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Supporting the Spectrum Podcast

a rainbow spectrum cover art

Welcome to Supporting the Spectrum: a podcast designed to bring you news about research, services, and supports for children with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders and their families.

Supporting the Spectrum is hosted by the University of Missouri’s Thompson Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders Training and Education Division (TED). This podcast is brought to you by Training Experts in Autism for Missouri (TEAM) project sponsored by the Missouri Department of Mental Health.

Though the topics discussed are geared towards families and professionals providing direct support to individuals with autism, we encourage all to listen. We hope that the conversations shared will provide insight and generate new ideas on how we as a community can create and embrace more inclusive experiences for all.

Supporting the Spectrum can be found on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Spotify and Stitcher!

Episodes

Season 2, Episode 5: Promoting Independence

From a very young age, we all desire independence. The same is true for individuals with autism. While it may take time to learn certain skills, individuals with autism can live positive and fulfilled lives. In this episode, we will learn ways to help support autistic individuals gain independence and live their best life.

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Season 2, Episode 4: The Waitlist

The beginning of an individual’s autism journey starts with an autism evaluation. The evaluation process requires specific assessments and trained individuals to give the assessment. Because of this intricate process, it can take some time to get an appointment. In this episode, we explore the barriers of the waitlist to receive an evaluation, including what causes the waitlist, what do to while you wait, and what is being done to shorten the wait.

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Season 2, Episode 3: What’s an ADOS?

Autism is a spectrum, with a wide range of characteristics. Because autism can look, so many different ways, diagnosing autism can be tricky. That is why it is important to have clinicians who are trained in how to diagnose autism. In this episode of Supporting the spectrum, we are going to learn about the diagnostic process and the tools used to diagnose autism, specifically the ADOS-2.

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Season 2, Episode 2: Halloween!!!

Spooky season is officially here! Halloween can be a fun and tricky time for all children, especially neurodivergent children. In this episode of Supporting the Spectrum, we are joined by Cortney Fish, Board Certified Behavior Analyst, and manager of the Training Core at the University of Missouri’s Thompson Center. With a month until Halloween, we are going to discuss the tricks and treats Halloween can bring for neurodivergent children and their families.

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Season 2, Episode 1: Myths of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder, also referred to as ASD, is a neurodevelopmental condition that can affect an individual’s communication skills, emotional development, learning, memory, and self-control. The characteristics of ASD can be mild to severe, which is why many refer to autism as a spectrum. Through the work of doctors, researchers, and self-advocates our understanding of autism is rapidly evolving. Today, Dr. Benjamin Black, MD from the University of Missouri’s Thompson Center will be joining us to myth bust some common mistruths that are often said about ASD.

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Season 1, Episode 30: Regional Center Support

In this episode of Supporting the Spectrum, Shireen Razavi, Client Services Coordinator at Boone County Family Resources (BCFR) who supervises Support Coordinators, discusses the role of Regional Centers and County Boards, how to get connected with support through the Regional Office, potential services that may be available, and the benefits of having a Case Manager/Support Coordinator on your team.

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Season 1, Episode 29: Constipation

In this episode of Supporting the Spectrum, Shawna Shelton, registered nurse and nurse clinician at the University of Missouri’s Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopment, discusses common causes and treatment approaches for constipation.

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Season 1, Episode 28: The ABA Controversy

In this episode of Supporting the Spectrum, Cortney Fish, a licensed behavior analyst at the Thompson Center, discusses the debate of using Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Common concerns related to the use of ABA are explained and misperceptions clarified.

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Season 1, Episode 27: STRIVE, A Post-Secondary Program for Transition Skills Development

In this episode of Supporting the Spectrum, Jaclyn Benigno, STRIVE Program Coordinator and Cortney Fish, Board Certified Behavior Analyst and Training Core Manager at the Thompson Center, share about the program Self-Determined Transition Readiness Through Individual Vocational Experiences (STRIVE). Benigno and Fish provide information about the program, discuss its success, and share additional transition resources.

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Season 1, Episode 26: Vocational Rehabilitation

In this episode of Supporting the Spectrum, Luke Daily, a licensed social worker and Assistant District Supervisor at Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), discusses how VR provides individuals with disabilities support towards employment goals. He provides an overview of the services available through VR, information on how and when to access those services, and additional resources to consider while preparing for transition.

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Season 1, Episode 25: Bullying

In this episode of Supporting the Spectrum, Dr. Chad Rose, Associate Professor at the University of Missouri and Director of the Mizzou Ed Bully Prevention Lab, discusses bullying, bullying prevention, and response. Dr. Rose shares his expert knowledge, including advice, information, and resources to both prevent bullying and support students who have experienced bullying.

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Season 1, Episode 24: Supporting Sleep

In this episode of Supporting the Spectrum, Shawna Shelton, registered nurse and nurse clinician at the University of Missouri’s Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopment, discusses common sleep challenges of children with autism. She provides practical advice to families on both strategies to try and who to turn to for additional support.

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Season 1, Episode 23: COVID-19 Vaccine Safety

In this episode of Supporting the Spectrum, Dr. Benjamin Black, Director of Medical Services and Assistant Professor of Clinical Child Health, discusses what we know about the COVID-19 vaccination, and implications for children with autism. He further dives into explaining where misinformation about vaccines and autism originated from. Additionally, Brittany Schmitz, Board Certified Behavior Analyst, provides helpful tips on how to prepare a child for a vaccination.

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Season 1, Episode 22: Autism and Anxiety

In this episode of Supporting the Spectrum, Kerri Nowell, PhD, Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Missouri’s Thompson Center for Autism & Neurodevelopment discusses anxiety in children with autism. Dr. Nowell shares the range of symptom presentation and discusses the evaluation process and treatments.

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Season 1, Episode 21: Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

In this episode of Supporting the Spectrum, Michelle Dampf, MA, CCC-SLP and Megan Henzel, MOT, OTR/L, ATP discuss the use of Augmentative, Alternative, Communication (AAC) with children with autism. They share about AAC readiness, myths of using AAC, and what to expect during the evaluation process.

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Season 1, Episode 20: Severe Behavior Clinic

In this episode of Supporting the Spectrum, Jennifer Weyman, PhD, BCBA, LBA, shares about the Severe Behavior Clinic at the Thompson Center.

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Season 1, Episode 19: Classroom Consultations: How We Support And What We Have Learned

In this episode of Supporting the Spectrum, Brooke Barnes, MA, Special Educator and Training Specialist and Jena Randolph, PhD, Assistant Professor in Special Education discuss the use of the Autism Program Environment Rating Scale (APERS), an assessment tool developed by the National Professional Development Center to assess the quality indicators of education programs for youth with autism. They discuss the trends in classroom settings and how these patterns have informed the trainings offered by the Thompson Center.

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Season 1, Episode 18: The Thompson Center’s Medical Clinic

In this episode of Supporting the Spectrum, Dr. Benjamin Black, Director of Medical Services and Assistant Professor of Clinical Child Health, discusses pediatric medical support for children with autism. He provides information on the Thompson Center’s medical clinic, and how it differs from services provided by primary care physicians. Discussion and resources are provided on common medical concerns related to medication, sleep, behavior, and more.

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Season 1, Episode 17: Supporting Homework and Writing Challenges

In this episode of Supporting the Spectrum, Lea Ann Lowery, and Occupational Therapist, and Clinical Professor at the University of Missouri, gives advice on how to support difficulties with their homework and written assignments. Taking a strengths-based approach, Dr. Lowery discusses strategies for success.

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Season 1, Episode 16: Language Development in Young Children

In this episode of Supporting the Spectrum, Ashleigh Boyd, MHS, CCC-SLP, Speech Language Pathologist at the University of Missouri’s Thompson Center for Autism and Development discusses language development in young children, both the hallmarks of typical development, and flags that indicate delays. She gives specific attention to distinguishing between delays in speech-language and concerns that are indicative of risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder.

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Season 1, Episode 15: The Thompson Center’s Research Core

In this episode of Supporting the Spectrum, Nicole Takahashi, manager of the research core at the Thompson Center, and Samantha Hunter, research specialist, discuss the current research projects at the center and highlight SPARK, the largest genetic study of autism ever.

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Season 1, Episode 14: Toilet Training

In this episode of Supporting the Spectrum, Emma Keicher, behavior analyst, and Brooke Barnes, Special Educator and Training Specialist at the University of Missouri’s Thompson Center problem solve through common toilet training challenges.

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Season 1, Episode 13: Learning to Swim

In this episode of Supporting the Spectrum, Brittney Stevenson, occupational therapist at the University of Missouri, discusses water safety and swim instruction for children on the spectrum.

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Season 1, Episode 12: Perspectives of Young Adults with Autism, Part 3: Self Advocacy and Living A Good Life

In this 3-part series, funded by the Allen P. and Josephine B. Green Foundation, five young adults with autism share their perspectives from diagnosis to transition to adulthood.

In part 3, the autism self-advocates share their visions of a good life and discuss the importance of self-advocacy.

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Season 1, Episode 11: Perspectives of Young Adults with Autism, Part 2: Reflections on the Transition Process

In this 3-part series, funded by the Allen P. and Josephine B. Green Foundation, five young adults with autism share their perspectives from diagnosis to transition to adulthood.

In part 2, the young adults with autism share reflections on the process of transitioning to adulthood.

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Season 1, Episode 10: Perspectives of Young Adults with Autism, Part 1: Autism and the Path to Diagnosis

In this 3-part series, funded by the Allen P. and Josephine B. Green Foundation, five young adults with autism share their perspectives from diagnosis to transition to adulthood.

In part 1 of the series, the young adults share reflections on their path to diagnosis and what their diagnosis means to them.

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Season 1, Episode 9: Health Care Transition

In this episode of Supporting the Spectrum, Dr. Nancy Cheak-Zamora, faculty and researcher in Health Sciences, shares her expertise, including resources and ideas for both parents and health care providers on how to best support the transition of care from pediatric to adult services. Common health care challenges and parent concerns are discussed, and recommendations on how to best support are provided.

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Season 1, Episode 8: ABA and EIBI: Demystifying the Acronyms

In this episode of Supporting the Spectrum, Emma Keicher, a licensed behavior analyst and the Clinical Operations Manager for Applied Behavior Intervention Services at the Thompson Center, talks with us about Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Early Intensive Behavior Intervention (EIBI) services. Acronyms are broken down, services are explained, and additional resources are shared.

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Season 1, Episode 7: Social Skills for Girls with Autism

In this episode of Supporting the Spectrum, Michelle Dampf, a speech language pathologist at the Thompson Center, discusses her social language group for pre-adolescent girls. She provides her reasoning behind focusing on girls separately, skills she focuses on during group, and strategies she uses to teach.

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Season 1, Episode 6: Down Syndrome Clinic

In this episode of Supporting the Spectrum, developmental pediatrician, Dr. Tracy Stroud, and speech language therapist, Michelle Dampf discuss the Down Syndrome Clinic at the Thompson Center, special language considerations, and supports for children with Down Syndrome and their families.

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Season 1, Episode 5: Picky Eaters

In this episode of Supporting the Spectrum, Brittney Stevenson (occupational therapist) and Shelia Chapman (dietician), discuss the challenges of picky eating.  They provide practical advice to families on both strategies to try and who to turn to for additional support.

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Season 1, Episode 4: Initiatives of the Thompson Center’s Inclusion Committee (TCIC)

In this episode of Supporting the Spectrum, Dr. Sykes, clinical psychologist and co-chair of the Thompson Center’s Inclusion Committee (TCIC), discusses the importance of looking inward to explore opportunities for growth related to equity, diversity, and inclusion.  Current initiatives and processes of TCIC are shared.

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Season 1, Episode 3: Autism Friendly Businesses (AFB)

In this episode of Supporting the Spectrum, Cortney Fish and Kim Selders, training specialists at the Thompson Center and co-champions of the AFB initiative, discuss community inclusion and the Thompson Center’s Autism Friendly Business Initiative.

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Season 1, Episode 2: Accessing Special Services in the Schools

In this episode of Supporting the Spectrum, Kim Selders, school psychologist by trade and autism assessment and training specialist at the Thompson Center, discusses navigating the school evaluation process.  She provides answers to some common misconceptions about accessing school services and advice for meaningful family engagement in the process.

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Season 1, Episode 1: Diagnostic Evaluations for Autism

In the first episode of Supporting the Spectrum, Dr. Connie Brooks, Director of the Health Professions Division at the Thompson Center, discusses expectations for diagnostic evaluation appointments.  Helpful advice and information is provided for all steps in the process, including: making a referral, managing the waiting period between referral and appointment, the appointment itself, and next steps.

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