The Different Minds podcast series
By John Offord
Produced by www.johnofford.com
The Different Minds podcast seriesDec 31, 2021
Time To Say Goodbye
To commemorate the ending of the series, a final episode has been released today where John looks back on some of the highlights of the podcast. “Remember to celebrate our differences and I hope this podcast series has helped you realise there is no such thing as normal. Thank you and Happy New Year!”
Bake Off star, Lizzie Acker on life changing diagnosis and that extraordinary cake
Broadcaster, John Offord chats to Bake Off star, Lizzie Acker on her life changing diagnosis and that extraordinary cake that celebrates neurodiversity. Lizzie has Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, ADHD and Concentration disorder.
Jeff's Story - Adult ADHD
Broadcaster, John Offord chats to Jeff Gawthorpe about ADHD. "The human cost of undiagnosed ADHD is incalculable - the broken families, suicides, careers lost, unhappy lives and unmet potentials. This alone should be sufficient for society and our government to start treating ADHD with the priority it deserves". For more details on Jeff's story, please see: https://www.adhdaction.org/ADHD-Stories/Jeffs-Story
My mental health journey
Broadcaster, John Offord chats to Oliver Vikse, Project Development Champion for ANDYSMANCLUB who talks about his own mental health journey and how he has used his experiences to help others. Andy's Man Club is a mental health charity, described as "a talking group, a place for men to come together in a safe environment to talk about issues and problems they have faced or are currently facing". It was formed by Luke Ambler and his mother-in-law Elaine after his brother-in-law took his own life. Please see https://andysmanclub.co.uk for more details.
Life with autism and ADHD
Broadcaster, John Offord chats to content creator for YouTube, Instagram and TikTok, Purple Ella, to talk about life with autism and ADHD. For more details about Purple Ella, please see: https://www.purpleella.com
Neurotypical and Neurodivergent relationships
Broadcaster, John Offord chats to Deborah Wortman and Mark Berry about neurotypical and neurodivergent relationships. Deborah is a qualified psychotherapist and co-director of Aspire Autism Consultancy and Mark works in IT. Deborah describes herself as not autistic and Mark as neurodivergent who was diagnosed at the age of 43. This podcast is sponsored by Aspire Autism Consultancy. For further details, see www.aspireautismconsultancy.co.uk.
Suzanne Alderson: ‘I found my daughter sobbing on the floor, begging to die’
When Suzanne Alderson’s 14 year old daughter became suicidal in 2015, following a period of sustained bullying, Suzanne found herself in a desperate place, facing an uncertain future with little support and even less understanding. While her daughter was immediately wrapped in professional care, Suzanne found that there was no support available to help her or her husband make sense of the situation and give their child the best kind of care.
One night on suicide watch, she decided if she ever got through this time, she would ensure no other family had to go through this alone. In 2016, as her daughter improved, she set up a Facebook group to try and help other families facing their child’s mental illness. The community, called Parenting Mental Health, is now a registered charity with a mission to end generational mental illness and help 1m parents by 2025. It currently supports over 25,000 parents from around the world who have a child with poor mental health. The charity offers a range of interventions such as Listening Circles and In Person Meet ups, training, Q&As with experts, social events and peer mentorship and community support and aims to support parents through their experience so they can support their child through theirs.
Broadcaster John Offord chats to Suzanne Alderson, Founder at Parenting Mental Health, Community Leader, Public Speaker, Author of "Never Let Go: How to Parent Your Child Through Mental Illness" about mental health. Please go to www.suzannealderson.com for more details.
Swedish pop duo, Jubël on music and mental health
Broadcaster John Offord chats to Jubël, a Swedish duo originating from Halmstad, Sweden about music and mental health as they do their part to destigmatise mental health issues by opening up about their own struggles. Jubël are made up of Sebastian Atas and Victor Sjöström of Tunisian-Italian descent. They are signed to Warner Music and are perhaps best known for their stunning new single, “Weekend Vibe.” The exotic pop-leaning track is only a small glimpse of what’s to come from the eclectic pair, as they expand their signature sound to completely distinct and unfamiliar sonic realms.
This episode is also available on YouTube as a video.
Adam Frost, presenter on the BBC's Gardeners' World on Dyslexia & celebrating difference
Broadcaster John Offord chats to Adam Frost, presenter on the BBC's Gardeners' World on Dyslexia & celebrating difference. Adam believes there’s inspiration all around us – in nature, architecture, art, people and food – we just have to take the time to stop and look around.
Oliver Sacks, the neurologist who tapped the power of empathy
A conversation with Susanne Antonetta, author of A Mind Apart: Travels in a Neurodiverse World
Broadcaster, John Offord chats to Susanne Antonetta, author of A Mind Apart: Travels in a Neurodiverse World; and Body Toxic: An Environmental Memoir to name but a few. Antonetta is one of America’s leading memoirists, advocates for the value of neurodiversity, and translator of the work of the sciences into new ways of understanding human life. A wide-ranging author, she writes about her experiences as a bipolar woman and psychiatric survivor, her early drug dependency, as well as the environment and her life as an adoptive mother. Awards for Antonetta’s writing include a Pushcart prize, a New York Times Notable Book, an American Book Award, a Library Journal Best Science book of the year, an Oprah Bookshelf listing, and others. Please see https://www.susantonetta.com for more.
In conversation with O'Hooley & Tidow, writers & performers of the theme tune for 'Gentlemen Jack' on being a Neurodivergent couple
Broadcaster John Offord chats to O'Hooley & Tidow, an English folk music duo from Yorkshire about life as a neurodivergent couple and parenting. Singer songwriter, Heidi Tidow and her wife, singer-songwriter and pianist, Belinda O’Hoole were nominated for Best Duo at the 2013 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Their 2016 album Shadows was given a five-star review in The Guardian, and four of their other five albums, including their 2017 release WinterFolk Volume 1, have received four-star reviews in the British national press. In 2019 their song "Gentleman Jack", from the album The Fragile, featured as the closing theme for the BBC/HBO television series Gentleman Jack.
Geek Girl author, Holly Smale on being diagnosed with autism at 39.
Broadcaster John Offord chats to Geek Girl author, Holly Smale who was recently diagnosed with autism – at 39. Holly Smale, the writer of the bestselling Geek Girl series, has sold more than three million books but she’s never felt like she fits in. She gives talks on stage to thousands, but has never had a serious relationship and now she thinks she knows why.
Women with Autism
Broadcaster John Offord chats to Alicja Nocon, a late-diagnosed autistic woman who recently retrained as an independent Neurodiversity and wellbeing trainer, consultant and coach. In this episode, Alicja talks about growing up in Poland and reflects on her self-discovery journey. Alicja is currently completing a Master’s degree in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology at University of East London, where her research interest focuses on the role of character strengths and humour in supporting the wellbeing of autistic adults. For more details about Alicja, please visit www.expandthecircle.co.uk
A conversation with autistic YouTuber, Dan Jones
Broadcaster, John Offord chats to autistic YouTuber, Dan Jones about life on the spectrum. Dan has Asperger’s syndrome, ADHD, OCD and Dyslexia. Dan (known as The Aspie World by his followers) creates and shares content for his 100,000 plus YouTube subscribers and his videos cover a range of tips and tricks for living with an autism diagnosis.
Please will you vote for the Different Minds podcast series?
This is the final call! Please can you vote for 'The Different Minds Podcast Series' in the Listeners’ Choice Award, supported by BBCSounds. I've had such incredible guests, including Chris Packham, Steve Silberman & Dr Temple Grandin to name but a few!
It only takes 30 seconds and here is the link:
Thank you so much for your support!
A conversation with autistic TV researcher, Nick Ransom
To celebrate Pride Month in the UK, Broadcaster, John Offord chats to Nick Ransom, a gay autistic man who works for the BBC. Nick has worked on a number of interesting programmes, including A Question of Sport and Bitesize Daily. Nick chats about life on the spectrum, autism and mental health, and the importance of representing the LGBTQ+ experience both on and off-screen. For more details, please see www.nickransom.co.uk
A conversation with Autism advocate, Joy Johnson
Broadcaster, John Offord chats to American Behaviour Analyst, Inclusion Specialist, and Autism Advocate, Joy F. Johnson for a candid conversation on intersectionality and specifically on the experience of Black individuals on the autism spectrum. Joy also talked about life in Germany and how that differs from the USA, her relationship with her neurotypical husband, Neurodiversity and medical models of disability. Please see https://joyfjohnson.com/
The Reason I Jump
Broadcaster John Offord has an exclusive behind the scenes interview with the director of THE REASON I JUMP, Jerry Rothwell and producer, Jerry Dear – about their ground breaking film on autism.
Based on the bestselling book by Naoki Higashida, THE REASON I JUMP is an immersive cinematic exploration of neurodiversity through the experiences of nonspeaking autistic people from around the world. The film blends Higashida’s revelatory descriptions of his autism, written when he was just 13, with intimate portraits of five remarkable young people. It opens a window into an intense and overwhelming, but often joyful, sensory universe. Please see www.reasonijump.film for more details. UK cinema release date is the 18th June, 2021.
"An inventive, sensuous documentary... As emotionally piercing as it is beautiful to behold", Guy Lodge, Variety
"The Reason I Jump will change the way you think... A masterclass in communication for anyone ready to listen", Fionnuala Halligan, Screen Daily
Broadcaster John Offord chats to Helen Dent, a clinical and forensic Psychologist, Attachment style expert and author of “Why Don't I Feel Good Enough?: Using Attachment Theory to Find a Solution” to talk about attachment theory and explains it’s not our fault how we feel – understanding where the emotions come from – come from our relationships with our first ever care giver.
The theme of this podcast episode is the profound effect that early attachment styles (i.e. how you were brought up) have on a person's behaviour and emotions in later life. Understanding how this works and the effect it can have is the first step towards understanding how any emotional problems you suffer from have been caused. No one has perfect parents (leading to a totally secure attachment style) so even people with a basically secure attachment style will also have an admixture of avoidant or anxious attachment styles. Those unlucky enough to have been brought up in a totally chaotic way will have a disorganised attachment style.
Helen Dent, who currently works in the field of autism sets out what the three main attachment styles are (anxious, avoidant, secure) and how we can develop a ‘secure base’ in our relationships (and not just in our romantic relationships but also in our friendships and even with our pets!). Helen explains the difference between healthy dependency and codependency in relationships, how we can manage relationship challenges when we have opposing attachment styles to our partner, how autism relates to attachment theory, why we are more likely to come across avoidant attachers when we are dating, how we develop a blueprint for a relationship, how the relationships that we have throughout our lives can influence our attachment style and how we can consciously work towards becoming more secure in our relationships.
The Double Empathy problem
Broadcaster, John Offord chats to Dr Dinah Murray, an independent researcher with a background in linguistics, anthropology and philosophy and her son Fergus Murray, a science teacher, writer and 'autist' about Monotropism, a cognitive strategy posited to be the central underlying feature of autism. A monotropic mind is one that focuses its attention on a small number of interests at any time, tending to miss things outside of this attention tunnel. The theory of Monotropism was developed by Dr Dinah Murray, Wenn Lawson and Mike Lesser.
You can read more from Fergus Murray here:
And more from Dinah Murray here:
A conversation with Adam Harris
This special podcast has been produced in partnership with Autism-Europe in order to mark World Autism Awareness Day 2021. For more details, please see: www.autismeurope.org/blog/2021/03/01/podcast-a-conversation-with-adam-harris-member-of-the-aes-council-of-administration/
For more information about Autism-Europe, please see: www.autismeurope.org
For more information about AsIAm, please see: www.asiam.ie
Broadcaster, John Offord chats to American scientist, activist, author and speaker, Temple Grandin who is well known to many for her trailblazing work as a spokesperson for people with autism and her lifelong work with animal behaviour. Temple was named in the 2010 Time 100, an annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world in the "Heroes" category. Grandin has written six previous books on autism and was also the subject of the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning semi-biographical film Temple Grandin, staring Clare Danes.
Today, we are seeing a new generation of autistic activists, who can take awareness as a given (because of Grandin) and focus instead on the social, political and economic barriers to our full integration and acceptance by society," said Ari Ne'eman, president and co-founder of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, which represents autistic adults. For more details, please see www.templegrandin.com
A conversation with autistic comedian, Joe Wells
Broadcaster, John Offord chats to autistic comedian and writer, Joe Wells. Joe Wells' writing career began when his first book 'Touch and Go Joe' about his experiences of OCD was published, since then he has made a name for himself as a stand up comic, writer and speaker. Joe now focuses mainly on his unique brand of comedy. For more details, please see: https://www.joewells.org.uk/
A history of Autism with Adam Feinstein
Broadcaster John Offord chats to Adam Feinstein, an acclaimed author, poet, translator, journalist, film critic, Hispanist and autism researcher to talk about neurodiversity. Adam’s book A History of Autism: conversations with the pioneers received widespread praise.
A conversation with Shain Neumeier
Broadcaster John Offord chats to Shain Neumeier. Shain is an American autistic and nonbinary transgender attorney from Los Angeles, California. Shain is best known for advocacy against coercive and forced treatment, including advocacy to close the Judge Rotenberg Center, an institution for people with developmental disabilities that has been condemned by the United Nations for torture due to its use of electric shocks on people with disabilities.
A conversation with Lydia Brown
Broadcaster John Offord chats to Lydia X. Z. Brown, an American autistic disability rights activist, writer, attorney, and public speaker who was honoured by the White House in 2013. Lydia talks about disability justice, ableism, Neurodiversity, models of disability, intersectionality and connections between trans, queer and disability experiences.
A conversation with Christopher Eccleston
Broadcaster John Offord chats to English actor and recipient of an Emmy Award and nominations for two BAFTA Awards and star of The A-Word, Christopher Eccleston. For those who haven’t watched it, The A Word is a family drama TV series with an autistic twist. The plot focuses primarily on Paul and Alison Hughes, whose son Joe is on the spectrum. Since 2016, Eccleston has played Maurice, the grandfather of Joe. Maurice has an extremely abrasive and blunt personality; he also provides us with plenty of comedy moments. For those in the UK, you can currently watch the A-Word here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/b09flzps/the-a-word
A conversation with Adam Ockelford about his friend, Derek Paravicini
Broadcaster John Offord chats to Ted speaker, Adam Ockelford, a Professor of Music and Director of the Applied Music Research Centre at the University of Roehampton, London.
Adam wrote the official biography of the musical savant, Derek Paravicini, entitled "In the Key of Genius: The Extraordinary Life of Derek Paravicini". Derek was born three and a half months prematurely, and is blind and has severe autism. But with perfect pitch, innate talent and a lot of practice, he became a concert pianist by the age of 10. Adam is Derek’s long time piano teacher, mentee and friend.
A conversation with Chris Packham
Broadcaster John Offord chats to Chris Packham CBE, an English naturalist, nature photographer, television presenter and author, best known for his television work including the CBBC children's nature series The Really Wild Show from 1986 to 1995 and the BBC’s nature series Springwatch, including Autumnwatch and Winterwatch, since 2009. Extraordinarily creative and prolific, Chris Packham has led a remarkable life.
In 2003, at the age of 42, Packham began seeing a therapist after the death of his dog. As his work with the therapist concluded in 2005, Packham was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. He has also stated that he has suffered from severe depression.
For more details about Chris, please see www.chrispackham.co.uk
How it feels to be diagnosed with Autism later in life
Broadcaster John Offord chats to his friend, Ashley Kirk who has recently been diagnosed with Autism. Although autism is predominantly diagnosed in childhood, increasing numbers of adults are finding out that they too have autism. This issue, of later life diagnosis, was brought to light recently after nature photographer and TV presenter, Chris Packham, went public with his experiences.
About 1% of the adult population has been diagnosed as on the autism spectrum – with more people diagnosed with autism than ever before. And yet, generally, the focus on who has autism is still mostly on infants, children and young adults.
A conversation with Simon Baron-Cohen
Broadcaster John Offord chats to Simon Baron-Cohen, one of the world’s leading authorities on autism, and Director of the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge about autism theory and his latest book “The Pattern-Seekers: A New Theory of Human Invention” which argues that autistic people have been crucial to our creative and cultural history for the past 70,000 years.
How to stop overthinking
Broadcaster John Offord chats to psychologist, speaker and the author of "The Book of Overthinking: How to Stop the Cycle of Worry", Gwendoline Smith about mental health and her own experiences of Bipolar Disorder. Please see http://www.gwendolinesmith.co.nz more details.
The Black Dyspraxic
Broadcaster John Offord chats to Neurodiversity advocate, Tumi Sotire, aka "The Black Dyspraxic" about his experiences and thoughts on the intersection of race and disability. Tumi says “Living with the intersectionality of being a black man with dyspraxia presents the challenge of disentangling whether social barriers presented are due to race or neurodivergence. Companies that are inclusive on the grounds of ethnic diversity are not necessarily organizations with neurodivergent staff.”
Broadcaster John Offord chats to Jake Hobson who shares his own personal experiences of Dyspraxia, a Developmental Coordination Disorder, a common disorder affecting fine and/or gross motor coordination in children and adults. Please see www.michaelbarton.org.uk for more details.
Broadcaster John Offord chats to Michael Barton, an autistic keynote speaker aiming to spread the message of autism to everyone. Michael is an experienced speaker on autism, Asperger's syndrome and Neurodiversity, having given over 100 talks to date and been featured around the media from Channel 4, the BBC and the Week Junior to the New Scientist magazine. Michael has also spoken alongside world-renowned speakers such as Wenn Lawson, Luke Jackson and Professor Simon Baron-Cohen. Please see https://www.michaelbarton.org.uk for more details.
Aphasia - Sarah's story
Broadcaster John Offord chats to Sarah Scott who had a stroke when she was 18 and now has Aphasia. Sarah appeared on the 2nd series of Undateables. Sarah runs her own YouTube channel and has inspired others to create their own websites and videos to show how language can recover after a brain injury. You can view Sarah’s YouTube channel documenting her recovery here: https://www.youtube.com/user/SymphUK
Neurodiversity and Intersectionality
Broadcaster John Offord chats to Dr Nancy Doyle, CEO and Founder of Genius Within about Neurodiversity and Intersectionality. Nancy has worked with thousands of clients from Access to Work, to blue chip boards and within the prison service. Nancy won Public Policy impact of the year at the BPS division of Occupational Psychology in 2019 for her working lobbying the DWP and several APPGs to take an evidence based approach to neurodiversity inclusion. See www.geniuswithin.co.uk
Untangling the ties between Autism and OCD
Broadcaster John Offord chats to Chris Pittenger, Director of the OCD Research Clinic at Yale University in the USA about how Autism and OCD interact — and how they differ. Those distinctions could be important not only for making correct diagnoses but also for choosing effective treatments. People who have both OCD and autism appear to have unique experiences, distinct from those of either condition on its own. You can read more here: https://www.spectrumnews.org/features/deep-dive/untangling-ties-autism-obsessive-compulsive-disorder/
A conversation with Francesca Happé
Broadcaster John Offord chats to Francesca Happé, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience in London about how people with autism experience the world around them and how our understanding of autism has developed over the past 30 years.
Broadcaster John Offord chats to writer, mental health campaigner / advocate and freelance media consultant, Richard Taylor about male suicide to mark World Suicide Prevention Day. Suicide is the biggest killer of men in Britain between the ages of 20 and 50, but we don’t seem to talk about it. You can read Richard's article in the Guardian here https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/15/we-need-to-talk-about-male-suicide-celebrities-vulnerable
For more support, please see:
CALM tackle male mental health issues, with a deep focus on preventing male suicide:
Whatever you're going through, Samaritans will face it with you (24 hours a day, 365 days a year):
Developed by the Zero Suicide Alliance, the free, online training takes around 20 minutes and is designed to show how to have a direct and honest conversation about suicide and mental health with friends and family.
An interview with Steve Silberman, author of Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity
Broadcaster John Offord chats to award winning author, Steve Silberman who was once haunted by the question: Why have rates of autism diagnosis increased so steeply in the past 30 years? To solve that medical mystery for his book, NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity, Silberman went back to the first years of autism research, where he uncovered a series of events -- some long forgotten, and others deliberately buried -- that required the history of autism to be rewritten. Neurotribes was awarded the Samuel Johnson Prize in 2015, and has received wide acclaim from both the scientific and the popular press. You can visit Steve’s website here: https://www.stevesilberman.com/
The Two Faces of Narcissism
Broadcaster, John Offord chats to Debbie Mirza, author of The Covert Passive Aggressive Narcissist and Linda Barnes, Admin for the Healing After Experiencing Covert Passive-Aggressive Narcissism Facebook Group about the differences between overt and covert narcissism. You can read more here www.debbiemirza.com
A conversation with Dr Radha
Broadcaster John Offord chats to Dr Radha Modgil, a medical doctor, media personality, campaigner for wellbeing, hopeful problem solver and co-host for BBC Radio 1's Life Hack’s about tangible takeaway tips for your mental health. You can visit Dr Radha’s website here: www.drradha.co.uk
In conversation with Judy Singer - creator of the term 'Neurodiversity'
Broadcaster John Offord chats to the originator of the term "Neurodiversity", Australian sociologist and author, Judy Singer. Judy is generally credited with the coinage of the word that became the banner for the last great social movement to emerge from the 20th century. You can read Judy's blog here: https://neurodiversity2.blogspot.com/
Building better mental health
Broadcaster John Offord chats to Kathryn Wheeler, Head Writer at Happiful - a mental health and wellbeing magazine on a mission to create a healthier and happier society through inspiring life stories and positive news. Kathryn is passionate about normalising mental health conversations, tackling stigma, and equipping people with the language they need to communicate what they're going through. Please see: https://happiful.com/
Hypnosis and the Subconscious Mind
There is no doubting the power of the subconscious mind. But what is the subconscious? And how can hypnosis help us to 'reprogram' this part of the mind? Broadcaster John Offord chats to Julia Daley, a Hypnotherapist and Psychotherapist from the UK about the fact that everyone has a subconscious mind with the ability to do wonderful things.
Living with OCD
Broadcaster John Offord chats to TEDx speaker, Dr Julia Britz from Arizona, USA about OCD - they also chat about some of the overlaps between OCD and Autism. Julia is the creator and founder of My OCD Diary, a website and YouTube channel dedicated to discussing insights and tips on dealing with OCD and related mental disorders. You can watch Julia’s TED talk here:
Sarie Taylor is a trained psychotherapist and coach who found herself going from attending university and travelling the world, to being hospitalised with severe anxiety. Sarie now helps others completely transform their relationship with stress and anxiety and fall back in love with life, as she did, in a fraction of the time, all through the understanding of three basic principles first described by Sydney Banks, a welder from Scotland who experienced a spontaneous and profound spiritual enlightenment: Mind, Thought and Consciousness.