On conflicts of interest in autism research: Interview with Kristen Bottema-Beutel and Micheal Sandbank

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 here or iTunes here.
Read the transcript, below audio file.

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Transcribed by Julie-Ann Lee: Transcript_Noncompliant_Bottema-Beutel and Sandbank

Bios

Photographed for Boston College by Caitlin Cunningham

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.

Links

Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. Sandbank, et al. Research Review: Conflicts of Interest (COIs) in autism early intervention research – a meta‐analysis of COI influences on intervention effects

Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. Bottema-Beutel, et al. Adverse event reporting in intervention research for young autistic children.

Journal of American Medical Association-Pediatrics. Sandbank, et al. IBI Intervention Recommendations for Children With Autism in Light of a Changing Evidence Base

“Co-Regulation is Key”: A Conversation with Occupational Therapist Greg Santucci

  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!

Listen to the podcast at the audio link below or on Stitcher here or iTunes here.

Read the transcripts, attached below the audio link.
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Transcribed by Julie-Ann Lee: Transcript_Noncompliant_Santucci

Bio
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.

Links
Learn more about Greg’s work at https://gregsantucci.com/
Greg’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/gregsantucciOT

The role of private equity and lobbying in ABA funding: Talking with investigative journalist John Summers

A portrait photo of a white male with short brown hair, blue shirt and brown coat
John Summers

John Summers’ recent expose in The Nation looks at the relationship between private equity companies and the autism service Applied Behaviour Analytics (or ABA) in Massachusetts, where he lives.

In this episode, John and I talk about the business of ABA and the problematic industries built around autism. His analysis is incredibly key to understanding this industry. Don’t miss it!

Listen to the episode at the audio link below or on Stitcher here or  iTunes here.

Read the transcript below the audio file.

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Transcript by Julie Ann Lee: Transcript_Noncompliant_John_Summers

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).

 

 

“Often, autistic people are seen as inspiring for overcoming ‘autism,’ not for overcoming the obstacles that the world puts around them”: Interview with journalist Eric Garcia

photo of a Latino man with black hair and brown eyes, wearing a white shirt, red tie and black suitjacket, seated at a brown wood table with his arms folded in front of him and colourful photos on the wall behind him.
Eric Garcia

I had a really interesting conversation with journalist Eric Garcia about his upcoming book, We’re Not Broken, which focuses on the social and policy gaps that exist in supporting autistic people.

We talked about the current policy landscape, media bias and the challenges and recent triumphs of the autistic rights movement.

Listen to the podcast here by clicking the audio link below –or on Stitcher here or on iTunes here  (Transcript below audio)

Transcription by Julie Ann Lee: Transcript_Noncompliant_Eric_Garcia
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Bio

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.

My published work/interviews, 2020

If you’re interested in what I’ve been writing outside of this podcast, check out the links below! Also selected interviews.

Articles

New York Times, April 2020: Trump Suggested ‘Injecting’ Disinfectant to Cure Coronavirus? We’re Not Surprised

Autistics for Autistics, April 2020 (co-authored with Raya Shields): We are heroes: A plain-language guide about Covid

New York Times, July 2020: I have cancer: Now my Facebook feed is full of “alternative care” ads

Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism, July 2020: Autistic with Cancer: Six Tips for Navigating the Medical System

Healthy Debate, September 2020: It took moms to hack the Covid quacks

Healthy Debate, October 2020: I’ve got cancer. Will I get the health care I need during a pandemic

Healthy Debate, November 2020: Autism case highlights urgent need to reform Ontario’s regulatory colleges

Autistics for Autistics, December 2020: 2020 has not been a good year for ABA: A research review

Interviewed on podcasts

Body of Evidence (o/p October 2019, w/Melissa Eaton & Amanda Seigler): Campaign Against Phony Autism Cures

The Avalanche, April, 2020: Autism, Disability and Access in the Times of Covid

The Big Story, August 2020: What it’s like to get cancer care during a pandemic

Documenting my cancer treatments on my podcast

July, 2020: Heaven and Earth
November, 2020: Half a woman
December, 2020: Time to breathe

“The things we don’t talk about”: A Cross-Interview with CripChat UK!


I had the great pleasure and honour of talking with Shabaaz and Pete from CripChat UK, on their podcast. We discussed autism pseudoscience, the Sia film controversy and much more.

Listen to the podcast right here by clicking the audio link below or on Stitcher here or on iTunes here .

Transcript: Transcript_CripChatUK_1
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Listen to CripChat UK on Podbean here. Great guests and discussions every week!

 

 

“Remove and normalize”: Discussing Canada’s residential institution history with Megan Linton

megan photoIn this episode, I talk to scholar Megan Linton about the history and current status of residential institutions for autistic and neurodiverse youth in Canada.

Content warning: Discussion of sexual assault, institutional abuse.

Click to hear the audio below or find the podcast on  Stitcher here and  iTunes here


Transcript: Noncompliant_Transcript_Megan_Linton

Bio: Megan Linton is a disabled student earning her Masters of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University, where she is currently working on thesis research surrounding sexual citizenship for institutionalized populations. Megan’s research interests include data gaps and disabled people, incarceration, and legacies of eugenics in Canada.

Megan and I talk about the largely unwritten history of residential institutions for autistic and neurodiverse youth in Canada—a history that she and other scholars are now documenting along with Canada’s eugenics practices, which operated hand in hand with the residential institution system. We also discuss shifting notions of eugenics in the postwar period, revolving around anxieties about “the creation of the conformed family.”

As Megan points out: “This was the goal of the moral reformers for decades leading up to that point. Every single part of constructing Canadian citizenship was about enforcing order and conformity, so when we saw the construction of the carceral settings throughout the mid 19th century then we too saw the building of ‘The Canadian Citizen’ [including] this construction of the deviant other who needs to be put away and those outside of the institution are those who are conforming.”

We also discuss how “reformed” institutions today maintain the same purposes as the older institutions, even as the Canadian government has promised de-institutionalization for decades. Megan discusses how, in Manitoba, provincial political parties bent to lobby pressure to keep the institutions open and how progressive politicians turned their back on human rights in favour of “jobs in the community” and pressure from labour.

One residential institution in Ontario, the CPRI, now a so-called therapy centre for neurodiverse youth, is housed in a former sanitarium and located at the end of a street named Sanitarium Road. Like the older residential institutions, which meted out class action human rights settlements in the hundreds of millions, the CPRI is now the subject of a class action by former residents as recent as 2011.

Megan and I focussed on both the large institutions (50 or more youth) and then on the small “i” institutions–such as group homes. Both Megan and I place these on a continuum of segregation, along with all-day programs such as sheltered workshops for adults and Intensive Behaviour Intervention centres for preschoolers.

Megan and I conclude by talking about alternatives – viable solutions such as independent-supported community living and the money-follows-the-person model in some parts of the US. In Canada, 80% of federal funds for housing for I/DD people go towards segregated housing or “congregate care” homes and only 20% goes towards independent living in the community. Yet there’s robust research that shows clear benefits of living in the community, for I/DD individuals and for the community. Canadian politicians

To change the policy landscape, we need to apply pressure on politicians as we also work for a broad societal understanding of the human rights of disabled people and the true options that are available outside of Canada’s residential institution model.

Links
Linton, Megan. We Have Always Been Disposable: The Structural Violence of Neoliberal Healthcare. Canadian Dimension. March 31, 2020.

Autistics for Autistics. Controversial Residential Institution to Lead Workshops for Parents of Autistic Children. a4aontario.com. January 3, 2020.

“Everyone Can Do Something to Stop Autism Pseudoscience”: Interview with Melissa Eaton

Melissa photoIn 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 on iTunes here

Transcription, by Julie-Anne Lee: Transcript_Melissa_Eaton_Noncompliant

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 been featured on NBC and other media and she recently co-wrote an OpEd for the New York Times about the impact of MMS marketers on the Covid crisis. She has worked tirelessly, giving her time and energy for free to stop autism pseudoscience. Because of her efforts, the movement has made many strides in the uphill battle to get our regulators to recognize the human rights of autistic children and protect them. Melissa is a true hero and I was honoured to speak with her for this podcast!

The episode: We started with a summary of some of the major phony autism cures/ autism pseudoscience. We focused on chelation, MMS (bleach for autism) and GcMAF. We discussed why they are dangerous; how popular they are; how sellers market to parents via social media; and how much sellers profit from their scams. We then explored legal regulations… when they work (stories of success) and why it is often hard to get governments to stop the scammers from selling these products (the challenges we still face).

We also talked about the role of social media and journalism in exposing and de-platforming the scams. We discussed the broader societal biases against autistic people–and against children that allow parents to embrace these “cures” and thatalso  prevent regulators from using common sense and truly shutting them down.

This last point pivoted us to a discussion of autistic acceptance and how the rights of autistic children to health and safety is core to the neurodiversity movement. The first group to identify autism pseudoscience was the autistic-led UK-based group Autistic Inclusive Meets when it launched in 2016. In Canada, Autistics for Autistics launched in 2017 with stopping phony cures an integral part of its mandate. In the US, Fierce Autistics and Allies and In the Loop About Neurodiversity also immediately incorporated fighting pseudoscience into their platforms. The project Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism regularly covers the need to confront autism pseudoscience and to make reforms within the field of autism science.

But the campaign to end autism pseudoscience does not get any support from traditional, large, NT-led “autism” organizations such as Autism Speaks and Autism Canada (both of which have a long history of reinforcing autism pseudoscience). Melissa and I talked about that towards the end of the podcast:

Anne: What’s happening to these children is torture. Autistic children are being tortured. Where are the “autism organizations”? They are nowhere to be found. Because somewhere deep inside, they can’t make that leap towards autistic acceptance. And it shows that the “autism organizations” are really broken. The people who are going to bring about human rights protections are the autistic-led self-advocacy organizations, because they’re the only ones who are… even making a statement about autism pseudoscience.

These appear, to us, to be really basic concepts, so we really have to ask ourselves why. Why won’t the mainstream autism organizations take a stand on this?

Melissa: These [mainstream] organizations continue to collect money from communities. This money could be going to things that actually help autistics. And they’re not addressing the problems of autistics like autistic-led organizations are doing. Autistic-led groups definitely have the grasp of what needs to happen and the supports that are needed within their communities, yet they’re overshadowed by these bigger organizations who do not have autistic interests in mind.

Melissa and I talked then about how we keep hope, and the smaller victories that build towards the kind of major reform we are slowly achieving. Melissa pointed out the role that each individual can have in education and the importance of grassroots advocacy. “Everybody can do something,” whether it is signing petitions, reporting, flagging, complaints, letters, media awareness, or many other means of support. Conversations in parent groups also make a world of difference. After the interview was over, Melissa and I talked about a few groups online that are bringing these parent discussions to the fore, including Autism Inclusivity and Autistic Allies.

Thanks for listening!

How “crunchy” got crushed: An interview with naturopathic doctor Matt Brignall

Matt photoIn 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 on Stitcher here
Listen to this episode on iTunes here


Transcription by Julie-Ann Lee: Transcription_Matt_Brignall_Noncompliant

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.

The Episode: I was really glad to talk to Matt because we come from similar backgrounds and we have both witnessed the natural foods/health movement, which was once mostly about supporting workers and farmers, now being co-opted by corporate interests who’ve morphed it around a model of personal “wellness,” complete with gurus telling people which snake oil products to buy (and earning billions from it). We also addressed how, in Covid times, predatory right wing interests are leveraging people’s fears to build momentum for political and white- supremacist movements.

Persuasion across differences: Matt and I talked about science communication; namely, how do we really convince people, within our own families and communities, to steer clear of the toxicity of the Mercola/Natural News empire, to detect pseudoscience and to understand the importance of vaccinating? There is a clear need for more compassion and compromise, for the sake of persuasion and also for preventing radicalization. We need to stop the divisiveness between science and anti-science because this divisiveness only serves to make things worse.

Matt’s website, NDs for Vaccines, offers a wealth of information for naturopaths as well as consumers on the safety and the need for vaccines. It’s really about creating an environment to find common ground and solutions– that might not always be the solutions we want in a perfect world, but which are realistic and bring us closer to public health goals.

In my own family and community (homeschool community), I follow these guidelines: choose wisely who I want to spend energy discussing this with (not trolls!); focus on common perspectives; mainly lead by example (talk about what my own family is doing and why, rather than “should-ing” on people); never call names or make fun of a person; focus on conversing with people I know personally; and show flexibility (e.g., be open to solutions that aren’t my perfect solution).

Monsanto & the problem of orthodoxies: Monsanto “millennial engagement” campaign (which I reference in the podcast) is an example of how corporate influence on our community really diluted a central message about vaccine safety. Much like Mercola & Company co-opted the natural health movement, so did players like Monsanto attempt to infiltrate issue/interest-based social media groups (environmental, pro-vax, STEM) to develop an association between their product and a range of science-based movements—seeming to want to create a “science orthodoxy” in which supporting their corporate brand was central to being a good scientific comrade.

Journalist Kavin Senapathy  observed the following dynamic from Vance Crowe, Monsanto’s Director of the initiative: “Crowe preached a scientific gospel of GMOs that went something like this: If you’re pro-science, you must be pro-GMO. If you’re anti-Monsanto, then you’re anti-GMO. Therefore, if you’re anti-Monsanto, you’re anti-science. His objective, it seemed, was to render opposition to GMOs as ridiculous as belief in Bigfoot, and to amass a movement that could be counted on to shout that message from the rooftops.”

Monsanto’s intrusion into specific science-related groups created credibility problems for the groups, especially vaccine-focused groups. At the height of it, vaccines and Monsanto had become mixed in some dialogues, as if one couldn’t support vaccines without uncritically supporting Monsanto. We now know much of the GMO rhetoric had been planted in science groups by the company itself and that a few of high-profile “pro-science” voices were actively promoting the Monsanto brand. Going forward, we should all take care to stay on topic if we want to be persuasive (e.g., climate change, vaccines) rather than demanding adherence to completely unrelated belief systems, especially when these focus around a brand.

Re-open protests and the radical right
Much like Monsanto’s approach, pseudoscience purveyors like Mercola/Natural News and Del Bigtree’s enterprise infiltrated counter-cultures on social media (including the home ed community) in an attempt to institute a sort of orthodoxy that conveniently includes supporting their brand. Within that belief system, if you have a nuanced perspective on nearly anything, you’re just a sheeple.

Ironically, Mercola, Bigtree and other leaders require a fairly sheep-like adherence to their belief system. This is deeply disturbing, especially as antivaccine and vaccine-hesitant groups have been drifting further to the right wing politically, particularly since their views are currently being validated by the current US administration (see links, below.) Followers are not just being told how to buy anymore. They are also being told how to vote.

Political groups like the Tea Party have been promoting and leveraging the re-open protests for their own agendas and sometimes for a corporate agenda (see links, below). And we are now dealing with the US President normalizing what were formerly seen as fringe, pseudoscience views. Examples include Trump’s supportive comments about antivax, and his seeming to recommend products like MMS bleach for Covid which “wellness guru” Mercola also endorses. (See my OpEd about this in the links below.)

In many ways, corporate interests and the radical right have been working together to radicalize antivax, home ed and other traditionally non-partisan groups towards the far right (see links at end). Beyond the grassroots communities, right wing lawmakers in the US–and at least one far-right political party and the Yellow Vests movement in Canada are also leveraging the alienation within antivax communities to recruit new members (see links below).

Social media is a key pathway for this. It seems like good news this week that Natural News was removed from the Facebook platform… but these groups can also move to new, even less-regulated platforms, and of course they even have a bigger platform now within some powerful political movements. Those of us working against pseudoscience and/or in antifascism really have our work cut out for us.

As Matt states: “We’re really only in chapter 2 or 3 of a very long book.”

Links from the podcast:
Inside Monsanto’s Millennial Outreach GMO campaign

Steve Silberman’s TED Talk about antivax and the power of storytelling

New York Times: Donald Trump and Covid Pseudoscience  (I co-wrote this OpEd!)

Washington Post: The Empire of Joseph Mercola

Washington Post: The powerful right wing networks behind the re-open protests in the US

NYT: Corporate interests behind the re-open rallies

DeVos -funded group organized re-open rallies in Michigan

Canada: Free North Patriots recruit from antivax groups for re-open rallies

SPLC: Right-wing militias and antivax converge at re-open rallies

Media Matters: FB said they wold remove re-open protest events. It didn’t

Canada, Press Progress: Who is behind the Free North Patriots?

NBC News: Natural News Pages Removed from Facebook

Reading Camus’ The Plague in the times of Covid

plague cu I read Albert Camus’ The Plague for the first time in university. My prof told the class that the book was a metaphor for the rise of fascism in Europe, but her interpretation didn’t ring true to me. The main point of my term paper: “actually, it’s just a story about a plague” earned me a big old C grade. Turns out I was right, though.

Camus was a writer of extraordinary imagination, and it is a sublimely comforting experience to read this book again for what it is: a story about a plague–and how we respond culturally to plagues. Somehow in his brilliance, Camus managed to time-travel through this work, capturing the last few weeks of our lives in our cities in 2020 as he describes the beginning of the plague in the City of Oran in the 1940s.

“Everybody knows that pestilences have a way of recurring in the world; yet somehow we find it hard to believe in ones that crash down on our heads from a blue sky. …A pestilence isn’t a thing made to man’s measure; therefore we tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away. But it doesn’t always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it is men who pass away. …

“Our townsfolk were not more to blame than the others; they forgot to be modest, that was all, and thought that everything was still possible for them; which presumed the pestilences were impossible. They went on doing business, arranged for journeys and formed views. How should they have given a thought to anything like plague, which rules out any future, cancels journeys, silences the exchange of views. They fancied themselves free, and no one will ever be free so long as there are pestilences.” (1)

Camus is describing a timeless idea: that the kind of freedom that we enjoy in urban spaces exists because we believe in it, because we have dreamed it. The moment that we stop believing in it (as we are doing now, out of necessity), it ceases. And then when it is resurrected it’s joined by a new companion, the soft shadow of our grief.

Remember after 9/11, the saying “If we have [x restriction], we’re just letting the terrorists win”? We were all grappling with how to keep the dream alive so our cities didn’t die. The new tower was a talisman; it kept our dream aloft and our very life as urbanites viable. But it was a changed life. There was a clearly delineated before and after.

In the years after 9/11 I felt a new sense of peril, imagining how terrorism threats and fears would change the things we take for granted in the city. As days and years rolled by, I watched and waited for that freedom to disappear, feeling a punch in my gut every time a new metal detector was installed, a gate erected, a guard posted. At the same time I also felt a sense of gratitude for the parts of the before that did remain. In Toronto, I was still able to jog down the subway steps and hop on Line 1, to take a ride every day and nothing happened. I’d look around and revel in the aliveness of the dream we had made real, even as I worried that it could be fleeting.

I realize more now that we’ve always had limited control over keeping our lives free in the city, no matter how tall the tower or how big the dream. Our freedom is currently tethered by that thing that just came crashing down, right out of the blue sky (although for anyone looking up, it had been in clear plain sight). And despite the marketing jive of our modern snake oil “Covid cure” hawkers, the current threat to our freedom (the pandemic) is at its core natural—and what saves us is the unnatural, our response and vigilance to control and cure people of it. As Camus writes “What’s natural is the microbe. All the rest – health, integrity, purity,– is a product of the human will.”

The failure of so many people to be vigilant in this time is heartbreaking, as it mostly always has been during times of plague. But how many of us would have predicted that it wasn’t small acts of enemies of the state, but rather the ignorance of the crowd that has brought us to this place without freedom? Even as the pandemic was fully bearing down on our cities, people continued to walk freely on the air of a dream; as Camus put it, “think[ing] that everything was still possible,” so fearful of waking from the dream that they imperiled our freedoms and endangered so many lives.

The state responded rationally, with restrictions to save us all–from the crowd. And here we are, alone in our apartments trying to make peace with what just happened and fearing for the future. Urban life is now restricted in some places to a kitchen and a bedroom, and a view out the window at the vicissitudes of weather. As Camus wrote about Oran: “Thus each of us had to be content to live only for the day, alone under the vast indifference of the sky.”

We now wait through the horrors of this moment for the end–and at the end, for our cities to come back to life. I don’t want to give spoilers for Camus’ story, about how the city of Oran responded during and after the epidemic, but suffice to say we can learn a lot from the story itself, and from the history of pandemics in our world, about the kind of shift in our consciousness we need to be making. We need, frankly, to make a move away from regressive notions of the organic and intuitive and more towards the rational and scientific in order to steel ourselves against the next threat, to protect our cities and the wonder of urban life through practical measures and not just dreams. We will need all our scientists, our artists and advocates to make that a reality. For now, we try to stay safe, living for the day.

1. Camus, Albert. The Plague. 1991 Vintage edition. 37
2. A reference to the chapbook by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. 1955. Pocket Poets Series Number 1. City Lights Press.

Note: For another analysis of The Plague in contemporary context, please see “Albert Camus’ The Plague and our own Great Reset” by Stephen Metcalf, March 23, 2020, Los Angeles Times. It is really, really interesting!!

“Punishments and rewards can get one thing, under certain conditions – temporary compliance” Interview with Alfie Kohn

Kohn photo  This is a fascinating interview with Alfie Kohn, who has been researching and writing about education, parenting, authority and co-operative learning for years, driving home a simple fact: rewards and punishment are two sides of the same coin –and they’re not helping us to raise the kind of children we say we want to raise.

Listen to the podcast at the link below or read transcripts (also below). Links to the podcast on iTunes and Stitcher at the end of this post.

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Transcription by Julie-Ann Lee: Alfie Kohn transcript_Noncompliant podcast_2020

Bio: Alfie Kohn is an expert on the problem of compliance-training and reward-based systems in the schools, the work world and in the family. His many books include the classics PUNISHED BY REWARDS (1993) and BEYOND DISCIPLINE: From Compliance to Community in which he explores alternatives to our merit-based approach at work and school. He has also critically examined the influence of behaviorism on our education system and the power of cooperative learning, altruism and empathy.

The episode: Alfie and I had a fascinating conversation about social control and children’s rights. We also spoke at length about behaviourism/ABA. “The problem with ABA,” says Kohn, “is not just with the method, but with the goal. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that when these kids grow up they are struggling to try to figure out how to make decisions, be assertive and advocate for themselves …because the whole precondition for the temporarily effective use of rewards is the opposite of independence—it’s dependence.”

So much more insight, as well as interesting discussions of research and the path forward, in this podcast. Definitely listen to the end!

Links from the conversation:
Alfie Kohn’s website: https://www.alfiekohn.org/

Listen to this episode on Stitcher here
Listen to this episode on iTunes here

“Neurodivergent individuals challenge society to question exactly what normalcy is, if it even exists to begin with” –Interview with Gaby from A4A

In this podcast, Gaby and I discussed racism in the education system, the disability hierarchy, media bias and representations of the self-advocacy movement, eye contact and cultural norms, the power of social media, the situation in Ontario and more!

Listen to the podcast at the audio link below. Listen to this episode on Stitcher here
& on iTunes here.


Transcript, by Julie Ann Lee:
Transcript_Gaby_Noncompliant

Bio: Gaby received her BA in Biological Anthropology from the University of Toronto. In addition to contributing to the critically-acclaimed anthology “All The Weight of our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism,” Gaby is one of the founding members of Autistics for Autistics Ontario, the first provincial autistic self-advocacy group in Ontario and an international affiliate of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.

Her work includes programs to educate health providers on autistic patient experiences and needs, employment accessibility outreach and communications with the governments of Ontario and Canada to reform autism policy. In addition to being diagnosed autistic in early adulthood, she also holds other identities such as being multiply neurodivergent and the first in her family to attend university in Canada.

The Episode: In this podcast, Gaby and I talk about racism, ableism and the overlapping oppressions faced by her family as newcomers to Canada in dealing with schools, the autism services system and higher education. Despite the Government of Canada’s official rhetoric about diversity, Canadian schools and service organizations continue to marginalize newcomers, failing at effective outreach for services, discouraging children from speaking their language of origin and operating community services without meaningful inclusion of people of Colour. Students of Colour are still targeted disproportionately for disciplinary actions and overtly or tacitly streamed out of the path to higher education.

“The social workers, the City workers, anyone behind the front desk did not look like me—or like any other resident in the community they were supposed to be serving.”

While positive models exist in other jurisdictions (supported decision-making, the money-follows-the-person model, independent supported living, school inclusion) somehow Ontario’s system isn’t yet being reformed in any meaningful way. This episode is very connected to what’s happening here—and also part a much longer, on-going discussion within disability rights and autistic self-advocacy towards addressing bias within our own organizations. We have a lot of work ahead of us.

Resources
All the Weight of Our Dreams explores intersectional oppression and realities for autistics of Colour, and it is a must-read, in a world that is too often white-washed and centred on an imagined norm (neurotypicality). Ordering info below:

All The Weight of Our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism
Autism and Safety, a report by ASAN on police bias against racialized and autistic Americans
The Autism Wars, blog by Kerima Cevik
Autistic Hoya, Webpage by Lydia X.Z. Brown
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (US)
Autistic, Trans and Latinx: My Survival is our Community’s Survival Against Gentrification by Ruby Herida Eterna De Amor
Black, Female and Autistic: Hiding in Plain Sight, Interview with Moreniki GIwa Onaiwu by Matthew Rozsa
What Does a Black Autistic Man Look Like? A personal essay by N.I. NIcholson
What it Feels like to be an Autistic Person of Colour in the eyes of the Police, by Eric Garcia

“We need much better standards of research in autism intervention”: An interview with Dr. Damian Milton

damianIn this broad-ranging interview, Dr. Milton & I discuss the theory of the “double empathy problem”; hyperfocus/flow state; autistic parenting; the medical versus social model of disability; the subjectivity of outcome measures; and the diverse ways in which autism itself is framed and defined.

Listen to the interview at the audio link below or find the transcript below that! Links to iTunes and Stitcher at the end of this post.

 

Transcribed by Julie Ann Lee: Transcript_Milton_Noncompliant

Bio
Dr. Damian Milton is a sociologist and lecturer at the University of Kent, on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities through the Tizard Centre. He is also a consultant for the National Autistic Society in the UK, a Director at the National Autism Task Force, Chair of the Participatory Autism Research Collective (PARC Network) and involved in many other research and practice related projects. His most recent book is A Mismatch of Salience: Explorations in Autism Theory and Practice. His scholarship is central to a paradigm shift to understandings of autism in the field.

The Interview
Dr. Milton’s writing about the double empathy problem, which neatly problematizes the Theory of Mind hypothesis about autism and frames empathy as it is actually defined – a reciprocal state, and the misunderstandings between autistic and non-autistic people likewise as reciprocal—is seminal, and has since borne itself out in the research of current scholars such as Noah Sasson, Brett Heasman, Elizabeth Fletcher and Catherine Crompton.

In short: relationships are a two-way street. It isn’t that “autistic people can’t imagine other peoples’ perspectives” (as theory of mind suggests) but rather, that autistic people and neurotypicals lack a reciprocity for understanding one another’s communication, movement and experience of the sensory world. Generally, we are all social beings, needing love and warmth, wanting to give and care for others, but this sociability (and even the desire and expression for connection) gets mistranslated between neurotypes. We understand our in-group; we struggle beyond it.

But, you may be asking: “well, duh. Why did researchers before Milton et al., not understand that empathy is reciprocal and that autistic people are…well, people?” We can find some of the answers in the older, medical model of disability—an approach under which any problem a disabled person faced was conceived as a reflection of their own deficits, and where social factors (barriers, exclusion) were not considered (as they are under the newer, social model of disability). Under the medical model, the individual is pathologized by professionals ergo objectified; even actually broken down into parts within some behaviourist-influenced disciplines such as ABA.

And while the medical model of disability has widely been discarded in much other disability praxis/public policy, it is still very present, at least outside of the research world, in the application of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) and its impact on the current autism therapy world.

Just look at this section from an article (in another galaxy far away from Milton’s work)–a 2017 ABA text: “Until a child is mainly controlled by a desire to fit in with peers and please the people they love in the verbal/social world, ABA treatment should be the priority.” That article, which debates whether parents should allow their autistic child to attend school instead of an ABA centre (!!!!), views the goal of autism therapy as “to move a child from reacting to the world though their senses (feeling, tasting, touching etc. – sensory motor world) to reacting in the world because they are trying to please others and live up to their parents and society’s expectations.”

The ABA perspective, in penalizing sensory responses, really deeply pathologizes being human. It is weird. Milton and I talk about this, as well as how medical-model based approaches determine goals, objectives and even need. When these are defined by ABA practitioners, they look very different than when defined by the very people that autism services are designed to serve—autistic children and adults.

Why, for so long, has autism services been defining “need” based on its own quirky rubrics, rather than communicating with its subjects to find out what their needs were? Perhaps because they were never allowed to be subjects—only objects–in that model.

“Without taking autistic sensibilities into account,” says Dr. Milton, “you’re quite possibly going to harm people or do damage. And that’s a problem of practitioners working with autistic people everywhere, because trying not to harm people should be the number one priority ethically.” Milton argues that we need more participation of autistic people in understanding the best support strategies: “what they’re for and how people are treated, and much better standards of research in autism intervention.” As well, he suggests that we need a rethinking of the goals, for practitioners to be reflective and approach their practice with humility.

To grant subjectivity to autistic people in research and practice is a paradigm shift from segregation towards inclusion. Indeed, we can’t get to inclusion as a society without it. This is why autistic self-advocates are pushing back so much on ABA, because its counter–the social model of disability–is essential towards acknowledging our humanity.

And it’s why discussions about our rights must include an unpacking of the philosophy of difference. We need to do some big-time deconstruction in order to build a new ethos of inclusion! Milton and the new generation of autistic (and affirming) researchers are bringing great promise to fulfilling the highest goals and objectives for autism research—human rights, quality of life and dignity for all autistic people.

Listen to this episode on Stitcher here
Listen to this episode on iTunes here

“Creating a home environment that works for everybody”: Interview with Shannon Rosa

shannon  I had a fascinating conversation with Shannon Rosa about parenting, autism pseudoscience and autistic acceptance.

Listen to the podcast at the audio link below or on Stitcher here and on iTunes here

Read the transcript. See link below the audio file.

 

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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT Shannon_Rosa_transcription

Bio:
Shannon Des Roches Rosa’s writing and interviews are featured at Huffington Post Parents, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, MacWorld, Parents Magazine and more. Shannon is a co-founder and editor of The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism. She has edited several anthologies and contributed stories to numerous books and the newly edited version of the classic she co-edited, The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism is soon to be published. She lives with her family near San Francisco.

The episode: Shannon and I talked about the impact of class and consumerism on parenting, AAC, shifting autism research priorities, the ideologies behind antivax and cure culture, the “epidemic” myth, inclusion and universal design–and so much more. Our conversation, which wandered between the personal and the political, circled back to the core message of the Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism book and blog. As Shannon put it: “There’s a lot of people out there who are going to try and tell you what your kid needs, but really, autistic people are the ones who actually do know.”

Trauma-informed Mindfulness, Teaching & Care: Interview with Dr Sam Himelstein

sam photo

I recently talked with Sam Himelstein, the president of the Center for Adolescent Studies , about the pitfalls of pop-culture “mindfulness” and the importance of trauma-informed care.

Listen to the podcast on audio link below, or  on Stitcher here or on iTunes here.

Read the transcript, below the audio file.

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Transcript, by Julie Ann Lee: Himelstein_transcript-Noncompliant

Bio
Sam Himelstein, Ph.D., is a Licensed Psychologist specializing in working with juvenile justice-involved youth, addiction, and trauma. He travels the country speaking at conferences and conducting professional trainings and is the president of the Center for Adolescent Studies.  His mission is to help young people become aware of the power of self-awareness and transformation, and train professionals with similar interests.

The episode
It was inspiring to hear Sam talk about working with at-risk and incarcerated youth, about “rolling with resistance” rather than top-down authority; building trust; trauma-informed care; mindful walking and the importance of bilateral stimulation (what we call stimming); individual strategies for fostering interpersonal safety; and also about the “mindfulness” fad and how to change the problematic dynamics around it.

Sam’s compassion and understanding about how kids feel comes in part from having been through the system himself. He knows that for anyone working with kids, especially at-risk kids, the first priority is building an authentic relationship with them to truly help improve their life outcomes and get them out of the school-to-prison pipeline. He is breaking new ground in his approach, especially around empowerment and rethinking some long-held beliefs about authority.

We also talked about the problems with behaviourist approaches that focus on measuring outcomes—which is the core of Applied Behaviour Analytics and is also a trend in many mainstream classrooms (thanks in no small part to Common Core). Sam says: “The present day paradigm in therapy, the post-positivist view in the field of education really focuses on outcomes, a small slice of outcomes, which is behavioural outcomes. …You see a lot of wanting to reduce behavioural symptoms but not as much wanting to increase other subjective outcomes that lead to greater life success.”

A lingering question, which I don’t think anyone has yet answered, is what an autistic-informed-and-led mindfulness could look like. Another very crucial question: what is the impact of existing forms of mindfulness training on autistic youth? How does mindfulness manifest differently, depending on neurotype? In seeking some answers, we can look towards the work of Damian Milton about “flow state,” which we will be discussing in an upcoming episode.

Links:
The Centre for Adolescent Studies

“Regulatory bodies should not be hiding behind CAM policies” Interview with Dr. Philippe Chouinard

Philippe
It was an honour to speak with Dr. Philippe Chouinard. Dr. Chouinard is a leader in the movement against autism pseudoscience and a protector of children’s rights.

Listen at the audio link below –or on Stitcher here , or iTunes here

Read the transcript (below audio file)


Transcript, by Julie Ann Lee: Transcript_Chouinard_Noncompliant

Bio
Dr. Philippe Chouinard is a family physician based out of Moncton New Brunswick. He has been involved in a developmental paediatrics practice with a specialization in ADHD & autistic populations since 2010. His work has led him to take a strong stance against pseudoscience marketing to physicians and health misinformation on social media.

The Podcast
Dr. Chouinard has worked to stop big online retailers from listing products such as MMS (autism “bleach cure”) and challenged the normalization of marketing pseudoscience within the professional organizations to which he belongs. Big Herba markets to physicians as much as… the other guys, and without the same product regulation on claims or product quality.

When pseudoscience insinuates itself in professional medical conferences, as Dr. Chouinard discusses, it quickly blurs the line between science-based medicine and snake oil– and that’s a big part of the public health problems we face today around such issues as lowering vaccination rates, autism pseudoscience and more.

We also talked about Canada’s need for regulatory reform on complementary/alternative medicine (CAM). As Dr. Chouinard put it: “Regulatory bodies should be adhering to evidence-based standards, not hiding behind CAM policies.”

This episode was cut a bit short, so it ends with some of my own thoughts about proxy consent and CAM.

Links from the conversation
Health Canada’s Health Product Complaint Form
Physicians’ Guide to Autism Pseudoscience, by A4A

“Why don’t we work autistic people into inherently fantastic scenarios like a space opera or a globetrotting adventure story?” Interview with comedian Michael McCreary

McCreary picI interviewed 23-year-old comedian Michael McCreary about media portrayals, comedy & so much more!

Listen to the audio link below or on Stitcher here
or on iTunes here.

Read the transcript,  below the audio file.

 

Transcript by Julie Ann Lee: Transcript_McCreary_Noncompliant

Bio
Michael began stand-up comedy at the age of 13. He has performed stand-up shows, keynote addresses and panel presentations across Canada and the US. He just published the book entitled “Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic” and recently delivered a TEDx Talk on the topic of autism acceptance. He has also consulted on the television show “Ransom” to ensure authenticity of an autistic character and has appeared on CBC television and radio.

The Episode
It was so much fun to talk to Michael!! His thoughts on comedy, writing, neurodiversity and autistic representation are very interesting. I’m going to dispense with all my analysis here and just say: have a listen.

Links mentioned in the podcast

Michael’s book: Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic
Canadian Down Syndrome Society: “Anything But Sorry” video
Pablo show: Pablo-Official YouTube channel
Michael’s Facebook page

 

 

“There is an inherent conflict of interest in professional self-regulation”: Interview with Bad Science Watch’s Ryan Armstrong

ryan pic

This week I interviewed Ryan Armstrong of the pseudoscience watchdog group Bad Science Watch Canada.

Listen at the link below or on Stitcher here
or on iTunes here

Read the transcript below the audio file.

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Transcript by Julie Ann Lee: Transcript_Ryan_Armstrong_Noncompliant

Bio
Ryan Armstrong is the Executive Director of Bad Science Watch Canada, an independent non-profit consumer protection watchdog and science advocacy organization dedicated to improving the lives of Canadians by countering bad science.

Ryan has a PhD in biomedical engineering and an undergraduate degree in medical biophysics (BMSc). His research has spanned across multiple domains including bioethics, medical imaging, image processing, human-computer interaction and surgical simulation. He became interested in science-based activism after encountering false cancer treatment claims in his community. Learning that these practitioners were regulated health professionals, he found that the regulatory system was not adequately protecting the public.

The Episode
Ryan and I talked about several issues around “natural health products” (such as vitamin and herbal supplements) and off-label use of prescription drugs in Canada. These issues include:

  • lapses in inspection for integrity;
  • misleading labeling claims;
  • proxy consent for children and others who can’t give informed consent.

In addition to regulatory issues, Ryan and I discussed the predatory nature of false marketing claims and the future of regulation in Canada. I learned so much from this interview about the issues in Canada, as well as major projects in the works and up ahead for Bad Science Watch, an amazing organization. Ryan, thank you for this insightful interview!

Resources
Bad Science Watch website
Twitter: @badsciencewatch
On Facebook: Bad Science Watch

Disrupting the Autism Services Market: Interview with Foundations for Divergent Minds founder Oswin Latimer

Oswin Latimer-1
Listen to the full podcast at the audio link below or on Stitcher here or on iTunes here

Read the transcript, below the audio link.


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Transcript by Julie Ann Lee: Transcribed_Noncompliant_Oswin_Latimer

Bio
Oswin Latimer is an indigenous, non-binary, Autistic adult, parent to 3 neurodivergent children and a disability advocate. Oswin is a founder of Foundations For Divergent Minds, which we will focus on in this episode. Prior to founding Foundations for Divergent Minds, Oswin was Director of Community Engagement with the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) and in addition to activist and education projects there, they represented the autistic community to policymakers in the US Departments of Labor,  Education, Personnel Management and others.

After leaving ASAN, Oswin spent several years as a disability consultant, advising parents on ways to set up their homes and create individualized education plans that better met their child’s needs. They also compiled and edited Navigating College: A Handbook on Self Advocacy Written for Autistic Students from Autistic Adults, among other projects.

About This Episode
The Foundations for Divergent Minds model, which Oswin co-founded, is a framework designed by autistic and neurodivergent people for use by families and professionals working with autistic and neurodivergent children. Based on Neurodiversity, FDM works on the principle that when a child struggles it is because their surroundings need to be adjusted–and assessment should find what is missing from their environment. It focuses on areas including: Sensory Integration; Executive Function; Communication; Social Interaction; and Emotional Regulation.

FDM is a portable, affordable approach that is based on equity and access –and in the short time since its launch, it has disrupted the autism services market in a brilliant way, as we discuss in the podcast!

Thanks again, Oswin, for an inspiring interview.

Link:
Foundations for Divergent Minds

“We don’t even need to reinvent the wheel: the wheel’s there”: Interview with Cal Montgomery

Cal photoListen to the podcast at the audio link below or on Stitcher here
or on iTunes here

Read the transcript, below the audio file.

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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT: Cal_Montgomery_Noncompliant_transcript

Bio
Cal Montgomery is a trans, queer, autistic, physically disabled activist and writer in the United States and a survivor of long-term institutionalization. He is a Director of the Board at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, engages in direct actions and civil disobedience around disability rights issues and is a former member of ADAPT, the US direct-action organization.

Cal is at the forefront of action against the electric shock aversives used at the Judge Rotenberg Center in Massachusetts, which we talk about in the podcast. Cal is probably best known in the neurodiversity community for his essay “Critic of the Dawn”. In it, he writes: “Disability is injustice, not tragedy; unequal treatment, not inherent inequality.” I highly recommend you check out that essay as well as following Cal’s blog, Watch Well: A Blog about Disability.

The interview
Cal’s activism and analysis is informed in part by his own experiences as a survivor of residential institutions and, after institutionalization, working for some time in group homes. Cal describes how the institutional model is replicated in group home settings, even when they have a veneer of independent living. As he observes: “It’s really not that hard to take a program that looks like it supports self-determination and make it all about control. And we see it done every day.” The goal of disability rights is to dismantle the relics of the residential institution approach and to support self-determination–independent supported living–instead. “We need to make it so that people are running their own lives and staff are not running their lives.”

We talked about the Judge Rotenberg Centre (JRC), a residential institution that has been using shock torture on autistic and IDD residents, with a device that has now been banned by the FDA. The JRC has continued to use it against the FDA ban and the international professional association of ABA providers has endorsed its use. Both ADAPT and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network have a campaign to get the FDA to enforce the ban and #StopTheShock.

We also talked about the present day situation of institutions, the fight for fair housing and more. Despite some of the difficult subject matter of this podcast, I walked away with a feeling of hope, the kind of hope that is given by shedding a light on truth–one of the many, many gifts that Cal brings to the movement. Thank you, Cal.

Links and Sources:
Critic of the Dawn, an essay by Cal Montgomery
Cal’s Blog, Watch Well: A Blog About Disability
Missing Pieces, by Irving Kinsola

Interview with Bruce Uditsky, CEO Emeritus of Inclusion Alberta

Bruce photo
Listen at the audio link below or on Stitcher here
or on iTunes here

Read the transcript, below the audio.


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Transcript by Julie Ann Lee: Transcript_Noncompliant_Uditsky

Bio: Bruce Uditsky, M.Ed., is the CEO Emeritus of Inclusion Alberta and its former CEO for over 25 years. He is internationally recognized for his leadership and advocacy in social justice and inclusion for individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families. Bruce is the founder of Inclusive Post-Secondary Education and co-founder of the Rotary Employment Partnerships, both of which have been formally recognized as world-leading innovations. He has consulted and taught in many countries and is the author and co-author of books, chapters and articles on inclusion. He is the parent of two adult sons, one of whom has Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and intellectual disabilities.

Bruce is a recipient of the Alberta Centennial Medal, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities Gary McPherson Leadership Award.

Discussion
“There are far too few schools who operate on the basis of what the research and knowledge have said for decades, actually,” says Bruce–and this is perhaps one of the most frustrating parts about doing work on human rights and inclusion in schools in Canada.

In this interview, Bruce talked about the use of restraint and isolation on special education students and the need for tracking, regulation, enforcement and appropriate training in positive strategies, trauma-enforced care, de-escalation and alternatives to teacher violence. He also talked about the core biases that have prevented real change, and some amazing initiatives that counter those biases. We also talked about his work through Rotary Employment Partnerships to provide fair opportunities at competitive wages for disabled Albertans. An incredibly informative, and thought-provoking interview!

Thank you again, Bruce, and everyone, for all your hard work on this. Inclusion Alberta and its partners have made school a safer place for Alberta kids. Although there is more work to be done, the seclusion ban in Alberta schools has set a valuable precedent for all provinces and territories.

Links:
Inclusion Alberta
Alberta’s ban on isolation in public schools
CBC News: Autistic Boy Locked Naked in Alberta School’s Isolation Room
Toronto Life: Autistic Student Locked in a School Seclusion Room for Hours without Food or Water
A4A’s Report to the Education Ministry: Human Rights in Special Education
A4A’s Report to the Education Ministry: School Inclusion that Works
A4A’s Report to the United Nations Health Rapporteur: Human Rights in Ontario Group Homes

 

“It models how to relate, in a way that’s not overwhelming and respects autonomy” Interview with autistic mentor Raya Shields

Podcast
Listen to the podcast at the audio link below or on Stitcher here or on iTunes here

Read the transcript, below the audio file.

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Transcribed by Julie Ann Lee:  Transcript_Noncompliant_Shields

Bio
Raya Shields just received her Master’s Degree from York University (Toronto) in the school of Critical Disability Studies. Her master’s thesis focuses on human rights abuses at the Judge Rotenberg Centre. She is autistic, multiply neurodivergent, and queer. For the last 12 years she has been mentoring autistic children and youth. She is currently working on a series of children’s books.

The episode
Raya and I talked mainly about her experiences as an autistic mentor. She described what the time spent with her mentees looks like: what they do, how they plan and what comes out of the experience for the youth and for their families. I hope you enjoy this podcast as much as I did. Lots of great ideas and inspiration as we move towards inclusion in our society.