This week on FraserCast, we talk with Fraser Mental Health Professional Carrie Sporer on how we can talk to our kids about their autism diagnosis. We also dive into how we can teach our neurotypical children about their classmates and peers who may have autism, disabilities, and different health needs with empathy, kindness, and respect.
Julie McKibbins, Assistant Program Manager of Vocational Rehab and Program Development and Hong Vong, Program Coordinator join FraserCast again to talk more about the life skills that Fraser's Career Planning and Employment program can teach individuals for their lives after leaving a parent or caregiver's home. This week, they dive into how individuals can seek accommodations for their job or classroom, coaching parents to help their children achieve independence, and some success stories within the program.
Philadelphia-based actor, director, and playwright Robert Smythe joins FraserCast again to talk more about his experiences as someone who received an autism diagnosis as an adult. On this extra-long episode of FraserCast, Robert dives deep into navigating a world designed for neurotypical individuals, from disclosing your own autism diagnosis with neurotypical peers to finding workplace accommodations.
A couple of other topics we discuss this week include disclosing an autism diagnosis to old friends, dispelling stereotypes and assumptions, and being open about the different levels of supports you may or may not need from others as an individual with autism. We also get some advice on how neurotypical individuals can adjust their environments and ways of thinking to better support their autistic family members, friends, and coworkers. One of his other projects in autism advocacy is his own podcast called A TEAM, where he and co-host Rael Mantesso have extended conversations on being neuro-atypical in a neurotypical world.
If you've been to a Fraser event such as the Fraser Festival for Autism–known in previous years as the Fraser Walk for Autism–you may have seen a little booth full of wool hearts to purchase as trinkets and gifts. These hearts are handcrafted by Laine Ciaramitaro in memory of her cousin Josh, who had committed suicide in 2018. Her project, Hearts for Josh, hopes to raise awareness of depression and mental health challenges, exchange stories and support with the community, and help benefit Fraser's mental health programs.
In this week's episode of FraserCast, we speak with Laine and her uncle Bill Olson about Josh's life, her family's relationship with Fraser, and the importance of recognizing and dealing with depression among young adults with autism.
Content advisory: This episode of FraserCast features detailed discussions on depression and suicide. Listener discretion is advised.
Robert Smythe is an actor, director, and playwright in Philadelphia's theater scene. At age 50, Robert received a diagnosis of autism and has since become an advocate for neurodiverse individuals in the community. On this episode of FraserCast, we invite Robert to talk about his experiences as an adult who received a diagnosis later in life, how that has helped him and his family have a greater understanding of his day-to-day journeys, and his approach to being an advocate for people on the autism spectrum.
This week, we welcome Julie McKibbins, Assistant Program Manager of Vocational Rehab and Program Development and Hong Vong, Program Coordinator. Julie and Hong walk through resources for how teenagers, young adults, and their parents and caregivers can prepare for college and vocational education after high school. They walk through a few services offered Fraser's Career Planning and Employment program that can help, resources and programs from the state of Minnesota, and organizational tips for those making the transition in their education.
Much like trips to the dentist, a trip to the salon or barbershop can be a stressful experience for individuals with sensory needs. Gina Gibson, Fraser Sensory Inclusion Specialist, is back on FraserCast to talk about how parents and caregivers can prepare their children for haircuts such as practicing at home. In this episode, we also dive into how local haircut businesses can help make their spaces sensory-friendly and how they can begin with Fraser Sensory Certification.
Trips to the dentist's office are often difficult for everyone. It can be especially difficult for children with sensory needs as they head into an appointment. Gina Gibson, OTR/L, Fraser Sensory Inclusion Specialist, returns to FraserCast to talk about how caregivers can improve the toothbrushing experience for kids and how dental offices can make their spaces more accommodating for children with sensory needs.