Transcript Izabelle

Kelly Bron Johnson (00:00):

Hi, and welcome to this week's episode of the intersections on the spectrum podcast. The intersections on the spectrum podcast is the brainchild of Doug Blecher and Kelly Bron Johnson created to discuss intersectional issues within the autistic community and give visibility to commonly marginalized, repressed, underrepresented, or erased identities and issues. We aim to introduce you to the people and stories you didn't know about, but needed to hear and hope that by seeing yourself represented in the community, allows you to feel seen.

Doug Blecher (00:45):

And today we are thrilled to welcome Izabelle Azevedo. Isabelle, thank you so much for joining us today.

Izabelle Azevedo (00:54):

Thank you for inviting me. I feel so important. <laugh>

Doug Blecher (00:58):

Well, you are so, , we just wanted to kind of start out as we do at the beginning of all these episodes and learn about your identities. What would you say are the identities that you feel like you're most connected with?

Izabelle Azevedo (01:15):

Well, sure. I'm Latina, which is something, a lot of people don't actually know about me until I speak and they're like, oh, you have an accent. <laugh> like, yeah, I have an accent. I'm from Brazil. I was born and raised there and I moved here in 2014. I'm autistic. I got my diagnosis last year at 34 years old. And since then, my life has finally started to make sense. I mean, you know, like I'm still having an identity crisis <laugh> as I say, but, um, it's just, I'm trying to find who I am, um, outside of the need of masking and, and people pleasing. And I also embraced, , being a disabled person because, you know, like I found that that helped me accept my disabilities, especially my physical disabilities, and, move forward with my life.

Izabelle Azevedo (02:20):

So yeah, I identify as Latina, autistic and ADHD also, <laugh> forgot about that. <laugh> in disabled.

Kelly Bron Johnson (02:32):

I really relate to, to what you're saying about, uh, you know, finding yourself now with, with the new diagnosis. Cause that's very similar to how it was for me. I got diagnosed at 32. And you know, it was this a bit of a grieving period for all the life that I had before that, without knowing and, and all the experiences I had, you know, that could have been better. Had I had the information.

Izabelle Azevedo (02:56):

the what if right.

Kelly Bron Johnson (02:59):

Yeah. And you know, not to all the ways I had tried to force myself to fit into things that didn't make sense. Like you said, the people pleasing the, just pushing myself to try and be something that I, I could not be it wasn't possible.

Kelly Bron Johnson (03:17):

So I really relate to that a lot. I think that's something that happens to a lot of us that were when we're diagnosed as adults.

Izabelle Azevedo (03:24):

Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, it's, I mean, you question yourself, especially when you pass 30, because there are some behaviors and some things that, for me, like, you know, I looked at myself and, and thought, wow, you were past 30 and you still such a child in some, in some aspect because of like some things that would frustrate me, you know? And I think that's what led me to finally get diagnosed because I was questioning like all the time. And I was in such like an identity crisis, like seriously, before I was diagnosed. And then it's just increased once I was diagnosed and I was like, oh my God, this all is not just a diagnosis. This is not just like, some people are diagnosed with a tumor.

Izabelle Azevedo (04:12):

Fine, but this changes who you are like, it's, it's very, it's not, it's not that it changes. It's just, it's very related to who you are as a person. So you can't really separate the autism and the ADHD from the person like you can do with some other diagnosis, you know.

Kelly Bron Johnson (04:31):

mm-hmm <affirmative> exactly. Yeah. And then about finding yourself again, who that person is.

Izabelle Azevedo (04:36):

Yeah. Who, yeah. Yeah. <laugh> who am I great question. I don't know. <laugh>.

Kelly Bron Johnson (04:44):

<laugh> that's okay. It's a beautiful journey. <laugh> yes. So Isabelle, you're a visual storyteller and you have a mission to help driven founders and brands tell their stories and drive positive change in social media. So how did that, uh, documentary miss misrepresentation, leads you down this path?

Izabelle Azevedo (05:07):

Let me just say, first of all, this is such a good question. <laugh> um, such a great question.

Izabelle Azevedo (05:13):

I don't think nobody ever like asked me that. Yeah, so I love storytelling. I always have. And I truly, truly believe in like in its power to shape and, and change perspective. And misrepresentation shows how the media and the, the patriarchy, really take advantage of that in a negative way. And in the case of this documentary, also the impact of how women were portrayed, that's the hard word for me, portrayed <laugh>. And the lack of representation of women in the media, both like in front and behind the camera, you know, it shows like the impact of it. And now that documentary is like, it came in 2011, so it's been 10 years. Right. So since then there has been some change for women representation in this case, at least, but we are now seeing some change for queer people and people of color as well, but for folks with disabilities and for folks like us, there's barely any, right?

Izabelle Azevedo (06:27):

So there's a quote in these documentary from Jane Fonda that she says, you can't be what you can't see. And that's true to some level, I mean, to a huge level because representation matters and that is the thing to actually create and change people's perspective in including their own perspective of themselveo watching it, I knew that if I were to go on this creative path, I would want to use my skills to help change people's perspective in a positive way, and somehow improve representation for these groups. You know, especially now that like, I know I'm neurodivergent, I know I'm a disabled person, especially now. I I had this thing with mental health for a while. Like I always wanted to talk about mental health and everything, and that's also representation, but especially now as a disabled person, as an autistic person and ADHD, like, I really want to bring that, to use my skils to bring that to the spotlight, you know? So that documentary really like opened my mind to it.

Kelly Bron Johnson (07:43):

Well, first of all, I just wanna say it's, I give all credit to Doug for these questions. <laugh>, he's just a really good question. Asker person. So <laugh>, I've seen, I've seen his other podcast that yeah, you go,

Doug Blecher (07:58):

We won't talk about the bad questions where there's not good, so. We're just gonna focus on, on the, uh, <laugh> But you, you just naturally ask good questions and then sometimes there's a bit of refinement from me a little bit, but otherwise.

Doug Blecher (08:15):

I think that it, it goes back to being curious, you know, I think that, and you know, I think that's an important aspect of it and I think that'sI haven't talked to Kelly or anyone else about this, but I think that's related to being autistic in a lot of ways.

Izabelle Azevedo (08:42):

Could be, yeah, but it's yeah. It's such good questions. I noticed that with your other podcast with Becca. Yeah. <laugh> but.

Kelly Bron Johnson (08:52):

I think there's a little bit more of a layer to it though. You don't give yourself <laugh>, there's, there's one thing to be curious there's another thing to be, like you're not like curious and ignorant mm-hmm, <affirmative>, you're curious, but you've done your research.

Izabelle Azevedo (09:13):

Like he digs.

Kelly Bron Johnson (09:17):

Yeah, exactly. <laugh> an investigator and, and you're not like you don't ask rude questions. You don't ask, like, they're not ridiculous questions. I don't know how to explain it.

Izabelle Azevedo (09:28):

I like it. Yeah. I really like it.

Doug Blecher (09:31):

I appreciate that. So, Isabelle, in thinking about social media, you know, I think there's so many negative aspects to it, but I do think it's such a great avenue, you know, for, for so many people. What about like maybe ways that there can be positive change in social media? What do you hope are the, you know, some of the trends that we kind of move away from?

Izabelle Azevedo (10:03):

Oh my gosh. Yes. Well maybe what I'm gonna say is cliche. I don't know. <laugh> but this canceling culture thing, thatI mean, for sure I would like it to go away because, you know, no one is perfect. People make mistakes and they should be allowed a chance to learn and make it better. Right. Like, at least in my opinion, like, nobody's perfect. But yeah, like with social media, it's complicated because you say one thing and sometimes you don't even know what you meant and then you cancel. Right. Like, I mean, yeah. But also social media right now has a lot of everyone doing the same thing. <laugh> and I mean, people are trying so hard to stay relevant at all costs. And I kind of like, I find that kind of not necessarily positive because you know, like I don't wanna see 10 people doing exactly the same thing when I'm going on my Instagram, which I'm trying to stay away from by the way.

Izabelle Azevedo (11:16):

But because, um, that doesn't inspire me. That doesn't bring me anything. Like, you know, I mean, I would like those things to go away. Like I would like to see people doing, being brave to do their own thing more. It doesn't matter if it's like, if they think it's bad or good, whatever, I would like them to feel more free to do their own thing, despite like likes and engagement. Although I know for a lot of people, that's very important. I know, but, and also the canceling thing, like, I, I don't think people should be canceled, you knowI think they should be held accountable. That's that's what I think that.

Kelly Bron Johnson (12:00):

I guess it's a big, that's a big difference. So if we could talk a little bit more about that then what is the line, I guess, between being held accountable and canceling?

Kelly Bron Johnson (12:14):

Yeah. And or, okay, so wait, hold on. What happens? What happens? Like where I, I guess what you're saying is that there's a lot of that kind of retribution, right. Instead of healing that's happening, it's like a punishment and it's kind of like, okay, at what point do, does the punishment stop or can it, yeah. Right. Cause it seems that sometimes the punishment seems to be like permanent and it's like, you're done. You said, you know, you said something problematic and harmful, and now we're never gonna give you another chance again.

Izabelle Azevedo (12:47):

Yeah. That's, that's what a lot of people are doing. And there are people who actually kind of deserve, like, to be more of a harsh, like accountability type, but like an example is Lizzo. She released a single, like few weeks ago mm-hmm <affirmative> and there was an abelist slur in there and she didn't know.

Speaker 1 (13:08):

Right. So the disabled community came on and called out on her. And, you know, she listened, she apologized, she changed the lyrics. And that's kind of like holding people accountable. I'm coming to you And I'm saying like, hey, you did this. I just want you to know this is not cool. When other people, what happened to other people who are not, let's say as liked as Lizzo necessarily, or, you know, they don't necessarily have the chance to change that. People just go and say, you are out. Like, we are canceling you. Let's everybody unfollow this person, this person said this. And it's like, okay, can we, can we come to this person and give them like the benefit of the doubt and say like, Hey, did you know about this? And, and if you did know, like, why the hell to do that?

Izabelle Azevedo (14:07):

But, you know, like, and ask them to explain themselves. And if they keep doing, like, we've seen with some comedians, let's say, let's not name anybody, but let's say with some comedians, you know, people complain, instead of listening, they said, I'm not doing anything wrong when they basically are. Right. And that's something else. So you see, like, there is a difference, like instead of right, like canceling the person right away, just give them the benefit of the doubt and even canceling, like the word cancel So harsh. It's just so harsh. Like, you know, people need to, to be, able to learn from their mistakes cuz everybody's human and nobody has how'd you say glass ceiling, everybody has a glass ceiling. Everybody has a glass ceiling. Okay. That's yes. <laugh>.

Kelly Bron Johnson (15:01):

So what's also interesting if we're talking about like current media stuff or current gossip, you know, I dunno if you've heard, but Beyonce released a song recently with the slur that's just like, where were you? Were you under a rock when this happened?

Izabelle Azevedo (15:16):

I asked the same thing. Like, okay, fine. She's not, she's not into news, whatever, but where is her team? Is her team the same bubble that she is. I love her. And my husband was actually like, you know, like she wrote these songs a while ago. It could be that she forgot that that word was there. And I'm like, it seems like this is a word that people are using in that community. Right. Like Lizzo, Beyonce, like, yeah, we need to go in that community and say, Hey guys, <laugh>, you know, like here's what's happening. So we do things for you. Can you do things for us as well? You know, like, it's like, can we, and that's the intersectionality, right? Like, can we as a group of like different people who a lot of them have the same things, you know, the same, like i intersectionally, the same identities. Like can we talk and like make things better because the same way that words in your community hurt you, there are words in our community that hurt us as well. You know? So I guess, yeah. I guess that's it.

Kelly Bron Johnson (16:27):

So one thing you've also said, uh, about with everybody being on social media is that everyone is a storyteller now. So are there questions, people should be asking themselves when thinking about what they put on their social media?

Izabelle Azevedo (16:44):

Oh yes. Absolutely, but I don't know if I can curse here. <laugh> but anyways, yes. Yes , I think the most important question is you know, is what I'm going to post going to be helpful for someone like, is this thing that I'm going to share either, you know, whatever it is like, is this going to be helpful for someone in some ways? And that goes to those who are also like afraid, not only to those who are posting, like, you know, like they don't mind. But also those who are afraid of posting their thoughts, um, as well.

Izabelle Azevedo (17:31):

Because sometimes there is someone out there who needs to hear what you have to say. And I've experienced that personally in both ways, like both me sharing something that's personal and you know, and the person like somebody else like saw and replied to me and said, I needed to hear that. And in the same way, somebody else posting and me seeing that and not feeling so lonely. So that's the positive part of it. But I also like think if what you're sharing is going to help someone or if it's going to hurt someone. And you know, another thing is, is what you're sharing true? That's very important nowadays. Well, it's been important for us, I guess a few years now, Right? Because I mean, I don't wanna say when it started, but <laugh> is what you're sharing actually.\ True?

Izabelle Azevedo (18:35):

Did you fact check, like, is this coming from a source that is reputable? I don't even know if I said that word. Right. Good reputation. Reputable. Yes. <laugh> oh my God. That's when you know, I'm not from here. <laugh> you know, if you're sharing a piece of news or like, I don't know, some kind of research, whatever, I don't just make sure that what you're sharing is like true. You know, or even if you're sharing something about somebody else, because you can end up being part of spreading fake news, spreading rumors that you don't need to be spreading. So, I mean, ask yourself, is this going to be helpful is what I'm sharing true. You know, if it's not about yourself, because that's, you know, if it's about somebody else about something that you learn, like, is this true? You know? Cause yeah. I mean, there's so many BS on social media right now. Like it's, I mean, it's just it's sad to be honest.

Kelly Bron Johnson (19:51):

Well, I think especially as autistic people, we have this whole sense of justice and truth and facts that the, we, we wanna make sure everything's correct. And it, it drives us nuts when it's not. But I wan to like, touch on what you were saying there about, you know, what we're, what we're putting out there. Is it helpful? Yeah. You know, or is it harmful? And there are so many ways that I think people don't realize, like when you said that we're all storytellers, that we all have a voice and that, like I said, there's people don't realize how important your own voice is and how much it's needed. And it's so sad to me when people kind of restrain themselves and don't put themselves out there. And when I say put yourself out there, I don't mean like you have to be out there posting every two seconds and dancing and whatever, but letting people understand your thoughts and your voice, because it's so unique.

Kelly Bron Johnson (20:47):

to you and that you do have influence, like we talk about influencers, but even smaller people have an influence that is that you can control, like I have a, a friend who's a music. And, we've known each other since high school. So, you know, now, like I'm still friends with him, but like, you know, he has albums and stuff like that. But he at some point had came out with some songs that were to me, misogynistic you know, he had certain words in there and things like that. And I called him out. I'm like, you have a daughter, you have a daughter the same age as my son. And I'm like, what do you think that you're teaching her? Or that she should be thinking when she hears a song from her father's mouth with these words.

Kelly Bron Johnson (21:44):

And he,at first he got angry at me. He got angry and he said, well, you know, you shouldn't be bringing my personal family into this. No, no, it has nothing to do with my kid. And he said he didn't appreciate it, but he's never released a song with those words since. So there's something there that I touched, whether he was angry at me or not, where I was like, you have a platform you can still make rap music and you can make whatever kind of music you want. And, but you don't have to use those words. Like you don't have to do it like everyone else does it. You can actually do it in a respectful way. So anyway, all that to say, just saying that, you know, you can, you can use your voice, you can use your art, you can share it.

Kelly Bron Johnson (22:29):

but you don't have to do in a way that's harmful.

Izabelle Azevedo (22:31):

Yeah. You can, we are all influencing people. And that's what people don't don't get. Like, it doesn't matter if you have a thousand followers or if you have a million, of course the one that has a million followers is going to get a lot more people, which is actually kind of dangerous also but we are always storytellers now. And what we are saying is making an impact on somebody's thoughts and perspective. Right. And so we have a responsibility in some ways

Doug Blecher (23:04):

And, and just kind of with what Kelly was just talking about, is that something that I've seen throughout my life and it's been family members, so-called friends I'll say, or acquaintances, like, especially like when they're, you know, male, uh, assigned male at birth, it seems like they feel more comfortable cuz I'm also male to talk and express themselves in those ways around me. And I've had to repeatedly throughout my life be like, Hey, no, I don't think so. <laugh> I, I have a problem with it. Haven't done it a hundred percent of the time, but definitely t that's something that just continuously has been a, has come up in my life. So you know, Isabelle, I'm extremely fortunate because I get to co-host this with Kelly and you know, she is amazing. Andbeyond this podcast, I co-host, uh, a podcast with one of the few people that I admire as much as Kelly and that's Becca Lory Hector, who recently was chosen for LinkedIn's top voices in disability advocacy. They chose 12 people this year and Becca was one of them. So from what I understand, you've been working with Becca to improve her reach on social media. And I can definitely tell the differences recently. But I I'm really interested in the process for you working with another autistic woman advocate and storyteller.

Speaker 1 (24:53):

Yes oh my God. <laugh> um, working with Becca has been a dream actually, and I'm not saying this because I know she would probably listen to this interview. But because it's true, I do not BS on, you know, like people, so it's true. Like it's been kind of a dream. She's basically my ideal ideal client, I guess. I tried very hard to picture my ideal client at some point as a business exercise. Right and I couldn't and now I got it. <laugh> because working with another autistic means, cutting the fluff, you know, that I never really learn how to do anyways. I'm very direct and, and people in Brazil know me for being like very funny, but also rude. You know, and it's not that I'm rude. It's that, it's just that, like, I have a little filter issue where I'll tell you things that apparently you don't want to hear <laugh>.

Izabelle Azevedo (26:05):

Right. Cause I say to my husband all the time people say they want honesty. People say they want the truth, but they don't, it's a lie. It's a lie. And I'm not talking people in general, usually neurotypicals they don't really want to hear the truth. So working with another neurodivergent person, especially like autistic person, has been great because, you know, we are able to give each other feedback without the fluff, right? Like we are very direct to each other. And I think that's why we work well together. And that's why, what we are doing is working right. As you said, like has there has been a change on her social media impact and reach and so much so that, you know, like she was, as you said, like she was recognized as, a LinkedIn top voice.

Izabelle Azevedo (26:58):

And I mean, I think that's why I think is because we work very well together and she gives me a lot of freedom to tell her like, let's, you know, what, if we do things in a certain way like this, like what if we do that? And she's like, she's very open to my creative in, in my creative life. I have creative freedom that I've never had before in my life. <laugh> with a client, which is like amazing. I mean, it's just, it's, it's a dream come true to me as a business owner to have a client like Becca. She's awesome. And to have like, to be able to represent, you know, and like help another autistic person reach more autistic people and increase representation in our community. I mean, what else can I ask <laugh>.

New Speaker (27:58):

I think what you're referring to though, when you're talking about giving the feedback and straightforward and we are allowed to swear it's our podcast swear as much as we want it's called the shit sandwich.

Kelly Bron Johnson (28:09):

It's it's where, like you have to like give a compliment, then you can give the critique, then you can have to give another but, you know, but you did. So you tried so hard. Oh, I really liked what you did, but this part was a piece of crap and oh, but you know, it's okay. You can work with, you know, and since that it's called the shit sandwich.

New Speaker (28:28):

Yeah. I don't know. I don't know how to do that, especially because I, I moved here in 2014. I was how old, I don't even remember 27, almost 20. I don't know. In Brazil, at least where I am from, you know, and I told be at one of these days about this, , I was, I was able to be more artistic there than I am able to be autistic in America.

Izabelle Azevedo (28:55):

Because we don't have that fluff, you know, like we don't do small talk. First of all, I never learned small talk because it's not, it wasn't part of my culture. I don't know how things are going now because you know, social media is making a lot of countries kind of the same for some reason. I think, I don't know, which is very sad. But I wasn't, I wasn't, I didn't learn to do small talk and I wasn't asked for it. We got feedback, you know, like at least my boss, the only boss that I actually had for like two years wouldn't come with me, like with like going around the corners first, she would come and she would be just trying not to be harsh with me, but she wouldn't do the shit sandwich that you you're talking about.

Izabelle Azevedo (29:45):

You know? Like, and then when I came here, it was so different. And like, I think that's what contributed for me to like going a little, like, okay, what am I supposed to do in this land? <laugh> yeah, I mean, and I noticed that even more than there, here people really like they, okay. What I say about living here in America and I know it's not true for, I mean, in Brazil we can be that, that too, but people don't mean what they say. And I noticed that here a long time ago, and that is very trouble troublesome for me because I don't like that. And when I say that I don't BS when I talk about people, that's what I'm saying. Like, I mean, what I say, , you know, and here people just will just compliment you or do these things just to get something from you or just, you start a conversation and I just didn't grow up doing that. Yeah. It's it's yeah. <laugh>.

Kelly Bron Johnson (30:50):

That's very much the, um, oh, we should go for coffee sometime.

Izabelle Azevedo (30:54):

Yeah. And then you try to schedule and, but they don't easy. I'm like, no, they don't to have a coffee. They didn't. No, I, I don't, I still don't get that.

Kelly Bron Johnson (31:02):

I don't know. I don't do that. <laugh> but I don't, when somebody says that, now I'm just like, okay, well then let me know. And then I'm

Doug Blecher (31:10):

Sometime is not a specific day or time.

Izabelle Azevedo (31:14):

Yeah. It's and then you, when you try to get a specific day and time, you notice that people, and now I'm like, I just don't know, is this person for real? Or is this person just like saying something like when you ask the cashier, how are you when you're not interested in knowing how they are? Like, they are not interested in knowing how we are, which is also another question that I have problem with. Like, people asking me, how are you? I still, sometimes I look at the person, like, I don't know what to say. I'm like, I'm good. Thank you. How are you? <laugh> like, like that, like, like a robot.

Kelly Bron Johnson (31:55):

Well, that's what happens though. That's what happens to people. I, I mean that, that kind of robot thing, and it happens a lot in, you know, behavioral therapies, right. Where they, we end up with autistic people who are, who look like robots and they go, they know they're going through the motions, they're doing the correct things, right. When they go like, yeah, hi, how are you? Yeah, I'm fine. Right. <laugh>, it's complete, flat affect. Yeah. But it's what I find is so mind boggling about that. When I see that is neurotypical, people automatically feel safe with that because they're only listening to the words. They don't care that the person has no emotion, no feeling, no, nothing behind it. And it's just like, you have to say those words, it, you know, this person came in the elevator, they didn't say hi. So now I'm scared of them rather than like having somebody go, hi, how are you?

Kelly Bron Johnson (32:44):

Good day. Right. And that, that apparently is safe. That's okay. <laugh> but like, that's, it's mind balling to me like these social weirdness that we go through.

Izabelle Azevedo (32:56):

I think that's why, like I had so much trouble, you know, like here, when I moved here. And I felt so kind of isolated because, um, I couldn't get the hang of like interacting with the American culture. And I'm not criticizing the American American culture in any way. So not American. You can say what you like <laugh>, but it is just like, it's just so different. And for me, and especially when I, I found out about being autistic, it's like, oh, now it makes sense. Like I learned to mask in my country with my people, which they're a little, like, you know, different anyways, because we, we are from the Northeast and we are loud and we, we dance on the street and we do this and we do that.

Izabelle Azevedo (33:45):

We are just like happy people. So it was easier in some ways. Of course the school was a little complicated, but, and then I got here and people like they're adults and they pretend they are interested in you. And they pretend that they like your shoes and they pretend that they like what you said, like it's so, and, and they ask you how you are without being interested. And I'm like, yeah, I don't get you guys. And now I know why <laugh>.

Kelly Bron Johnson (34:14):

this is so interesting for me just because my book, um, how to parent like an autistic, the only other language that's available in is in Brazilian Portuguese. Because I had a translator read it in English and she's like, this needs to be in Brazilian Portuguese. And she did it, she translated it for me.

Izabelle Azevedo (34:41):

That's so interesting. Yeah. And she just felt like that, that, that book needed to be out there in the world. So to me, like understanding Brazilian culture, trying to understand the context of autism there, like I get messages sometimes about it, but I they're in, they're in Portuguese, so I, oh, <laugh>, I have to like Google translate, but otherwise yeah. Um, yeah, that, the differences in those cultures I find is, is yeah. Yeah. And I think that's why, like, I don't know, even to be Brazilian and being like diagnosed here in America you know, like the, the, I remember the lady who the psychologist said, oh, you have trouble with descriptions, but it's because English is your second language. And I was like, <laugh> yeah. Right. You should see me trying to translate his lanes from my region in Northeast to people from the south of Brazil.

Izabelle Azevedo (35:37):

And they would ask me, but what does that mean? And I'm like, I don't know how to explain. I, I wouldn't know how to explain to them what it meant. And it's just because, you know, I, I guess because we replicate things, sometimes we don't even think what they mean necessarily. So I have a lot of trouble with that. And she said, oh no, it's because of your English a second language. I was like, no, ma'am, you don't understand. I'm like this in Portuguese too. It doesn't matter. I just, I will have trouble with like, explaining things to you and descriptions and, and like language, because it's just my brain. It's not because I'm English a second language. And yeah. I mean, she didn't believe me, but well. Yeah.

Kelly Bron Johnson (36:24):

My son is stimming in the back. I don't know if you can hear him, but that's why it's the most like, um, stereotypically autistic podcasts in the world, because not only is it run by autistic people interviewing other autistic people, but then I have my autistic son humming and stimming in the background. So I think you have the, the background is blurry. So I can't really see. Oh, so he's in the, he's actually in a different room, but he's so loud that, oh, like, I don't know if you can hear it.

Izabelle Azevedo (36:52):

I mean, no, I can't hear.

Kelly Bron Johnson (36:54):

No, that's fine. I hear it.

Kelly Bron Johnson (36:59):

He's jumping up and down and trampoline, just having a great time. <laugh> so you recently also wrote an article, where you talked about those that can walk and stand and use mobility aids and you were, you know, you were one of those people, so sometimes people can be hesitant to use these aids. What was the case? Is that, is that the case for you actually? And how has mobility aids made a difference in your life?

Izabelle Azevedo (37:28):

Yes. In going back to Becca, actually, she was actually the one who helped me embrace the thing that I needed to get, because I knew I needed to get a mobility aid for a while. znd she was the one I had a talk with her, you know, and she was the one who said, Izabelle, if you need a mobility aid, screw what people think, just do you and get the mobility aid because that's your freedom, you know?

Izabelle Azevedo (38:00):

And she was the final push for me to get my scooter. It's actually a scooter. It's cute. <laugh>, and I, I put a lot of stickers on it, you know, like, yes, I'm disabled. You can't see it. Like, I just didn't call anybody the B word, but I almost did. I almost got those kind of stickers, but I was like, okay, we'll have children reading this. But I bought it very recently actually. It's been basically a month. And I haven't been around much with it because I can't stand the heat. Unfortunately, even with this scooter, like I still, I don't know, my blood flow starts to get very weak and I, I can't. But I was, yes, I was very hesitant. And I still am a little hesitant because I don't, I don't want people questioning me first of all.

Izabelle Azevedo (38:55):

And I think that's why I put all the stickers. Right. Because that's already the first, the first barrier that I'm like, kind of breaking I'm like before you ask, you're gonna see my stickers and you're gonna shut up. But I also, I don't, I don't want people to look at me, and perceive me in a different way, because of my mobility aid, you know, so I'm very hesitant. This is very new for me. I'm still like, I am going into the, the film industry sort of, because I don't, I don't have like an ambition to have like a job, you know, full-time job anywhere, but I would like to collaborate with those people in the film industry. Right. And I want to be directing, and I know I'm good at that. Like, I know I'm good at directing. You know, I can write, I can edit, but I'm also good at directing and I want to do that.

Izabelle Azevedo (39:55):

And I don't, I'm very afraid of having people coming to me and saying that I cannot be the directing that I should stick with script writing, you know, and with editing, because those are the things that allow me to sit down on a desk and work from my computer. Right. No, I want to be on the job site and I want to be able to direct. And I'm very like, concerned about those things in terms of like, are they going to look at me in this regard me, regardless of my talent, or don't even give me the chance to show my talent because they see my disability first and my mobility aid. Right. But yeah, I mean I'm still a little hesitant and I can see why people with disabilities. They have that hesitation, you know.

Kelly Bron Johnson (40:49):

But I think that's another part of the journey, right.

Kelly Bron Johnson (40:52):

That kind of acceptance and, and being okay with it. I have a cane from when I had an accident. I hurt my foot very badly. And then like, just a few weeks later, I had already, I had booked a trip to San Francisco and I was like, well, I'm not, not going to go to San Francisco. I'm going to go with my cane. So I figured if I'm gonna have a cane, I'm gonna have the most blinged out fancy ass cane that it's possible. So it's, it's multicolored, it's rainbow colored. It's shiny, it's got butterflies of all different colors on it. And it's beautiful. It's a piece of art and, I still, I leave it in my porch. It's still hanging up in my porch if I ever need it again. It's, it's there. And I, I have no hesitancy to, to take it out and, and hey, if you need it, keep going.

Kelly Bron Johnson (41:45):

You brought up an interesting point about, you know, these questions that people that feel entitled to ask. And it's so interesting how we were just talking about how, you know, America culture is like, well, we're gonna ask you how you are, but we don't care. But then on the flip side, we're gonna ask you an intensely personal question about your disability to somebody that I don't know. Right. But, and, and, and feel entitled to have a response to that. An honest response. It's, it's super bizarre, right? Yeah. So like I like there's one way of deflecting, these kind of things that I love to deal with. It was it's a guy on YouTube. I forgot his name. I'm bad with names, but, he says that when people ask you something that, you know, is private, where you just don't wanna answer, you could say something like, that's interesting.

Kelly Bron Johnson (42:33):

You would ask that question. Why do you ask that and ask them why they're asking or something like, you know, you know, that's, that's strange, that's a strange question to ask somebody that you don't know, why would you ask that? And it gives them a chance, like, you know, again, going back to that kind of grace, right? It gives them a chance to think for a second. Maybe I shouldn't have asked that. . Most of the time they'll turn around and they'll just walk away. <laugh> and sometimes they'll think, oh, you know, I asked because I was just curious, and then you could say, well, then that's your choice then too, you know, whether or not you're gonna continue to engage in this conversation or not. But it's a great way to get it's it's not confrontational, but it's a great way to get people to think about what they're asking before.

Izabelle Azevedo (43:19):

For me, it's like, I'm so afraid because for me, it's a still kind of confrontation because it comes from the people pleasing and like always having to be nice kind of thing, you know? And I'm so afraid of having to confront people, I guess that most part of, I mean, there was the internalized ableism, right. That I had to work on and I'm still working on, I'm not going to lie. But there is also this thing where, what if they ask me, what if they, what if they see me differently? What if they say something to me that will hurt me and I don't know how to defend myself to them, and then I'm gonna for a week going through like that footage in my head, like, this is what you were supposed to say, because of course I'll have the perfect, amazing answer that would give them on the, like, leave them on the floor after the thing happens.

Izabelle Azevedo (44:22):

Right. And, I think that's why also like I'm so cuz that's a great, that's a great thing to ask. Like it has happened to before in a different scenario about a different thing where I actually, for one of the very first times stood for myself and I put my hands on the, on the table and I said, why would you ask that? Why, what make you think that you can ask that? Right? Like it was sort of confrontation and I'm very proud of that moment because the person I saw the person's reaction to it and I saw shame on that person's reaction. And that's what I wanted to be honest. Like just want to make sure that you all understand, I wanted the person to be ashamed of what you said and asked <laugh>. Um, so I said that, but you know, like do, when the things happening to, to have that thought come to you and you say that back to the person.

Izabelle Azevedo (45:23):

In my case it's like, I mean, I need to rehearse that in my head a lot. I think yeah. You need to practice it. It's a practice. Yeah. It's a practice response. Yeah, for sure. I need to rehearse that many times in my head for me to be able to actually do that. And that's exhausting also like rehearsing, which is something that we, we do often, unfortunately rehearsing interactions with people. Like even when I go to , let's say, or I'm, I'm rehearsing what I'm going to say. So I know like what to do and how to get out. And I thought everybody did that. And I learned that, no, not everybody does that. You know, it's kind of exhausting, but yeah. I mean, I, I will learn how to do it. And that's, that's such a great answer that you, you told me, like, I'm definitely going to, to start thinking about that.

Izabelle Azevedo (46:16):

And you know, I also give the, the, the person, like the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes they are disabled themselves and we don't know, and they're having trouble getting their head around it. And maybe our story will help them accept themselves a little bit more. Sometimes it's just people being douchebags, but <laugh>.

Kelly Bron Johnson (46:37):

yeah. But, it's hard to tell, like I I've got like, on LinkedIn, I got like 12 messages in a row from somebody I just connected with. And I was like, whoa, okay, this is, this is intense. And, and they were connected with some of my other friends and I was, he was explaining himself and I didn't quite understand exactly what he meant. And he's like, well, I'm gonna ask you to talk to the, one of the people that we already know. And she got back to me and she goes, oh, he's newly diagnosed.

Kelly Bron Johnson (47:03):

Autistic. He's, he's super intense, but he's just, you know, he just wants to connect with people. I said, yeah. Oh, okay. I understand now. But like, I didn't I'm glad. And luckily I didn't discount him. I didn't like block him. I just, I was just like, what is going on <laugh> but then you gotta take a moment and go, okay, what is actually happening here? And then again, give people that grace and go, oh yeah. Okay. I know what it's like, I was there. It's cool. It's no problem.

Izabelle Azevedo (47:27):

Yeah. It's just too hard though. <laugh> yeah. To do that. Right.

Speaker 2 (47:32):

All all great points. But scripts are, I think very helpful in, in that situation and, and a lot of other situations I've been I've I can't tell you how many times I've been supporting people in who use mobility aids and, and people ask like Kelly was saying the most personal questions and they seem to ask them in the most public of places. Like they, they love in the grocery store for whatever reason to ask these questions. You know, so it's always very frustrating. <laugh> even, even when you do have, have a script, yeah, so Isabelle, I definitely look forward to, um, watching the first film you direct, whatever that comes to be.

Izabelle Azevedo (48:20):

Well, I directed one . I have one that short film it's, it's not very good, but <laugh>, I'm still very proud of it. And it's coming out next. Well, I'm finally going to release it by the way. Sorry to interrupt you. I just wanted to say that I'm actually going to release it, next month. September. Yes. In September. Yes. So I'll definitely let you know. <laugh>

Izabelle Azevedo (48:47):

Wonderful. So I'm wondering, I think you'd be a great person to answer this question as a storyteller. What types of stories do you think would be important for Kelly and myself to highlight as we move forward with the intersections on the spectrum podcast?

Izabelle Azevedo (49:07):

You know, like you guys are already like bringing interesting stories, you know, to the podcast, and you do such a good job, like highlighting autistic folks, who have multiple identities, right? Not only the autistic identity. I don't think I have like a good answer for that because I already think you, you guys are doing such a great job, especially with dougs, like questions that he goes and digs and, and with his curiosity and brings like great questions that make people like, actually like, yes, let's share thiI think you guys just need to like keep going, um, in, you know, keep bringing diverse autistic folks, and keep asking them great questions. Yeah, I can, I mean, you guys are doing such a good job already bringing diversity and inside the autistic community, you know, thank you.

Doug Blecher (50:10):

Thank you so much, Izabelle. And thanks so much for joining me and Kelly today. It was a wonderful conversation.

Izabelle Azevedo (50:17):

Thank you. I love talking to you guys. Yes. Um, I can't wait to hear it. <laugh>