During this month of autism awareness and acceptance, we are excited to announce our freshest new endeavor: The Oxygen Mask Podcast. A collaboration between CEA’s Executive Director, Beth Dierker, and Tera Girardin, author & photographer of “Faces of Autism,” the podcast will launch on Tuesday, April 30th on CEA’s website.
The podcast shares the nuggets of insight that Tera and Beth, both autism parents themselves, have picked up along the way—nuggets that they wish they’d found and grabbed hold of sooner. With a strong emphasis on mindfulness and a strengths-based approach, the pair hope to offer a breath of fresh air for parents who are overwhelmed.
The Oxygen Mask and its Origins
The name of the podcast comes from the airline flight instructions which tell you to secure your own oxygen mask before assisting your child with theirs. Beth explains, “As parents, our default is to do everything possible to help our children. For me, that’s been a direct route to burnout. Sometimes the best thing we can do is take a breath and take a moment to ourselves so we can function, learn, and grow. Then we are in a better place to help others do the same.”
The Oxygen Mask podcast idea began when Beth and Tera—former and current (respectively) University of Minnesota LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities) fellows—met over lunch to discuss the program and their shared interests. Girardin recalls of their first meeting, “We couldn’t stop talking about our experiences and how passionate we both are about coming at autism from a place of strengths.” As the pair later video chatted about possible projects, Girardin declared, “I think people want to hear what we are talking about right now. I think this needs to be a podcast.” And the idea for The Oxygen Mask podcast was born! The podcast is a perfect collaboration as it carries out CEA’s mission and serves as Girardin’s capstone project for the fellowship.
What You’ll Hear
Podcast themes include self-care while caring for others, becoming an advocate for your child, relationship strains, avoiding burnout and information overload, and learning to trust your internal compass. Listeners will enjoy the conversational approach and connection to resources. The Oxygen Mask is ideal for the parent of a child with a recent diagnosis or evaluation who is wading through information and decisions that come with developmental differences. Beth and Tera hope the Oxygen Mask empowers parents to trust themselves, to connect with other parents, and to notice and build on their own and their children’s strengths. Look for opportunities to comment, critique, and contribute!
The Oxygen Mask can be found where podcasts are distributed and on CEA’s website. Take a breath with us!!