Autism 101: Sharing Awareness

Be a part of our Broad Squad!
Join the conversation!

April 2 has been declared World Autism Awareness Day. But how aware are we about the realities of autism? Jackie and Kim chat with two experts who help shed light on Autism Spectrum Disorder.

What is autism and how do I know if my child has it? What do I do if my child isn’t speaking? I think my friend’s child has autism, should I tell her?

Just mention the word ‘autism,’ and you’ll find no shortage of questions. This episode is an introduction to autism, meant to bridge the gap between those who have information and those who want to be more aware. Autism parent Shannon Penrod, host of Autism Live and SLP (Speech and Language Pathologist) / creator of My Little House Yvonne Johansen answer those common questions while tapping into the challenges families, friends, school and the community face when a child is on the spectrum.

Julia, new Sesame Street character with autism.

Julia, new Sesame Street character with autism.

Support My Little House on Kickstarter!

mylittlehouseAbout My Little House:

Created by Speech and Language Therapist, Yvonne Johansen, My Little House is an interactive, uniquely reversible felt educational toy for kids 2+ that builds the foundation of early language.



Over the course of my 20+ year career as a speech therapist, I have discovered that there is a real need for educational materials that not only help lay the foundation for early language skills, but also engage kids in a fun way.

If you ever see a person lugging a bag of toys from home to home or classroom to classroom, the odds are good that he or she is a speech therapist. Trust me; I know from experience.

This is because to accomplish our goals, we need a variety of toys and tools.

One thing you will find in almost every therapist’s bag is a felt board. They are colorful, and soft and fluffy to the touch. The felt pieces stick to the felt board, like “magic.” Kids love expressing themselves through felt boards.


I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be great if I could take the concept of a felt board and turn it into a three dimensional educational toy?  How much fun would that be for my kids?

And what if this one toy could accomplish the goals of several?

This was the birth of the idea for My Little House!

Shannon Penrod is a proud Mom and an outspoken SPenrodAutismLiveHeadshotAutism advocate. Shannon’s son was diagnosed with Autism at the age of two and a half, after having lost virtually all of his language and social skills. Getting her son the help he needed on his journey through Autism became Shannon’s top priority. Through quality, early, intensive intervention her son has made tremendous progress and is now a successful junior high student, excelling in general education classes. Shannon’s current goal is to provide families with information and hope while on their journey through Autism. Utilizing her previous skills as an award winning stand-up comedienne, director, author and teacher, Shannon hosts Autism Live, a free, interactive webshow that covers Autism from a 360 degree view. Shannon recently co-founded Autism in the Classroom, an educational movement to help teachers educate effectively and she serves on the board of Autism Care and Treatment Today!


Autism Speaks Resource Guide

Sesame Street & Autism

Center for Disease Control

Autism Live

Center for Autism and Related Disorders

Leave a Comment