Our next “Conversations for a Better World” podcast will focus on our friend Raquel Regalado, one of the more energetic and lively individuals we have encountered: she is a litigation attorney, the first Hispanic woman born in Miami elected to the Miami-Dade County Commission, daughter of the legendary former Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, and an expert in autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Ms. Regalado was in Spain with her two children to participate in the Camino de Santiago 2023 trip, organized by International Studies Foundation, which itself is a part of CIS University. We were very quick to invite her to speak with us for our CIS University Podcast:
“I was a total stranger in terms of autism until my two children, Isabella first, and Sebastian later, were themselves diagnosed with autism. From then on I became absolutely and completely involved in the world of neurodiversity. That’s when I can say that everything changed.”
From that moment on Raquel discovered and focused on the two passions of her lifetime: improving education in Florida with policy proposals, and seeking initiatives to integrate citizens affected by autism, such as her own children, into the community.
“There have been some really curious paradoxes, like when my relationship with my partner ended and I became the only non-autistic person in my house. In the end it is said, half jokingly, that family members of autistic children end up behaving like autistic people.”
What is it like to live with autistic children?
There are many myths and prejudices towards “neurodiverse” people, that is, those who do not fit the established pattern of what we consider to be mentally healthy and developed, also called “neurotypical.”
The Hollywood entertainment industry has promoted, with its movies and series, a multitude of clichés that do not accurately depict reality.
The most important thing is never to pity yourself or, of course, your children. With such differences, you have to be disciplined, and teach them to be responsible for their actions. You have to know how to postpone goals, look for new solutions for things that with other people we take for granted. And of course celebrate every small achievement as if it were a great victory.
A message of optimism and hope was shared during the podcast:
I wouldn’t trade my children for anything. In the end, I have realized that they have influenced me more than I have influenced them. And it may seem strange at first, but I consider having two autistic children to be a real blessing.
Adjust your headphones, turn up your volume, open your mind and dive into this exciting and unknown topic with María Díaz de la Cebosa and Raquel Regalado.