Joyriding In Autismland: Autism Podcast with Kid Gigawatt

Launched by parents of an infectiously funny and *mostly* happy boy on the spectrum, the Joyriding in Autismland podcast chats with ASD parents, kiddos, therapists, writers, and artists about the unexpected, charming, and funny moments with Autism. Because laughing? Is the best vacation. Find the show notes online at

The Podcasts

Hold onto your comb-overs, people! Today we're chatting with entrepreneur, business coach, and fellow podcaster Jessica Kupferman. Jessica has a teenaged son with high functioning autism, and she is VERY funny.



Jessica talks about having ADHD, Nate's late autism diagnosis, and what it's changed for them.


Here are Jessica's deets:


Website: Lady Business


Podcast: Lady Business Radio


Facebook: Lady Business Central


Twitter: Jessica Kupferman



PS Click here to listen, subscribe, rate, and review us on iTunes: Joyriding in Autismland

Direct download: 36_Jessica_Kupferman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Jen Turrell is mom to two daughters on the spectrum, and is the author of the new book Help! My Child Has Autism: A Parent's Guide to Start, Fund, and Maintain an Evidence Based Intervention.

We chat about ABA, staffing up, and first plane rides.

The particulars:

Autism Website: Able Interventions 

Book: Help! My Child Has Autism 

Personal Website: Jen and Stew


PS Click here to listen, subscribe, rate, and review us on iTunes: Joyriding in Autismland

Direct download: 35_Jen_Turrell.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:18am EST

Hey guys! So summer is coming, even though you wouldn't really be feeling it yet if you are up in Maine with us, and I wanted to do an  episode about safety issues and autism. This is super important because statistically, most accidents involving people on the spectrum happen in the warmer months. I'm excited to be speaking today with Federal Law Enforcement Officer, autism parent, and autism first responder trainer Matt Brown.

We talk about why it is sooooo important to register kids with autism with the local and state police departments. <--Hint: it literally saves lives.

Check out Officer Brown's website at, and print out the registration form here:

You can find our show notes at


PS Click here to listen, subscribe, rate, and review us on iTunes: Joyriding in Autismland


Direct download: 34_Matt_Brown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:34pm EST

Thrilled to be joined by my husband to discuss three things we feel have made us better autism parents people. I hope listening to these will get you thinking about how your past experiences relate to the spectrum.

Don't skip the last bit, where I list out our five favorite coping tools (spoiler alert: one of these may involve Jon Stewart, but I can neither confirm nor deny.) <--it's true!

Here is the link-o-rama mentioned on the episode:

Kid Gigawatt website:

Kid Gigawatt blog, called Thread & Wing: Navigating Autismland:

Kid Gigawatt movie teaser:

And... why are we doing this?

DSM 5: <--you can also use this as a fast-acting sleeping aid

My Autism Team: 

Jon Stewart:

Email me at with any suggestions, comments or additions to my lists- I already like you for being here! :)



PS Click here to listen, subscribe, rate, and review us on iTunes: Joyriding in Autismland

Direct download: 33_Kid_Gigawatt.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:55pm EST

Today I'm excited to speak to author Patty Pacelli, whose young adult son has autism. She advocates for people on the spectrum to achieve their career dreams and contribute their exceptional talents to the workforce, and has just written a book entitled Six Word Lessons for Autism Friendly Workplaces.

We chat about preparing younger kiddos for the workforce, what makes some people with autism fantastic hires, some of the best and worst jobs for people with autism, and about helpful work accommodations.

In case you're thinking about picking up the book here's a chapter summary
1.  The Need for Autism Friendly Workplaces
2.  Career Preparation for Parents and Children
3.  How to Find the Best Jobs
4.  ADA Laws and Rules for Work
5.  Best Interview Practices for the Employer
6.  Interview Tips for People with Autism
7.  Reasonable Accommodations for Employers to Offer
8.  Accommodations that can Help Autistic Employees
9.  Benefits of Hiring People with Autism
10. Be Aware of Unique Autistic Traits
11. Social Expectations for Workers with Autism

And here are Patty's deets:

Fast Company article:
Entrepreneur article:


Direct download: 32_Patty_Pacelli.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:39pm EST

Kyle's work in autism spans direct services, research, and administration. He worked one-on-one with adults on the spectrum in Santa Barbara, CA, focusing on improvements in quality of life, employment, health, and social networks. For two years, while pursuing his Master's of Social Work, he worked for a multi-million dollar state and federally funded psychosocial intervention research project at the University of Pittsburgh for adults with autism that aims to be a new standard in adult autism services. And he's author to the recent book, Connect: Findings for a New Era of Autism.

Here are all the deets on Kyle:




PS Click here to listen, subscribe, rate, and review us on iTunes: Joyriding in Autismland

Direct download: 31_Kyle_Crawford.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:34pm EST

Today's episode is a bit different, because I won't be doing any interviewing - I'm flying solo. It's been a rough week for us all, because my father-in-law died on Monday afternoon, and he was just a great guy. A coach, a teacher, a veteran, a lifelong athlete, and a kind and gentle man.

I'm feeling nostalgic, so I wanted to give a look back and give you guys a quick guide to our previous episodes to help you find a good one you might have missed. 

The episodes from the parent perspective are:

Numbers 4 & 5 with Keri Bowers, fillmaker and art therapist on raising a son on the spectrum
Number 7 with Dan Korins on his son, who has an amazing voice
Number 8 with Rupert Isaacson, NYT best-selling author and filmmaker of "The Horse Boy"   
Number 12 with my husband Jeff Waites, on raising the Romanator
Number 14 with Wayne Gilpin, author, and autism book and magazine publisher
Number 18 with Kara Wilson, on raising a daughter with Asperger's
Number 21 with Margret Ericsdottir, filmmaker and mom of a nonverbal teenaged boy
Number 28 with Cynthia Lord, NYT best-selling children's author, and mom to a young adult son with autism   
Number 29 with Julie Cole, entrepreneur and mother of 6 kids, the oldest of whom has autism

Writing from the first-hand perspective of autism    

Episode 2 with Temple Grandin, autism rock star   
Episodes 9 & 10 with Jennifer McIlwee Myers, Aspie and author   
Episode 23 with Tom Angleberger, Aspie, NYT best-selling author of a series of kids books with Aspie main characters

The sibling perspective is highlighted with my own kids in episode 6

Authors- we have a bunch in the parent category (Rupert Isaacson, Wayne Gilpin, Cynthia Lord), but also:

Episode 3 with James Ball, chair of the national Autism Society and autism behavioral consultant
Episode 20 with scholar, NYT best-selling author and speaker Andrew Solomon

And then there are therapists and therapies on

Episode 13 with Alisa Anderson on adaptive ski
Episode 16 with Sarah Bronson on therapeutic horseback riding   
Episode 17 with Jill Schacht on occupational therapy
Episode 19 with Elizabeth Mortati on art therapy
Episode 25 with Rachel See on music therapy

School & Home focused:

We talk in-home support in number 11 with Lauren O'Neil
We talk school inclusion in episode 24 with Tim Villegas

Episode 22 with Eric Tivers is about how ADHD tends to co-occur with autism

And then there are two episodes not specifically related to autism, but to being different:

Episode 1 with NYT best-selling author, wine expert and social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk
Episode 27 with NYT best-selling author, magazine publisher, super nice guy, and business consultant Chris Brogan

And the last episodes I haven't mentioned are about Kid Gigawatt (that's us!)

Number 15 is about why we sell t-shirts to microfund therapies for kiddos with autism
Number 26 is about the road trip documentary movie we're making this summer

And today is episode 30, so there you have it! And after 4 planes and a funeral, what I'd really love more than anything, is to hear from you. Please email me your funny stories from Autismland, I'd love to put together an episode together just with some of the bright spots. So when we're feeling a bit blue, we can have a good laugh. Email me at I'm counting on you! :)


PS Here's a link to the blog post I mentioned on the podcast, Remembering Opa.

Direct download: 30_Kelley_Fitch.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:30pm EST

Today, I'm so excited to speak to Mabel's Labels founder, blogger, and mama to many, Julie Cole. Julie's business has been featured on the Huffington Post, The View, InStyle Magazine, Forbes, and many others, and her oldest of 6 kids has autism.


You can get Mabel's Label's through their website or at Target. For those of you with runners (I'm lookin' at you, Roman!), I'm gonna encourage you to check out these handy disposable ID bracelets - especially if you're planning to go somewhere magical like Disney, and want to make it out the other side with your kid.

Here's the link to the excellent summer camp guide that I mentioned on the podcast - Julie wrote this backed by her experience in choosing camps for her own kids, and it picks apart how to consider your child's unique character and interests, figuring out what's left in your wallet, and finding the right environment for them.

Also, here are links to her blog post Nice Things You Say That Annoy Me, and her hilariously well-reasoned 6 Reasons to Have 6 Kids, that originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

Here are Julie's deets all in one place:
Personal Blog:
Business Blog:
Facebook page:
Twitter profile:

Best quote ever? "Labels are for clothes."


Direct download: 29_Julie_Cole.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:15am EST

Today I am super excited to speak to fellow Mainer and Newberry award-winning author of the book Rules, Cynthia Lord. We chat about writing a book with autism at the center, her new books coming out this year, and some ideas for making libraries more inclusive for kiddos on the spectrum.



My favorite rule for David: "Sometimes people laugh when they like you, but sometimes they laugh to hurt you." So true!


Grab your copy through your local independent bookseller here.

You can find Cynthia's website at, and she's also on Facebook and Twitter.




PS A link to my blog post on our top 15 audiobooks.

PPS Click here to listen, subscribe, rate, and review us on iTunes: Joyriding in Autismland

Direct download: 28_Cynthia_Lord.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:15pm EST

Named one of Forbes' top 30 Twitter influencers in 2013, social media rockstar, best-selling author, publisher, speaker, business consultant and super nice guy Chris Brogan is today's guest. We chat about the inspiration behind his new book, The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth: Entrepreneurship for Weirdos, Misfits, and World Dominators.


I met Chris at the Agents of Change social media conference in Portland Maine last year, where he was the keynote speaker. He hung around after his talk, and later in the afternoon, he walked up to a little group of us to tell me that he liked my lightning bolt t-shirt. So I sent him one, and he sent me back a superhero selfie. (FANCY)

Last month, when I read that his new book was coming out, I congratulated him over Twitter, and then he decided to tweet about Kid Gigawatt for a month solid. I pushed my luck by asking to interview him about his new book, and he said yes. Hooray!

And then, on his 44th birthday, he wrote this post sending folks our way: Whatttttt? I really wouldn't be surprised if he came over to mow our lawn next. (Hint: he really is a superhero.)

Here are all his deets:

And check out his brand new book through your local independent bookseller, The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth. #proudfreak


Direct download: 27_Chris_Brogan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:42am EST

On road tripping from Portland Maine to Portland Oregon this summer, and our plans to make a documentary movie. Check out the deets here.


Direct download: 26_Kid_Gigawatt.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:59pm EST

Thrilled to be speaking with Rachel See today- she's a licensed music therapist, and has a private practice in Austin, Texas.



We chat about the differences between music lessons and music therapy, how she customizes a client's sessions to work on their specific treatment plan goals, and the benefits for our kiddos on the spectrum.


Rachel's practice can be found here, and she also has two unbelievable cute ebooks for sale worth checking out: Listen, Sing, Speak: Children's Songs for Speech, Language, and Hearing Goals, and Children's Songs for Therapy.


For a little background on music therapy, check out my blog post here.




PS Click here to listen, subscribe, rate, and review us on iTunes: Joyriding in Autismland

Direct download: 25_Rachel_See.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:21pm EST

Super excited to chat today with Tim Villegas, special education teacher, blogger, podcaster, founder of the website, and crusader for the true inclusion of kids with disabilities.

Catch up with Tim on Facebook and on Twitter.

Direct download: 24_Tim_Villegas.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

I'm stoked to be speaking with Tom Angleberger today, New York Times best selling author of the Star Wars-inspired book series that began with Origami Yoda in 2010. The series stars a middle schooler named Dwight, whose Yoda paper finger puppet is both wise and weird.

Tom's self-proclaimed superpower is Asperger's, and we chat about how wearing a fake chicken on his head made him invincible on stage, going back to speak at his own middle school, and his favorite Star Wars character.

You. Must. Listen to the Horton Halfpott audiobook. I command you! The narrator is among the best I've heard, and trust me, we've listened to a metric ton of audiobooks. <insert Yoda voice here> Love it, you will.

Check out Tom's fan site at Origami Yoda, and learn how to make an emergency Yoda finger puppet in only 5 folds here. If you've got a little more time, give this one a whirl, and may the force be with you.


PS Click here to listen, subscribe, rate, and review us on iTunes: Joyriding in Autismland

Direct download: 23_Tom_Angleberger.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Stoked to be chatting with Eric Tivers, licensed Clinical Social Worker, coach, consultant, and counselor for ADHD and High Functioning Autism.

We chat about what led him to an ADHD diagnosis in college, and what happens when autism is comorbid with ADHD. (<-- See also: polar vortex.)

Eric has a new podcast coming out soon, ADHD Rewired, and can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.


PS Click here to listen, subscribe, rate, and review us on iTunes: Joyriding in Autismland

Direct download: 22_Eric_Tivers.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:32pm EST

So inspired to speak to Icelandic filmmaker Marget Ericsdottir, whose teenage son, Keli, has nonverbal autism. Margret's moving documentary, A Mother's Courage, follows her quest to understand autism, and ultimately leads to her son being able to communicate via a letter board. Initially thought to be mentally disabled with the intelligence of a two year old, Keli is now a mainstreamed high school student with a 3.9 GPA.

Margret's English voiceover for the film was provided by Kate Winslet, and the two ladies forged a strong bond, collaborating on a book, The Golden Hat: Talking Back to Autism, and co-founding the nonprofit The Golden Hat Foundation. The foundation seeks to raise autism awareness and establish "innovative post-high school living campuses designed to truly honor all autistic individuals - not just those considered "higher-functioning" - by creating an environment that supports and respects their individual needs and strengths."

They are organizing a walk for autism on May 17th - find all the details here, and keep up with them on Facebook here.


Direct download: 21_Margret_Ericsdottir.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Thrilled to be interviewing Andrew Solomon today, author of the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award winning book, Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity, which explores ideas of abilities, disabilities, illness and identities in extraordinary children born to ordinary parents. His tome represents a decade of researching and interviewing parents raising kids with dwarfism, Downs Syndrome, autism, or schizophrenia, children born deaf, as well as prodigies, children conceived in rape, transgendered children, and kids who grow up to become criminals.


Check out Mr. Solomon's intelligent article on the Autism Rights Movement here, and keep up with him on Facebook and Twitter.


PS Click here to listen, subscribe, rate, and review us on iTunes: Joyriding in Autismland

Direct download: 20_Andrew_Solomon.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Liz Mortati founded and directs The Art Department in Portland, Maine - they provide art therapy and working space to adults with disabilities, and sell the artists' work in their gallery space.


After graduating from college, Liz worked at San Francisco-based nonprofit arts organization Creativity Explored, which became the inspiration for her work once she returned to Maine. Initially connecting with Creative Trails, she worked with them to develop an arts program that became The Art Department.

We chat about outsider art, the progress the artists have made, and some of her favorite projects so far. Keep up with The Art Department on YouTube and on Facebook - they are doing incredible work!


PS Click here to listen, subscribe, rate, and review us on iTunes: Joyriding in Autismland

Direct download: 19_Elizabeth_Mortati.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:18pm EST

Wayne Gilpin began his publishing career by bringing car repair and law books to market. When his son Alex was diagnosed with autism, he joined the Autism Society of America, and became its president in 1987. Alex was 15 when the first edition of Wayne Gilpin’s lighthearted self-published book was released in 1993, Laughing & Loving with Autism: A Collection of “Real Life” Warm & Humorous Stories. The 500 copies he conservatively printed sold out in just 3 days.


He founded Future Horizons in 1996, dedicated to publishing books relating to autism, and by now they have published over 140 books as well a truly excellent bi-monthly magazine, Autism Asperger’s Digest. Future Horizons organizes educational autism conferences all over the globe, featuring renowned speakers and experts such as Dr. Temple Grandin, Dr. Tony Attwood, Dr. Jed Baker, Jennifer McIlwee Myers, and Dr. James Ball.


Alex passed away in 2008, but shared an apartment as a young adult with a friend with autism in North Carolina. There’s a fantastic article from the Chapel Hill News here on how they successfully navigated this living arrangement.

Direct download: 14_Wayne_Gilpin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:48pm EST