22 episodes

Your child was just diagnosed with autism. Now what?



Like they tell you during the airline flight instructions, you need to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. If you don’t, you’ll be of no help to anyone. This podcast series is meant to be that oxygen mask: a breath of fresh air and a pause for parents who are navigating their journey with autism or other developmental differences.



Hosted by Beth Dierker, Executive Director of Communities for Engaging Autism, and Tera Girardin, author & photographer of “Faces of Autism.” Both are University of Minnesota LEND Fellows (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities) and are autism parents themselves.



Themes include self-care while caring for others, becoming an advocate for your child, relationship strains, avoiding burnout and information overload, and learning to trust your internal compass. Listeners will enjoy the conversational approach and connection to resources and connection points. The Oxygen Mask is ideal for the parent of a newly diagnosed child wading through information and decisions that come along with an autism diagnosis.



Take a breath with us!

The Oxygen Mask Podcast Communities Engaging Autism - Beth Dierker and Tera Girardin

    • Kids & Family
    • 5.0 • 6 Ratings

Your child was just diagnosed with autism. Now what?



Like they tell you during the airline flight instructions, you need to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. If you don’t, you’ll be of no help to anyone. This podcast series is meant to be that oxygen mask: a breath of fresh air and a pause for parents who are navigating their journey with autism or other developmental differences.



Hosted by Beth Dierker, Executive Director of Communities for Engaging Autism, and Tera Girardin, author & photographer of “Faces of Autism.” Both are University of Minnesota LEND Fellows (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities) and are autism parents themselves.



Themes include self-care while caring for others, becoming an advocate for your child, relationship strains, avoiding burnout and information overload, and learning to trust your internal compass. Listeners will enjoy the conversational approach and connection to resources and connection points. The Oxygen Mask is ideal for the parent of a newly diagnosed child wading through information and decisions that come along with an autism diagnosis.



Take a breath with us!

    Oxygen Mask Episode 19: Neurodiversity with Milena and Jules, Part 2

    Oxygen Mask Episode 19: Neurodiversity with Milena and Jules, Part 2

    We entered April, autism acceptance month, with Milena and Jules. As these two neurodiverse mothers raise autistic children, they are living out and advocating for autism acceptance in their families and communities. Our conversation began with the founding and growth of MN Autistics and Allies and meandered through autistic community, masking, splinter skills, language, and how talking about autism with kids can help them advocate for themselves. This conversation shifted our thinking and we hope it does the same for you!



    Show Notes: 



    - A recent article on the shift in language from autism awareness month to autism acceptance month







    - MN Autistics and Allies is the Facebook group that Milena and Jules co-administer.







    - Writing from Jules (@AutisticTyping):





    "Today, your child was diagnosed with autism"

    #AutismMoon in-progress series (images with bite-sized information)





    - Milena is a Pacer Parent Advocate and member of the MN Department of Education's Special Education Advisory Panel.



    - Jules is a Parent Advocate with the Multicultural Autism Action Network and current University of Minnesota LEND fellow.







    Acknowledgements:



    This Oxygen Mask Episode was made possible by an Family Connections Innovation Grant from the MN Department of Human Services. Communities Engaging Autism is grateful for this financial support.

    • 35 min
    Oxygen Mask Episode 18: Neurodiversity with Milena and Jules, Part 1

    Oxygen Mask Episode 18: Neurodiversity with Milena and Jules, Part 1

    This April, autism acceptance month, we have insightful conversations with Milena Bates and Jules Edwards about neurodiversity. These two mothers recognized that they themselves are neurodiverse as they sought diagnoses and services for their autistic children. This episode will bring you joy, make you think, and provide a new lens on autism. Milena and Jules share their personal and parenting journeys and shift the autism narrative toward acceptance.



    Show Notes: 



    - MN Autistics and Allies is the Facebook group that Milena and Jules co-administer.







    - Writing from Jules (@AutisticTyping):





    "Today, your child was diagnosed with autism"

    #AutismMoon in-progress series (images with bite-sized information)





    - Milena is a Pacer Parent Advocate and member of the MN Department of Education's Special Education Advisory Panel.



    - Jules is a Parent Advocate with the Multicultural Autism Action Network and current University of Minnesota LEND fellow.







    Acknowledgements:



    This Oxygen Mask Episode was made possible by an Family Connections Innovation Grant from the MN Department of Human Services. Communities Engaging Autism is grateful for this financial support.

    • 26 min
    Oxygen Mask Episode 17: Dads of Kids with Special Needs

    Oxygen Mask Episode 17: Dads of Kids with Special Needs

    In this episode, we hear from two men who've lead a support group for dads of kids with special needs for over 15 years. Impacted by one father's isolation and struggle as he processed his child's diagnosis, Don Nikkola, MSW, knew this father was not  alone. He partnered with Steve Roeklein, LCSW, to address a big gap in peer support for men. Steven later summarized their approach as follows: validate [what men share], normalize [men's experience/"you're not alone"], empower [men to engage and grow]. Hear how this group of fathers helps each other navigate their unique fatherhood journeys.



    Show Notes: 



    Learn more about Twin Cities Dads (Helping fathers help their special kids) at https://tcdads.org/



    Note: Don and Steve expressed appreciation for Arc Minnesota's past sponsorship of their group.



    Acknowledgements:



    This Oxygen Mask Episode was made possible by an Family Connections Innovation Grant from the MN Department of Human Services. Communities Engaging Autism is grateful for this financial support.

    • 24 min
    Oxygen Mask Episode 16: Guest Delia Samuel, Part 2

    Oxygen Mask Episode 16: Guest Delia Samuel, Part 2

    We dive deep with Delia Samuel in this second part of our conversation. She reflects on discrimination, isolation and her commitment to build understanding of autism. Delia shares more about what has sustained her in extraordinarily difficult times. Beth, Tera, and Delia recognize how we parents grow to become the best-suited people to parent our autistic children.



    Show Notes:



    "The But God Project" features Delia's faith story.



    Delia is a co-founder and board member with the Multicultural Autism Action Network (MAAN). On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/MAANMN



    Against the Odds: Inspiration for Parenting Children with Special Needs by Delia Samuel







    Article about Dr. Samuel's work in St. Lucia





    Acknowledgements:

    This Oxygen Mask Episode was made possible by an Family Connections Innovation Grant from the MN Department of Human Services. Communities Engaging Autism is grateful for this financial support.

    • 27 min
    Oxygen Mask Episode 15: Guest Delia Samuel, Part 1

    Oxygen Mask Episode 15: Guest Delia Samuel, Part 1

    Listen in to our conversation with Dr. Delia Samuel for encouragement and rich perspective. By openly sharing about her own experience parenting two autistic boys, Delia's found that she can help parents face stigma and feel seen and supported.



    Show Notes:



    Delia is a co-founder and board member with the Multicultural Autism Action Network (MAAN). On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/MAANMN



    Against the Odds: Inspiration for Parenting Children with Special Needs by Delia Samuel







    Article about Dr. Samuel's work in St. Lucia









    Acknowledgements:

    This Oxygen Mask Episode was made possible by an Family Connections Innovation Grant from the MN Department of Human Services. Communities Engaging Autism is grateful for this financial support.

    • 19 min
    Oxygen Mask Episode 14: A Parent Coach’s Insights for Families

    Oxygen Mask Episode 14: A Parent Coach’s Insights for Families

    We're so glad to welcome Bonnie Bogen, Parent Coach and retired Autism Specialist, to the Oxygen Mask. Many families are all too familiar with the stresses weighing on and pulling us in many directions. Here, Bonnie suggests some concrete strategies. Perhaps most reassuring, however, is her wise guidance about expectations we set for ourselves and for our children. Thanks for listening!



    Show Notes:



    Check out a visual we made based on Bonnie's ideas for helping parents and families focus their priorities.

    • 21 min

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