A unique podcast, launching tomorrow, will help people with autism understand their diagnosis, as well as raise awareness for the wider community, through the lived experience of its host.
Having received a diagnosis as being on the autism spectrum earlier this year, Founder and Host of My Friend Autism, Orion Kelly, says while the diagnosis was a relief, it also posed a number of questions.
“In the debut episode of My Friend Autism, I share my own very personal story of how I found my place on the spectrum … to be honest after a lifetime of feeling lost, out of place and often struggling in social situations and workplaces it was a relief and a real positive to receive the diagnosis.
“However, my diagnosis raised many questions and concerns like ‘how did I slip through the cracks? Am I part of a lost generation of undiagnosed people on the spectrum? And why does the community know so little about autism?”
With a celebrated commercial radio career spanning over 20 years, Mr Kelly says creating a podcast seemed the most effective way to share his story and help others on the spectrum.
“My Friend Autism is a podcast purpose-built to break down stigmas and misconceptions around autism through open, honest [and] engaging conversations.
“I want to provide content that assists people with autism and their family in addition to informing and educating the wider community on a disability that seems invisible and mysterious to many.”
He says he is in a unique position, having being diagnosed later in life, but wants others on the spectrum to realise their potential.
“The first half of my life I didn’t know I had a disability, although I always felt different and now I have a diagnosed disability,” he explains.
“I truly believe the key to making the world a better place to live for those with autism is to reach, engage and educate community members not on the spectrum.
“I have had a successful career in commercial radio, am happily married and have two beautiful sons.”
Mr Kelly says he hopes the podcast will help to break down stigmas and misconceptions, better inform the community and inspire those on the spectrum to live life to the fullest.
“I am certain there are many people out there in similar situations to me who just don’t feel comfortable sharing with the world they have autism [and] I hope to change that.
“Regardless of where you sit on the spectrum it is your right and destiny to live up to your true potential and fulfil your purpose.
“Everyone has a passion, everyone has a purpose and I won’t stop until the world knows and readily accepts everyone on the spectrum is precious, individual and deserving of a life no less than anyone else on the planet.
“Also, given my diagnosis didn’t come until later in life, I want to do whatever I can to inform parents of children that may be or are on the spectrum with the knowledge that can change the lives of their child and themselves for the better.
“And I hope to encourage those that may be in a similar situation to me and are curious to seek an assessment where possible,” Mr Kelly says.
The podcast will launch with monthly episodes in the early stages with the goal of fortnightly episodes following initial feedback from listeners.