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Content warning: Mentions of racism/racist language, suicidal thoughts and auditory hallucinations Peter Zhao grew up in Nanjing China and then in Bayside Queens, New York. Now he lives in Long Island, New York, works in Healthcare, and is a husband and father of two sons. Peter has Tourette Syndrome, ADHD and OCD, and recently got his bipolar diagnosis. He started to advocate for Tourette’s after he fought back against bullies in 7th grade and continues to advocate for Tourette Syndrome awareness and mental health every day. During this episode, you will hear Peter talk about: The different cultural expectations he faced in China and the US regarding his tics and mental health How he finally received his bipolar diagnosis as an adult His experience with managing his tics and mental health, both with and without medication His journey of becoming an advocate for Tourette Syndrome and mental health, starting from 7th grade into adulthood Connect with Peter on social media: IG: @fabulously_tourette TikTok: @fabulouslytourette Twitter: @FabulouslyTour1 Facebook: FabulouslyTourette Watch the video of this interview on YouTube! Subscribe to the FREE Beyond 6 Seconds newsletter for early access to new episodes! Click here for the episode transcript. *Disclaimer: The views, guidance, opinions, and thoughts expressed in Beyond 6 Seconds episodes are solely mine and/or those of my guests, and do not necessarily represent those of my employer or other organizations.*
Nadine Drummond is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker from London with roots in Jamaica. A former producer and reporter at CNN and Al Jazeera, she now develops media and content strategy for 14 African countries in her role at the United Nations. Nadine is also dyspraxic. She struggled growing up pre-diagnosis. When her disability was finally diagnosed in college, she denied and hid her dyspraxia at first, then came to accept it and eventually talk about it publicly in a LinkedIn post that went viral in 2021. Nadine wasn’t supposed to be a journalist. She was supposed to be a lawyer – that was the career path her family picked for her. After realizing she hated law school, though, she broke away from her family’s expectations. She left her home country to build her career in journalism – a profession where she uses her dyspraxic strengths to improve and save the lives of people around the world. On this episode, Nadine shares all of these stories and more. Her experience is a testament to how working in your strengths can empower you to make a difference. (Content warning: Starting around minute 50 of this episode, Nadine talks about gender based violence and sexual assault in Central African Republic. This is the topic of her life-changing film that helped extend the life of The Water Project, which directly protected and improved the lives of the women living in that country.) Learn more about Nadine at the links below: “This Little Girl is me” – Nadine’s viral LinkedIn post Nadine’s Medium blog Nadine's journalism projects Watch the video of this interview on YouTube! Subscribe to the FREE Beyond 6 Seconds newsletter for early access to new episodes! Click here for the episode transcript. *Disclaimer: The views, guidance, opinions, and thoughts expressed in Beyond 6 Seconds episodes are solely mine and/or those of my guests, and do not necessarily represent those of my employer or other organizations.*
This podcast was recorded live at the Intersectional Infinity Summit on 3/30/2022. Ky Kennedy is a mother, lactation consultant, author and autism advocate. After seeing a need for an autistic founded and ran organization, Ky and their sister founded Autistics Unmasked (AU). Now Ky and the rest of the team at AU are well on their way to providing educational resources to schools, employers and family members of autistic people across the nation. During this session, we discuss: Ky’s experiences as an undiagnosed autistic child and their self-diagnosis in adulthood Why Ky and their sister founded AU to support BIPOC and queer autistic people Some of the challenges that autistic BIPOC face in society, and how AU is addressing these challenges through educational curriculums for first responders and schools The exciting work AU is doing now and planning for the future! Learn more about Autistics Unmasked at www.AutisticsUnmasked.org. Learn more about the Intersectional Infinity Summit on Twitter @NINE_On_Can. Watch the video of this interview on YouTube! Subscribe to the FREE Beyond 6 Seconds newsletter for early access to new episodes! Click here for the episode transcript. *Disclaimer: The views, guidance, opinions, and thoughts expressed in Beyond 6 Seconds episodes are solely mine and/or those of my guests, and do not necessarily represent those of my employer or other organizations.*
Noah Seback cannot speak -- however, he has a lot to say. Noah is a nonspeaking autistic young man with apraxia, which has made it impossible for him to communicate reliably for most of his life. Then, at the age of 16, he learned how to use a letterboard to spell out the words he wanted to say -- and his entire world opened up. As Noah described it to me, "it was nirvana!" Since Noah is nonspeaking, he is joined on this episode by his communication regulation partners, David and Nadine Seback (who are also his parents). During this episode, you’ll hear David and Nadine read Noah’s responses – which means you’ll be hearing Noah’s words through David and Nadine’s speaking voices. During this episode, Noah shares: How his life completely changed after learning how to communicate using a letterboard at age 16 The importance of presuming competence of nonspeaking people How he responds to people who don’t believe that letterboard spelling is a valid method of communication How he began to overcome and heal from his trauma Why he started qUirk, his mentoring business, to help nonspeakers – especially those who are labeled “the worst of the worst” What he wants parents of nonspeaking kids to know, and his advice for nonspeakers who are struggling right now Find out more about Noah, his writing and his mentoring business at www.quirkthrives.com. Watch the video of this interview on YouTube! Subscribe to the FREE Beyond 6 Seconds newsletter for early access to new episodes! Click here for the episode transcript. *Disclaimer: The views, guidance, opinions, and thoughts expressed in Beyond 6 Seconds episodes are solely mine and/or those of my guests, and do not necessarily represent those of my employer or other organizations.*
Photographer Joseph Hill is known as the “unofficial mayor” of Southern Pines, North Carolina. He’s currently the exclusive photographer for the Southern Pines Welcome Center, where many of his pictures are available for purchase as postcards. His work has been featured in PineStraw Magazine and on the front page of The Pilot newspaper.  Joseph also has autism, and he's on a mission to spread positivity and encourage other entrepreneurs like himself. (Note: I'm using person-first language like "has autism" for Joseph at his request.) During this episode, you will hear Joseph talk about: What it was like growing up with autism How his parents and family friend have helped him develop his passion and career as a photographer How he finds and captures the beauty of everyday things in his photography The photograph that helped kickstart his photography career His mission to spread positivity and encouragement For more information about Joseph and his photography, you can find him on his official website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Watch the video of this interview on YouTube! Subscribe to the FREE Beyond 6 Seconds newsletter for early access to new episodes! Click here for the episode transcript. *Disclaimer: The views, guidance, opinions, and thoughts expressed in Beyond 6 Seconds episodes are solely mine and/or those of my guests, and do not necessarily represent those of my employer or other organizations.*
Kori Tomelden is a late diagnosed autistic ADHDer, life strategist for autistic and ADHD women & a transformational purpose coach. She lives in Albany, NY where she is raising a neurodivergent family. Her older daughter is non-speaking autistic (and also has ADHD and anxiety) and her youngest daughter is HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) and gifted. Kori brings her own life experiences as an empathic, intuitive autistic woman, mother and entrepreneur to her coaching work and her “Authentically Autistic and ADHD” podcast. During this episode, you will hear Kori talk about: Her multi-year journey to discover she is an autistic ADHDer, which started while she was looking for resources to support her autistic daughter How her special interest in understanding human behavior shaped her chosen career How her first-hand experience with autism and ADHD has influenced her coaching What inspired her to revamp her podcast, and how she’s using it to “unmask” herself Learn more about Kori at her links below: YouTube Podcast Official Website Facebook Twitter Instagram   Watch the video of this interview on YouTube! Subscribe to the FREE Beyond 6 Seconds newsletter for early access to new episodes! Click here for the episode transcript. *Disclaimer: The views, guidance, opinions, and thoughts expressed in Beyond 6 Seconds episodes are solely mine and/or those of my guests, and do not necessarily represent those of my employer or other organizations.*
Why has public discourse about autism been dominated by non-autistic voices? And, what’s been happening recently to change this? My guest Eric Garcia breaks this down in today’s episode! Eric is a journalist based in Washington DC and the senior Washington correspondent for The Independent. He is also the author of the book, “We’re Not Broken: Changing the Autism Conversation” which was published in 2021. During this episode, you will hear Eric talk about: Why non-autistic voices have traditionally dominated the public conversation about autism How government policies have shaped and evolved the public’s perceptions about autism Including a wide variety of autistic people’s experiences in his book – including non-speaking autistic people – as well as his own experiences as an autistic Latino man How writing this book helped him confront some of his own biases – and what he learned about becoming a better ally and learning from criticism Where the public can find accurate information about autism and the autistic community How social media has helped autistic people share their experiences, amplify their voices and effect change (for example, by calling out harmful autistic stereotypes about autism in a recent movie by a certain singer) Buy Eric’s book, “We’re Not Broken: Changing the Autism Conversation” Read Eric’s National Journal article (the precursor to “We’re Not Broken”) Check out Eric’s recommendations for other helpful autism resources: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism Sincerely, Your Autistic Child #ActuallyAutistic on Twitter – hashtag used by autistic content creators (a good place to listen to autistic people, and especially helpful if you’re newly-diagnosed autistic) #AskingAutistics on Twitter – use this hashtag to post questions you want to ask autistic people Watch the video of this interview on YouTube! Subscribe to the FREE Beyond 6 Seconds newsletter for early access to new episodes! Click here for the episode transcript. *Disclaimer: The views, guidance, opinions, and thoughts expressed in Beyond 6 Seconds episodes are solely mine and/or those of my guests, and do not necessarily represent those of my employer or other organizations.*
For World Autism Day, I’ve recorded a solo episode where I explain how my thinking has evolved about the word “autistic” – how I was once scared of it, how I overcame my outdated views and biases associated with it, and why now I consider “autistic” to be a powerful word that I’m proud to claim as part of my identity. I share why I prefer identity-first language over person-first language when describing my autistic self, and why we should let individuals choose how they want to describe themselves. What other topics should I discuss on a solo episode? If you have questions, comments or suggestions, please let me know! Get in touch through my website www.beyond6seconds.net/contact/ or on social media. Watch the video of this interview on YouTube! Subscribe to the FREE Beyond 6 Seconds newsletter for early access to new episodes! Click here for the episode transcript. *Disclaimer: The views, guidance, opinions, and thoughts expressed in Beyond 6 Seconds episodes are solely mine and/or those of my guests, and do not necessarily represent those of my employer or other organizations.*
As a child, Ariel Henley's face was compared to a Picasso painting. This horrifying comment didn’t come from a schoolyard bully. It was written in a magazine article about Ariel and her experience growing up with Crouzon syndrome, a congenital condition that affects the shape of her face. From that day forward, Ariel was determined to tell her story. She transformed that insult into the title of her new memoir, “A Face for Picasso.” Tune into my latest episode to hear Ariel talk about her book, as well as: Her story of growing up with Crouzon syndrome The pain and harassment she faced Finding self-acceptance Her advocacy for face equality and authentic media representation of people with facial differences and other disabilities To find out more about Ariel and her work, visit her website at www.arielhenley.com and order her memoir, “A Face for Picasso.”   Watch the video of this interview on YouTube! Subscribe to the FREE Beyond 6 Seconds newsletter for early access to new episodes! Click here for the episode transcript. This episode also features a promo of the Art Heals All Wounds podcast. *Disclaimer: The views, guidance, opinions, and thoughts expressed in Beyond 6 Seconds episodes are solely mine and/or those of my guests, and do not necessarily represent those of my employer or other organizations.*  
At his first job as a TV host, Seamus Evans disclosed his Tourette Syndrome. That revelation almost ended his dream career. Fortunately Seamus didn’t lose his job. In fact, he spent the next 13 years in his dream career, entertaining his fellow Australians as a TV and radio personality. Now he is an ambassador for Tourette Syndrome Association Australia and a keynote speaker who shares his story to inspire and encourage kids and adults with Tourette’s. In this episode, Seamus talks about his experience growing up with Tourette’s, how he taught himself to transform his tics (both on and off the air), how his sense of humor helps him in social situations, and why he encourages everyone to embrace their flaws – because in Seamus’ words, “normal is boring.” To learn more about Seamus and his work, you can find him at the following links below: SeamusEvans.com Instagram Facebook LinkedIn Watch the video of this interview on YouTube! Subscribe to the FREE Beyond 6 Seconds newsletter for early access to new episodes! Click here for the episode transcript.   *Disclaimer: The views, guidance, opinions, and thoughts expressed in Beyond 6 Seconds episodes are solely mine and/or those of my guests, and do not necessarily represent those of my employer or other organizations.*
For 25 years, Ruth Rathblott hid her limb difference. She doesn't hide it anymore. As she explained in her recent TEDx Talk: when she stopped hiding, she found freedom. Ruth has been a leader in nonprofit organizations for more than 25 years, with 15 years at Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City, and more than eight years as CEO of the Harlem Educational Activities Fund. She currently serves as a Board Member of The Lucky Fin Project. She speaks about inclusion and diversity, the gifts of being unique and the freedom that comes with accepting your differences. During this episode, you will hear Ruth talk about: Her decision to start hiding her limb difference as a teenager, and how it impacted her mental and physical health for decades The people in her life who encouraged her to stop hiding and start sharing her personal experience with disability The chance encounter in a store where she first learned about the wider community of people with limb differences How people have reacted to seeing her limb difference – and how kids react differently than adults Her mission to convince companies to include disability in their definitions of workplace diversity  For more about Ruth and her work, follow her on LinkedIn and check out her website www.ruthrathblott.com. Watch Ruth’s TEDx Talk: When I stopped hiding, I found freedom   Watch the video of this interview on YouTube! Subscribe to the FREE Beyond 6 Seconds newsletter for early access to new episodes! Click here for the episode transcript.   *Disclaimer: The views, guidance, opinions, and thoughts expressed in Beyond 6 Seconds episodes are solely mine and/or those of my guests, and do not represent those of my employer or other organizations.*
Ayanna Davis, also known as phenomenallyautistic on social media, is an autism advocate who was born & raised in Westchester County, New York. Along with being autistic, she has survived over 300 seizures, is living with chronic illnesses and has 3 autoimmune diseases. She is passionate about spreading her messages of self love, joy, equality, diversity, inclusion, and autism awareness & acceptance through the arts. She is also a children’s book illustrator, designer, former choreographer, and lover of all performing arts. During this episode, you will hear Ayanna talk about: How her love of the arts helped her while growing up as a Black girl with undiagnosed autism Her work as a children’s book illustrator and a choreographer The challenges Black women face when trying to get an autism diagnosis Living with chronic illnesses during the pandemic Her goals for her art and advocacy To find out more about her work, you can find Ayanna at @phenomenallyautistic on Instagram and TikTok and check out her coloring book, We Are Magical. Watch the video of this interview on YouTube! Subscribe to the FREE Beyond 6 Seconds newsletter for early access to new episodes! Click here for the episode transcript.   *Disclaimer: The views, guidance, opinions, and thoughts expressed in Beyond 6 Seconds episodes are solely mine and/or those of my guests, and do not represent those of my employer or other organizations.*
Alex Gilbert is a New Yorker, a Mets fan, a yogi, and a brunch enthusiast. She also has dyslexia and ADHD. After spending her career working in leadership development, she started Cape-Able Consulting, a consulting and coaching business that helps adults with learning disabilities and/or ADHD who are struggling in their careers. Her biggest goal in creating Cape-Able Consulting is to change the stigma surrounding learning. During this episode, you will hear Alex talk about: Her experiences with teachers, both positive and negative, during her school years How she uses the concepts of “best principles” and “superpowers” to help her clients succeed in their careers How she learned to advocate for herself at work, and how she helps her clients advocate for themselves at their workplaces What inspired her to start her own business How workplace accommodations for learning disabled employees can help everyone in the workplace If you want to know more about Alex and her work, check out her website at capeableconsulting.com and connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Watch the video of this interview on YouTube! Subscribe to the FREE Beyond 6 Seconds newsletter for early access to new episodes! Click here for the episode transcript.   *Disclaimer: The views, guidance, opinions, and thoughts expressed in Beyond 6 Seconds episodes are solely mine and/or those of my guests, and do not represent those of my employer or other organizations.*
Rosemary Richings is a writer, author, panel member of Dyspraxia Magazine, and co-founder of Dyspraxic Alliance, a global online support network by and for dyspraxics. When she was four years old, she was diagnosed with dyspraxia (developmental coordination disorder). In 2014, Rosemary started her own freelance writing business to reduce the stress of finding an accessible work environment. Her debut book, “Stumbling Through Space and Time: My Life So Far with Dyspraxia” is being published in the fall of 2022. Recently, Rosemary joined the board of trustees of Dyspraxic Me, a peer group for dyspraxic youth. During this episode, you will hear Rosemary talk about: Her dyspraxia diagnosis, and how dyspraxia affected her at school Her struggle to find a supportive working environment where she could truly thrive How she developed her longtime passion for writing into a freelance writing business What had inspired her to write her book about dyspraxia, and how social media connected her to a publisher To find out more about Rosemary and her work, you can find her with the following links below! Rosemary’s Twitter RosemaryRichings.com (Rosemary's consulting website) RosieWritingSpace.com (Rosemary’s writing blog) DyspraxicMe Twitter Dyspraxic Alliance Twitter   Watch the video of this interview on YouTube! Subscribe to the FREE Beyond 6 Seconds newsletter for early access to new episodes! Click here for the episode transcript.   This episode also features a promo for the new season of 2 Lives, a podcast about people who faced darkness and how those incidents changed the trajectory of their lives.    *Disclaimer: The views, guidance, opinions, and thoughts expressed in Beyond 6 Seconds episodes are solely mine and/or those of my guests, and do not represent those of my employer or other organizations.*
Before Kelly Coons was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of thirteen, she had a coming-of-age story that was mostly deemed as neurotypical. However, she always felt isolated and, until her diagnosis, believed that she was to blame. After her diagnosis, Kelly became passionate about disability advocacy and promoting autistic pride. Today she is an autism advocate and a novelist who studied English at Smith College. During this episode, you will hear Kelly talk about: Growing up with two autistic brothers – and how she got her own autism diagnosis How Kelly learned she is autistic – a year after her parents and teachers already knew Her autism advocacy – and why she likes answering people’s questions about autism most of the time Life as an autistic college student The story behind her novel, All Ways, and how it counteracts common literary narratives about autism by centering autistic experiences and voices To find out more about Kelly and her work, check out her website, learn more about her novel "All Ways" and connect with her on Instagram or LinkedIn.   Watch the video of this interview on YouTube! Subscribe to the FREE Beyond 6 Seconds newsletter for early access to new episodes! Click here for the episode transcript.   *Disclaimer: The views, guidance, opinions, and thoughts expressed in Beyond 6 Seconds episodes are solely mine and/or those of my guests, and do not represent those of my employer or other organizations.*
Feeling frustrated and alone, Natalie Brooks started posting on Instagram about her struggles as a dyslexic adult in the workplace. She soon realized that her experiences resonated deeply with dyslexic adults around the world -- and it inspired her to expand her social media following into a global online community! Through her company, Dyslexia in Adults, Natalie has built a supportive and collaborative community where dyslexic adults discuss the challenges and strengths of their dyslexia. During this episode, you will hear Natalie talk about: How a working environment that benefits dyslexic employees can also benefit everyone at work Her own struggles with self-doubt and low self-confidence at work Why she decided to share her struggles on social media, and how that led her to create a supportive online community for dyslexic adults How she handles her imposter syndrome when it comes to talking about her company Her perspectives on common dyslexic strengths For more information about Natalie and her work, visit her website at www.dyslexiainadults.co and follow her on Instagram @dyslexia_in_adults.   Watch the video of this interview on YouTube! Subscribe to the FREE Beyond 6 Seconds newsletter for early access to new episodes! Click here for the episode transcript.   *Disclaimer: The views, guidance, opinions, and thoughts expressed in Beyond 6 Seconds episodes are solely mine and/or those of my guests, and do not represent those of my employer or other organizations.*
2021 has been quite a year for me -- and my experiences this year have given me new clarity on what I want to focus on with this podcast. I'm excited to share these new developments with you! Tune into this episode to hear about the new direction I'll be taking with Beyond 6 Seconds starting in 2022, and the personal news that's driving this change.    Subscribe to the FREE Beyond 6 Seconds newsletter for early access to my latest podcast episodes! *Disclaimer: The views, guidance, opinions, and thoughts expressed in Beyond 6 Seconds episodes are solely mine and/or those of my guests, and do not represent those of my employer or other organizations.*
I recorded this episode with my friend Corinna Bellizzi at the She Podcasts Live conference in October 2021. Corinna hosts the Care More. Be Better. podcast and was a guest on my show a few months ago. In this episode, Corinna interviews me about the why behind Beyond 6 Seconds, including the importance of going beyond the initial 6 seconds of our first impressions. We also discuss our podcasting journeys and how we work to peek behind the veil and get to the truth behind the story in our interview format shows. We also share our key takeaways from She Podcasts Live. This interview originally aired on the Care More. Be Better. podcast and then on the Femcasters podcast.   Subscribe to the FREE Beyond 6 Seconds newsletter for early access to new episodes! Click here for the episode transcript.   *Disclaimer: The views, guidance, opinions, and thoughts expressed in Beyond 6 Seconds episodes are solely mine and/or those of my guests, and do not represent those of my employer or other organizations.*  
Travis Davis remembers the first time he realized the impact of sharing his story -- a simple lunchtime conversation that encouraged him to start talking about his life with cerebral palsy. Since that pivotal conversation, Travis has become a TEDx speaker, podcaster and local disability advocate in New Mexico. He has a bachelor’s degree in English, a master’s degree in Adapted Physical Education, and is ADA Coordinator certified. In this episode, Travis talks about that lunchtime encounter, as well as: When he was a substitute teacher, why he encouraged his students to ask him questions about his disability The chance meeting on an airplane that introduced him to wheelchair basketball Why he started his "Off The Crutch Podcast" about his experiences with cerebral palsy To learn more about Travis and his work, you can find him at the following links: TravisDavis.net Facebook Instagram EqualSteps.org consulting services Off the Crutch Podcast   Watch the video of this interview on YouTube! Subscribe to the FREE Beyond 6 Seconds newsletter for early access to new episodes! Click here for the episode transcript.   *Disclaimer: The views, guidance, opinions, and thoughts expressed in Beyond 6 Seconds episodes are solely mine and/or those of my guests, and do not represent those of my employer or other organizations.*
Margaux Wosk is a non-binary, autistic artist residing in Canada, and the owner of Retrophiliac, their own art business. They are bridging the gap between activism, advocacy and art to bring a message of acceptance to the world. During this episode, you will hear Margaux talk about: What led them to create their art business, Retrophiliac, after many years of being a self-taught artist The story behind the Neurodiversity Pride Infinity Rainbow pin – the first pin design they created How their art has helped amplify their advocacy for disabled small business owners To find out more about Margaux and their work, you can find them on the following links down below: Navigating Life website Retrophiliac Etsy store Retrophiliac on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter Watch the video of this interview on YouTube! Subscribe to the FREE Beyond 6 Seconds newsletter for early access to new episodes! Click here for the episode transcript.   *Disclaimer: The views, guidance, opinions, and thoughts expressed in Beyond 6 Seconds episodes are solely mine and/or those of my guests, and do not represent those of my employer or other organizations.*
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