Welcome to ARP’s 100th episode! Suzanne Firstenberg joins us to celebrate. She is the talented artist behind the In America: Remember exhibition on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. She discusses the healing power of art as a means of positive social change. She also talks about art as a means of communication and expression for those who are neurodiverse or disabled. As she says, empathy is her medium.
Aaron Smith is a young man with autism. Since he was 5 years old, his favorite musical artist has been Elvis Presley. He decided to create a live tribute to Elvis and has made a career impersonating him on stage. He talks about coping with his autism and pursuing one's dream no matter what. He shares his story with us in a fun and inspiring conversation.
Anlor Davin is a person with autism and a long-time zen practitioner, author and mother. She teaches free online meditation classes for the neurodiverse community and its allies. Originally from France, Anlor immigrated to the United States in her 20s. She talks about the many benefits of mediation and the peace and joy it can bring to anyone’s life.
Cheryl Walfall-Flagg is an ABLE National Resource Center Ambassador. Two of her three children are young men with autism. She has learned through experience how important this type of account is for anyone with qualifying disabilities. She talks about the many benefits of opening an ABLE account. Cheryl also shares her own story and how easy it is to open this account for your loved one.
Briseida Ramirez is a faculty member at the Mt. San Antonio IMPACT program for Adults with Disabilities. This free college-level program teaches Independent Living Skills and other Life Building Skills. Although the program is currently not for credit, attendees can transfer to credit courses and work towards a degree. The application process is very easy. The program is offered both in-person and online. Courses include Romantic Relationships, Memory Building Skills, and Lifelong Learning.
Jeff Snyder is a young man with autism. In this episode, he shares his wisdom about growing up neurodiverse. He talks about dealing with challenges in the school environment. Jeff also discusses how important it is for parents to let their kids become as independent as possible. He tells us what it means to him to have a successful life.
Dr. Leonard Abbeduto is the Director of the MIND Institute at UC Davis. He shares their philosophy about putting families first. The Institute has grown over the years to service those with autism and other related conditions, including Fragile X syndrome. He stresses the importance of early diagnosis. Dr. Abbeduto and his team are at the forefront of research and development in their field. They use technology to reach clients in other states and countries. The ground-breaking college program at UC Davis for people with IDD is one of the first of its kind.
Dr. Randi Hagerman and her team at the MIND Institute discovered a version of Fragile X Syndrome (FXTAS) in adults. She discusses the relationship between Fragile X and autism in both adults and children. Fragile X is often misdiagnosed. It can lead to debilitating physical and cognitive symptoms. Dr. Hagerman states that it is very important for someone with autism to get tested. Knowing about Fragile X is essential for the individual as well as their family members. She shares information about different treatments that are available. Dr. Hagerman emphasizes that it is possible to improve the quality of life for those with this and other associated conditions.
Rebecca Beam is the Founder and CEO of Zavikon. She helps those who are disabled or neurodiverse get employment and build careers. Rebecca’s passion opens doors at all levels in both larger and smaller companies. Her clients find work in many employment fields. Rebecca feels that a successful experience is a two-way street. First, it's important to prepare the potential employee for success. Second, it's just as important to educate the employer about the best ways to add neurodiverse and disabled individuals to their inclusion efforts.
Lindsay Recknell returns to ARP to share some inspiring suggestions on how to have those potentially awkward conversations on the subject of mental health. Compassion, awareness, and acceptance are all key to encouraging open communication, and actively creating the space to give our friends and loved ones the opportunity they need to reach out to us during difficult times.