The Human Spectrum with Gilda Evans

S08 | 05 – The Human Spectrum with Gilda Evans

Lindsay Recknell Hope, Mental Health, Podcast Leave a Comment

We are all human.

And even though we each have our differences, we all share at least one thing in common. We will all face challenges, shortcomings, and trials in our lives. That’s the beauty of the human experience. And if we embrace it instead of trying to force each other into neat little boxes, beautiful things are possible.

Gilda Evans joins me today to discuss how that perspective, and finding support in unlikely places, has helped her in her relationship with her son. Her story and insight can help you strengthen your own relationships with your loved ones, whether they are differently-abled or just differently-minded from you.

Tune in!

About Gilda Evans:

Gilda Evans is a podcast host and writer with a strong background in media and entertainment. She has spent over 20 years researching and seeking answers for how to get her son with special needs the things he requires for his education, health, and life in general. She became her son’s self-taught advocate and is the creator of the Autism Resource Podcast. Designed for the special needs community and those who support it, the podcast deals with a myriad of topics; from education to government benefits to housing and almost everything in-between, and provides a one-stop knowledge and resource base for autism and much more. 

To learn more, listen to her podcast and connect with her on Instagram.

Mentioned In This Episode:

Transcription:

Lindsay Recknell  0:03  

Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Hope Motivates Action podcast. I’m your host Lindsay Recknell. And I am super excited to introduce you to this week’s guest, Gilda Evans. I had the pleasure of guesting on Gildas podcast a few months ago and she has returned the favor to join us here today. Let me share a little bit more about Gilda with you. 

 

Lindsay Recknell  0:22  

Gilda is a podcast host and writer with a strong background in media and entertainment. She has spent over 20 years researching and seeking answers for how to get her son with special needs the things he requires for his education, his health, and life in general. She became her son’s self taught advocate, and is the creator of the autism resource podcast designed for the special needs community and those who support it. This podcast deals with many, many topics, from education, to government benefits to housing and almost everything in between. It also provides a one stop knowledge and resource base for autism and so much more. 

 

Lindsay Recknell  0:56  

Listen to hear who build us first inspiration was the opportunity she sees for her son, and other differently abled kids, and how gratitude plays a large role in maintaining her own mental health. I’m excited to get going. So let’s dig in. 

 

Lindsay Recknell  1:13  

Hello, Gilda. Welcome to the show. I’m very excited to have you here today.

 

Gilda Evans  1:16  

Well, I’m excited to be here. Thank you so much for inviting me on I’ve been looking forward to it. I feel like we

 

Lindsay Recknell  1:23  

had we initially met because I got to be a guest on your podcast. And we talked about hope there. So really excited to hear your story of using hope to motivate action in your life. And I wonder if you could share that story with us?

 

Gilda Evans  1:38  

Oh, sure. I get inspiration from a couple of main sources. The first one I’d like to mention is my dad, who unfortunately has transitioned he is no longer on this earthly plane. He left about almost two years ago, let’s call it a closer to a year and a half. But he’s still with me every day, I feel him in my heart. And He speaks to me in my mind. And he is a source of hope and inspiration. One of the greatest sources because my father is and was a survivor of the Holocaust. And he did not share his experiences with me until I was an adult. 

 

Gilda Evans  2:32  

And I understand and appreciate why because I can tell you that hearing what he had to say, was surreal for me to really think about my own father having gone through the horrors and the incredible. The just the horrific things that he explained, you know, surviving the ghetto surviving Auschwitz Birkenau surviving the death march surviving all of these things. And when he shared that with me, I just thought to myself, Oh, my gosh, you know, if someone can go through those kinds of ordeals. 

 

Gilda Evans  3:22  

And, you know, I asked him, What kept you going dead? What was the thing that enabled you to survive through all of it, and he just said, I just kept in my heart, I just kept thinking that if one person survives this whole thing, that one person is going to be me. And I just thought, wow, you know, if he can get through that with that kind of attitude, and that kind of determination, and hope and persistence? My goodness, I look at my problems. And I think, Wow, this is a piece of cake. You know, it’s all relative, isn’t it? It’s, there’s an old saying that you take all your problems and all your worries, and you throw them into a pile with everybody else’s. 

 

Gilda Evans  4:15  

And then when you see what everybody else is dealing with and going through, you say, Well, you know what, if I have a choice, I’ll take mine back. That’s okay. Give me mine. I can deal with it. They’re familiar. You know, I get them I understand how to deal with it. It’s okay. And so that’s, that’s a major source of hope. And inspiration for me is just thinking about my dad, you know, the darkest moments I’ve had in my life. I thought about him, and that is what has really gotten me through that and also the inspiration that I get from my Children. 

 

Gilda Evans  5:01  

And in particular, I want to talk about my youngest son who is a person with autism, very high functioning. And I see what he went through as a young man, he’s now in his 20s. But when he was a child, when he was growing up when he was going through his teens, he had to contend with a myriad of comorbidities, things that just basically Shut, shut him down, until he got to the other side of puberty, basically. And he was able to pull himself out of that pull himself through it with his own persistence, his own determination, his own intelligence, and just made the decision that he was not going to let things like selective mutism and dysgraphia, and Tourette syndrome and OCD and all of these challenges that he was facing on top of his autism diagnosis. 

 

Gilda Evans  6:11  

He was going to surmount all of that, and he did. And he is now a very successful young man on the path to a career in animation and or video game design. And he is also the inspiration and motivation for my podcast that you are a guest on and hopefully will be coming back as a guest soon. 

 

Gilda Evans  6:35  

Um, he just prompted me to think back on what I went through, when he was first diagnosed, he was diagnosed at the age of three. And I remember that feeling of being like, it’s like being out in the middle of the ocean, treading water with no land in sight, and no idea what direction to swim in. And, and you hail the passing ships and you go, Hey, you waved at them, hey, here I am they sort of way back at you and go, Hey, hi, we see you but by and, and it’s just overwhelming and frustrating, and can be very intimidating. And you have a question or a problem. And you’re wondering, who do I call who I talked to about this? And you’re told to call half a dozen different people and you do with the same question, you get six totally different answers. And you have no idea which one is right. 

 

Gilda Evans  6:35  

And usually the first words you hear are no, sorry, we don’t do it that way. And unless you’re like me, and you respond to that with well, then this will be the first time work with me here. Love it. Or, you know, God forbid, English is not your first language, you know, then forget about it. And the one that ends up suffering the most not to say that the parents don’t suffer they do. But the one that ends up suffering the most is the child. And that’s just not right. 

 

Gilda Evans  8:12  

So a couple years ago, I had this epiphany. And I realized that there wasn’t, and until my podcast is my podcasts are, as I know, is the only singular sort of seminal knowledge and resource base, that a parent or an educator or a caregiver, for a person with special needs themselves can go to with an issue or question or problem. And just put something like housing or education or behavioral therapy or whatever it is that they happen to be looking for, or wondering about, and a bull pop, three 610 however many podcasts on that particular topic for them to listen to 24/7 for free with a vetted expert. 

 

Gilda Evans  9:11  

And in your case, if they were to put in stress, you know, or resilience or anything like that, there would be your podcast. And they can listen to it. And listen to this wonderful expert give them very salient information on the topic. And then at the end, they say hey, you know, if you have questions, if you want to know more, here’s how to reach me. I’m happy to help. Oh, my goodness, Lindsay, you know, if I had had this 20 Some years ago, when my son was first diagnosed, I would have thought I found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

 

Lindsay Recknell  9:48  

I can only imagine that so many parents hearing you speak or thinking God I need this. So we will absolutely link to your podcast and all your reasons. As in the show notes of this episode, because I, even 20 years ago, like you say, I don’t think these conversations were even being had, you know, you talked about feeling overwhelmed and unsure, but it must have been very isolating also.

 

Gilda Evans  10:16  

Well, very much so because you, you don’t realize how many other parents and people out there are dealing with those around them whom they love who are differently abled. That is the term I prefer is you know, differently abled. I think the last statistic that I heard was something like one in 39 Being diagnosed every year. I mean, it keeps getting lower and lower and lower. And, and I’m talking about the full and I’m going to use the word spectrum of diagnoses and people with special needs or people who are differently abled. I believe that one in 39 might relate to the autism diagnosis, but, but I think, frankly, it relates to much, much more. 

 

Gilda Evans  11:11  

And I’d like to take this opportunity to share my own personal theory about labels right now. First of all, I want to encourage everyone who’s listening to reach out, no matter what your issue is, no matter what you’re contending with, no matter what you’re challenged by, reach out, because I guarantee you that there are many other people in this world on this planet, who are dealing with the same challenges, and the same adversity, whatever it is. And there are people who want to share and people who want to support and people who want to help. And you know, you can find that support, sometimes in the most unlikely places. 

 

Gilda Evans  12:01  

So don’t, you know, don’t let that misguided feeling of isolation get to you. Because there is, there is camaraderie, and friendship and support out there. So the whole thing with labels that I wanted to discuss whether you’re talking about special needs differently abled people, or whether you’re talking about any other kind of label, no matter what it is, I’m okay with labels in the sense that they serve to shorthand language. If I say for example, autism to you, you may not have a specific idea of what I’m referring to in terms of the challenges that that particular individual might be facing. 

 

Gilda Evans  12:48  

Because as the old saying goes, you meet one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism, because it’s very, very different from individual to individual. But it gives you a broad general sense of the challenges they might be dealing with. So in that sense, I appreciate labels in terms because they do help us to communicate in certain circumstances more efficiently. But I also feel, and I hope, anyway, that at some point in the future, terms like the autism spectrum, will fall by the wayside, they won’t be necessary. Because as we grow as we evolve as that 139 goes down to one to 29, and then one, two, and then one in 19, we will come to the realization that we are all part of the human spectrum. 

 

Gilda Evans  13:43  

And the only thing that really matters is where our individual wavelength falls, because we’re all different. You might be infrared, you might be visible spectrum, you might be ultraviolet, you know, we all we all vibrate on a different frequency. And that’s okay. That’s part of the beauty of our individuality. We all have challenges. We all have shortcomings, we all have things that we’re contending with and dealing with. But the bottom line is we are all human. And we we share that in common. And we are all part of that, that human spectrum. And I just I just think it’s a beautiful thing. And that’s that’s a place that I look forward to when we eventually get there as as a species in terms of our perspective.

 

Lindsay Recknell  14:39  

Well, in that whole reduction of the stigma attached to that language, right. I appreciate I appreciate a lot of what you said about the label of autism as an example because, remember, a girlfriend of mine had you know her son, he struggled he was in kindergarten, and his teacher didn’t know how to didn’t know how to relate to him, you know, she was harried, she had many other kids that she also had to contend with, of course, and she couldn’t, she had a hard time seeing the beauty that was this small boy. 

 

Lindsay Recknell  15:13  

And so the response and the education system, and I imagine it must be the same from where you are, is to get him tested for autism get him tested for these conditions. And so he got the label of being on the autism spectrum. And I remember her calling distressed about this, and having a conversation similar to what you’re talking about where the label made it, so he can access the resources and the support that he needed that school that they needed, as a family that she needed as his mom. 

 

Lindsay Recknell  15:51  

And from that perspective, you know, she could appreciate the label as outdated and non progressive as it should be, you know, he should be able to, to support these kids without having to give them a label. But in that moment, at least, she was getting the help and support he needed. So I appreciate that. 

 

Lindsay Recknell  16:13  

But I also like what you said, in fact, when you introduced your son, as someone who is living with autism, you know, just that person first language as opposed to illness first, or condition First, language is helping to reduce the stigma. And I just, I just think that’s beautiful. So thank you for sharing that. I don’t think it’s something that we think about as often as we should or talk about as often as we could.

 

Gilda Evans  16:37  

Oh, absolutely. I mean, these autism is not something that needs to be cured. It is not an illness. It is just someone who’s wired differently. And let me tell you, that people with this particular gift, and I will call it a gift, our gift Ted in so many ways, oh my goodness, I will tell you sometimes I have conversations with my son and I think I’m talking to an existentialist. I mean, the the perspective that they have the way that their brains work and the insight that they’re able to gain on a particular topic or subject, the way that they see certain things, you know, that the the terms neurotypical and neurodiverse are used right now to refer to those of us who sort of fall into that broad general typical category and those who are considered diverse from that category. And so my son would be considered neurodiverse. 

 

Gilda Evans  17:54  

But I will tell you that the perspective that he is able to gain and the way that he sees things, a neurotypical person would never, never be able to, to see certain things in the way that he sees them. So I am appreciative to the nth degree of his insight and his opinion. I mean, there’ll be a lot of times when I’ll just call him and I’ll ask him something because I want his opinion. I want to know how he sees something because I’ll tell you nine times out of 10, he’ll come up with something that I never would have thought of. And so it is, again, it is an amazing gift, to have him in my life. And anybody who has him in their life is lucky. As far as I’m concerned.

 

Lindsay Recknell  18:50  

It’s just so cool to see the pride in your voice hears the pride in your voice and see the pride on your face. Your, you know, even when you’re speaking about your dad and your son, like it’s you, you have this cool gift to really appreciate the beauty that is these individuals around you and the strengths that they bring to the world. 

 

Lindsay Recknell  19:09  

I wonder if there’s if there’s moms listening, if there’s caregivers listening, if their dads listening, and they aren’t feeling quite as hopeful as you at the minute you know, they’re there maybe at the beginning of their journey with their with their child or or you know, someone in their life that they love. Is there something hopeful that you can share with them as someone who’s a little bit further down the path?

 

Gilda Evans  19:35  

Well, don’t don’t give up and don’t take the No we don’t do it that way. answer there. There are people out there to support you. I highly recommend starting with going to my website, my podcast page because there’s so much fun information there. It’s autism resource podcast.com. And if you’re having a particular issue or a problem, or you have a question, chances are now it’s it’s there’s about 90 podcasts up there right now. And it’s growing all the time. It is a resource base that’s there for you to use. 

 

Gilda Evans  20:25  

So if the particular issue that you’re looking for isn’t there, hopefully it will be soon. But chances are, there’s something if not exactly close enough, that’s there for you to at least get a foothold, at least figure out what direction to start swimming in the river, what I was referring to earlier, there’s that. But there, like I said, there is community out there, there are Facebook groups, there are support groups, there are so many local organizations that offer support. 

 

Gilda Evans  21:02  

So just be persistent. Be persistent, don’t give up. Love your child or whoever your loved one is that has the issue or the problem. And you know what, talk to them, talk with them. Ask them to share with you what they’re going through, listen to them, don’t try to make them fit into your box, or into the box that you need to make them fit into accept the fact that they are different, differently abled, and they may have certain issues that they need to address or deal with differently than you do. 

 

Gilda Evans  21:54  

And that’s okay. That’s really, really okay. It doesn’t make them any less. It just makes them different. So, opening your mind to that, and accepting that can also bring a lot of peace, and a lot of inspiration to find the answers that you need.

 

Lindsay Recknell  22:18  

Can I ask you also, while we’re supporting our differently abled kids? You also have neurotypical kids, I believe, yeah. So again, I imagine that other that listeners are in a similar scenario. I had a I had a guest on the podcast who, who shared her story of her four kids, three of which suffered from mental mental health challenges, and the fourth who didn’t, and just the struggle she had with, you know, wanting to support her three kids that were really struggling, but not leave her other her other child out. Do you have any thoughts or advice for people who might be in a similar situation with multiple kids, or you know,

 

Gilda Evans  23:05  

make them a part of the journey. Don’t take it all on yourself. You’d be amazed how incredibly supportive the siblings can be, if they feel valued. And they feel as though you are inviting them to be a part on this journey with you and your differently abled child. Do research together, discover things together. When you have these discussions with your child who is differently abled, include the siblings? Have them be a part of that discussion, have it be a group learning and sharing experience. 

 

Gilda Evans  23:51  

It’s amazing, not only how much closer that helps everyone grow, but also they’re going to see things that you don’t, they’re going to have different opinions. They’re going to have insights to share that you may not be aware of that will be incredibly helpful. So that is my biggest suggestion is don’t treat them separately. Treat them as part of the whole. It’s a family. Make it a family, and it will continue to be one.

 

Lindsay Recknell  24:26  

No, I love it. So beautiful. So beautiful. Thank you so much, Gilda. I just can’t even believe that we’re coming to the end of our time together. I asked one question at the end of every show. And that is Gilda. What gives you hope?

 

Gilda Evans  24:42  

Hmm. Well, I’ll tell you. It is waking up every day on the right side of the grass. Knowing that I have increased edible children. Fortunately, my mom is still on this earthly plane, I have wonderful friends in my life. And I spend some time every morning being grateful. Just really, truly, and it sounds trite, I know. But I really, truly look into my heart. And I think about all of those wonderful things. And I just bathe in that gratitude for a while before I start my day. 

 

Gilda Evans  25:32  

And it serves, it’s sort of a reset, if you will, it’s my hope, reset. I love I do that I do every morning without fail. And I also meditate, but that’s a whole different discussion. Because everybody, everybody does that differently in their own way. And I do highly recommend that as well. But having that little reset every morning, and just adjusting your perspective in that way and starting your day, that’s, that’s what I found, really helps me stay on course. So 

 

Lindsay Recknell  26:11  

a little hope, reset, man, I’m gonna use that I like that a lot. And we can we do i The the language of gratitude, the language of mindfulness, the language of compassion, and understanding and curiosity that comes up on this show a lot. And I, it’s such a cool, it’s such a cool message to share. And I love that we get to have these kinds of conversations, because, you know, like you said, we are not alone in our journey, there is absolutely somebody who’s going through something similar. 

 

Lindsay Recknell  26:42  

Probably not exactly the same. But something similar that can relate to or you can learn from, or you can share your experiences with, because we are not in this, you know, we’re all in this together. I don’t like that language. But you know, we are it’s a community of people around us that you can draw strength from that you can draw hope from, and also that internal sort of that internal peace and strength in gratitude, as well. 

 

Lindsay Recknell  27:09  

So all of those words to say, thank you so, so much for being here with me today, I have learned so much about just about how to live a really forward thinking hopeful life, considering all of those beautiful, beautiful humans around you. And what it is like to be inspired by people who have and are going through things that are harder than you’d like them to be. So I really appreciate you spending your time with us today.

 

Gilda Evans  27:44  

Well, Lindsay, it’s absolutely my pleasure. I really enjoyed this conversation. I was so happy, I am so happy to have been a guest on your podcast. And please come back and be a guest on mine again.

 

Lindsay Recknell  28:03  

We will talk all things mental health, don’t you worry. I’m very thank you again. And we will be in touch very, very soon.

 

Gilda Evans  28:11  

I just want to say, Lindsay, that I so much appreciated this opportunity to be on your podcast. Because when you talk about healing it and when you help other people heal, it’s healing for yourself. So you’ve given me this opportunity to do some self healing. And I really, really appreciate that as well. So thank you. And thank you also, by the way for the work that you do. Your work is so important and so vital. So thank you as well. And I look forward to speaking with you again very soon.

 

Lindsay Recknell  28:46  

Well, thank you, you’ve just made by day with all those kind words it is you know, I have never felt more aligned to any work that I’ve ever done. And similar to you this is healing work. For me also this the journey that I’m on is very is a very personal one. The hope comes from a very personal place and it definitely gives me a lot of honor to speak to, to have these kinds of conversations and to be able to share my story along with yours. So thank you for that opportunity as well. 

 

Lindsay Recknell  29:20  

I hope you enjoyed this latest episode of The Hope Motivates Action Podcast. These episodes are a labor of love inspiring conversations with hopeful people make my heart happy. If you also love this episode, it would be amazing if you could go to Apple podcasts and leave a review five stars if you’re into it. It’s these reviews that encouraged Apple to promote this podcast to their network and the more people that listen, the more hope we can spread into the world. 

 

Lindsay Recknell  29:43  

Don’t forget to check out the show notes of this episode to find all the links to my guests books and other resources referenced in this episode. You’ll also find the link back to my website where you will find additional support and resources for you, your team and your community. I truly believe that the future will be better than today. By taking action over the things we can control and hearing from these guests on these episodes I know that an even more hopeful future is totally possible. 

 

Lindsay Recknell  30:08  

I’m always looking for inspirational guests so if you or anyone you know would like to be a guest on the show, please reach out you can find me on the contact form of my website at expertinhope.com or by email at Lindsay@expertinhope.com. 

 

Lindsay Recknell  30:23  

When I was a teenager, my sisters were leaving the house to go out for the night. I always made it a point to remind them to call me if they need me. It was my way to tell them that I cared and would always be there for them. I’d love you to know the same so all of you listening out there Call me if you need me. 

 

Lindsay Recknell  30:38  

Again, thank you for your love and support of this podcast, my work in hope and your intentional focus on making your future better than today. After all, hope without action is just a wish

 

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Lindsay Recknell | Expert in Hope | Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram

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