Autism Warrior: Sheletta Brundidge
Mother, author, broadcaster, and podcaster, Sheletta Brunbridge does it all. She has four children; the youngest three have autism spectrum disorder.
She is a radio talk show host, a public television commentator, and the creator of SHElettamakesmelaugh.com, a platform that produces and distributes podcasts by and for people of color.
Three of her own podcasts can be found on the platform, including Taking Authority Over Autism. This program offers encouragement, advice, and information to parents who have children diagnosed with autism.
When parents are at their lowest, Taking Authority Over Autism is there to remind them that they are not alone. Sheletta also recently published her first picture book, Cameron Goes to School.
Right now, Sheletta is most proud of her work on Cameron Goes to School, which tells the story of an African American girl with autism preparing for her first day of kindergarten. Sheletta based her book on the story of her own daughter.
She believed that Cameron deserved to find a book about someone like her in the library, so she got to work and wrote her own. She is donating the first 300 copies of her book to school libraries so that all children will be able to see the world through the eyes of a child with autism.
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Sheletta is most inspired by the pursuit of knowledge. She believes that when we know better, we can do better. As researchers learn more and more about autism, people with autism and those who care for them can become more empowered in their lives. She is deeply inspired by the work of the parents, educators, therapists, and advocates who have pushed for more support and more opportunities for children like hers.
As a mother, Sheletta’s goal is to help her children see just how much potential they have. As a content creator, she is dedicated to pointing out the ways special needs children, especially children of color, are often failed by the systems and people around them.
She wants to reduce the stigma, myths, and mysteries associated with autism. With her platform, she hopes to help others realize how amazing people with autism spectrum disorder are, and how their unique gifts can benefit society when we honor and recognize them.
Advice for families affected by autism
Sheletta’s key piece of advice is to never give up on advocating for your child: “Don’t take no for an answer! There are many excellent resources available for our kids, but sometimes those services are not easy to access, especially for people of color. Don’t give up. Persistence, some would say stubbornness, is my super-power.”
This article was featured in Issue 103 – Supporting Emotional Needs