State of Mind with Debra Sloss
State of Mind with Debra Sloss
Neurodiversity: Thriving as an Autistic Adult

Episode 66: Understanding neurodiversity can expand our appreciation for the diverse ways individuals experience and contribute to the world. In this episode, we’ll be discussing adult autism, shaking off outdated labels and stereotypes, and shining a spotlight on the stories, challenges, and successes of autistic adults living authentically and fully.

We’re joined by guests Lou Ursa and Jasmeen Miah, both psychotherapists, self-advocates, experts, and allies on the autistic spectrum. We’ll explore their real-life experiences of breaking down barriers and reshaping the narrative around adult autism with the hope of paving the way for a more inclusive world.

As the number of adults diagnosed with autism continues to rise, it’s crucial to engage in meaningful conversations like this one. Together, we’ll explore how societal structures shape perceptions of “disability” and offer empathy, understanding and inclusion.

Producer & Host: Debra Sloss, LMFT
Guests: Lou Ursa & Jasmeen Miah

Broadcasts: 5/5/24 & 5/13/24

Special thanks to Jeanne Baldzikowski for audio production, Patrice Vecchione for story coaching, Pati Palmer for transcriptions, Rebecca Levy for media outreach and Katrina Tattenham for research. And thanks to acoustic guitarist Adrian Legg for composing, performing, and donating the use of our theme music.

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* Indicates a Monterey Bay Area Resource

Books & Reading
Unmasking Autism: Discovering the New Faces of Neurodiversity  by Dr. Devon Price (2022) – An exploration into the spectrum of autistic experience and the phenomenon of masked autism, giving individuals tools to uncover their true selves while broadening society’s narrow understanding of neurodiversity. An insightful deep-dive with expansive views into the autistic experience by an autistic author.

What I Mean When I Say I’m Autistic: Unpuzzling Life on the Autism Spectrum by Annie Kotowicz – Written by an autistic author this book provides a good look into what being autistic is like. While this book is written to help explain this to non-autistic people, it can helpful and validating for autistic individuals as well.

There is no epidemic of autism. It’s an epidemic of need by John Elder Robison and Dena Gassner. STAT / March 23, 2023 – An article published on the STAT: reporting from the frontiers of medicine and health website.

Awareness, Acceptance, and Beyond: Neurodiversity-Affirming Therapy with Autistic Clients – Blog post by Lou Ursa. This blog was initially written for a Sacramento-based therapist directory in April 2022 for Autism Acceptance Month. This version has minor edits and updates.

Websites and Organizations
Embrace Autism – Website focused on distributing up-to-date research and experience-based information about autism. The site provides free access to widely used, empirically validated tests that might be useful for someone exploring whether they might be autistic.

Neurobeautiful: Inside the Mind of an Autistic Woman – The website of the author Annie Kotowicz with blog posts and a link to her book What I Mean when I say I’m Autistic: Unpuzzling Life on the Autism Spectrum.

Neuroqueer: The writings of Dr. Nick Walker – The website of a psychologist on Neuroqueer Theory with essays, videos, comics, and more.

Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN) – A non-profit, disability-rights organization run by and for autistic people. Their work focuses on policy and legal advocacy, providing educational resources related to autism and providing tools and support for autistic self-advocates.

JAN (Job Accommodation Network) – A website that can help individuals and employers explore and understand accommodation ideas for employment.

Everything’s Gonna Be Okay – A show created by an autistic & ADHD comedian. Autistic characters are played by autistic actors. This is an affirming media representation.

Hannah Gadsby’s special Douglas – Netflix comedy special in which they discuss their autism diagnosis. Trailer on Youtube.

Counseling Support
Neurodivergent Therapists Directory – database to help neurodivergent clients find neurodivergent therapists. All listed providers identify as neurodivergent and agree to honor the Neurodivergent Therapists Values.

More Information
Spoon theory: What it is and how I use it to manage chronic illnessPerspective by Fortesa Latifi / January 14, 2023 – Based on the work of writer Christine Miserandino. Each spoon represents a finite unit of energy; people with chronic illnesses have to ration them just to get through the day.

Navigating Neurodiversity-Affirming Language –  A guide for professionals and researchers to help them  use the most affirming and least potentially offensive language possible. This table summarizes the current language preferences within the neurodivergent community.

Contact Guests
*Jasmeen Miah, LMFT (She/They)

*Lou Ursa LMFT (they/them)
Phone/Text: 916-234-6233

* Indicates a Monterey Bay Area Resource