WGCU collaborated with My Autism Connection to hold a podcast workshop as part of its Move to Include initiative in July. Nine participants and MAC staff met weekly for six weeks to learn how to create a podcast.
One of MAC’s missions is to provide experiential opportunities for people 18 to 50 diagnosed as having Asperger Syndrome and/or Autism Spectrum Disorder. Due to COVID-19, the workshop took place via Zoom conferencing – a shift that MAC previously had made to continue activities for the group.
The goal of the workshop was to introduce podcasts to the group and have each person create his or her own pilot episode. The workshop resulted in podcasts that represented a wide array of subjects from book reviews and storytelling, to making homemade horror film special effects to learning what to do and not do on a first date.
“Once again, our members shared their remarkable talents and can now add podcasting to their list. It was amazing to see all that they accomplished in just six short weeks!” said Sandra Worth, founder and executive director of My Autism Connection, Inc., based in Fort Myers.
Jennifer Mackler, an ESE (Exceptional Student Education) staffing specialist at Lee County Schools, was the workshop facilitator. “Let me just say, I am completely blown away with talent the group of participants from My Autism Connection has shown over these weeks. They have learned to create their introduction, how to add music, how to expand the topic they are discussing, and how to end the podcast so the listener wants to subscribe and hear more.”
Since completing the project, WGCU and MAC agreed to continue the collaboration monthly, to build on what participants learned.
The PRX and Google Podcast Creator Program provided part of the curriculum with its Podcasting 101 video series that is available online at no cost. Mackler designed a fun presentation around it to encourage participants to try something new.
“The local Apple Store provided a trainer for the first two weeks to teach everyone the Garageband software on the iPads that WGCU uses for group training,” said Amy Shumaker, associate general manager for content at WGCU. “Everyone picked up the technology quickly and began recording and editing samples the next week.”
Cary Barbor, the local WGCU host of “All Things Considered,” served as a mentor for the group by sharing her experiences as an independent podcaster and answering questions from the first-time podcasters. The final pilot projects were recently completed and will be presented by WGCU soon.
More information about MAC is available at myautismconnection.net.