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Autism Podcast Review Series: Moms Talk Autism

In honour of Autism Acceptance Month, we are kicking off a new series where we will review podcasts that focus on autism support and community.

Autism Podcast Review Series: Moms Talk Autism

Credit: Moms Talk Autism Podcast

In honour of Autism Acceptance Month, we are kicking off a new series where we will review podcasts that focus on autism support and community. If you have a favourite you'd like us to review, send an email to editors@todaysparent.com.

When my kids were young, I didn’t know any other family with children who had the same challenges Andrew and Ainsley had. I was frightened and frozen, felt isolated and alone, and didn’t know where to turn or how. I was terrified about the future.

It took me years to find “my” community, primarily other parents and caregivers of autistic and neurodivergent children. Life would have been so much easier had the Moms Talk Autism podcast been around.

Meet the podcast’s four hosts

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Brittney Crabtree

Brittney lives in northern California and has four children aged 10 to 19. Her 17-year-old son Austin and 10-year-old daughter Ruby are both autistic. She runs a custom home bakery and is focused on making Austin’s transition to adulthood as smooth as possible.

Tash Dillmon

Based in Washington, Tash has two children, including her ten-year-old autistic son Jack. She actively volunteers at her local church in Children’s Ministries.

Shannon Korza

Shannon lives in Arizona and is a real estate agent and wellness coach with two daughters. Gracie, who is almost 9, is autistic.

Jean Mayer

Jean lives in Texas and is a recently single mom of two children, including her 10-year-old autistic son Rory. She volunteers as an elected school board trustee, serves many community programs and mentors families through peer-to-peer support worldwide.

Moms Talk Autism Podcast Credit: Moms Talk Autism Podcast

What are their lives like?

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The Moms’ autistic children represent the full spectrum, from non-speaking with high support needs to those with fewer support needs. They all have co-occurring conditions, ranging from anxiety and ADHD to apraxia, sleep disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, intellectual disabilities and behaviour disorders. Fortunately, each of them benefited from early diagnosis and intervention.

None of the Moms had had any real understanding of or exposure to autism before. For Brittney, Jean and Shannon, their children’s diagnoses came as a shock, even though they each knew that something was “different” about their kids. Shannon was terrified and didn’t want her daughter to be labeled or treated differently. She worried that she would not be “enough” for Gracie or be able to provide the support she needed.

Jean avoided pursuing the diagnosis, instead buying into the narrative that Rory was a typical boy and just a late talker. And Brittney became numb and needed time to process the diagnosis. Tash, on the other hand, found the diagnosis to be a relief, allowing her to move forward to find services quickly and support for Jack.

We all know that the stresses and strains of raising a neurodivergent child can be debilitating. Fortunately, Tash’s, Shannon’s and Brittney’s husbands are fully supportive and on the same page with them. Tash and her husband are “Team Jack,” and Shannon jokes that she “got two for the price of one” after her husband was diagnosed with autism shortly after Gracie. Jean, however, is newly single and is carrying the load of bringing up Rory on her own. It’s a heavy burden.

Yet, each of them is exceptionally proud of their children. They use words like “resilience,” “determination to succeed,” and “infectious charm.” Jean is amazed at how Rory draws people around him and builds community. Brittney is in awe of Ruby’s ability to problem-solve in her own way and at her own pace. Their kids recognize that they are different from their peers, but it doesn’t seem to matter.

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And, like all of us parents of autistic children, they worry about the future. “What will happen when I can no longer care for my child?” “Who will take care of them?” “Will this be an unfair burden on their sibling?” However, they face their fears and prepare for the future in different ways, whether through financial planning, setting up a trust, or looking into supportive housing options. Jean says, “I’m constantly looking to build a village around Rory.”

What about the podcast?

The four Moms met through social media during the pandemic. As they talked with one another, their feelings of isolation dissipated. Their conversations supported each other so much that they wanted to share them with the broader autism community. Coming together has empowered and bolstered them.

The podcast’s vision is to shift how autism and neurodiversity are perceived and navigated. It wants listeners to know they are not alone: there is a global community out there that understands, can help, and spreads hope.

There’s a good reason Moms Talk Autism is highly rated. Each episode is like hanging out on a couch with your friends, having coffee and chatting. Whether laughing or bawling, the Moms openly discuss how challenging the journey can be while celebrating happiness and progress.

Moms Talk Autism Podcast Credit: Moms Talk Autism Podcast

Some of their helpful tips

  • This life is hard. Don’t feel any shame.
  • Diversify your friendship portfolio. Connect with others experiencing similar challenges in your community. It takes effort but will help you navigate and care for your child.
  • Remain in control while letting go of control. Try not to lie awake worrying about your child and realize they will do everything in their own time.
  • Celebrate every success, no matter how small.
  • Life can be dark at times. Find your light in the darkness. Don’t give up. The most important time to believe is when no one else understands or believes.

These Moms are lighting the way for the rest of us. They openly admit they don’t have all the answers. As with all of us, life is ever-changing, with lots of trial and error, mistakes and successes along the way.

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One listener recently told the Moms they were her only friends for a long time, but “the podcast inspired me to diversify my portfolio” and she now has developed friendships in her community.

A new episode of Moms Talk Autism airs every Monday on all major podcast platforms. You can also find them at www.momstalkautism.com or on Instagram at @momstalkautism.

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