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Life and Work with Malinda Dalton-Cook

Today we’d like to introduce you to Malinda Dalton-Cook.

Malinda, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My husband and I started a podcast to document our lives raising our daughter who is on the autism spectrum. We talk about the past, present and building her future without sugarcoating the details. Both of us want her to have an exceptional, fulfilling and safe future. After starting the podcast we found others to share their stories on our platform. One evening I was brainstorming ideas and wondered why we didn’t have a group in our community that comes together to chat about our children’s futures. Something that is not affiliated with any groups or organizations.

That is when I realized, “We are all Autism Masterminds” all of my friends going through similar situations with so much knowledge. I bet they are willing to share with others. So I went on social media, set up a meeting, found a spot to meet and sent out an invite.

I was blown away by the response! I was both nervous and excited to start the first meeting. It was important everyone knew up front that was this meeting was NOT affiliated with any organizations. This meeting was just “us”, autism parents and caregivers sharing our stories and experiences about our children as they age into adulthood. Let us brainstorm ideas to build futures for our children.

Returning home after that initial meeting was heartwarming, I could not stop smiling, knowing that my community, OUR community is strong. We are in this together and can help one another build futures for our children now so that we will not worry about their futures.

I started a private Facebook group for our meetings. I changed the name of the podcast to Autism Mastermind. I am now building a website so I can share resources to anyone who needs them. I want to share everything and anything that no one wants to talk about. Build a community who shares resources and does not sugarcoat the hard challenges we go though as autism parents and care providers. We are in it together and together we will build a more inclusive world for our children.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Autism parenting is not an easy road. I don’t think parenting is easy for anyone, especially families with special needs children. When I started this group, podcast, website, I was afraid my community would not want to discuss certain topics, harder topics about our children who are about to become adults. I was surprised with the openness of parents, especially mothers. My advice for women (mothers, caregivers) is to find people going through similar experiences. Find your community, find your tribe, find your friends, you do not have to be alone.

Please tell us about Autism Mastermind.
I believe families are drawn to Autism Mastermind because we are not affiliated with an organization, you can speak freely and openly in our meetings or not at all. You can come and listen and learn.

We come together as a community to share information, share resources, plan futures and build what does not already exist… we are all “Autism Masterminds” we know our children and what they need. Let’s all share and learn from each other. We are all in it together.

Are there any apps, books, podcasts or other resources that you’ve benefited from using?
I have a podcast: Autism Mastermind. Available anywhere you listen to podcasts.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Malinda Dalton-Cook

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