will be joined by Angela (AJ) Locashio to explore the impactful contributions of Autistic Professionals supporting their communities. From authors to life coaches and mental health professionals, we’ll celebrate the diverse roles these individuals play. The conversation aims to encourage support for the work of Autistic Professionals fostering a sense of community and collaboration within the Autistic community. --- Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/2daysautistic/support
A Written Document Transcript with a Font for Dyslexics is available.
Tap or Click on the link just below.
Autistic Professionals Supporting the Autistic Community
December 17th, 2023
Welcome everyone to Today’s Autistic Moment: A Podcast for Autistic Adults by an Autistic Adult. My name is Philip King-Lowe. I am the owner, producer, and host; and I am an Autistic Adult. Thank you so very much for listening.
Today’s Autistic Moment is a member of The Autistic Podcasters Network.
Explore, Engage, Empower: Today’s Autistic Moment-The Podcast for Intersectional Autistic Adult Communities
This first segment of Today’s Autistic Moment is sponsored by The Autism Society of Minnesota: Minnesota’s First Autism Resource. For over 50 years The Autism Society of Minnesota has been honored to support Minnesota’s Autism Community. Visit them online at ausm.org.
Thank you for joining me for this episode Autistic Professionals Supporting the Autistic Community. Angela (AJ) Locashio is my guest for this show.
Please visit todaysautisticmoment.com where you can listen to the podcast, get transcripts, program updates, and read the guest bios pages. Please visit the Future Shows Page to read the titles, guests, and descriptions of all shows coming up through mid-February 2024. The transcripts are sponsored by Minnesota Independence College & Community. The transcripts can be read and followed from the website. There is a link provided to get access to a document form of the transcript so that you can print it, so it won’t use up the ink on your printer. The written document has a font that is accessible for dyslexics. While visiting the website, please consider supporting the work of Today’s Autistic Moment with a financial donation or purchase an item from the Logo Shop.
Please follow Today’s Autistic Moment on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Want to chat with me and other listeners? Join Today’s Autistic Moment Community Group on Facebook. Please subscribe to the YouTube channel @todaysautisticmoment to watch any episode of Autistic Voices Roundtable Discussions: Celebrating Intersectional Autistic Lives.
The first episode of Autistic Voices Roundtable Discussions: Celebrating Intersectional Autistic Lives in 2024 will be on Wednesday, February 21st at 2:00pm Central Standard Time. The roundtable discussion topic will be Respect for Autistic Autonomy. Exploring the importance of autonomy for Autistic individuals, our diverse panel will discuss how decisions affecting health, careers, clothing, food, living conditions and social interactions often neglect our preferences. Join us for a meaningful conversation on why respecting Autistic autonomy is crucial, the role neurotypical people should be playing in fostering understanding and support. If you want to be a panelist, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, January 19th. The panel will comprise six Autistic individuals, chosen based on expressed interest, representation from diverse intersectional communities, and availability. Alternates will be chosen in case selected panelists can’t participate on the scheduled date, emphasizing inclusivity in our discussion.
This episode of Today’s Autistic Moment is a celebration of the achievements of Autistic Professionals across different fields, from advocacy to therapy, coaching, crisis management, and public speaking. These individuals challenge stereotypes and contribute significantly to the Neurodivergent communities. The Autistic Professionals that we are validating in this episode are recognizing the differences that the various intersecting communities who make up the diversity of experiences that are represented within the Autistic community. I also want to acknowledge the Autistics out there who are parents, caregivers, receptionists, building cleaners, working the concession stand at movie theaters, dishwashers, or volunteers. You too are Autistic Professionals who are making a difference. Your contribution is so crucial. Lastly, if you are unemployed or underemployed, and you are working hard to figure out what you are going to do with your skills and talents, you too are Autistic Professionals.
After this first commercial break, Angela (AJ) Locashio will be here to help celebrate Autistic Professionals Supporting the Autistic Community.
Commercial Break I
Today’s Autistic Moment can be downloaded and heard on most podcast apps including Apple. Google Play. Breaker. Castbox. Overcast. iHeartRadio. Pocket Casts. RadioPublic. Spotify. TuneIn. Pandora. Amazon Music. Audible. Podcast Addict. Podcast Chaser. If you are looking for the transcripts, go to todaysautisticmoment.com, click on the episode you want to listen to and follow the directions to find the transcripts.
Thank you for listening to Today’s Autistic Moment.
AJ Locashio. Thank you for being on this episode of Today's Autistic Moment. You have been in a couple of by Autistic Voices Roundtable Discussions this past year. And I'm so excited to have you here. So welcome.
Thank you so much, Philip, I am honored to be here. I love all of the work that you do.
Oh, thank you. Appreciate that very much. Well, this is my final show for the year 2023. And I haven't talked about it as much lately, but I have been doing a focus on the Strengths and Achievements of Autistic Adults during 2023. And so, as part of bringing this to an end I want to talk about our Autistic Professionals Serving the Autistic Community. And I think what a great way to end this season. I have so many of my guests who have been on Today's Autistic Moment, who are professionals in one way or another. Life Coaching and podcasters, other podcasters, and that sort of thing. So, let's I want to talk about and celebrate what we're going to talk about today. So, What important information do you think Autistic Adults and our caregivers need to know about when we discuss Autistic Professionals serving the Autistic Community?
Oh my gosh. I think the biggest thing is that when somebody hears Autistic professional, they have this image in their head, or specific words that go along with what it means. And I would say that's fine. Acknowledge that. And then set it to the side and be curious about what other possibilities there are. Because we do not often look like what people consider. I just saw a post this morning from Dr. Jim Hoerricks where he was talking about people so often say, but you don't look Autistic. And this is something that I get all the time is people even though even my diagnostician, the first thing that they said was, you can't be Autistic, because you're so successful, and you are able to have a reciprocal conversation. And my first thoughts are that you don't see me crying before and after going into the grocery store. You don't see or hear the conversations that I'm having with, with my caregivers, about how to support me when I am in a space where I need that support because I can't do something for myself. People have two very separate beliefs that those are two completely different people. And often we're the same person. And it depends on what is happening. It depends on the context of what is happening as to what needs we have or what we “look like.” So, I would say as soon as you hear professional Autistic think about that and remember it's all of it not either or.
Exactly yeah, I like how you phrase that. Um, over these last few seasons that I've hosted Today's Autistic Moment, I have just been blown away, literally, by the incredible talent and abilities and, and work that so many of the Autistic professionals bring to the Autistic community. You know, once I found LinkedIn and I connected with many people, whom have been on Autistic Voices Roundtable Discussions and Today's Autistic Moment, the audio podcast here, I have had authors, life coaches. I have had, you know, people who are doing work with disability inclusion, I have authors, I have so many different people who are once they've discovered that their Autistic and they get to that point where they have accepted themselves. And instead of seeing their challenges as barriers, they found ways to use those challenge to use those strengths that they have to, to build their life into something successful. And this is just so incredible to me, because of what you just said, and how we often classified and yet we have wonderful Autistic individuals, Autistic professionals, who because we have experienced the isolation, the rejection, the stereotypes that are that are so damaging, they want to contribute, because we want other Autistics to know that being Autistic is awesome. Take off on that.
Okay, I there, there are so many amazing people and I, in the work that I do, am so privileged to work with people in such a variety of, of capacities. Working with volunteers who come in, and it happens time and time again, where they are really nervous and anxious and feel like they don't have they don't have the worth or the value because they have experienced that isolation, and the rejection and stereotypes that you're talking about. And they come into this space because somebody said, “Hey, go talk to AJ.” And they within minutes, we're having this conversation of “what do you want to do? What do you love doing”? And they start talking about it and they start opening up. And I say, “Okay, well, how can we do this together?” You know, here's what, here's what you need. And here's what you want. And then here's something that we need. Let's put together a program, or a project that works with that, and really focuses on those things that make you happy, the energy gaining activities that help you feel like you're having meaningful interaction in your community. And every single person has that ability. Regardless of what their needs are, regardless of what their nervous system is telling them on any day, in the right space. We are all awesome. We are all able to do these absolutely amazing, wonderful things. And I have permission from Jessica to share her story. So, I'm gonna share Jessica Johns is the co-founder of Umbrella US. And she the first I would say six months that I was talking to Jessica, she cried every time we talked. And a lot of those tears were that she had never felt included. She had never felt like somebody appreciated her professionality for what it is and appreciated that she was so capable of doing these tasks. Now this is a brilliant woman with a college degree who has a job. She's been working in this job for a long time. So, this is somebody who a lot of people would look and say, Wow, you're really successful professional. And yet she had never been made to feel like she was worthy of the work that she does. And I think that's what's really important to note, as we are celebrating us, is, we can look very put together from people, you know, people looking at us, they say, Wow, you've got this great job, and you're doing this and that, and we can be experiencing that extreme isolation. And, and so and that's, that's somebody who has worked and who has access to meaningful interaction in the community. There are many, many, many professionals, who are amazing, awesome. Human beings who do not have that same access, who experienced double, triple the isolation, that I was just talking about that Jessica's feeling. And I hope that as people listen to this podcast Philip and hear all of the wonderful things that you say, on this podcast, as well as your others, that they understand that we're here. And that many of us deserve access. And if that access were provided, the entire community, Autistic and non-autistic will benefit from that and be become more sustainable.
Yeah. I love that. That's wonderful. I think that the Autistic community, I think one of the things that I've been witnessing, and you've been seeing is that once an Autistic person gets to that point of self-acceptance, even if the rest of the world doesn't, but once we get to that place of self-acceptance, and we find that place where our talents and skills that have been ignored or set aside by, by the "Neuronormative society," as we say. Once we find that niche, where we can collaborate with the Autistic community, that we find supports, and we find people and we make connections, and the amazing work we're able to accomplish, it's incredible. And this is why Autistic professionals who are serving the Autistic community working with the Autistic community is so very important. Because we need that energy from the Autistic community, that, that we appreciate one another's challenges. We know that what sensory overload and what it's like when our sensory needs are not met. And once we find that niche as to how we can serve the Autistic community, the Autistic community will come to us, and we can go to them. And it's absolutely amazing how we connect. I think that's something worth was talking about. If you want if you can go with that.
Oh, yeah, I could talk about this all day. When we look at our needs as human beings, there are several needs, and we will do what we need to do to get those needs met. One of those ways is energy gaining. And one of those ways is energy draining. Yes. And we write we hear a lot of people talking about masking and energy. And one of the things that you also talked about was caregivers and when people hear caregivers, they think about an individual who is working in a capacity to do something for another person that they can't do for themselves. But they think about that in the capacity of somebody getting paid to do that. Or a one single family member who has that responsibility. I would really like to reframe that when we're talking about human needs. Humans need attachment to other humans, to get their community. And one of my absolute favorite people is Amelia Nagasaki, who is another Autistic professional, who was fabulous. She said in a book that she wrote with her sister, Emily, Amelia said, "What you need is a bubble of love around you, people who care about your well-being as much as you care about theirs." That's what a caregiver is the end of, of that quote is what you need is caregivers. So, let's take that away from self-care, and having a prescribed caregiver and say, community care. And that's why when we get into this amazing space of discovering our own usual, usually multiple, neurodivergences, because it's rare that we have discovered that we're Autistic and that we haven't also discovered that there are some other things happening with that, in our brains, you know, whether it's the anxiety that's going along with that it's maybe see PTSD from being in a community that doesn't understand our sexuality. And, and so we've got some, some mental health concerns from that, where we're trying to navigate that. We generally have multiple things happening at once. And when we get into our community, and we realize that we're loved and accepted for who we are, as human beings, we are able to start being vulnerable. We are able to start building resilience. We are able to build interdependent, consensual relationships. And all of those things help us build energy, versus when we're outside of our community, and we're trying to trying to survive in this world that doesn't necessarily understand us. We may experience things like self-harm, hostility, judging and comparing ourselves with other people. Addiction, and those are all also ways to get attachment. But they're energy draining ways to do that. So, when we have that community, we are able to have these behaviors that are more energy gaining. It's not about going to therapy and having a I'm not saying that therapy is bad, because it can be very, very good. But therapy outside of a community that cares is not going to allow us to have the behaviors that therapy is trying to get us to have.
After this next commercial break, AJ and I will talk about how Autistics are creating the professional environments that meet their needs, and the importance of Autistics supporting the Autistic Professionals that are supporting them.
Commercial Break II
Holiday Logo Shop Sale
Give the gift of joy this holiday season with Today’s Autistic Moment! Our 16oz drinking cup and lapel pin, featuring the spirit of inclusion with our empowering logo make the perfect gifts. As a special holiday treat for our podcast listeners, we are offering 10% off the cost of each item. Offer cheers, spread love, warmth and understanding. Order now to make this season truly special!
Happy Holidays from Today’s Autistic Moment.
Well, I just had Sarah Dwan on in November, as we talked about Neuro-Affirming Therapy Options. You know, it was a great episode, by the way. Thank you. Yeah. And Sara spoke about how Neuro-Affirming therapies are going to well not overlooking our, our challenges. It's going to help us to use those challenges to build resilience to, you know, and to, you know, accept Autistic language accept us Autistic play, to accept all those things, and how to see those things as strengths. One of the greatest episodes I did this year was one with Lisa Morgan about Suicide Prevention for Autistic Adults. And I love how she uses the words when she says to help Autistics find their strengths to, work through their crisis situations. You know, Lisa Morgan spoke about how she will sometimes be in a in a workshop where she's trained trying to train crisis professionals about how to help Autistics who are in moments of crisis. And Lisa will ask the question "what are some Autistic strengths?" And the room is quiet. There's nobody there because you, like she says, you know, if someone happens to be rule based or literal thinker, use that as their strength. So, you help them to see that as their strength. And from that strength, they can, you know, again, build their resilience, build confidence and, and see that they have things that they really can accomplish. You know, I, I love how we're serving the Autistic community as Autistic professionals, by changing some of that negativity, to realize that Autistic Adults, once you give them some hope and confidence, and once you give them access to the information they need, which is exactly what Today's Autistic Moment is about. You know, once they find that, and they can find some, some strengths in that, boy, they will really, like I said, they'll take off from that, and they'll, they'll find their way, even though, you know, they're gonna find a lot of obstacles in their courses. But I think it's worth saying that, like I say, once you give them that place where, you know, they no longer see their challenges, like repetitious behaviors and communication stuff, and that sort of thing. Once you help them understand that these are just your ways of being unique. Yep. And this is not a bad thing. It's a good thing. And obviously, professionals, you know, as we work with the Autistic community. Our work helps Autistics to discover their strengths. And instead of letting them be reasons to be self-destructive, we see them to as reasons to build a good life and to build, you know, some, some great possibilities that are that are there for us.
Yeah, I mean, it's so true. You know, me being Autistic, makes me look at my job as an executive director in a very different way. Let me give you an example. Let's say I am in a meeting with somebody who is a mom. This is a strength, being a parent is a strength. And this mom has 15 different things that they have to get done throughout the day. And they also have this meeting with me, and their child is coming home in an hour and a half, and they have not gotten to clean their kitchen. "So, I'm like, I can see that that's upsetting to you. Clean your kitchen while we're talking. I don't need to see you on camera. Go clean your kitchen, we can talk, and you can clean at the same time. And they're like seriously, like, Well, yeah, absolutely. How about, I take notes today, share those notes with you. You can clean while we're having our discussion." That looks very different than what a lot of people would think it looks like to have a meeting with an executive director of a national not for profit organization. But I understand that and there's no judgment there. Right. Right. I've been I posted not very long ago; I was having a meeting. And I had my camera off, and I was scrubbing my toaster oven. Because I was feeling very fidgety that day I needed to move. And doing heavy work, like scrubbing is something that helps me regulate my nervous system. So, I was like, You know what, I asked somebody else to take notes. I turned on I have Otter, which takes notes for me. And I turned that on. And I went in, and we had our meeting, And it was great. And I was able to focus during that meeting. And we were able to get done what we needed to do. Yeah, that's what it means to have Autistic professionals working with other Autistics. They can get on a swing. You know, they can hang upside down. I know Sarah was talking about as they're in therapy, let them hang upside down and have the conversation if that's what they need to do. And I'm saying at any time during their, their day, if that's what they need to do, then do it. Why is play so bad? This is why we love each other in this community. Because we invite play, and we say that's okay. You can play sing dance spin.
Yeah. As I think about everything you've been saying to, I can't help but think about when I first discovered the Autism Society in Minnesota. And I had been on a long journey since I was diagnosed between 2011 to the end of 2017, just feeling so isolated and who am I going to find who understands what I'm living through? And I remember talking to Jillian Nelson, at The Autism Society of Minnesota when she was receptionist there. And when she told me we have a support group for Autistics who are LGBTQ. And we have had all these other possibilities, and that she too, is Autistic. And then when I went into that space, and discovered other Autistics who are in those same boats that I was in, and then to hear their stories, and then to meet Zephyr James who is Autistic, and now so many others who work there, who are Autistic. Once I found that niche, I was like, Yes, I found my community. You know what I mean? And like I say, among my purposes, for starting Today's Autistic Moment is because you and I know that there are so many who are in places where they don't have the supports like they do, like we do. And so, I do what I do, because I do want them to know that they're not alone, in what they're living with. And that there are there are other Autistics out there who can who understand. I do want to spend some time in my third and final question, what steps should Autistic Adults in our supporters take to advocate that we need Autistic professionals who, who work with the Autistic community? And we've really been talking about a lot of these, but I want to go to the conversation. From the point that among the things that is very important, is that the Autistic community supports the Autistic professionals who are supporting the community. We know that we are serving, we are part of a community, and we are we have others in the community who are unemployed, underemployed, on the lower end of the economic equality spectrum or totem pole as we say, but it is so important that Autistics meet and supports Autistic professionals. It's one of those things where only with their support, will we discover will they help us help others find the Autistic communities and receive their, their support and to find each other. So, for example, I do invite Autistics and supporters to support the work of Today's Autistic Moment. And I totally understand that money is a terrible thing to talk about with Autistics. But the thing is, is that the importance of Autistics and caregivers, supporting the Autistic professionals who support the Autistic community is so important. Can you talk a little bit more about that, please?
Yeah, absolutely. When we are looking at the sustainability of our community, we are looking at economic security. Yep. For our community. And as much as we would, we want to get the outside community, the “Neuronormative community” to focus on us. We internally have to do that, to show them the importance of it. We have to show because I'm going to backup for two seconds here, because our normal in this society is not community care. The normal is not outside supporting America would be very different if it were. But it's not unfortunately, as much as we would like to think that it is. It's not. We have a narrative of self-care, that is based on capitalism, that says, if you have the money to pay for massages, and health care, and all of the things to take care of yourself, then you are worthy of that. And if you don't have the money, then you're not worthy and shame on you. It's your fault. Right and, and, and many of us in this community are multiply marginalized. So, we have, you know, you talked about LGBTQ, many of us are queer, many, if not, most of us are gender non-conforming. Many of us are not white. Many of us are not college educated. Many of us are non-speaking. Many of us are disabled. Many of us do not have economic security. 85% of us do not have economic security. And economic security isn't just about money. It's about a feeling of safety, that if something happens to us, we will have supports in place to be okay. And that's why COVMID was so difficult for so many of us because we did not have supports in place to be okay. Right. And so, when we're talking about this, and we're talking about the need to, from the inside, show, that this is important to us that our community is important to us that our security is important to us. It's because unfortunately, we live in a world where we have to show that we love ourselves first, before "we are worthy of love." From the “neuro normative community.” That's a sad fact. But it is
yeah, yes, it is. Yes, it is. You know, and I can say this, Today's Autistic Moment is really reliable on the fantastic sponsors I have, many of whom are Minnesota nonprofits, that are doing incredible work for Autistics in so many various ways. And, and that sort of thing. And that, you know, I'm reliant upon them to help support Today's Autistic Moment to carry to carry the bulk of things through. But without the Autistic community supporting me in the various ways they do. It's difficult for me to, to kind of keep it going. And the thing is, as far as I myself am concerned, you know, if somebody goes to support Autistic, Autistic, starts forgive me. If someone goes to todaysautisticmoment.com and says, Support Today's Autistic Moment, and they give me $1, they've supported me in one way or another, you know. But the fact is, is that I need more people to be willing to do that. And again, I too, for everybody's information. I, you know, I too, am not exactly what capitalism calls the most self-supporting individual. I do rely on public supports, and that sort of thing. But what you're, what we're saying is, is that, you know, we have authors, we have life coaches, we have people like yourself, Carole Jean Whittington, and Michelle Markman and so many of you others who have been part of Today's Autistic Moment, the network, and so on and so forth. who are doing this incredible work. It's really important that we have the supports of Autistic Adults because it is for the Autistic community that we do what we do. And we know that you know, life is very difficult, and we know like I say, the economic insecurity of our communities is not to be overlooked. But that does not mean that you cannot contribute even if it's not money, you can still do a lot to support yourself and the Autistic community. You know. And to your point about what happened during COVID-19. The other thing that occurred that during that time was that a lot of the social support networks that we had built, were gone, just gone. And one of the strengths that I feel Autistic Adults have achieved during the pandemic. as though we were faced with that isolation that was tripled to what it used to be. This is where LinkedIn and some of the other networks that I've connected with, were absolutely incredible. Because I found Autistics on LinkedIn, who are saying, I'm going to build my social support networks, even though my old ones are gone. And that's how I met so many amazing people all across the board, who were building our social support networks, because we need each other. And once I started, Today's Autistic Moment started finding them. Again, my mind was just totally blown away. You know, which means that you know, a lot of us when we're when we're presented with crises and meant we're often presented with them on a daily basis. You know, when we see what our potentials are, and we reach out for one another, once again, it's amazing what we do for each other. Go ahead and talk a little bit more about that if you will.
Yeah, absolutely. You know, it's not just the Autistic community. I talked a few minutes ago about a multiple marginalized groups and one of the things about LinkedIn, and I to have loved the experience of getting on LinkedIn and finding a large community of individuals there. One of the things that I wish I saw more of, is representation outside of the white experience. And, and that's why Umbrella US is, is really focusing on marginalized groups within our community. Because if you are black and Autistic, the chances that you actually had access to diagnosis and have the ability to have that conversation are much lower than they are, if you are white. And the same is true for Asian American Pacific Islanders. The same is true for our Latino community. And that is something that we have to take into consideration as well. And we find many folks in the Autistic community having this conversation of it's not just us, we recognize that that social justice is missing in this world. And many of us are fighting for that. And what that means is we are we have this massive lack of energy. Yeah, to be able to show up in the ways that we want to, for all of the communities that we would like to serve. So, you know, what I like to say is the experience that I have, compared to the experience of the Transgender parent in San Francisco, who is just discovering that they're Autistic because their child just discovered that they were Autistic, and this person also happens to be black. That is a very, very, very different experience than I have. And I don't have the lived experience to speak to that within the community. Yeah. What I do have is the ability to create a safe space for that person to have a platform to safely speak to that.
And that is something that I can do without having a lot of money. Right. And that's what Umbrella US does. That's what it can look like going back to that Autistic professional. That's what it can look like being an Autistic professional, serving Autistic professionals, is recognizing those in our community who do not have access to the services. So, our transgender, queer, black military veterans, right, we it is our responsibility to provide a platform for these folks to gain access to resources. And if we don't have resources to create those resources, from a community lead perspective.
Yeah, yeah, I'm so glad that you were doing that kind of work. I also want to give a call out to the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network that does a lot of work with people of color, BIPOC, and that sort of thing. So, I'm so glad you're doing that.
After this final commercial break, AJ will talk about the important work that Umbrella US is doing. As this is the final show in 2023, there will be no Autistic Community Bulletin Board. This show will finish up with an end of the year dedication to our guests, sponsors, and listeners. I also have some terrific statistical updates on how Today’s Autistic Moment is doing.
Commercial Break III
Season 4 of Today’s Autistic Moment begins on January 7th, 2024. The first episode will be Details & Practices for Autistic Adults to be Employed. Daren Howard the Deputy Director at The Autism Society of Minnesota is also AuSM’s Human Resource Manager. Daren will join me to discuss the employment landscape for Autistic Adults. The conversation will cover effective strategies for job seekers, the push to eliminate subminimum wages, and securing accommodations from employers. The dialogue will extend to promising practices in recruiting and selecting Neurodiverse talent, as well as the rights and responsibilities of Neurodiverse individuals in the workplace.
Eric Ringgenberg the Director of Education Programs at The Autism Society of Minnesota will be my guest on January 21st for the installment Emergency Preparedness Planning for Autistic Adults. Exploring the importance of emergency preparedness for Autistic Adults, Eric will join me to delve into creating personalized plans. The discussion will encompass identifying and planning for emergencies, providing insights into how emergencies can impact the diverse communities within the Autistic culture. The conversation aims to empower Autistic Adults with strategies to understand, prepare for, and navigate emergencies effectively.
Black History Month in February will begin with a discussion with Jen White-Johnson. To Be Pro-Neurodiversity is to be Anti-Racist. Join us for a very insightful discussion with Jen White-Johnson, An ADHD, Black, Boricua Mother of an Autistic son, and Art Activist for Disability Culture & Justice. We’ll explore the intersectionality of Neurodiversity and racial justice, addressing the presence of racism within the movement. Learn how to actively promote inclusivity and equality in advocating for Neurodiversity while acknowledging and addressing the biases in diagnostic criteria. This conversation strives to empower individuals to work together for a more just, inclusive advocacy movement.
Check out the Future Shows page on todaysautisticmoment.com for all shows coming up through Mid-February.
Do you have any topic ideas for future shows of Today’s Autistic Moment? Go to the Contact Us page on todaysautisticmoment.com and submit your topic suggestions. Go to the page for Be My Guest to submit a Guest Intake Form if you would like to be a guest.
Thank you for listening to Today’s Autistic Moment.
As we prepare to finish this out, and would you talk about two things, number one, talk a little bit about what the Umbrella Project is? And also talk about what about the work that you do? As an Autistic professional, what were some of the things that you do, and then go from there?
Okay, so Umbrella US is a 501 C 3 organization that is focused on the economic security of our community, we have the N D 23 project, which has three initiatives, one of those initiatives being the Self-Advocacy Survival Guide, which we are working on, and we'll be sending out a call for proposals soon for people to participate. And that is the community mandate that came through listening sessions, where people said, “This is what we want from you.” So, we said, Okay, this is what we will do. We are doing webinars and live events. So, we have the Work End Podcast, which is specifically talking about work, and what it's like to work as a Neurodivergent person. And looking at marginalized communities, and they're looking at the experience and redefining work as you know, maybe something that you're not doing in an office getting paid to do. But as something that you absolutely love to do, that is providing a service to the community, because that's what makes you happy, and how we can support that as a community. And the third piece that we are doing is our research project, which goes perfectly with what you're talking about today. And it is all about the strengths-based approach. At work, and really defining that so that it's very specific to Autistic and other Neurodivergent individuals to truly be strengths based. Meaning that we're looking at tasks in a different way, like I was talking about earlier. And we're looking at the different intersections that people experience, and how all of that together works to create our strengths. So that is Umbrella US. We do have along with that. That research project, we have a Discord server where we are inviting folks to come in and participate in that so that it truly is a community led project. I highly encourage folks from marginalized backgrounds. We don't want this to be a whole bunch of white people who have jobs. We want this to be everybody within our community representing this. So, we have that that's going on. That's part of that project. The second question that you asked was what do I do for work? I am the Executive Director of Umbrella US and I put most of my time, effort, and energy into that. I am also a board-certified sexologist who works with individuals in our community to help them identify those strengths to help them move from a shame space. A lot of people think they hear sexologist, and they think that what I'm talking about is, is the sex experience, the physical experience of that. 95% of what I do, actually turns out to be communication, identity, consent, rather than focusing on that really small aspect of intimacy that so many people assume that that's what I do. So that is that other side of my professional life.
Yeah. Yeah. I have just found your website, umbrellaus.org Yes. And I will add that to my Adult Autism Resources Links page because I want people to find it and participate. Yeah, yeah, this looks like some great work that you're doing. And what you were just talking about, is the ND 23 Project? Is that what you were just talking about? Okay. Yes. Yeah. So, I'm gonna include that link on my website, todaysautisticmoment.com and then go to the Adult Autism Resources Links page. And you'll find it there. Um, yeah, so um, and just to let my audience know that we are going to be hearing from AJ again, because they just, they just spoke about working on consent and that sort of thing. And I think it would be a great idea to have another show about consent, because it is a matter that affects so many of us in one way or the other. So, I think it's definitely worth having. AJ back. AJ, thank you so much for this time together. Wow, what a great conversation. And I'm so glad we're concluding 2023 with this particular conversation, do you have any last things you want to say to our community, before we conclude?
I just want to say thank you so much for providing a place for me, like yourself, I found something that was always missing. And I found true acceptance within the Autistic community. So, you know, not only for how my brain works, but also for my, my gender, and so many people who understand how those two things go together, how my Autistic brain as well as that other part of myself, which is my gender, my gender expression, and, and how I move through the world. This community understands that, like none other is,
Thank you for letting me play and be playful. And understanding that it's not either or it's both. And I am a professional. And I am someone who likes to play and be silly. And I can be both of those things here. Yeah. And I really appreciate that.
Oh, well, yeah, I'm so happy to provide that for you. And I did say to you, before we started talking today, that I do want us to speak to the matter of gender-affirming because of what's been going on this past year. And I don't want to start anybody's nightmares too early here. But we are on the bridge of another election here. And I feel that we are in for a terrible year with rhetoric regarding Autistic and gender and that sort of thing that's undoubtedly coming through going to going to happen. And so, let's talk a little bit about the importance of Autistics and, and being gender-affirming. You know, I've said this earlier in this year, but a lot of these bills that were passed this year that are prohibiting gender-affirming care for transgender youth is impacting the Autistic community extremely hard. And so, let's talk just briefly about that, if you will.
Yeah. Absolutely. You know, our gender is integral to our identity. And, like I was talking about earlier, acceptance, feeling, loved, and accepted is a huge part of people being able to behave in ways to get their needs met, to behave in ways that are energy gaining, that are safe. And when we prohibit care, when we say this care cannot happen, we force people into a space where they have to get their needs met, to try to find love and acceptance in ways that are harmful, both them and the community. And, and then that becomes almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy. You know, people have a stereotype, and they say this person behaves in this way. And because they are not able to get their needs met in a way that is affirming, then they exhibit behaviors and ways to get their needs met. And this is usually not a conscious thing that happens. But they will get their needs met in ways that again, unhealthy relationships, addiction, self-harm, and they get their needs met in ways that are not within their zone of consent. Because they're not able to do what's in their zone of consent, because bills and things have been passed. Now, that comment is for those who are non-gender conforming, who are exploring their gender and trying to figure that identity. But let's look at it from another aspect. And I want to specifically bring in something that happened in Kansas this year. There was an Autistic man, and his mother were at the library. And he needs he has higher needs. In many aspects of his life, his mother needs to be in the bathroom with him. Security was called because he couldn't go in the women's bathroom with her. And she couldn't go in the men's bathroom with him. Because of legislation that has been passed. So, whether gender is something that you specifically as an Autistic person, experienced differently. This is something that affects every single one of us. Because we never know whether we're going to need support at any specific time. And if I'm out somewhere, and I need my husband to go with me into a bathroom, I need that. And I need to not have to expend energy explaining to a security guard. Why I need support and why he needs to be in that bathroom with me. Right. Yeah, this is why it's important to every single one of us.
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I want to conclude with a statement that I just kind of come up with in my head, being Neuro-affirming, and gender-affirming, go hand in hand, there is no separating the two. I have to say, I really believe that. Yeah. Well, before we finally conclude this, I want to assure my audience that we know that there was a rough year coming ahead. Because like I say, with an election year, right at our doorstep, the rhetoric about these things is only going to get worse as they're trying to achieve being elected to do things that are not good for anybody really. But Today's Autistic Moment is going to be here to ride that time out with you and we will continue to speak out against transphobia and as well as those who are not supporting the needs of Neurodivergent people. We will be here to ride this time out with you, and we will do what we can do within our limits to be sure that we can get through it safely. And to that note I would say that if you are experiencing any kind of difficulty over this upcoming year which we will reach out to the Autistic professionals who are supporting us because we do need, we do need each other Very good. AJ, thank you so much for this time together, and I definitely look forward to having you on in the future. So, thank you for being here today.
Thank you so much.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
End of the Year Dedication
Last January, I published my 50th show. As of this installment, Today’s Autistic Moment has produced 75 shows since January 2021. The theme focus for 2023 has been the Strengths and Achievements of Autistic Adults. Every show has featured Autistic Adults who are demonstrating their tenacity to work towards great achievements for themselves and the wider Autistic community.
I want to say a big thank you to all of my guests in 2023.
Ana Aragon. Tas Kronby. Becca Lory Hector. Dr. Scott Frasard. Precious Lesley. Oluwatobi Odugunwa. Michelle Markman. Carole Jean Whittington. Doug Blecher. David Gray-Hammond. Rose Carriero. Eric Garcia. Dr. Devon Price. Daren Howard. Matthew Lawrence. Robert Schmus. Lisa Morgan. Dr. Nick Walker. Kelly Lenza. Ashlyn Baker. Sarah Dwan. Mitchell Schaps. Angela (AJ) Locashio.
I want to acknowledge the exceptional panelists who have been on Autistic Voices Roundtable Discussions in 2023. Filip Galectic. Grace Ogden-Parker. Kayla Curtiss. Dylan Mathieson-Dodd. Angela (AJ) Locashio. Carole Jean-Whittington. Rose Carriero. Leila Deguzman. Larissa Minner. Matthew Lawrence. Dr. Devon Price. Dr. Scott Frasard. Michelle Markman.
The successes of Today’s Autistic Moment that keeps the podcast producing happens because of the generosity of our sponsors. The Autism Society of Minnesota. Minnesota Independence College & Community. Best Care, LLC. Lisa Morgan Consulting, LLC. Emily Goldberg with the Autism Mentorship Program. Looking Forward Life Coaching. In addition, thank you to those of you who support Today’s Autistic Moment with your financial contributions.
Lastly, but certainly not the least, I want dedicate season 3 to all of my listeners who are Autistic or caregivers, or those who are learning about Autistic Adults and helping us with advocacy in any way. Today’s Autistic Moment has become and will remain a safe space for Autistic Adults and our many intersecting communities to share our thoughts and experiences without our voices being silenced or spoken over.
Today’s Autistic Moment had an additional 46% followers this year, with 13 to 97 fans placing us at the top of the list of podcasts that they listen to. The number one top show that was heard 404% more than our average episode in 2023 was Unmasking Your Authentic Autistic Self with my guest Eric Garcia. 86% of my listeners discovered Today’s Autistic Moment for the first time in 2023. Today’s Autistic Moment was streamed in 24 countries this year. In addition to the United States, Today’s Autistic Moment was played most in Germany, Ireland, and France this year.
There are exciting changes coming in 2024 with the questions rephrased so that the information shared by my guests, and I will be more in depth so that our audience can make your decisions with as much knowledge as you need.
If you would like to sponsor an ad on Today’s Autistic Moment in 2024 or have questions about the podcast, please send an email to email@example.com.
Thank you for listening to Today’s Autistic Moment: A Podcast for Autistic Adults by An Autistic Adult.
May you have an Autistically Amazing Day.