Bio Dr. Whitehouse is the Angela Wright Bennett Professor of Autism Research and the Director of Clini-Kids at the Telethon Kids Institute. He is Professor of Autism Research at the University of Western Australia and Research Strategy Director of the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC). He has published over 300 peer-reviewed journal articles and is an advisor to State and Commonwealth Governments on policies relating to autistic children. He was awarded a Eureka Prize for his research and in 2023, he was a Western Australian of the Year award winner.
I spoke with vaccine researcher and expert Dr. Paul Offit, whose book Autism’s False Prophets explores false narratives about autism, including the myth that the MMR vaccine causes autism. We talked about that history, as well as the present challenge of the current anti-vaccine movement and the need to speak the truth, even when it’s complicated.
Listen to the podcast by playing the audio file below, or on streaming sites like Spotify, Stitcher or ApplePodcasts. Transcript below.
Bio Dr. Offit is the Director of the Vaccine Education Center and an attending physician in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He is an award-winning and internationally recognized expert in the fields of virology and immunology, and is a past member of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to the CDC and currently a member of the Food and Drug Administration Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee.
I talked with Dr. Lucy McBride about Covid anxiety, how it’s impacted us all and what we can do about it. We also talked about how family practitioners can make their practices more accessible for autistic patients–and all patients–by thinking outside the box. #AutisticHealthAccessProject
Listen to the podcast by playing the audio file below, or on streaming sites like Spotify, Stitcher or ApplePodcasts.
Bio Dr. Lucy McBride is a practicing internal medicine physician in Washington DC who has been seeing patients for over 20 years. During the pandemic, she came to prominence for talking openly about the importance of addressing mental and physical health together. She is the author of the newsletter, Are You Okay? and the podcast Beyond the Prescription. She is helping to redefine health as more than our cholesterol and weight but really about awareness, acceptance and agency for us as patients.
New! I’ve started a Substack with portions from my upcoming book about the problem of exploitative clinical trials on autistic children & the need to reform autism research and services. Check it out here.
I had an amazing conversation with Fergus Murray, a Scottish science educator, writer, autistic advocate and author of the Monotropism.org website.
We talked about the concept of monotropism, which was co-founded by Murray’s late mother, Dr. Dinah Murray, as well as Fergus’s experiences growing up in a neurodivergent household and the joys of Autscape! We also discussed the problems of the Spectrum 10k project and aspie supremacy, the future of neurodiversity and the importance of being weird.
Listen to the podcast by playing the audio file below, or on streaming sites like Spotify, Stitcher or iTunes.
Bio Fergus Murrayis an autistic science teacher, writer and community organiser–a co-founder, and the current chair, of AMASE (Autistic Mutual Aid Society Edinburgh). Fergus’s mom, Dinah Murray, was a pioneering autistic researcher and activist as well as co-creator of the theory of Monotropism. Fergus has authored the websitemonotropism.organd is the founder ofweirdpride.day.They also createslow-motion videos of water, andgiant puppets.
I had a fascinating conversation with Finn Gardiner, Director of Policy & Advocacy for theAutistic People of Color Fundabout the incredible work of the Fund’s mutual aid project that positively impacts so many individuals’ lives. We also discussed institutional ableism, racism and “nice white lady syndrome”, as well as the troubling problems with racism in autistic self-advocacy organizations and how the Fund’s advocacy work is challenging this and making radical change in the neurodiversity movement.
Listen to the podcast by playing the audio file below, or on streaming sites like Spotify, Stitcher or iTunes.
Bio Finn Gardiner is Director of Policy & Advocacy for the Autistic People of Color Fund. He is a Boston-based queer, Black, and disabled writer, designer, community organizer, speaker, editor, researcher, advocate, activist, and artist. Finn has a Master of Public Policy degree from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Tufts University. He’s spoken at the White House’s 2016 LGBTQ Disability Day, the United Nations’ World Autism Day event in 2019, and other venues. Before joining the Fund, he worked as a communications specialist for the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy, and before that, he was a policy fellow at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.
Bio Matthew Smith is a professor at the University of Strathclyde and the Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare (CSHHH) in Scotland. He is the author of The First Resort: The History of Social Psychiatry in the United States (Columbia UP, 2023). He has also authored many articles and several other books and monographs including: Hyperactive, The Controversial History of ADHD;Another Person’s Poison, A History of Food Allergy; An Alternative History of Hyperactivity; and Pathologies and Politics, Dietary Innovation and Disease from the Nineteenth Century(co-edited by David Gentilcore).
Guy Stephens is the founder and executive director of theAlliance Against Seclusion and Restraint(AASR), a non-profit organization he started in 2019. AASR is a community of over 20,000 parents, self-advocates, teachers, school administrators, paraprofessionals, attorneys, related service providers, and others working together to inform changes in policy and practice to reduce and eliminate the use of punitive discipline and outdated behavioral management approaches and end the school-to-prison pipeline. The vision of the Alliance Against Seclusion and Restraint is safer schools for students, teachers, and staff.
Chantelle Hyde is the lead Canadian Volunteer with the Alliance Against Restraint and Seclusion. With the support of her husband Sheldon, Chantelle became an active advocate in New Brunswick and now nationally against restraint and seclusion after learning that their daughter was being locked in a room at school. Chantelle has been getting the word out across Canada, most recently beingfeatured on W5, an investigative series on Canada’s CTV News, in their investigative report on seclusion and restraint. She is also co-founder of theCanadian Coalition Against Seclusion and Restraint in Schools.
Today I spoke with Julie Roberts, founder ofTherapist Neurodiversity Collective(TNDC). We talked about the ABA industry’s troubling attempts to dominate autism services and funding, as well as the culture shift needed to increase support for neurodiversity-affirming autism supports and services.
Listen to the podcast on the audio link below. Also available on Spotify, Stitcher or iTunes.
Bio Julie Roberts, a formally late-identified Autistic woman, is a Speech-Language Pathologist, neurodiversity educator and activist who foundedTherapist Neurodiversity Collectivein 2018 andPublic School Neurodiversity Collectivein 2022. Her professional experiences include private practice ownership for 7 years, and being a multi-state Clinical Director, and National Field Director of Corporate Compliance for one of the largest post-acute rehab companies in the U.S. She currently works in her favorite setting: the U.S. public school system. Julie’s articles and educational resources have reached over three-quarters of a million people.
I wrote this short spoken word about the experience of grief after all we’ve been through in the pandemic. It’s really just a story, without a message except: we need to talk about our feelings, perhaps now more than ever.
Listen to the podcast on the audio link below. Also available on Spotify,StitcheroriTunes.
Bio Alan Levinovitz is associate professor of religious studies at James Madison University. He specializes in classical Chinese thought, as well as the intersection between religion and science. His most recent book, Natural, explores how the mistake of worshipping nature can lead to pseudoscience and injustice. We’re going to talk about the book today, in the context of neurodiversity, and also about the ideas of “natural immunity” and “natural medicine” that arose in response to the pandemic.
Bio Kristina House has been as an active member of the Toronto homeschool community for more than a decade, including work through the Ontario Federation of Teaching Parents and as a co-founder of the Toronto Homeschool Symposium. She worked as an American Sign Language in English Interpreter for over 15 years and is now the executive director ofPassages, a learning space founded in 2020. Passages offers in-person programming for kids between the ages of 11–18, learning at a pace that’s right for them.
I had an amazing conversation with University of Washington virologist Dr Alex Greninger, whose team innovated one of the earliest Covid tests. We talked about how they developed the test; public health policy; the current monkeypox crisis; other viruses & “the 2022 effect”; and the virological and sociological implications of the pandemic since 2020.
Listen to the podcast on the audio link below. Also available on Spotify,Stitcher or iTunes.
Bio Dr Greninger is the Larry Corey Assistant Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Assistant Director of the clinical virology laboratories at the University of Washington Medical Center, and a board-certified clinical pathologist. He earned an MS in Biological Sciences/Immunology from Stanford, a Master’s in Epidemiology from Cambridge, an MD/PhD from University of California San Francisco, and completed his laboratory medicine residency at the University of Washington.
My guest this episode is Alicia Broderick, author of the new book The Autism Industrial Complex: How Branding, Marketing, and Capital Investment Turned Autism Into Big Business. Her book traces the cultural, political, and economic history of autism. We talk about the history of autism services, how industry greed often gets in the way of useful approaches that can help families and some advice for families of newly diagnosed kids on how to find the best approaches and sift through all the hype.
Listen to the podcast by pressing Play on the audio file below. Also available on Spotify, Stitcher or iTunes. Read the transcript at the link below the audio file
In this episode I speak with the amazing Lei Wiley Mydske, founder of the neurodiversity library movement and creator of the Neurodivergent Narwals. We talk about neurodiversity libraries (including how to start one!), community-building, disability justice, activism, hope and more.
Listen to the podcast at the link below. Also available on Spotify, Stitcher or iTunes.
Lei is a writer and artist, creator of the Neurodivergent Narwhals, co-director of neurodiversitylibrary.org, and founder of the neurodiversity library movement. They are the Community Outreach Coordinator at the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network and a contributor to the group’s anthology “Sincerely, Your Autistic Child”. Lei has presented at a range of conferences and gatherings on autistic advocacy and neurodiversity libraries in the community. Lei is the co-owner of Stanwood Tattoo Company in Stanwood Washington, which also hosts a neurodiversity library.
There were a couple tech glitches in this episode, apologies!
Noncompliant is mostly on hiatus until 2023.
The Noncompliant podcast came out of hiatus this week to talk with autistic advocate Ryan Hendry about Spectrum10K, a currently-proposed project by UK business interests to collect DNA data on autistic children and adults for a database to sell to companies for commercial ventures. Ryan and I discussed the ethical implications of the project and others like it. We also talked about activism being welcoming to new members of the community.
Ryan is a 27 year old Autistic and ADHD advocate from Carrick fergus, Northern Ireland. Whilst Ryan’s advocacy covers a wide range of topics relating to Autism and ADHD, he is particularly focused upon the issues that Autistic People face when finding employment, as well as issues that particularly affect young people between the ages of 16-21.
Anila D’Mello is a cognitive neuroscientist interested in social cognition and language. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she uses neuro imaging to examine how the brain learns from previous experiences to inform future behavior. She also uses personalized study designs to promote strengths-based approaches to studying social cognition and language in autism.
Liron Rozenkrantz is a neuroscientist interested in the role of beliefs and expectations on cognition and well-being. She is a postdoctoral researcher at the Simons Center for the Social Brain and conducts her research at the MIT Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department. Liron has been studying perception and cognition in children and adults with autism for the past 7 years. Her current line of research looks at “enhanced rationality” in autism and how autistic individuals seem to be less susceptible to cognitive biases.
In this episode, I talk with Professors Kristen Bottema-Beutel and Micheal Sandbank, who have done a systematic review and meta-analysis of 151 group design studies of interventions for young autistic children. For this work, Dr. Sandbank was awarded the Young Investigator Award in 2021 from the International Society of Autism Research. Drs Bottema-Beutel and Sandbank have also done further studies into conflicts of interest (COIs) in autism research. Among their findings are that COIs are prevalent in several areas of autism research. They also found that ABA researchers, who frequently had conflicts of interest, reported these conflicts as rarely as 2 percent of the time.
We discuss what conflicts of interest are, the teams’ findings and some of the implications for autism research going forward.
Listen to the audio at the link below or on Stitcher or iTunes here. Read the transcript, below audio file.
Kristen Bottema-Beutel is an Associate Professor in the Lynch School of Education and Human Development at Boston College. Her research focuses on social and language development, and social interaction dynamics in autistic children and youth. She is interested in pairing qualitative and quantitative methods to better characterize autistic communication and sociality, and in developing community-based strategies to support meaningful engagement of autistic students. More recently, she has explored metascience topics such as researcher ethics and research quality in intervention research for autistic children. Dr. Bottema-Beutel is the director of the autism specialization at LSEHD, a program that prepares future special educators to support autistic students.
Micheal Sandbank is an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Special Education at The University of Texas at Austin. She researches social communication and language interventions for young children with disabilities. Dr. Sandbank is the lead researcher on Project AIM , a scoping systematic review and meta-analysis of group design studies of interventions for young children on the autism spectrum. She was awarded the Young Investigator Award in 2021 for this work, from the International Society of Autism Research.
In this episode, I talk with Occupational Therapist Greg Santucci about the problems with ABA from his perspective as a practitioner, as well as new and better approaches in schools and the challenges of the post-pandemic period in education. An interesting and inspiring conversation!
Greg Santucci is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist and the Founding Director of Power Play Pediatric Therapy. He has been an OT for over 20 years, and currently is a Supervisor of Occupational Therapy at Children’s Specialized Hospital in New Jersey. Greg is the creator of the Model of Child Engagement and has been lecturing nationally for over a decade on topics related to sensory processing, child development, behavior and best practices in the public schools. He has dedicated his career to promoting neurodevelopmentally-informed, relationship-based interventions to help parents and teachers support children of all abilities and learning styles.
Biography:John Summers is Founder and President of Lingua Franca Media, Inc. He has a Ph.D. in intellectual history and has written, taught and presented extensively on topics in culture and history. His recent expose in The Nation looks at relationships between private equity companies and a form of autism service: Applied Behaviour Analytics (or ABA).
Eric Garcia is a journalist based in Washington, D.C. His first book We’re Not Broken: Changing the Autism Conversation is coming out in August 2021. Eric previously worked at The Washington Post, The Hill, Roll Call, National Journal and MarketWatch. His new book uses his life as a springboard to discuss the social and policy gaps that exist in supporting autistic people. It looks at politics; education; employment; independent living; relationships/sexuality; gender; race and the future of the neurodiversity movement.
In this podcast, I interviewed Melissa Eaton, one of the first (and most effective) campaigners against autism pseudoscience. We talked about phony autism cures and what we can all do to stop the people selling them.
Listen to the podcast right here by clicking the audio link below. Listen to this episode on Stitcher here Listen to this episode oniTunes here
Bio: Melissa Eaton, a parent of an autistic child, became aware autistic children were being abused with harmful pseudoscientific and unregulated treatments in 2014, after her son was diagnosed. She joined other activists who were campaigning against it and she is one of the key figures in the movement to get phony MMS “bleach for autism” treatments banned, among others. Her work has beenfeatured on NBCand other media and she recently co-wrote an OpEd for the New York Times about the impact of MMS marketers on the Covid crisis.
In this episode, I talk with Matt Brignall, ND, about how the natural health movement has been co-opted over the past 3 decades by capitalist interests, as well as what we can all do to counter Covid pseudoscience and antivax.
Listen to the podcast here by clicking the audio link below. Listen to this episode onStitcher here
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Bio: Matt Brignall, ND is a naturopathic doctor in Tacoma, Washington. He currently works in a community-based primary care practice. For nearly 20 years, he was a professor in the naturopathic training program at Bastyr University. He left because he felt that the alternative medicine community was losing its ethical bearings, and becoming a threat to individual and public health. In addition to his practice, he is currently working as part of the Medical Reserve Corps COVID-19 response team. Matt is the parent of a 20-year-old daughter with Rett syndrome, and is active in disability advocacy.