Autism affects as much as two percent of the global population. According to the Center for Disease Control in the US, one in fifty-nine children has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. With every year, more and more research is conducted on autism and curious minds want to know more about the disorder. This includes individuals with autism, parents, educators, clinicians, and the general population.
Consistently engaging in learning opportunities is beneficial to each person and also to society, as it helps us learn about other types of people and creates empathy, and makes connections. Engaging with podcasts and other types of social media can be an efficient way to obtain information and grow as a person.
Reasons it might be beneficial for you to start listening to podcasts include:
- Listening to podcasts instead of browsing through social media posts or watching TV cuts down on your screen time, which can increase happiness.
- Listening to podcasts, rather than having to read news or information, allows you to multitask and get other things done.
- Listening to podcasts allows you to hear a wider array of opinions and perspectives rather than those of typical news/media outlets.
- Listening to podcasts not only helps support local businesses and entrepreneurs but it also helps listeners build a community of support among each other.
For people living with autism, learning and tools for effective management are of the utmost importance. A great variety of resources exist for people living with autism to learn about their disorder and live to greater effect, from classes and textbooks to articles, videos, and of course podcasts.
Podcasts are wonderful for auditory learners and for busy people–which is almost everyone out there! They are a quick and modern way to learn and obtain knowledge in various areas of interest. It just takes a click and a download to start learning.
Here are five great podcasts for people on the autism spectrum.
- Word of Mouth
- Autism Live
- Autism by UCTV
- Autism Quality of Life
- Autism Science Foundation Weekly Science Report
- Not Neurotypical
1. Autism and Communication: Word of Mouth
In the riveting Word of Mouth podcast, BBC host Michael Rosen explores the world of words and the ways in which we use them. This podcast can be quite beneficial not only to people who work in the world of ASD but also to individuals who are on the spectrum.
By listening to some of the Word of Mouth episodes, people with autism or those wanting to know more about it can learn more about communication and language, how living with ASD can affect communication, and what neurotypical people can do to learn how to more effectively communicate with people who have autism. Some of the popular episode titles include Digital Body Language: How to Work Online, Speech and Language Therapy, Talking to Strangers, and The Power of Telling Stories.
This particular podcast can be beneficial for those with autism because it dives deep into conversations surrounding all things language and communication, which is often an area that individuals with autism want to improve upon.
Interested? Listen to this podcast on BBC Radio 4.
2. Autism Live
The podcast, Autism Live, is actually aired live. It is an interactive web show where viewers/listeners can physically participate and are encouraged to do so. While Autism Live is mainly geared towards educators, parents, and professionals working with ASD patients, people with autism can still glean valuable information from this podcast.
Host Shannon Penrod works with several professionals to provide valuable and accurate information on autism, ranging from educational practice and policy to legal statutes and treatments. Penrod is a proud mother of a son with autism and knows a thing or two about raising a child with autism and advocating for them.
The show also offers a segment called Ask Dr. Doreen, which is where Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh, who is a Ph.D. and BCBA gives advice and lends a listening ear to those who want to ask her a question related to behavior, autism, or parenting. By browsing the Autism Live site, you can choose from various questions and topics that have already been asked of Dr. Doreen in previous episodes.
A few popular questions people have had include:
- What can parents do if ABA is not available where they live?
- Is it worth it to start ABA if my daughter is already a teenager?
- What ABA books do you recommend for parents?
- Can you give an overview of a typical ABA program?
Find out the answers to these questions or even ask your own by visiting the site.
This podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and PlayerFM, and you can follow Autism Live on Instagram.
3. Autism Awareness Programs by UCTV
The University of California’s Autism podcasts are a wealth of scientific information about autism, symptomology, treatment methods, and management. The wide-ranging podcast can help listeners understand how autism works in the brain as well as learn effective management methods living day to day with the disorder.
Examples of some of their videos include Self-Monitoring and Self-Management for Autism, Autism: From the Teen Years to Adulthood, Diagnosis in Preschoolers, and Exploring the Mind of a Visual Thinker.
Their general website is quite helpful because it allows people to search by topic, find videos or audio on anything related to autism, and even have a separate section just for teachers.
Voiceover episodes are available on iTunes.
4. Autism Quality of Life
Aimed at adults with autism spectrum disorder, the Autism Quality of Life podcast is a highly varied broadcast featuring interviews with experts, information on disability accommodation, discussions about relationship building and communication, and much more.
The host, Megan Stevenson, highlights autism innovators who are making a difference in the field. These innovators may be business owners, therapists, researchers, or family members who are improving the quality of life for teenagers and adults diagnosed with Autism – and their caregivers.
Autism Quality of Life podcast features a wide variety of autism experts and collaborators, from psychiatrists and social workers to people living with autism themselves.
A few of their popular episodes include Creating a Meaningful Life, Living Well Despite Diversity, Transitioning to Adulthood, and A Parent’s Guide to Autism.
Their podcast has a little bit of everything for everyone.
Listen to the Autism Quality of Life podcast on Apple Podcasts or on the AQOL website.
5. Autism Science Foundation Weekly Science Report
The weekly podcast put out by the Autism Science Foundation offers a unique perspective because it is a collaboration between parents and scientists. Offering a four-year archive of episodes on topics ranging from the latest in autism research to available complementary and alternative treatments for autism, it promises a dive into deeper knowledge and understanding of ASD.
The Autism Science Foundation is a non-profit organization that has the goals of educating the general population and creating awareness surrounding all topics on autism.
Their website has a wealth of information for anyone interested in learning more about autism. Check them out to learn about their upcoming events, find ways to get involved, learn about research, obtain resources, and learn about student jobs and volunteer work. They also have a blog you can follow. You can also contribute to their blog, as they are open to working with other experienced writers.
Follow them on Instagram for more up-to-date content and download the podcasts on Apple Podcasts.
6. Not Neurotypical
The Not Neurotypical Podcast is hosted by Laura Zdan, who is a mother of three, is on the spectrum, and suffers from mental health issues like a lot of us. She is raw, real, and brutally honest.
She touches on issues such as Why Mindset Matters, Social Media and Social Rules, Learning the Language of Others, Connection, Time Management, and gives advice on how to handle burnout, which she has experienced herself.
Sometimes it’s nice to hear from someone who has really been there and is experiencing mental health problems in real-time. Laura is open and honest about what is going on in her life regarding autism, mental health, and parenting; it can be refreshing for others to hear these things and be able to relate to someone else.
Conclusion to Helpful Podcasts for People with Autism
Autism spectrum disorders affect people all over the world, regardless of ethnic background, nationality, or socioeconomic status. With more and more awareness being spread surrounding the disorder, it is becoming apparent that almost everyone knows someone who is on the autism spectrum or has a relative who is. These podcasts can help people living with an autism spectrum disorder to build better lives, more effectively manage the symptoms and variations of the disorder, and connect with friends, family, and community members.
Find your community and tribe by listening to podcasts, participating in live discussions, get involved on social media, and learn about autism from the people who know about it the most.
Master of Education (M.Ed.) | Northeastern State University
Behavior and Learning Disorders | Georgia State University
Updated September 2021