It’s only been about 18 months since I first started listening to podcasts regularly (yes, I was late to the party). Actually, it was being invited as guest onto the ‘Let’s Talk Autism’ podcast that prompted me to listen to more podcasts, and I was soon hooked. I find it very handy to be able to get other things done, such as cooking or tidying up, while listening and learning.
I’ve found plenty of interesting podcasts focused around autism and related subjects, and I’m still discovering new ones. Quite often while I’m listening, I’ll hear something that makes me think ‘everyone should hear this’ or ‘this info would be so useful to other parents of autistic children’, so I think it makes sense to share some of my current favourite podcasts here on our blog. I hope you’ll find at least some of these as interesting as I do!
So here are 8 autism related podcasts I enjoy listening to, and some of the episodes which I’ve found particularly interesting, for one reason or another:
The LOMAH podcast
The LOMAH podcast is a US based podcast hosted by Kim Albrecht, who has a non-speaking autistic teenage daughter called Miranda. Each series of about 12 episodes focuses on a specific topic, relevant for Miranda and her family as well as for many of us who have children with similar needs and disabilities. All Kim’s guests on the podcast have great expertise in what they come on to talk about, so this is definitely a podcast which you will learn a lot from!
I began listening to the LOMAH podcast at the beginning of last spring, which luckily for me was just in time for the series on literacy. I don’t think ‘legendary’ is too big a word for that series! Amazing guests and highly informative discussions, all about literacy for learners with significant disabilities. The current ‘bible’ for this topic is the book ‘Comprehensive Literacy for All’ by Karen Erickson & David Koppenhaver, and it’s frequently referred to during the series.
At the moment, a new series of LOMAH is just getting started, and the topic this time is about ‘doing more with AAC’. This promises to be another super interesting series, and there’s a brand new episode out today, with SLP and AAC expert Kate McLaughlin, about More Than Requests: Using AAC for Authentic Communication. I’m looking forward to listening to that one later today!
Every now and then, the LOMAH podcast also includes episodes that are ‘life updates’ on how things are progressing for Miranda and her family. One such episode from earlier this year, which resonated with me, was Survival Mode, with guest Mary Susan McConnell. Kim talks about the effects on her, both mentally and physically, from going through a very stressful period (of about 2 years long) when Miranda was struggling with a lot of dysregulation, which sometimes resulted in aggressive behaviours. This is not a case of being ‘martyr moms’ or having self-pity, but rather to share that these things do happen to many families, and is something that’s incredibly hard but still possible to get through. Just to know that we are not alone can help us cope better mentally during the really hard times.
Uniquely Human: The Podcast
Presented by Barry Prizant and Dave Finch, the Uniquely Human podcast aims to explore various aspects of “the autistic experience”. Their guests are for the most part autistic individuals, and Dave Finch is also autistic himself. One of their episodes from earlier this year was about Autism and The Power of Music, with guests Yasmine White and Jonathan Chase. There was a lot to love about this episode, for me. I’ve always found music very important and powerful, both for myself and my autistic son, and I love hearing people talk passionately about music. One of the highlights for me in this episode was hearing music therapist Yasmine White talk about using music to encourage communication, and I was excited to hear how she would encourage a child to fill in words in the lyric of a song, in a very similar way to what I instinctively started doing with Penguin when he was younger (more on that can be found in my post Sweet Music, which I wrote quite a long time ago… Still valid though!). I also loved hearing Dave say about how music is vital for his everyday functioning (I’ve noticed the same for me/us), and Jonathan Chase made great points about using a strength-based approach, and also about how young autistic people can really benefit from a mentor helping them navigate towards a possible career, in music or whatever their field of interest may be.
Another ‘must listen’ episode of Uniquely Human is Interoception: The Eighth Sense with Kelly Mahler and Chloe Rothschild. Learning about interoception has been – and continues to be – super important for my understanding of many aspects that affect my autistic son every day, and I’ve written about the subject here: Interoception: The Lesser Known But Oh So Important Sensory System. This episode of Uniquely Human has added new layers to my understanding of it.
Let’s Talk Autism Podcast
I couldn’t create a post like this without mentioning the podcast episodes I’ve been a guest on myself, could I? And as mentioned, interoception is a subject I’m very much interested in, and I was very happy to be one of the guests discussing that very subject on the Let’s Talk Autism Podcast, here: Interoception.
I’ve also been on the podcast a couple of times previously, to talk mainly about AAC: Talking About AAC And Us, On The ‘Let’s Talk Autism’ Podcast.
The Let’s Talk Autism Podcast is hosted by two UK mum’s of autistic children, Meesh and Christelle. Their guests are often autistic young adults, but also parents and others with close personal experience of autism and/or other disabilities.
SEND in the experts with Georgina Durrant – This is a relatively new UK based podcast, started at the beginning of this year, by the SEND team of Twinkl educational resources. There are six episodes available to date (find all of them here), and the most recent one features Nikki Saunders who has written a series of books about autism for children, primarily for autistic children to learn more about their own diagnosis, but also for siblings, friends and other children to help them better understand what being autistic can be like.
One of my favourite episodes so far is Episode 2, with Catrina Lowri of Neuroteachers. I found it really good to hear about how Catrina Lowri is helping educational settings to better understand and support learners, based on individual needs and preferences. Her discussion with Georgina was both enjoyable and interesting to listen to, with many important points made about sensory needs, demand avoidance, behaviour as a form of communication, and more.
Georgina Durrant has a background of working with children with SEND (as teacher and SENDCO, as well as a private tutor). She also runs the SEN Resources Blog and is the author of ‘100 Ways Your Child Can Learn Through Play’ (which I’ve written about previously, here: Review: ‘100 Ways Your Child Can Learn Through Play’). The SEND in the experts podcast is aimed primarily at anyone working with disabled children, but is definitely also of interest to parents of children with SEND, such as myself.
Two Sides of the Spectrum
This is a podcast hosted by Meg Proctor, who is a US based occupational therapist, passionate about ‘neurodiversity affirming’ approaches. One recent episode which I very much enjoyed listening to, is this interview with Tiffany Joseph of ‘Nigh Functioning Autism’. Tiffany is an autistic adult as well as parent of neurodivergent children, and she uses high tech AAC as one of her ways to communicate, as speech doesn’t always come easily. In this episode – as well as on her social media – she shares an abundance of valuable insights about autism, AAC access, aggressive behaviours and how to help with them, and more.
Other recent ‘must listen’ episodes of this podcast include one on Comprehensive Literacy with the always brilliant Jane Farrall, one on ‘Creating a Meaningful Life: Authentic Approaches Across the Lifespan’ with Maisie Soetantyo, and also an episode on Autism & Interoception with Kelly Mahler (again!).
The AutismFamilyStory podcast is hosted by Vidya Banerjee, who wishes to share information and strategies that she has learnt over the years of parenting her non-speaking autistic son. Her main aim is for her podcast to be helpful for other mothers of disabled children, and their families. One of her recent episodes is about autism and puberty, which is something that is highly relevant to myself at the moment as our son is now 15, hence currently going through puberty. There’s so much I can relate to in what Vidya shares about on her podcast, not only in that episode on puberty, but in most other episodes as well.
When I first started listening to the AutismFamilyStory podcast, it struck me how it almost exclusively mentions mothers, but not fathers. Admittedly, it is still often the mums who do most of the childcare in families today, but I’m sure all the strategies shared can be of good use for dads too.
Another thing I noticed was, that while some podcasts (such as Two Sides of the Spectrum mentioned above) are explicitly preferring identity first language (which means saying ‘autistic person’ rather than ‘person with autism’), Vidya mainly uses person first language. Personally, I feel that content is more important than these kind of details about language use, so for me it isn’t really a problem. But some of you who feel strongly about using identity first language may struggle with the AutismFamilyStory podcast, and vice versa regarding the Two Sides of the Spectrum. In both cases, I would urge you to still give them both a chance.
Living the Sky Life – Our Autism Journey
Hosted by Laurie Hellman, a US mum of an autistic boy in his late teens, this podcast aims to bring together parents and professionals to support and learn from each other. One recent episode which I’d like to highlight here, is Episode 120, with Peri of ‘Not Raingirl’. Peri is an autistic young woman (from the UK) who is passionate about sharing her experience and raise more awareness, acceptance and understanding about what life as an autistic person can be like. Until very recently, Peri had a facebook page (‘Not Raingirl’) with many thousands of followers, but it has sadly been hacked, and tragically does not seem to be possible to recover. So, if you wish to follow Peri on social media – as well as listening to her on the podcast – you can now do so on instagram: Not Raingirl.
Another episode of Living The Sky Life which I found relatable as a parent of a severely disabled teen, approaching adulthood, was Episode 117 – (Solo episode) Sharing my thoughts on Skyler turning 19 and my shift in perspective on future planning.
SLP Talk Show
Last but not least, I recommend you to go and check out the SLP Talk Show. This podcast by US based SLP Cari Ebert aired it’s very first episode at the end of March this year, but there are already a whole 16 episodes available for you to enjoy! Most of the episodes are quite short, and the format is highly informative and educational yet light-hearted.
Cari is not only an SLP but also a parent of a young autistic son, which adds a personal level to her insights. So far, none of her episodes have had any external guests, but her husband joins in as conversation partner and sidekick, and I think that works really well.
Some of the topics of conversation covered on the SLP Talk Show to date include autism awareness and acceptance, understanding meltdowns, letters as a special interest, thoughts on therapy for autistic children, and several episodes about Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS), which is a specialism of Cari’s (and is usually called Verbal Dyspraxia in the UK and many other countries). The currently most episode is part two of a conversation about sensory processing differences, and I really appreciate Cari’s ways of explaining about these issues.
As it’s not been long since I realised that CAS/Verbal Dyspraxia is something which is highly relevant for our son, I particularly love all the great info on that subject, on the SLP Talk Show.
So there you have it, eight great podcasts for those of us interested in autism (and related subjects). Which ones of these have you listened to before? And do you have other podcasts on autism which you would like to recommend? Please let us know in the comments below!
As always, thanks so much for reading x
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