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The Autism Podcast

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The Autism Podcast, delivered by the London Autism Group Charity, is the definitive autism related podcast. The podcast aims to improve our understanding of autism, boost acceptance, reduce autism stigma, and generate impactful, transformative ideas ranging from practical everyday advice to thoughts on policy, practice, and wider socio-cultural challenges.
26 Episodes
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In Season 2, episode 7, Chris, James and Lola Alvarez-Romano (a mental health expert and NHS psychotherapist) talk about the threat to mental health for the entire autism community during the Coronavirus / Covid-19 pandemic.  Clearly, the Coronavirus pandemic represents a public mental health emergency for all of us but in particular for the autism community who are particularly vulnerable. This is mainly due to the situation threatening routines, structures, access to usual external support and services, and access to support from family and the wider community. Therefore, to support the community, the London Autism Group Charity have begun doing is a series of livestreams with interviews of autistic people and advocates around the topic of mental health and wellbeing. These are happening weekly at our public Facebook page (facebook.com/londonautismgroupcharity) with full details about what and when livestreams are taking place listed there (as well as our Twitter: @lagcharity) This podcast episode is the audio from one of these livestreams, in which we talk about how the autism community can support their mental health, self-care and boost resilience. We also took some questions from the audience. We think it was a really useful discussion and therefore decided it was worth uploading as its own standalone podcast episode, so that more people could access it and potentially benefit from the advice and suggestions provided. The video recording is also available from our youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9HnzChJg_9jMaV8NmJuXig) which you can find by going to youtube and searching for London Autism Group Charity. We'll be uploading our other livestreams there also. Please note that the London Autism Group Charity is also looking for volunteers to support us in our work during this difficult period. You don't have to be London or even UK-based, so if you do have time and wish to support us, and are interested in mental health in particular, please get in touch with us via our website (londonautismgroupcharity.org).
In Season 2, episode 6 of The Autism Podcast, Chris and James speak with Callum Brazzo, a well-known autistic performance poet based in Lincolnshire, UK.  We talk about Callum's upbringing and the experiences that led him into poetry and performance, including his struggles with poor mental health and finally get diagnosed in his early 20s. He explains his journey towards coming full circle and becoming a leader in his community through supporting other autistic adults via his Autistic Led support group, his Autistic Lincs newspaper column and more. We also talk about language, social media discourse, his Tedx talks and he also performs two of his poems live for us, Nameless and The Energy Bulb.   Episode Timeline: 0 - 9.05: His schooling and upbringing experiences, experiencing poor mental health, expressing himself through his first songs and poems, publishing his first book, coming through circle through supporting others 9.06 - 16.27: Autistic Led support group, forming a community that he didn't have access to when he was younger, social progress and making impact on the next generation, filling the vacuum of autistic support in Lincolnshire 16.28 - 21.01: His experience of being diagnosed, the overwhelming emotional impact it had upon him, his Tedx talk, performing locally 21.02 - 25.59: Setting up the Autistic Led support group, getting funding, main conversational themes and activities 26.00 - 35.13: The impact that role models have had upon his life, the qualities and values that these role models had which worked for Callum, 35.14 - 39.35: Callum's fascination with words, the way his constructs his poetry 39.36 - 40.47: Performance of Nameless 40.48 - 53.43: learning about language and describing autism identity, autism in the news, looking at socio-cultural context behind people's actions, re-directing people's interests to tap into and realise potential, people are worth fussing about, inspirational porn, the need for a healthy social media discourse 53.44 - 58.26: The Autistic Lincs newspaper column Callum writes for, using the column as another method for giving people a voice, poetry writing as an outlet, Callum's book "Movement: Performance Poetry Written Down", what the The Energy Bulb poem is about 58.27 - 1.00.05: Performance of 'The Energy Bulb' ------- Links Callum's website: http://www.callumbrazzo.com/ His twitter: https://twitter.com/CallumBrazzo Autistic Led support group: http://www.tonic-health.co.uk/AutisticLed.asp (and https://www.facebook.com/groups/287694928530440/) Autistic Lincs column in Spalding Today newspaper: https://www.spaldingtoday.co.uk/news/autistic-lincs-the-challenges-we-face-9098067/ Callum's Tedx talk, 'Why we should make mountains out of molehills': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oq9vcfOMKHM&t= Callum's Tedx talk, '10 YEARS OF TED TALKS – AUTISTICS IN CONVERSATION': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJJ4j50ufFI  
In Season 2, Episode 3 of The Autism Podcast, Chris speaks with Venessa Bobb about the difficulties that various ethnic minority autistic people and their families face including stigma and when accessing support. Venessa is a well-known UK-based autistic campaigner and advocate of autistic people in particular those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities. She is the founder of A2ndvoice, a small voluntary group run by parents and carers of autistic children and adults, and Branch Officer of the National Autistic Society (NAS) Lambeth Autism Group (see also https://www.autism.org.uk/get-involved/volunteer/amazing-volunteers/venessa.aspx). She is a member of the Advisory Group All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism (APPGA), an advisor on the National Autistic Society's Diverse Perspectives report, the author of Network Autism's Supporting BAME autistic people and their families article, and supports the organisations Cassandra Centre and GroomSafe.   You can contact Venessa through her Twitter handle (https://twitter.com/BobbVenessa) and LinkedIn page: https://www.linkedin.com/in/venessabobb/. Timeline: 0 - 2.02: Introduction 2.03 - 9.01: Venessa's experiences of her autistic son when he was young including people's stigmatising and negative reactions across the community, the diagnostic process 9.02 - 15.19: Accessing support after her son's diagnosis and the lack of cultural representation; judgements and stigma towards her parenting, the increase of stigma in the community when her son's diagnosis was revealed, the importance of others accepting the diagnosis, stigma from professionals including judgements from the GP and social services that the underlying issue was parenting skills, the importance of being transparent and communicating with professionals. 15.20 - 21.08: The limitations of the Autism Act 2009 (until the update in 2019) in particular for autistic children, the statutory services not implementing the Act appropriately, lack of representation, the need for the community to come together to support each-other and to hear stories from the BAME autistic community, the need for BAME autistic representation 21.09 - 24.17: The Black community reacting to incidents but not coming together in unity and finding solutions through appropriate representation from the community, the Cassandra Centre, the importance of looking at family dynamics and looking beyond just autism per se to understand the whole picture, the importance of the different communities supporting each-other 24.18 - 27.46: How social services can improve the way they are delivering their support to families, lack of joined up thinking across professionals, the importance of cultural competence, trusting services 27.47 - 30.15: The role of the religious community in supporting autistic people and their families, what led Venessa to set up A2ndVoice and the work the organisation focuses upon, her other roles including the NAS Lambeth Autism Support Group 30.16 - 38.29: How we can reduce autism stigma and discrimination across different communities 38.30 - 40.19: Autistic people in the criminal justice system 40.20 - 51.12 Advice to new carers and parents of recently diagnosed autistic children who are experiencing/vulnerable to stigma
In Season 2, Episode 16 of The Autism Podcast, James Gordon and Tigger Pritchard (our special guest podcast interviewer!) interview Kirsty Pellow, who is herself neurodivergent, a carer to two boys with different needs, a SEND support worker and advocate. We hear from Kirsty Pellow, and follow the steps of her own personal experiences learning about autism. She tells us about her journey as a carer, and how she learnt to trust her own instincts as a parent over the dismissal and denial of others. Searching for knowledge to help her son, this led to her pushing to get her son a referral for autism diagnosis, based upon the fascinating differences that he displayed and his various care needs. Kirsty also describes her battles with the Local Authority to have her son’s educational needs met, her hard won successes, and the resulting high cost to her mental health. Kirsty explains her decision to Home Educate her son for a time, in order to address his co-occurring needs, and the way this better prepared him for school education in the long run. Also discussed is the sense of duty she felt to support other parents in winning SEND provision for their autistic children, and taking on an official role as a support worker. Finally Kirsty reflects upon learning about her own neurodivergence, the value of self-love and self-care.   Links Kirsty's twitter: https://twitter.com/kirstypellow87 London Autism Group Charity website: londonautismgroupcharity.orgFacebook page: facebook.com/londonautismgroupcharityLondon Autism Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/272747662886046/Twitter: https://twitter.com/lagcharityInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/lagcharity Please like, follow and subscribe to our social media channels to support us! It makes a big difference to our charity. Please also leave us a review (hopefully positive ;) ) on Apple Podcasts - this is a huge help for us. And please consider donating to the London Autism Group Charity if you are enjoying this podcast that we produce and able to (simply go to facebook.com/londonautismgroupcharity and click on the blue donate button - thank you!) The Autism Podcast is produced by the London Autism Group Charity. It is hosted by Dr Chris Papadopoulos and Mr James Gordon. All Rights Reserved.
In this episode, Chris and James speak with American TV, film and stage actress and producer Julie Caitlin Brown. Julie, who is also a musician and coach, is very well known for her role as Na'Toth in the first and fifth season of the science fiction television series Babylon 5, and for various guest star appearances in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.  She has also worked on many other shows including Becker, JAG, Raven, Sliders, and Beverly Hills 90201, among others.  We speak with Julie about her own experiences of autism, adversity, why hopeful sci-fi often resonates with autistic and neurodivergent people, the stigma of autism and difference more broadly, and the importance of inclusion, self-acceptance and compassion to oneself and others.   Links Julie's website: https://juliecaitlinbrown.com/about-julie/ Julie's instagram: https://www.instagram.com/juliecaitlinbrown/ Julie's facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JulieCaitlinBrown Julie's twitter: https://twitter.com/JulieCaitlinB   Other links: London Autism Group Charity website: londonautismgroupcharity.orgFacebook page: facebook.com/londonautismgroupcharityLondon Autism Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/272747662886046/Twitter: https://twitter.com/lagcharityInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/lagcharity Please like, follow and subscribe to our social media channels to support us! It makes a big difference to our charity. Please also leave us a review (hopefully positive ;) ) on Apple Podcasts - this is a huge help for us. And please consider donating to the London Autism Group Charity if you are enjoying this podcast that we produce and able to (simply go to facebook.com/londonautismgroupcharity and click on the blue donate button - thank you!) The Autism Podcast is produced by the London Autism Group Charity. It is hosted by Dr Chris Papadopoulos and Mr James Gordon. All Rights Reserved.
Chris and James interview Cameron Straughan, an autistic Canadian author, photographer, film-maker and teacher.  Cameron, who resided in many years in the UK, talks through his autism journey including his youth and diagnosis later in later, experiences and views regarding the challenges of employment, and discuss some of the main challenges and discrimination issues faced by the autistic population and what needs to change for progress to occur. He also talks through his love of surreal and absurd comedy and humour, how he uses humour as a key coping mechanism for his own wellbeing, the offensive misconception of autistic people not understanding humour, his latest novel, 'The Surreal Adventures of Anthony Zen', and much more!   Links: Website: https://cameronstraughan.com/Goodreads.com: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8417641.Cameron_A_StraughanAmazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cameron-Straughan/e/B00E5YA688/London Autism Group Charity website: londonautismgroupcharity.orgFacebook page: facebook.com/londonautismgroupcharityLondon Autism Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/272747662886046/Twitter: https://twitter.com/lagcharityInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/lagcharity Please like, follow and subscribe to our social media channels to support us!  Please also leave us a review (hopefully positive ;) ) on Apple Podcasts - this is a huge help for us. And please consider donating to the London Autism Group Charity if you are enjoying this podcast that we produce and able to (simply go to facebook.com/londonautismgroupcharity and click on the blue donate button - thank you!) The Autism Podcast is produced by the London Autism Group Charity. It is hosted by Dr Chris Papadopoulos and Mr James Gordon. All Rights Reserved.
In Season 2, Episode 13 of The Autism Podcast, Chris and James interview the two founders of Mainspring Arts, Katya Balen and Miranda Prag! Mainspring Arts is an innovative organisation that works across artistic disciplines and have over the years since it was founded in 2015 supported and provided many opportunities to many neurodivergent people (some of whom you will be hearing directly from in upcoming episodes!). They do this by facilitating workshops to develop participants' skills, providing mentoring by industry leaders, and producing publications, performances and showcases. They aim to promote our participants' work to all audiences, with the ultimate aim of mainstream representation of neurodivergence in the arts. They strongly believe that neurodivergent people should have the opportunity to represent their own voices and experiences. During the episode, Katya and Miranda explain what led to the organisation being founded, the misconceptions and lack of representation that they wanted to help push back on, the work that the organisation has done to date, future plans and more!   Links: Website: http://www.mainspringarts.org.uk/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/mainspring_arts Instagram: https://www.facebook.com/mainspringarts   London Autism Group Charity website: londonautismgroupcharity.org Facebook page: facebook.com/londonautismgroupcharity London Autism Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/272747662886046/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/lagcharity Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lagcharity   Please like, follow and subscribe to our social media channels to support us!  Please also leave us a review (hopefully positive ;) ) on Apple Podcasts - this is a huge help for us.   And please consider donating to the London Autism Group Charity if you are enjoying this podcast that we produce and able to (simply go to facebook.com/londonautismgroupcharity and click on the blue donate button - thank you!)   The Autism Podcast is produced by the London Autism Group Charity. It is hosted by Dr Chris Papadopoulos and Mr James Gordon. All Rights Reserved.
In Season 2, Episode 12 of The Autism Podcast, Chris and James interview Abby Brooke, an autistic advocate based in Kenya and lead of the 'Walking Autism' initiative. During the episode, we hear all about Abby's fascinating journey towards diagnosis and self-acceptance, the aims and importance of her Walking Autism initiative, and some of the key issues and challenges facing the autistic and wider autism community in Kenya, including particular stigma issues and challenges accessing support. If you are enjoying our podcast and have found it useful to you, please consider leaving us a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever else you get your podcasts as they really help us a lot in expanding our audience. Links: Abby's Walking Autism website: www.walkingautism.co.ke Abby's Walking Autism Facebook page Abby's Walking Autism page on Instagram   To sponsor Abby please visit: https://gogetfunding.com/sponser-a-kilometre-summit-to-sea-a-2000kms-walk-in-kenya-for-autism/   London Autism Group Charity website: londonautismgroupcharity.org Facebook page: facebook.com/londonautismgroupcharity London Autism Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/272747662886046/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/lagcharity Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lagcharity
In Episode 11 of Season 2, Chris and James interview sensory specialists Jo Grace and Becky Lyddon (founders of the Sensory Projects and Sensory Spectacle respectively), as part of another recent livestream episode that the London Autism Group Charity have been running to support the wellbeing of the autistic and wider autism community during the Coronavirus / Covid-19 pandemic. During the livestream Jo and Becky answered many audience questions which led to an in-depth and fascinating discussion around the sensory world, in particular however on the differences between sensory impairment and sensory difficulties, the connection between toileting issues and sensory processing, including the role of interoception, the connection between eating and sensory processing, and advice on how to cope with sensory issues and boost wellbeing during Covid-19. To watch the full video of this interview, and also all of our other Livestream interviews, please visit Facebook.com/londonautismgroupcharity/videosIf you are enjoying our podcast and have it useful to you, please consider leaving us a review on Apple Podcasts or whereever else you get your podcasts as they really help us a lot in expanding our audience.Links: Jo Grace's Sensory Projects website: http://www.thesensoryprojects.co.uk/ Jo's Twitter:https://twitter.com/jo3grace Becky Lyddon's Sensory Spectacle website: https://www.sensoryspectacle.co.uk/ Becky's Twitter: https://twitter.com/beckylyddon Sensory Spectacle Twitter: https://twitter.com/SensorySp Sensory Spectacle Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sensoryspectacle/ London Autism Group Charity website: londonautismgroupcharity.org Facebook page: facebook.com/londonautismgroupcharity London Autism Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/272747662886046/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/lagcharity Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lagcharity
In Season 2, episode 10, Chris and James interview Joan Pons Laplana, an autistic nurse in the NHS leading a major new initiative called 'Neurodiverse Nurses' which aims to promote the inclusion and acceptance of neurodiverse nurses in the NHS. In this episode, we speak to Joan, about the initiative and its importance, particularly in relation to leveraging the abilities and strengths of such nurses, his own personal experiences of autism, his struggles with mental health, and his work on the front line in fighting Covid-19. Joan, who was named Britain's nurse of the year by the British Journal of Nursing is a true autistic hero, and I'm sure you'll enjoy listening to him. -----  Links: Neurodiverse Nurses Twitter: https://twitter.com/ndnursesuk Neurodiverse Nurses website: ndnursesuk.org Joan's Twitter: https://twitter.com/RoaringNurse More information about the initative: https://www.nursingtimes.net/news/workforce/bid-to-launch-new-support-network-for-neurodiverse-nurses-09-03-2020/ London Autism Group Charity website: londonautismgroupcharity.org London Autism Group Charity public Facebook page: facebook.com/londonautismgroupcharity London Autism Group Charity twitter: twitter.com/lagcharity  
In Season 2, episode 9, Chris and James interview Tigger Pritchard, an expert in Pathological Demand Avoidance, as part of another recent livestream episode that the London Autism Group Charity have been running to support the mental health of the autistic and wider autism community during the Coronavirus / Covid-19 pandemic.  In this episode, we talk about the work Tigger has been involved with, what PDA means, the importance of understanding what demands are and how avoidance of demands is frequently entirely rationale, reasonable and sensory-based, methods to reduce demands, and how to manage demand reduction and management during Covid-19, and more. To access and participate in future livestream episodes, in which we talk with experts about mental health and coping during covid-19 among the autistic and wider autism community, please visit our public facebook page which is www.facebook.com/londonautismgroupcharity. There you will also find the video recordings of past episodes which you can also access at our youtube channel. ----- Tigger is an Autism & Pathological Demand Avoidance Consultant & trainer at Tiggertraining. He is a champion for the National Autistic Society in Cornwall has been running a vital campaign to engage with local businesses and thereby increase the Autism friendly services in Bodmin Cornwall. https://www.linkedin.com/in/tigger-pr... He also created and runs the Autism Coffee Shop Facebook page for interested people to learn and share information, articles on Autism, PDA and related areas. https://www.facebook.com/Autisminfoma... With over 30 years experience, he is a leading expert in the co-occurring condition Pathological Demand Avoidance and has also worked closely with the PDA Society. ----- Links: Charity website: londonautismgroupcharity.org Facebook page: facebook.com/londonautismgroupcharity London Autism Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/27274... Twitter: https://twitter.com/lagcharity Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lagcharity
In Season 2, episode 8, Chris and James interview autistic advocate Kieran Rose about the threat to mental health for the autistic and wider autism community during the Coronavirus / Covid-19 pandemic.  To support the community, the London Autism Group Charity have begun doing a series of livestreams with interviews of autistic people and advocates around the topic of mental health and wellbeing. These are happening weekly at our public Facebook page (facebook.com/londonautismgroupcharity) with full details about what and when livestreams are taking place listed there (as well as our Twitter: @lagcharity) This podcast episode is the audio from one of these livestreams. We talk about some of the main challenges the community will be experiencing during Covid-19, about how to cope and reduce anxiety, the intersections between these challenges and the wider socio-cultural stigmatising narratives about autism, and the importance of recognising the opportunities for social and cultural learning and change that the current social circumstances provide. We also answered a range of interesting questions from the audience.  We think it was a really useful discussion and worth uploading as its own standalone podcast episode, so that more people could access it and potentially benefit from the advice and suggestions provided. The video recording is also available from our youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69IQ4QZ5uj4) which you can find by going to youtube and searching for London Autism Group Charity. We'll be uploading our other livestreams there also. Please note that the London Autism Group Charity is also looking for volunteers to support us in our work during this difficult period. You don't have to be London or even UK-based, so if you do have time and wish to support us, and are interested in mental health in particular, please get in touch with us via our website (londonautismgroupcharity.org). Thank you. ----------- Kieran Rose is a writer, international Public Speaker and former educationalist whose blog: www.theautisticadvocate.com has been read by over one million people.Kieran delivers his own specialist Autism training and consults for multiple different organisations. He is also Founder and Chair of The Autistic Cooperative, an International network and lobbying group for Autistic Professionals; and is Managing Director of the Social enterprise Infinite Autism, which supports Autistic people and families through funded partnership working.Kieran has recently become an executive board member of SLP Neurodiversity Collective, a US-based non-profit internation network and lobbying organisation of Neurodiverse positive SLTs and OTs.He was diagnosed Autistic in 2003 and is married with three children; two of whom are diagnosed Autistic.
  In Season 2, episode 5 of The Autism Podcast, Chris and James speak with Christa Holmans, also known as Neurodivergent Rebel, about all things neurodiversity. In particular, we talk about her own journey into late autism diagnosis, how her mental health interplayed with her journey and the stigma of mental health, what neurodiversity means, why it is so important and the stigma associated with it, how to promote neurodiversity in the workplace and the importance of this, and much more. Christa is a very well known autistic self-advocate from Texas in the United States and runs the internationally recognized neurodiversity lifestyle blog 'Neurodivergent Rebel' in 2016 as a way to introduce people unfamiliar with the concept of neurodiversity to this new way of seeing neurological difference. Today, she runs a very popular YouTube channel which explores the ideology of neurodiversity and the creative expressions of autistic people. She also actively discusses autism and neurodiversity on her Instagram and Twitter channels She also manages Neurodivergent Consulting, a consulting agency that works with businesses “to create new policies that work to attract and increase tenure of current and future neurodivergent employees”. Holmans is also known as the pioneer of the #askingautistics hashtag, which is most often accompanied by a short question about common autistic experiences such as self-stimulation, burnout, special interests, alternative communication, and accommodations needed for accessibility.  Episode timeline: 0 - 7.30 - Christa's autism journey and her late diagnosis, coping mechanisms and working towards correcting the misinformation and misconceptions associated with autism7.31 - 11.15 - the importance of a positive and non-stigmatising diagnostic process11.16 - 17.47 - what led to the diagnosis, the role of yoga17.48 - 22.43 - what helps drive Christa's advocacy of neurodiversity and other work on social media, her personal journey into advocacy post-diagnosis, keeping on top of and engaging in social media discourse22.44 - 27.15 - where she got the name 'neurodivergent rebel', what it means to her and how it reflects her rejection of pathologising autism, the meaning of neurodiversity and the importance of empowering it27.16 - 33.00 - the stigma of neurodiversity and autism, and the significant potential negative impact associated with this33.01 - 33.55 - America being behind the UK and parts of Europe in terms of understanding and valuing neurodiversity33.56 - 39.31 - how to improve the diagnostic process, US vs UK diagnostic service differences, misdiagnosis or incorrect diagnosis39.32 - 44:55 - the relationship between Christa's mental health and her late diagnosis, what in her life negatively impacted on her mental health (anxiety in particular), the stigma of mental health and the importance of destigmatising it, 'Texas Tough' and the expectation of being tough in Texas which can stem conversations about mental health 44.56 - 1.01.35 - how to promote neurodiversity in particular in the workplace, employment stigma and discrimination, how to make workplaces more neurodiversity friendly and the importance of this on productivity and mental health1.01.36 - final thoughts and how to get in touch with Christa Links: Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/neurodivergentrebel/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/NeuroRebel YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdaQVw-dxYuZb2GXHL7LSjA Main website: http://neurodivergentrebel.com Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/NeurodivergentRebel Christa's neurodiversity consultancy company: https://neurodivergentconsulting.org/ And also: http://AustinAllianceGroup.com
In Season 2, Episode 4 of The Autism Podcast, Chris and James speak with Lola Alvarez-Romano, an experienced child and adolescent psychotherapist who works to support the mental health of families in a special school based in North London. Lola talks about some of the key mental health issues she has observed during her time supporting families with a child with additional needs, the importance of the therapeutic journey and power of acceptance, the importance of supporting the mental health (particularly in school settings), how she protects her own well-being against emotional burnout, and much more. Timeline: 0 - 13.09: Lola's background, training and how she ended up working in a special school supporting the mental health of families of children attending the school13.10: The aim of the current school service she provides, main themes of issues that she encounters, the role of culture and stigma, isolation and social networks, the challenges and also positives of parenting a child with additional needs, the potential trauma of diagnosis26.10: The 'why me?' feeling and the importance of the process and journey, how parental feelings could impact upon the child, the crucial importance of acceptance29.02: Changing the social narrative towards embracing and accepting disability and diversity 32.35: James' experience of Lola's school-based support, parents being stuck in a negative loop and breaking this loop, the pressure on marriages, father mental health 40.18: The potential negative impact of professionals focusing on mothers over fathers, the importance of father involvement and parental unity43.38: How Lola protects herself from burnout and boosts her own resilience in the face of often difficult, challenging and emotive conversations. Also her responsibility for safeguarding above all else. 50.56: Lola's belief that mental health services in schools, particularly special schools, should be available more widely and that commissioners & headteachers should try to prioritise services like this if resources allow more than they currently do. 57.30: The importance of thinking about the whole family including siblings whose mental health can also become vulnerable. How to contact Lola Find out more about the work Lola does and how to contact her from the following links: Association of child psychotherapists (https://childpsychotherapy.org.uk/member_details/4118) https://uk.linkedin.com/in/lola-%C3%A1lvarez-romano-583bba6ahttps://senmagazine.co.uk/home/articles/senarticles-2/the-unforeseen-journey
In Season 2, Episode 2 of The Autism Podcast, Chris and James speak with Rachel Aanstad, an older autistic adult based in the United States who runs the Actually Autistic Podcast. Rachel talks about her personal experiences with diagnosis, the impact autism stigma and the allistic social world has had on her, the complexities in generating reliable research evidence about older autistic adults, social conformity, and the benefits of early diagnosis and self-acceptance. She also talks about what led to her developing her podcast, the podcast's main long-term goals, and ends with providing advice for older adults who are also discovering that they may be autistic. Timeline: 0 - 1.58: Introduction1.59 - 5.28: Rachel's own experience with the self-realisation that she may autistic5.29 - 9.36: Autism stigma impacting on conversations about self-exploration9.37 - 22.16: The mortality gap with older autistic adults, some of the risk factors associated with this (e.g. discrimination, poverty, social exclusion, loneliness), the need for more research evidence in particular reliable statistics and some of the challenges associated with researching this22.17 - 33.26: Differences in outcomes exist, how the sensory world impacts upon wellbeing, the need and preference for aloneness, and Rachel's hyperphantasia33.27 - 37.59: Social conformity, the pressure to comply, bullying, cultural differences towards the need to comply38.00 - 42.18: The benefits of early diagnosis, self-diagnosis and self-acceptance for older autistic adults42.19 - 50.47: What led to her podcast, what the podcast is about and the hope for long-term impact50.48 - 54.37: Advice for older autistic people who are currently on the journey of self-exploration
In Season 2, Episode 1 of The Autism Podcast, Chris and James speak with Joseph Redford, an autistic adult, campaigner, advocate involved in a range of autistic-led organisations. He talks about his personal experiences and challenges during school and education, finding a sense of belonging and identity with the autism community, and all of the various work he undertakes with the autistic-led organisations he is involved with. He also opens up about his mental health including what has helped and also challenged his mental health, organising autistic pride events, and more! Timeline: 0 - 3:28 - Introduction3:29 - 15:55 - Joseph's experiences at school including social rejection and bullying, the importance of exploring one's identity and the role school could have with this, and autism stigma more broadly15:56 - 24:41 - Autscape, conferences, and the importance of autistic-led boards, how to get involved in Autscape and its board24:42 - 36:57 - Labour Party Autism / Neurodiversity Manifesto, employment discrimination, the crucial importance of social policy, the need for a cultural change and autism stigma36:58 - 42:50 Autistic pride events, recommendations on how people can get involved or arrange an autistic pride event42:51 - 1:00:51 - Westminster autism commission, demonstrations and the Mendip House protest organised by Autistic Inclusive Meets, Assessment and Treatment Units (ATUs), Mental Health Inpatient units and discriminatory and harmful sectioning, the negative portrayal of autism in the media, the Oliver McGowan case, antidepressants and side effects, mental health and its links with traumatic experiences 1:00:52 - 1:06.51 - What has helped and hindered Joseph's mental health, and the impact of Joseph's work. To contact Joseph, please email him at obergine@gmail.com or find him on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/joseph.m.redford). Joseph also has a Twitter account (@jmtredford) but is not on regularly. Links to the organisations referred to in the episode are listed below: Autscape - http://www.autscape.org/labour party autism/neurodiversity manifesto- https://neurodiversitymanifesto.com/2018/09/18/labour-party-autism-neurodiversity-manifesto-final-draft-version-2018/ Westminster Autism Commission - https://westminsterautismcommission.wordpress.com/ The Autism Empire (who produce the customised autism alert cards) - https://www.autisticempire.com Autistic cooperative - https://www.facebook.com/TheAutisticCooperative/ Stripped of Human Rights - https://bringingustogether.org.uk/stripped-of-human-rights/
In the final and 10th episode of season 1 of The Autism Podcast, Chris and James reflect upon and discuss Season 1 and the podcast's plans for Season 2. They discuss some of the issues highlighted in each episode to date, including SEN and EHCP issues in schools, the importance of how professionals conduct the diagnosis process and communicate with parents/carers, the impact of social media including the neurodiversity discourse on Twitter and Facebook support groups (including the London Autism Group) as well as community meet-ups, autistic girls and women, bullying, sleeping issues, and the sensory experience. Both also talk about some of their personal experiences including diagnosis and epilepsy. Thanks to everyone who has listened to Season 1. We hope the podcast has been useful to you and made a positive impact. We will be back with more episodes and interviews in Season 2 which will commence in September/October 2019. -- If you would like to support the London Autism Group Charity, which produces 'The Autism Podcast', please visit https://www.facebook.com/londonautismgroupcharity/ and consider making a donation (no matter how small). Thank you! --
In episode 9 of The Autism Podcast, James speaks with Joanna Grace, the founder of The Sensory Projects, Sensory Engagement & Inclusion Specialist, TEDx speaker, trainer, and author. The Sensory Projects is a national and international project aimed at promoting inclusion through focusing on people whose primary experience of the world, and meaning within it, is sensory.  Joanna also delivers training days nationwide and offers consultancy and resource writing services to organisations looking to improve their inclusive practice. She has published many books and articles regarding her sensory engagement work, she is also one of the editors of the PMLDlink journal www.PMLDlink.org.uk, and a co-author of the 'Supporting people with profound and multiple learning disabilities' book that commissioners use when purchasing education, health and social care services in the UK. 1:55 Introduction: General information on the world of sensory processing 4:58 We discuss the equal validity of different types of communication. 6:00 Communication for people who haven’t acquired language. 7:30 The impact of learning and repetition on the development of the brain. 11:40 An introduction to Sensory Stories. 17:03 What brought Joanna to concentrate on this area of research? 24:23 The aim of the Sensory Story Project 25:40 The Sensory Art Project 32:00 Thinking about the Mental Health of people with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties. 32:42 The Sensory Being Project – Sensory mindfulness. 35:35 The Importance of being able to gauge the views of a person who may not be able to communicate them directly. Not to allow carers and support workers to impose their own views on to the people in their care, which could distort the situation. 38:50 What Sorts of people attend the training events that Joanna hosts? 40:05 What are the events like? 42:00 Sharing information 42:58 TED Talk 44:28 Supporting Third World Care Settings around the world.45:23 The importance of the new Core and Essential Standards for supporting people with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties. 52:19 How people can help to drive up the standards of care provisions by spreading knowledge of the Core Standards. 53:00 How to contact Joanna 53:53 Conclusion
In episode 8 of The Autism Podcast, Chris and Kiran speak with Dr Georgia Pavlopoulou, an academic working with sleep experts and the autistic community in order to understand sleeping issues among people, autistic sibling well-being, mental health, participatory research approaches and more. Georgia works at University College London in particular at the LiLAS Laboratory which is a lifespan learning and sleep laboratory run jointly by UCL and the Institute of Education. The interview focuses upon the challenges that poor sleep pose to autistic people and their families, including the nature of these challenges, their consequences, what increases the risk of poor sleep, and advice on how to approach these issues. Timeline: 0 - 5:28 - Introduction5:29 - 11:40 - The importance of theory and participatory approaches when designing research studies, and how this helped Georgia initially identify some of the issues related to sleep11:41 - 20:25 - What is 'good' sleep, 'deep sleep', the autistic sleep profile and differences between typically developing people, and improving 'sleep hygiene' among autistic people specifically20:26 - 25:17 - Risk factors of sleep problems including poor mental health, social environments and lifestyle. What are the causal relationships - does poor sleep cause poor mental health or does poor mental health cause poor sleep? Also the consequences of poor sleep including unemployment25:18 - 28:09 - The links between sensory issues, anxiety, daytime routines and sleeping profiles28:10 - one size does not fit all, the importance of understanding the individual, using screens/social media before sleep, feelings of self-blame33:10 - 42:20 - Professionals stigmatising autistic people and perceiving sleeping issues among autistic people as a consequence of behavioural deficit and being rule-breakers. Sleep is a lifespan issue and therefore we need more research on sleep among autistic people across different age groups. This lack of research is in part due to not listening and valuing the autistic voice until now (reinforcing the importance of participatory approaches), as well as the 'deficit narrative' and autism stigma.42:21 - 49.34 - The impact of poor sleep on families and parents/carers, blame towards parents/carers which increases the risk of self-stigma and self blame among parents/carers, removing the blame49:35 - 51:27 - There are many more questions still to explore: do autistic people have different circadian rhythms? how does epilepsy, gender issues, co-existing conditions such as adhd, side effects of medications, other medical problems (such as constipation) all play a role? We need more research! Without the evidence, people are guessing their way forwards which may not work and may result in further anxiety and self-blame51:28 - 55:08 - General, reasonable advice to parents/carers who are struggling with sleeping issues in the families.55:09 - 57:08 - General, reasonable advice to autistic people who are struggling with sleeping issues, 57:09 - 58:27, 1:02:56 - 1:03:44 - How to contact Georgia including how to get involved in her research58:28 - 1:02:55 - Does sleep naturally improve over time without intervention/additional support? Brief discussion about melatonin1:03:44 - 1:08:00 - Some final advice from observations during Georgia's observations including not to fear embracing unusual but safe and reasonable solutions, trust your child and be guided by them as to what to safely try Georgia's twitter: https://twitter.com/jopavlopoulou  LiLAS lab twitter: https://twitter.com/LILAS_Lab Georgia's profile page: www.lilaslab.com/georgia-pavlopoulou  For Georgia's latest research papers go to: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30802802 and https://network.autism.org.uk/good-practice/evidence-base/autistic-adults-and-sleep-problems Upcoming sleep event for parents to hear more about the results of our latest work: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ucl-open-sleep-day-tickets-57617630885 Sample of sleep papers from LiLAS Lab team; The Role of Environmental Factors on Sleep Patterns and School Performance in Adolescents: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/285573305_The_Role_of_Environmental_Factors_on_Sleep_Patterns_and_School_Performance_in_Adolescents
In episode 7 of The Autism Podcast, Chris and James speak with Dr Emily Lovegrove, a well-known anti-bullying expert, consultant and academic. Dr Lovegrove, who was diagnosed later in life as autistic, talks about her approach and philosophy on the issue of bullying including what constitutes bullying, its impact, why it happens, how to manage it, and how our responses to it are influenced by many factors including wider socio-cultural values. She talks about its links with mental health, stigma, culture and biology in what is a fascinating exploration into one of the most powerful and, unfortunately, prominent issues autistic people and the wider community have to face. ------ Timeline: 0 - 2:45 - Introduction 2:45 – 11:15 - Intro into the type of work Emily does including within schools and her broad approach 11:16 - 13:10 - Black and white thinking and encouraging the grey, the impact that society has on everything including bullying 13:11 - 25:20 - Different forms of bullying including mate crime and why autistic people can be so vulnerable to bullying, the importance of teaching autistic children 'no' and self-respect, ABA and the problem of expecting conformity 25:21 – 30:10 - What is bullying? 30:11 – 34:37 - Is the bully a victim also? Do their circumstances have an impact? 34:38 - 36:30 - Do emotional responses to bullying help or impede in managing situations, and how can we manage our emotions? 36:31 - 48:20 - General advice on how to manage bullying including the importance of managing stress, breathing, practicing self compassion and self respect, shifting away from emphasising compliance and being confident to say 'no' 48:21 – 55:40 - The crucial importance of shifting social attitudes towards autism and the importance this could have on mental health, self compassion and bullying 55:41 – 1:01:22 - Final thoughts and how people can contact Emily ----- Emily's website: http://thebullyingdoctor.com/ Emily's twitter: https://twitter.com/TheBullyingDr Emily's book ("Help! I'm being bullied"): https://www.amazon.co.uk/Help-Being-Bullied-Emily-Lovegrove/dp/1905170343     
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