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This episode that was recorded in early July is dedicated to Avery Berman. He is the sweet child in the photo.  Last week our community mourned and honored this beautiful young man with his family.  It’s his parents greatest mission to ensure their son will never be forgotten. He will not; we will always honor and celebrate  Avery. Avery and his family loved their Surfers Healing Ocean City, Maryland experience.  Avery also loved 80's music, brilliantly did math in his head, was always smiling and loved his Jewish religion learning Hebrew for his bar mitzvah.Please pray for Avery’s family.***********************Recently I was able to catch up with John Pike and Mikey Redd of Surfers Healing.  We had a fabulous time discussing the history of the organization, how they got involved and what drives their passion. Such beautiful humans and a wonderful conversation. On the surface, our contribution seems simple: each year, our volunteer-staffed camps give over 4,500 children with autism and their families a fun, engaging day at the beach. But go deeper, and you'll see that a quiet revolution is taking place. Through the simple act of riding waves together, we're defying the status quo. Surfers Healing is the original surf camp for children with autism, and we've been serving the community since 1996. Yet what we offer isn't a 'cure', or even 'traditional' therapy. It's a completely different sensation and environment for our participants. We give individuals a chance to encounter the waves, to challenge themselves, to try something new. And since 1 in every 44 US children has an ASD (CDC report, March 2022), our work is more vital than ever. we discussed and highly recommended: (Documentary: The Call of the Elephants) (Documentary: Clay Marzo - Just Add Water)
Meet Conner the COO and Co-Founder of Mentra.  He is an engineer, athlete and musician.  Conner's story is so interesting and inspiring.  Every parent and young adult with an autism diagnosis should have a listen. As a recently-diagnosed neurodivergent, I've witnessed the extraordinary talents of the neurodiverse community firsthand. Behind the layers of inefficiency in today's hiring process, there is immense potential to innovate a new system that's able to value and recognize these key players in the workforce of tomorrow.At Mentra, we're placing neurodiversity at the core of recruiting in a way that scales, treating every individual's brain as unique and more than just a resume.  We're accomplishing this at scale using an AI-powered job-matching platform and a human-centered design approach that builds a holistic profile of a job seeker's mind and matches them with the environments in which they will thrive.  Contact Conner:Conner@mentra.meParents and/or young adults please register 
Join me as I talk with the wonderful Delegate Michele Guyton about her journey as an autism mom and what ultimately led her to fight for autism families throughout the state of Maryland.Facing the challenge of parenting three wonderful and complicated boys, forced Michele to become a fierce champion for her own family and their education. She co-founded a support group for families with disabilities and now chairs the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the National Tourette Association of America. All three of her boys have been successful in Maryland public schools and are pursuing their dreams.Michele completed her B.A. in Psychology  and Anthropology from Vanderbilt University, her joint M.A. in Women’s  Studies and Psychology from Radcliffe College and Brandeis University  and her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Brandeis University. She looks forward to serving the community she loves by fighting for  District 42B as fiercely as she has fought for her own family and  others.Links:Connect with Delegate GuytonWrights LawFrom Emotions to Advocacy
Lisa Manuel is a graduate of the Baltimore International Culinary College.  She worked with caterers and pastry chefs for several years prior to founding her own business in 2001.  She worked until 2006 shortly after her son was diagnosed with autism.  Lisa enjoys gardening, reading, and spending time with her friends.  She is a very creative person which is revealed through her cakes, gardening, home decor and personal style.  She lives in Baltimore with her husband, son, daughter and two dogs: Joey and Louise. 
Laura is spearheading education of medical cannabis. From CBD and hemp oil to terpenes and cannabinoids she explains it all for parents and caregivers. We had a fantastic, educational discussion that will hopefully empower families to explore CBD and cannabis further as an avenue for their child’s healing. (for consultation)Laura Barrett-Nutting, MBA, BSN, RN, better known as Nurse Laura, is a wellness and certified cannabis nurse who brings over 20 years of experience helping patients cope with critical illness and chronic disease. Her enthusiasm for wellness and integrative medicine led her to explore the multiple medical cannabinoid options available. Nurse Laura has worked in each of the plant touching cannabis fields: growing, processing and opening dispensaries, as well as sales, marketing, and compliance. Nurse Laura works with providers, patients, caregivers,and dispensary staff to educate, inform, and collaborate to find the best options for improving quality of life. Nurse Laura recently founded the National Clinical Director Consortium to support the role of the Clinical Directors across the country. This group works to ensure access to healthcare professionals (nurses, pharmacists and cannabis providers) knowledgeable in plant medicine for patients, dispensary staff, and other providers. Nurse Laura also serves on the Board for the Connor Sheffield Foundation promoting research and advocacy for medical cannabis. At home, Laura is in graduate school to earn her MSN and become a Nurse Practitioner. She is a single parent to two wonderful children with whom she loves to spend time. She loves outdoor activities, such as: hiking, gardening, golfing (learning) and skiing. When she must go inside, she often chooses dancing, cooking, and eating! She claims her faith is the key to her big smile!Additional (contact Nurse Laura for a discount code for classes) (registration for caregiver card & patient card in Maryland)
Overcoming Bullying

Overcoming Bullying


In this episode I talk with Kelly and her son Nick about his journey, hardships and ultimate success throughout school. This is an important conversation that they have been brave enough to share.  Please note it’s a highly sensitive subject matter.  It may be a trigger for some. Kelly Lyons has over 25 years experience as an Accounting Manager at Johns Hopkins University and holds an MBA.  When she isn’t working she spends her time volunteering with homeless animals including BARCS and most recently Shadow Cats.  She has three rescue dogs of her own: Jake, Sasha and Merle.  And fosters cats who are FIV+ and in hospice. Kelly enjoys photography, traveling and yoga.   She has three kids and lives with her husband in Northern Maryland. 
Susan May is the Founder of RiseUP with Susan May and the RiseUP Community. The RiseUP mission is to help medical freedom advocates and "new normal" skeptics overcome their fears by creating like-minded virtual communities, and energizing individuals to take empowered action in their lives. Susan's life uniquely prepared her for this moment in time and she is determined to use all she has learned to help others who are drawn to the RiseUP vision. How was she uniquely prepared? When the madness hit the world in 2020, her family's path had led them to be in a different place than most. They had already begun to "unplug" from the mainstream education, medical and media systems. This proved to be extremely beneficial. It all started 17+ years ago when Susan began to learn about fertility, then natural childbirth (and eventually hypnosis for childbirth). Those topics then led to attachment parenting, alternative views of health and unschooling. What a ride it's been!As an extrovert and people lover, sharing comes naturally to Susan and she thrives on deep connections. Funneling her energy into helping others is deeply satisfying. The unschooling philosophy that humans are natural learners and that the our relationships are the most important thing in our lives, has shaped her overall life and business philosophy.You can connect with Susan on Facebook and Instagram: Rise UP with Susan May Website: Together Walking
How do you take care of yourself while in crisis? Nikki takes us on her journey giving us a lot of wisdom along the way.  Nikki is a mother of two sons and an advocate in the Maryland community.  HGE Designs Co. was created to answer a need for financial support to cover respite care, swim lessons and therapy after her son’s autism diagnosis.  She is a Certified Reiki Practitioner.  Nikki is a veteran first responder with Baltimore City Police and Fire Department.  She is a member of The Autism Society of Baltimore-Chesapeake, participated with Baltimore County Police as a panel member for procedural training on interactions with members of the autism community and a member of several sub-groups for the Greater Baltimore Regional Integrated Crisis System designed to transform behavioral health crisis response in the Baltimore metropolitan area.  Most recently Nikki joined Pathfinders for Autism as a Resource Coordinator. Nikki is a passionate advocate with a deep desire to support families in the autism community.  She is an artist and loves creating. Nikki's Website: HGE Designs
Navigating Plan B

Navigating Plan B


Oh yes we did... we dove head first into one of the most taboo topics.  No one talks about this outside of their home and often outside of their head.  Lover of scones and her family. Angie is a wife, and mother of three children who have a number of different diagnoses, including autism, epilepsy, ADHD, PANDAS, and a number of other medical complications. She spends her days managing the advising and registration department at her local community college and her evenings cheering on and celebrating her children's inch stones. She chronicles her adventures and struggles on her blog, Mighty and the Bean, and co-hosts a podcast titled Embracing Holland. She has a master's in counseling and is passionate about creating community, sharing stories, and supporting others in the face of fear and uncertainty. An enneagram 9, avid at avoiding conflict and seeking peace always, she is an introvert with a passion for helping and loving people in hard places.  Note: My dog says hello in the beginning of the episode.. just keeping it real.
Unpacking Severe Autism

Unpacking Severe Autism


In this episode I talk with mom and advocate Meagan Andrade about the challenges of caring for her son with severe autism.   She discusses the rollercoaster ride they've been on across several moves, finding appropriate help and support, cross-country drives to doctor appointments and how she found light through their journey. Megg Andrade is the mother of five amazing humans, three of whom happen to have developmental disabilities. Megg has been a volunteer parent mentor with TACA (The Autism Community in Action) for over a decade. She is a 2020 graduate of Maryland Partners in Policy Making. She served eight years in the US Army. Megg is the owner and esthetician of Meagan Maske. Currently, she also works as a job developer at The Arc Baltimore. Megg is a passionate advocate in the world of autism, developmental disability, and foster care. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our community and conversation.
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