This podcast is to inspire, support, and build community for mothers raising children with autism. Brigitte Shipman is the host and creator of this podcast and it has been inspired by her son Joseph who has been living with autism for the last 29 years. Together, Brigitte and Joseph hope to offer mothers of autistic children hope for the future. They will be sharing what they have learned in their journey as well as have expert guests on the show to give you knowledge, resources, insights, and inspiration.
Life on the Spectrum and Workplace Inclusion with Marcelle Ciampi
In this week’s episode, Brigitte interviews Marcelle Ciampi, a respected autistic author of Everyday Asperger, to talk about her life as a late-age diagnosed woman on the spectrum and her work to promote workplace inclusion.
Marcelle is the Senior Manager at Ultranauts Inc., a fully remote engineering firm with an Autistic hiring initiative where she is credited for architecting a universal design approach to workplace inclusion.
Her knowledge is shared through training and consultancy work at Fortune 500 companies. She serves as the founder of Spectrum Suite LLC, the Co-Founder of The Diversity with Dignity Global Roundtable, and Co-Executive of neuroguides.org. Marcelle is also a contributor to the book Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism.
Marcelle shares her story of struggling with her middle son and his eventual diagnosis of autism and her own late-age diagnosis that came much later.
She started writing about her experience of living on the spectrum and what it was like to receive a late-age diagnosis as a woman, which she turned into a blog and later, a book.
She talks about her motivation behind her advocacy work which stems from her desire for autistic people who have been bullied and told they need to be different than they are to know that they’re valuable and worthy.
She also talks about workplace inclusion and the universal design approach that she helped to architect to consider the challenges of every team member and to support them through all life circumstances and capabilities.
They discuss the obstacles to employment that autistic adults face and the broken systems that were not set up to support neurodivergent people and in what ways we can improve our recruitment process.
In addition, they talk about the importance of vulnerability in the workplace that encourages everyone to feel accepted and supported and to be able to have mature, kind, and uncomfortable conversations where everyone can express themselves safely.
Enjoy this episode!
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What My Adult Autism Diagnosis Has Taught Me with Greg Burns
In this week's insightful episode, Brigitte interviews Greg Burns who is a system safety engineer in Australia to talk about his recent autism diagnosis in his late 50’s and his experience of living on the spectrum.
Greg shares his story of how he came to be diagnosed on the spectrum in this late 50's back in 2019. Through his online interaction with other autistic adults, he realized he had many characteristics common in autistic individuals. He was soon after diagnosed by a psychologist in his local area.
His diagnosis helped him realize that he had been masking to fit in with the neurotypical ways of communicating. He says that masking can cause stress that can be internalized and manifest as various kinds of illnesses, which he personally experienced.
He recalls his mom telling him that he didn’t develop a personality until he left home, which he believes resulted from trying to fit in and masking.
He talks about the challenges of the neurodiverse-neurotypical marriage of 30 years with his wife Robyn and how his primary motivation for getting diagnosed was to offer understanding to his wife and himself of his behaviors that distressed her so they could both get their needs met.
The diagnosis provided much understanding for how his thinking would be different from most people’s thinking and what would make him stand out.
He also talks about how his autistic traits, such as focus and attention to detail, have helped in his successful engineering career.
He shares his poem called "My Language" which expresses frustration and sadness of how autistic people are not being understood.
Finally, he shares what he wants us to know most about being autistic.
Enjoy this episode!
"My Language" Poem
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3 Reasons for Challenging and Defiant Behaviors with Sandra Kwesell
In this week’s episode, Brigitte interviews Sandra Kwesell, a child development expert and the founder of the Pillars for Success® parenting program, to talk about the parenting principles that can bring out the positive responses in our children.
Sandra has worked with children and families in just about every setting on Earth, ranging from preschools and public schools to day treatment and residential settings, to youth prisons and everywhere in between.
She has degrees in Elementary Ed., Special Ed., and Counseling and has combined her knowledge and experience to create the Pillars for Success® parenting program, designed to empower and support families with the insights, rules, and tools to move from a journey of heartache and frustration to a journey of solutions and celebration.
Sandra shares the tragic story of her brother’s suicide at a young age which lead her to pursue a career in human health and development. This devastating and shocking event has pushed her to dedicate her career to help in any way to prevent similar tragedies from happening in other families.
With over decades of research and experience in education and counseling, Sandra has developed her parenting program based on effective parenting principles she discovered.
She talks about 3 major reasons why challenging and defiant behaviors occur in our children and explains that in almost all cases, children are trying to satisfy the needs of these 3 categories.
She goes over the principles and concepts behind the Pillars for Success® parenting program that can give us a better understanding of our children’s challenging behaviors and how we can empower ourselves to support our children’s needs.
Enjoy this episode!
Pillars for Success
9 Pillars of Successful Parenting
Pillars for Success Course Workbook
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Transitioning Our Kids on the Spectrum into Adulthood with Patricia Lemer
In this week's episode, Brigitte interviews Patricia Lemer, an author of three books including Outsmarting Autism, to talk about transitioning kids on the spectrum into adulthood.
Patricia Lemer is a Licensed Professional Counselor, and practiced as an educational diagnostician in the Washington, DC area for over 40 years. She was a co-founder and served as Executive Director of Developmental Delay Resources (DDR), an international, non-profit organization for 20 years.
Ms. Lemer and Brigitte talk about the estimated 800,000 adults that are entering adulthood needing support services and how we as a society need to prepare for a very wide range of kids with different abilities entering post-secondary education and employment.
Ms. Lemer says that transition is a huge team sport that involves schools, government, social service agencies, parents, and the child and we need to look at the developmental level of each child instead of their chronological age by giving them a functional assessment to see where the child is in many different areas including nutrition, finances, personal hygiene, sensory skills, and social skills.
She tells us about the alternate options to traditional college and employment that include internships, college-like programs, day programs, colleges with monitored apartments with “house parents,” farm programs, and multigenerational communities with jobs.
She talks about the innovative businesses that parents of kids with autism are creating to employ adults on the spectrum like Rising Tide Car Wash and The Chocolate Spectrum.
Ms. Lemer says to help kids find ways to use their obsessions and passions in a productive way and to harness their technical skills to make a vocation out of it.
Finally, she addresses the slightly controversial topic of the neurodiversity movement and its positive and possibly negative aspects.
You can find Ms. Lemer's books Outsmarting Autism: Build Healthy Foundations for Communication, Socialization, and Behavior at All Ages , Outsmarting Autism: The Ultimate Guide to Management, Healing and Prevention (now available in Italian), and EnVisioniong a Bright Future: Interventions that Work for Children and Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders wherever books are sold.
You can also listen to her biweekly webcast radio podcast, "The Autism Detectives" on www.HealthyLife.net.
Enjoy this episode!
Patricia Lemer Website
Patricia Lemer Email
Autism Detective Podcast
Private Mother's Guide Through Autism Facebook Group
How to Reduce Daily Battles with Your Child with Madeleine Woolgar
In this week's wonderfully helpful episode, Brigitte interviews Madeleine Woolgar, a speaker and parent coach to talk about how parents can reduce daily battles with their children.
Madeleine began to work with families with children on the spectrum over ten years ago. Her work focuses on shifting the moms' mindset so they can go from guilt-ridden and stressed out to creative and clear-thinking and better able to take care of all that they need for their child.
Madeleine talks about the common daily battles that parents engage in with their children like tantrums and control battles and how important it is for us to understand why these battles occur in the first place. She urges us to get into the head of the child to understand what they need in the moment.
In addition to understanding our child's why in doing what they do, Madeleine says that it's important to understand why you’re having the kind of reaction you’re having to your child’s behavior so that you can uncover hidden thoughts and beliefs that may be causing you to be more reactive.
She explains why parenting strategies often don’t work and why working on your mindset is key to reducing battles with your child.
She tells us to become aware of our thoughts and ask, “What was I thinking about myself in the difficult moment?”
She also says that we need to give ourselves as much grace as we can in these moments of difficulty. She says to start with yourself in giving compassion because if you’re stressed, you cannot stay calm in challenging situations.
She leaves us with this advice: Reach out for help if you're struggling.
5 Ways to Reduce Daily Battles
Heartled Mums for Strong-Willed Children Facebook Group
Private Mother's Guide Through Autism Facebook Group
Finding His Way to Living More Authentically as an Autistic Adult with Martin Silvertant
In this week’s insightful episode, Brigitte interviews Martin Silvertant, an award-winning graphic designer, co-founder, researcher, and blogger at Embrace Autism to talk about his personal journey of growing up with autism without knowing it and being diagnosed at 25.
Martin shares his story of how he had an inkling that he was different as a teenager. He knew he had a hard time relating to people before that but when he turned 12 it seemed that his awareness opened up to see how different he was from others. Before turning 12, life seemed like a movie that was playing, Martin recalls.
He remembers that their classmates were relating to each other in ways that were not intuitive to him at all and that confused him. He had to put in a lot of effort to know how to respond and to understand what was socially appropriate. He didn’t know anything about autism at the time but he knew he was different in some way.
When he was 19, he found a website that listed a long list of symptoms of Asperger Syndrome and he was absolutely shocked that the whole list described him exactly how he was. He was later officially diagnosed at 25.
He tells how he was more focused on concepts and activities than people and not wanting to have social interactions growing up. He explains that autistic people don’t get dopamine from social interactions like neurotypical individuals do but instead get dopamine from pursuing special interests.
He recalls one of his birthdays where his parents thought he was not happy with the gift he received because he did not show a lot of excitement although in fact, he was happy with the gift. He realized that he did not show his emotions in the way that he was expected, and in order to please his parents, he learned to “act up” his emotions especially on birthdays. Oftentimes, he felt like he had to put up an act even with his parents.
He says that the biggest struggle he faced on this journey was not having a sense of belonging, feeling different, and feeling wrong. He beat himself up for that until he later realized that he’s not equally good at everything but his brain is specialized in some ways and he is good at other things.
As an adult, he now feels he is living more authentically because he has learned to seek out situations where he can be more authentic and has gotten more comfortable with being himself.
He attributes his creative talent to having great attention to detail which is common among autistic people. He feels that his strength is his creative process and that he is able to generate ideas easily and make connections and have insight in subjects that a lot of people don’t necessarily do.
He also talks about why eye contact is difficult for autistic people and people with alexithymia (which is common in autistic people).
His advice to autistic adults is to be themselves since they often camouflage or mask themselves to fit in or to be liked.
Martin gives this advice to parents of autistic individuals: question your own assumptions to keep showing curiosity in your child and their cognitive process. Keep asking questions and keep showing interest in your child and engage in the activities that they’re interested in.
Enjoy this episode!
Embrace Autism Website
Embrace Autism Facebook Page
Embrace Autism Facebook Community Group
Mother's Guide FB Group
Invaluable insight, resources and HOPE
Thank you so much, Brigitte and Joseph, for creating this podcast! I am also an educator and mother guide for a very bright, high-functioning little boy. Early intervention has made ALL THE DIFFERENCE for us, and that is just by enrolling him in an early childhood special education program in our neighborhood within our local school district. We still have quite a way to go, but I appreciate hearing about your experiences from both perspectives (mother and son). One major struggle we still have is with anxiety, self-regulation and sensory issues, primarily with eating. Listening to the therapies and approaches that worked for your family has inspired me to do mord focused work with my son at home on these areas (especially oral desensitization). I look forward to listening to the rest of the episodes and learning more about Joseph’s journey!
A lifeline of compassion and guidance
I am so glad that I found Brigitte Shipman and her “Mother’s Guide” podcast. Her vulnerability and insights are so valuable and relatable I can feel a shift in my perspective after listening and so appreciate the resources and insights offered. Thank you Brigitte and Joseph for sharing your journey!
Brigitte has transformed our lives! She understands the challenges, for a mother and child, that come with an autism spectrum diagnosis. Her guidance is always on point and produces real, life-changing results.