This week we present two stories from mothers who learned valuable lessons from the sons they birthed.
Part 1: Avi Caspe and his mother, Ariel Detzer, reckon with what the label of "autism" means for their family.
Part 2: When Paulette Steeves' son is given 2 years to live, she searches for a way to keep him alive.
Dr. Ariel Detzer is a psychologist in Seattle, Washington, with a practice focused on neurodiversity. She believes that creating a better world for neurodiverse people comes about both through therapeutic support for clients themselves, and through educating clients, families, and surrounding educational and institutional stakeholders. Don't just help the client, change the whole system--this is the social model of disability. To challenge the complex pattern-loving part of her brain, she sings with the Seattle Early Music Guild a capella choir, Sine Nomine.
Avi Caspe was a high school senior when he recorded this story. He began his autistic activism in sixth grade with a school social justice project on the lack of educator preparation for teaching autistic inclusion students. He made his first academic presentation to the national Association for Autistic Community Conference in 2014, sharing a presentation on how autistic middle schoolers process information in unique ways when under stress, which may in turn impact the way they process bullying experiences, as well as school discipline. Avi is now a freshman at Bellevue College in Washington, where he plans to major in Computer Science. He enjoys improving his standing on Rubik's Cube scores at World Cubing Association events.
Paulette Steeves was born in Whitehorse Yukon Territories and grew up in Lillooet, British Columbia, Canada. She is an Indigenous archaeologist with a focus on the Pleistocene history of the Western Hemisphere. In her research Steeves argues that Indigenous peoples were present in the Western Hemisphere as early as 60,000 years ago, and possibly much earlier. She has created a data base of hundreds of archaeology sites in both North and South America that date from 250,000 to 12,000 years before present, which challenges the Clovis First dogma of a post 12,000 year before present initial migrations to the Americas. Dr. Steeves received her BA in Anthropology, Honors Cum Laude from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, and completed a two-year internship with the Quapaw Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) program during her undergraduate studies. In 2008 Dr. Steeves was awarded the Clifford D. Clark fellowship to attend graduate studies at Binghamton University in New York State. Dr. Steeves dissertation Decolonizing Indigenous Histories: Pleistocene Archaeology Sites of the Western Hemisphere is the first dissertation framed in Indigenous Method and Theory in Anthropology within the United States. In 2011 and 2012 she worked with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science to carry out studies in the Great Plains on mammoth sites which contained evidence of human technology on the mammoth bone, thus showing that humans were present in Nebraska over 18,000 years ago. In 2019 she started a new research project focused on creating sacred Indigenous regenerative soils to address food insecurity in the North. Dr. Steeves has taught Anthropology courses with a focus on Native American and First Nations histories and studies, and decolonization of academia and knowledge production at many universities. She is currently an Assistant Professor in History at Algoma University and is a nominee for a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous History Healing and Reconciliation.
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