Oxygen Mask: A Pause


Where’s the play button? Well, we’re following our own advice and taking a short pause to rest and enjoy this busy, beautiful summer. Listeners are telling us the Oxygen Mask Podcast has been an encouraging, powerful place.

Will you grow this good thing with us? Please take two minutes to share your two cents via our survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BH9VL7ZThank you!!

Looking Back, Moving Forward

This pause is an opportunity to reflect on the thrilling and fulfilling six-episode streak we’ve had this spring. Where have we been? What have we covered? Where are we headed? Remember, the Oxygen Mask began as a collaborative project between Communities Engaging Autism and Tera Girardin as part of her LEND fellowship. CEA is so grateful for Tera’s initiative and creativity. We plan to continue supporting this flexible, inviting format to connect and encourage parents of children with autism and other special needs as well as the professionals and community members who support them. You’ll hear from us again in September!

Author: Beth

Beth is a wife, mother, researcher and connector. She has two elementary-aged kids, one who is differently wired with autism. Beth has done graduate work and consulting related to youth development and community engagement. She loves advocating for authentic community engagement and contributions of kids and families impacted by autism. She lives in Hopkins, MN.


  1. I would love it if the fabulous information you convey to families could have a different and more positive title. Oxygen Mask sounds really scary and like something that you need when you are in danger. Just a thought about making your messages more positive.

    • Thanks for your comment, Anne. During this month’s podcast “pause” we’ll think about and discuss your input. I hear what you’re saying about dangerous situations and that notion/initial impression is not what we intend to communicate. The name initially came from the common refrain that so many parents hear but don’t actually act upon: “Put on your own oxygen mask before helping others.” We want to remind parents (and model the way, if imperfectly) to not push aside/skip over their own wellbeing as they seek to engage and support their child(ren). We can do a lot of damage to ourselves and others when we’re acting out of fear, anger, guilt, and grief. A lot of research points to the reality that chronic stress is a huge health issue in parents raising kids on the spectrum. That stress is the reason for the oxygen mask. We need to recognize stress and its effects in our lives in order to effectively deal with it. You’ve definitely got me thinking about this nuance and the importance of clearly communicating it. Thank you!

  2. Another way to think of it, is like when those big athletes overwork themselves in a big game or at high altitudes, and they sit on the sidelines with an oxygen mask to refresh and catch their breath to continue on performing at a high level.

    Certainly the last thing we want to do is feed into any fear based ideas, so the concept of the Oxygen Mask isn’t so much emergency as necessity. We want to keep parenting at “peak performance.”

Thoughts? Post 'em.

Your contributions help Communities Engaging Autism as we adapt to these trying times – innovating with our programming and content to reach parents, families and educators where they are.
%d bloggers like this: