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31. Autism Siblings, Presumption of Competence & Spelling to Communicate with Danny & Tara Whitty

In this episode, Danny Whitty and his sister, Tara, talk with Diana about the importance of spelling to communicate, communication regulation partners, and their sibling relationship. This is an emotional episode, as Diana, Tara and Danny connect and relate to one another with raw authenticity and love. If you are curious about autism, and especially non or minimally-speaking autistic communicators, then come right in and allow your world view of autism to be impacted in an irreversible way. 

Note: In this episode, Danny is typing on a laminated letter board. His sister, Tara, reads out loud the letters as he types. And at times, Danny is able to speak his own words. These moments of Danny's communication are magical. Although it may sound different than you are used to hearing in interviews and podcast episodes, I have not edited out those moments. They are authentically, Danny's communication. These letters and Danny's spoken words are also reflected in the transcript. 


Links Mentioned or Related

Danny Whitty 

Leo in Bloom

Dawn Marie Gavin Founder of Spellers Center San Diego

Johnny Perez at Spellers Center San Diego

Elizabeth Vossler Executive Director of I-ASC

International Association for Spelling to Communicate


Stay Connected with Diana

Diana's Website, including blog

Free Resource - 5 Keys to Going Beyond Awareness 

Beyond Awareness: Bringing Disability into Diversity in K-12 Schools & Communities - Diana's Book

Ed Roberts: Champion of Disability Rights - Diana's Children's Book

Ed Roberts: Champion of Disability Rights Thematic Unit/ Disability History Lesson Plans

"Beyond Awareness" Digital Course

Diana's TEDx Talk

Beyond Awareness Facebook Page

Diana on Instagram

Beyond Awareness Tote Bag 

Beyond Awareness Pullover Hoodie

Beyond Awareness Raglan Baseball T-Shirt

Beyond Awareness Journal/Notebook

Diana's Teachers Pay Teachers Store - Disability as Diversity

Diana's Brand New Resource! Beyond Disability Awareness: An Educator's Guide, Published by National Professional Resources, Inc. (NPR, Inc.)


Credits and Image Description

Intro and outro music courtesy of Emmanuel Castro.

Podcast cover photo by Rachel Schlesinger Photography.

Podcast cover image description: Black and white photograph of Diana, a Spanish-American woman with long, wavy, brown hair. She is wearing a flowy, white blouse and smiles at camera as she leans against wooden building. Photo is colorfully framed with gold and orange rays of seeming sunshine on top half, and with solid sage green color on bottom half. Text reads "Beyond Awareness: Disability Awareness That Matters, Diana Pastora Carson, M.Ed."