Episode 166 – Unstoppable Mom Advocate with Ashley Pope
Ashley Pope is an incredible woman by any standard. She grew up mostly in the Ventura area of Southern California. She went to school graduating like any high school senior. She tried college and found that it wasn’t for her. She had been working at a department store while in high school and for a bit after that including when she decided college was not her forte.
She spent a few years working in sales for an ophthalmological company before opening her own spice and tea shop in Ventura at the age of 23. During this time her son was born. At the age of two, he was diagnosed as being autistic. Ashley learned how to be a fierce advocate for him and joined forces with Autism Society Ventura where she now serves as president.
Ashley sold her business and took a position with the Ventura Chamber of Commerce to have the time to devote to her son’s needs.
Life wasn’t done throwing curves at Ashley. In 2020 she was feeling some health issues of her own. She thought they were stress-related. After a STAT MRI’s ended in a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis she now had not only to advocate for her son but for herself as well.
You will see from listening to Ashley that she is as unstoppable as it gets. She is by any standard the kind of person I am honored to know and I do hope we will hear more from her in the future.
About the Guest:
Ashley Pope is 33 years old and lives in beautiful Ventura, California with her husband Carlos and their 10-year-old son, Gavin. She is employed by the Ventura Chamber of Commerce as a Membership Development Manager. She feels fortunate to get to work with the business community, including small businesses and non-profit organizations. Ashley is an entrepreneur, having owed a spice and tea store Downtown Ventura for 6 years before selling it, all before the age of 30. During that time, she was acknowledged for being a young business owner, most notably in the Wells Fargo Works national competition and by the National Association of Women Business Owners when she was awarded Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2015.
Ashley is also a passionate volunteer. She has worked countless hours as a volunteer for Autism Society Ventura County- a role that doubles as a hobby! She is currently the President of the organization and has served on the board for 6 years. The projects that bring her the most joy are centered around workforce development, advocacy, changing the local narrative around Autism one family at a time, and obtaining large grants to put on new meaningful projects and programs in Ventura County. Ashley is also a 7 year Rotarian with Rotary Club of Ventura East.
In 2015, when her son was 2 years old, he was diagnosed with Autism. This diagnosis rocked her world and sent her family on a quest for services and to understand what this meant for her son. Acceptance wasn’t immediate, but it was fast. Ashley became a passionate advocate and began to help other families whenever she could. This quest for more led her to Autism Society Ventura County, where she was able to combine her energy with other advocates for greater impact. She credits the organization with empowering her with the knowledge and experience to be the best mom she can be. By the end of 2016, Ashley was known in her community as a disability advocate.
In 2020, Ashley came into another challenge. She had been experiencing some strange medical symptoms that she wrote off as stress induced. She was shocked when STAT MRI’s ended in a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. Ashley didn’t know much about the condition, only that it was debilitating. She quickly learned that unlike Autism, there wasn’t much fun or interesting about progressive multiple sclerosis. She is currently in the process of coming to acceptance of her own limitations and grappling with her sense of self as her ability to do a lot changes.
Through her experience with her son, Ashley has learned that the ability to communicate is a gift and is motivated to share her story, even when she feels vulnerable.
Ashley loves to read, spend time with her family, and loves her 2 cats Scarlett and Pebbles and her dog Donut.
Ways to connect with Ashley:
About the Host:
Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog.
Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children’s Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association’s 2012 Hero Dog Awards.
Thanks for listening!
Thanks so much for listening to our podcast! If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it using the social media buttons on this page. Do you have some feedback or questions about this episode? Leave a comment in the section below!
Subscribe to the podcast
If you would like to get automatic updates of new podcast episodes, you can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. You can also subscribe in your favorite podcast app.
Leave us an Apple Podcasts review
Ratings and reviews from our listeners are extremely valuable to us and greatly appreciated. They help our podcast rank higher on Apple Podcasts, which exposes our show to more awesome listeners like you. If you have a minute, please leave an honest review on Apple Podcasts.
Michael Hingson ** 00:00
Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I’m Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that’s a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we’re happy to meet you and to have you here with us.
Michael Hingson ** 01:21
Well, hello once again. And yep, you are absolutely right. This is unstoppable mindset. We’re inclusion, diversity in the unexpected meet. And it’s always fun when we get to have a lot of all of that kind of stuff on here. I’m your host, Mike hingson. We’re really glad you’re here with us today. And today we have a guest Ashley Pope, then Ashley would be a person I would describe as an unstoppable mom advocate and she’ll tell you all about why that’s the case. But that’s a good description to start with. Anyway, we’ve been working on getting this all set up for a while and we finally got it done. And here we are. And Ashley, thank you for coming on. And welcome to unstoppable mindset.
Ashley Pope ** 02:03
Thank you so much. I’m so happy to be here with you today.
Michael Hingson ** 02:06
And I am not really if you want to get technical everyone totally pleased with Ashley because she lives in Ventura, California, and I wish I were there. But no Victorville is really okay. Ventura is a nice seaside town, and there’s a lot of value in being there. And it’s a wonderful place and not too far from where I live. So I could get a ride there within a couple of hours or so. So not complaining too much. Right, Ashley?
Ashley Pope ** 02:33
That’s right, Ventura Great.
Michael Hingson ** 02:35
Well, let’s start by maybe learning a little bit about kind of the earlier Ashley, you growing up and all that kind of stuff. And we’ll, we’ll take it from there.
Ashley Pope ** 02:44
Yeah. So I grew up right here in Ventura, California, which is about halfway between Santa Barbara and Los Angeles and super sunny, beautiful place to live. And it’s a wonderful place to grow up. And I have a brother and a sister and you know, my parents, we all just grew up here and and I think I think the universe all the time for allowing you to grow up and such a gorgeous place with wonderful people. I really don’t think there’s anywhere better in the world. And then, shortly after high school, I just jumped right into actually working full time before high school even ended. And I just always have had a really strong work ethic and a really big passion for whatever work I was doing. I never expected that I would find myself in disability advocacy, that’s for sure. This is where I landed and I’m grateful to be here as well.
Michael Hingson ** 03:43
So you didn’t go to college?
Ashley Pope ** 03:45
No, I did for a little bit. I went to MIT for college. Okay, great. Yeah. And I dropped out. I have I have a short attention span so I knew pretty quickly that college was not my thing. It was really hard for me to sit down and sit still I’ve always learned better by using my hands and my mind and getting out there and I chose the work route which you know, pros and cons but no regrets at all.
Michael Hingson ** 04:14
Well, and that’s really the issue isn’t that you are you’re happy with what you’re doing? There are no regrets. You can always do shoulda, coulda, woulda, and what good does it get us anyway?
Ashley Pope ** 04:24
Absolutely. I actually bought a business at the age of 23. A retail store in beautiful downtown Ventura. And I consider that to be my college experience. I had it for six years. And there’s there’s no business experience like that experience, that’s for sure.
Michael Hingson ** 04:43
And what happened to the business? I sold it. See there you go. So you beat the odds first of all, because they say that typically most startups don’t last five years. Not only is it yours last but then you sold it. So you can’t do better than that. Unless you wanted to stay in it and there are a lot of reason Since not to necessarily do that, as I’m sure we’re gonna discover, but what were you doing? You said you were working even in high school?
Ashley Pope ** 05:08
Yeah, I worked at Macy’s. So when I was in high school, my parents moved to Sacramento, my dad’s job got transferred. And I kind of refused to start new in high school and opted instead to do homeschooling and ended up working full time at Macy’s, while homeschooling for a year, and then I moved back to Ventura to graduate, and kept the job. And shortly after graduating high school, I went on to work at LensCrafters, which was a great management experience and really taught me a lot. I think my days at LensCrafters really helped to prepare me for advocacy in a lot of ways it you know, just working with people who have vision impairments, or have medical issues and need the glasses to see it was really enlightening for me honestly, that to think somebody could lose a pair of glasses or break a pair of glasses and then be unable to see the world and maybe not have the accommodations that they needed to pick glasses right away. Rather, it was financial or transportation restraints, just to have somebody kind of be left without resources for maybe a week before they could get in for an appointment. It was really it was enlightening. For sure. It’s pretty cool to to witness that.
Michael Hingson ** 06:39
It’s kind of an off the topic question. But I’m just curious, it sort of pops into my head. How do we get people to recognize that eyesight is not the only game in town, and even if you lose your glasses, it’s not the end of the world.
Ashley Pope ** 06:52
I mean, I think it is the end of the world in first moments, right? In the first moments, in the first moments, you see, oh my gosh, I can’t work, I can’t drive. I can’t be an effective parent. I can’t help my kid with their homework. It’s like you have to learn how to deal with what life gives you. But if you only have a week to figure it
Michael Hingson ** 07:15
out, oh, yeah, that’s not a lot of time.
Ashley Pope ** 07:19
But you’re absolutely right. I mean, that’s one thing I did not learn from LensCrafters. But maybe I learned later down the road, is that these things are not life or death. Right? It’s, it’s not. It’s not the end of the world. You’re absolutely right. But it’s the end of that person’s world when they have a week worth of plans that they can no longer make. It feels like the end of their world. And perhaps that’s an issue with America and with the world as it is more than it is the way that those individuals were thinking,
Michael Hingson ** 07:54
Yeah, we teach. We teach people so much that I say it’s the only game in town and I and I understand why for most people, it really is because that’s what they know. The other part about it, and we talked about it here every so often is that somehow we’ve got to get away from using the term vision impairment, because for visual impairment, because we’re not impaired. And people who don’t hear well would shoot you if you said they were hearing impaired because they recognize it impaired means you’re really comparing it with something, rather than saying, hard of hearing. And likewise, with people who are blind or low vision, that’s a much better way to put it than blind or visually impaired visually, we’re not different and impaired as also an inappropriate thing. But we’re still a long way from getting people to understand that language. And that doesn’t help people thinking that it’s the end of the world. But I appreciate it. And and the reality is it’s an education process. And hopefully over time, it will be something where we’ll have better revolution.
Ashley Pope ** 08:58
Thank you, Michael, it. It is an educational process. And there’s so many, we’ve we’re always changing and always evolving. And that’s something I didn’t know I do remember prometrics at one point telling me that we should never say blind, right? And it seems like we’ve gone backwards or gone forwards but like it’s like what used to be acceptable for a while was no longer acceptable, such as like person first language. That’s another thing with autism. Like you don’t say autistic, you say a person with autism. And then now we’re going back to know the person that is who they are. That’s part of their culture that they want to claim and part of their identity. So now we got to stick. And we always want to be respectful of the language that one wants to use in the language that’s culturally appropriate and no, that’s super valid. And thank you so much for for sharing.
Michael Hingson ** 09:55
Well, in the case of blind for example, and I think there are reasons why optometrists should ophthalmologists think that I’ll get to that in a second. But the real issue is that blind and low vision is and or are characteristics. And the issue isn’t politically correct or not the issue is accurate and how it really classifies people. And that’s why the whole idea of impaired is a problem. From my perspective, the optometrist, you talked about his blind impaired, why is that any different than being blind, you know, a, maybe a better way to put it is that guy’s light dependent, and he’d be in a world of hurt if the power suddenly went out in his office, and he didn’t have a window to allow sunlight in. But he didn’t have a smartphone right close by to be able to turn it on for a flashlight. And most people in the world are like dependent. And that’s all they know, that I don’t expect everyone to necessarily get to the point up front where they’re experts and won’t panic. But they sure also ought not to assume that just because some people aren’t like them, that we’re not just as capable. And of course, that gets back to the whole issue of disability does not mean lack of ability, which is something you understand very well. Absolutely. So you sold your business. Cool. That was great. What was your business?
Ashley Pope ** 11:26
It was a spice and tea store, downtown Ventura, and it’s very much still there and the new owners are not new anymore. It’s been four years. They are absolutely amazing. The store is called spice topia. And it’s right on the 500 block of Main Street, downtown Ventura, and I love the tan family. If you drop in, you should definitely spend a lot of money and and visit the family.
Michael Hingson ** 11:52
Well, only we’ll go with you. We’ll have to get to Venter and do that. I’ve been a great fan of some Well, vibrant British teas, but I like green tea and other other teas as well. I’ve never been the coffee drinker and I don’t know why. But I’ve always been since I started drinking hot drinks more of a tea drinker. Of course, I can always be spoiled with hot chocolate, but that’s another story.
Ashley Pope ** 12:15
Same same. I love chocolate bars. I’m not so much of a coffee drinker anymore, either.
Michael Hingson ** 12:21
Nothing wrong with hot chocolate.
Ashley Pope ** 12:24
Especially with whipped cream. Yep. Absolutely. Do it.
Michael Hingson ** 12:28
Make it with milk? Yep. We, my wife and I in the winter would get Starbucks cocoa from Costco. And we would make it with milk never water. And so always tastes great. Yeah, spoiled me. I might just have to have some anyway today just because. Well, that comes later. But meanwhile, so what did you do after you sold the business?
Ashley Pope ** 12:59
So this is another point when I had a business, I always had another job kind of outside of the business. Because as you said, small business is hard. And retail is hard. So that was always kind of a side project for me, that I had for a long time. When I went into business, my son was just about a year old. And within another two years he was diagnosed with autism. And so I tried to kind of let go of the job that I had and went to go work my retail store and then ended up with a different kind of job sticking with the optometry ophthalmology field. I would do outside sales for LASIK and cataract surgeons. And yeah, stick with the field stick with what I knew. And then the Chamber of Commerce here in Ventura was hirings. Oh, I’ve actually worked for the chamber for about seven years. So there was some overlap between selling my business and the time that I worked for the chamber. The time came in 2019, I really was just beginning to feel the squeeze of having a child with special needs, doing my volunteer work that I love to do, and of course, having a job and a business. So something had to go. And I really took a good hard look and thought, what do I want to do? Do I want to quit my job? Do I want to stay in the business? And I ended up deciding to go ahead and sell the business. And that was a really great decision for me. A very wise decision in terms of especially not knowing what was coming next, which I know we’re gonna get to about what less than a year after selling I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. And so that was really telling why I was having some of the issues that I was having, focusing, holding conversations with fatigue EEG, all of these symptoms that I had been having just in case I was overstressed overworked, which I was, but not really answered some of those questions, and I was really grateful that I made the decision that left me with health insurance versus the one that maybe wouldn’t have. So.
Michael Hingson ** 15:16
So the job that you had at that time was the Optima logical one or the optical one or what? No, with the chamber with the chamber. Okay, great. Yeah. So you got health insurance. So you had two different sets of challenges, because clearly MS is not anywhere near the same kinds of issues as as autism. And now suddenly, you had to deal with both. Is there a husband in the picture?
Ashley Pope ** 15:39
There is? Yeah, my husband, my son’s dad, he is a stay at home dad, actually, to this day, really supportive also than I assume? Yeah, he’s really supportive, and definitely the primary caregiver for my son being that I was working. So that’s it. It’s been great just being able to lean on him.
Michael Hingson ** 16:03
And, and he does that, which is so cool. Because he cares enough to do that. And so he’s able to deal with your son and, and you when necessary. Oh, absolutely. I see you a lot on a lot of different ways. But with the MS and all that, does your son go to school?
Ashley Pope ** 16:23
He does. So he goes to a special education program that’s been a typical school, he does have a inclusion where he sometimes goes into the general education classrooms. And he goes to public school.
Michael Hingson ** 16:38
How’s he doing?
Ashley Pope ** 16:39
He’s doing great. My son is so awesome. He’s really positive. He’s really smart. He’s really happy. He has a hard time with language, both understanding complex instructions or complex ideas even. And then also verbalizing, complex feelings, emotions, he talks a little bit but mostly about, like his needs and his wants. But I really learned that there’s a lot of different ways to communicate. And he’s, he’s a happy kid. So we’re really grateful for that. Does he read? He is super good with reading? He does. He doesn’t read so much. Books. And the comprehension is still a challenge. But he definitely reads words and is really good with spelling. That’s he has been fascinated with the alphabet, since he was like, nine months old. He’s been super drawn to numbers and letters and colors and shapes. And that’s actually, I think, a pretty common thing with autism.
Michael Hingson ** 17:50
Well, that’s cool. Does, does he? Have you ever tried to explore the concept of listening to audiobooks? Or is his listening comprehension just not there yet.
Ashley Pope ** 18:02
He’s never really shown interest. He’s just barely starting to show interest in cartoons, which is funny, because, you know, so many parents are like, Oh, too much screen time for the kids, like, you know, you don’t want him glued to the TV all day. And for us, we’re like, thrilled that he wants to watch cartoons and you can kind of like, maintain a focus on it. I know so many people who learn English through watching cartoons, and maybe you know, grew up on learning Spanish only. And were in households that didn’t speak English at all. And were able to pick up English through cartoons. So I’m a big believer that this can be a positive thing for him. And it gives me hope, also, that he’s interested in the stories being told and in the characters. So I’m interested to see where that will land.
Michael Hingson ** 18:53
Well, so of course, the issue is you’re getting something out of it. And clearly, you can see that so that’s a really positive thing. Needless to say. Absolutely. Yeah. So he, he watched his cartoons to see what kind of games does he play?
Ashley Pope ** 19:10
Plays, you know, it’s he, he likes to do things his own way. So you can usually find him like jumping on the trampoline, he likes to go for walks, he runs around on the beach, and terms of games. He’s just not into it. And we try to pull him into like, you know, our space and get him to engage in these different ways. He loves doing LEGO sets, which is really fun. The booklets like, really, really well, he does better than I do. I’ll be like trying to help him and put something on backwards and he’s like, no, no, like, he’ll like take it from me and fix it. So it kind of comes back to that whole, you know, shapes, numbers, colors, letters thing he’s really drawn to what’s concrete. Which is interesting because for me, that’s so not who I am as a person. So it’s been fun to learn alongside him and watch the way that he learns. Just because it’s so interesting and different from the way that I learned.
Michael Hingson ** 20:18
Well, clearly, there is a lot of awareness there. And that’s probably the most important thing. So you may not know just what’s going on in that mind. But there’s something that that is going on. And he’s aware of his surroundings. And I wish more people were aware of their surroundings in so many ways.
Ashley Pope ** 20:38
Yeah, he’ll pick out like, the tiniest little thing and hyper focus on like, one, you know, little tiny toy or one little thing in the carpet, or whatever it might be. In so many ways, it’s like he’ll he’ll fully get immersed in one little part of his day. And it’s a really beautiful thing to watch that at attention. And that focus is really rare.
Michael Hingson ** 21:11
You’ve talked about autism or autistic awareness, as opposed to acceptance. Tell us about that.
Ashley Pope ** 21:17
Yeah, so autism acceptance is a term that’s been used for decades, or autism awareness, I’m sorry. So autism awareness is basically like, what is autism? What are the first signs that you should reach out for help if you see these, you know, first things not talking, not smiling, not engaging, no eye contact, they have like this big long list of things for parents. And to know those things is to be aware. So society pushed that for a really long time, autism awareness, autism awareness. And just in the last maybe five years, Autism Society of America, as well as Autism Society of Ventura County, and several other organizations have said, Okay, we’ve kind of met awareness, people know, what is autism, people know someone with autism. People have heard the word autism. So what does it mean? What’s the next step? And autism acceptance is really not only being aware of what autism is, but being accepting of who the unique individuals are, who have autism, and also taking a good look at how does our world work? And how do we make sure that it works for these populations? So for instance, in like workforce training, and education and inclusion, pretty much from birth to end of life? How do we build a world that is more inclusive? And that has been the focus now on acceptance more than awareness?
Michael Hingson ** 23:02
Yeah, it makes sense. And we’ll know when there’s true acceptance when people recognize that just because someone may be happens to be autistic, that doesn’t make them less of a person, it means they’re going to do things in a significantly different way. But doesn’t mean they’re less.
Ashley Pope ** 23:23
Yes, absolutely. That’s the goal. We are noticing the differences and honoring the differences, and accommodating the differences when necessary. But that we’re recognizing that they are just as much human and have just as much right to find their happiness and passions in the world. We’re not just creating cookie cutter programs for kids that are so not cookie cutter. And we’re definitely not pushing adults into cookie cutter dogs, or cookie cutter programs. And we honor the diversity of everyone else. We hope that we can honor that diversity across the autism spectrum as well.
Michael Hingson ** 24:06
Do we really know what causes autism?
Ashley Pope ** 24:09
We don’t. We don’t know what the causes are they they, you know, some genetic factor for sure. environmental factor for sure. But they still haven’t identified what exactly causes autism. And one thing that I love most. And what really drew me to Autism Society, is that we really don’t talk or work on causes or cures at all. We only focus on providing programs and making the world a better place. As a mom. I remember getting that diagnosis and seeing so many organizations that are talking about you know, finding a cure or figuring out what the cause is so that we can eliminate it and just being like, well, that doesn’t really help me. Now, it doesn’t help my son now like we don’t we’re not trying to You know, change, that he has autism, it’s part of who he is, in a sense, even very early on, I knew like, I don’t want to take his wonder or his joy away from him, like, I’m not trying to make him not jump in spin. That’s clearly what’s making him happy. But I also just want to help him whatever that looks like. And so I was really attracted to an organization that uses their donations, to help those who are already living versus looking at 20 years ahead, to see what they can figure out about causes or cures. And there’s a lot of controversy there as well around even finding a cure for autism, because more and more we’re learning that it’s, that is the genetic makeup, it’s a different wiring of the brain, it’s a different way of thinking, and it’s not wrong, it’s not something to be fixed, it’s something to be accommodated. So there’s a lot of that feeling out there as well that focusing on a cure or a cause is perhaps not the right focus for the time.
Michael Hingson ** 26:10
Well, or using the words we use a little while ago, or you use a little while ago accepted. There’s nothing wrong with acceptance.
Ashley Pope ** 26:18
Yeah. It’s trying to convince someone that you are accepting, when in the next breath, you are looking to fix what you feel is broken. So
Michael Hingson ** 26:30
that’s the issue what you feel is broken. Yeah. Which is, which is all together a different issue. What do you want parents and other people to know about having a child with autism, you must have life lessons, that would probably be valuable for people to hear about.
Ashley Pope ** 26:50
Yeah, for first getting a diagnosis, what I would tell parents is, it’s definitely not the end of the world, that there are a lot of positives that can come from, even from the diagnosis, this child is still the same child, and they still have just as much to offer the world and your family as they did, before they got that diagnosis, or the moment they were born, or the moment you dreamed them up. There is still just as much value there. And I would also say that, you know, cry if you need to cry, but then wake up the next day and get to work. Because there’s a lot to do, there’s a lot of services to find, there’s a lot to learn. And the longer you take to process, whatever feelings you need to process, whatever your your grief process looks like, quicker you can get through it. And the faster you can get to work, the better off your child will be. And the more likely they are to be able to be independent to some capacity in this world. So that’s a really important message. And then for the rest of the world, I would just say that individuals with autism do deserve the same access and the same experiences. It’s shocking, what we sometimes hear, right? In terms of like, well, that program exists, like isn’t that enough? Or these services in the community are available? We have one inclusive Park, is that not enough? Why do you need them all to be inclusive? It’s like, No, it’s not enough, we deserve the same access. And so I will continue to fight those fights, not necessarily for you to park just one idea or one example. But in every area everywhere should be accessible. And the idea that we put any type of limitations on a child or on a person due to a diagnosis or disability is just not okay. So that’s it gets.
Michael Hingson ** 29:03
It gets back to what we talked about earlier, blindness being the end of the world or not, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s being blind or have been being autistic or whatever. It is something that we’ve got to get to the point of saying get over it. Where’s the real problem? The real problem is us who think there’s a problem rather than there necessarily really being a problem.
Ashley Pope ** 29:29
The way I put it is the problem is with the world. There’s nothing wrong with my son. The problem is with what the world has available for or does not have available for the way that the world perceives, or the way the world thinks about my son. That’s the problem. It’s not him. And so I think that’s a really important piece for people to recognize is that it’s the world that falls short never, never ever child and Never the person with a disability.
Michael Hingson ** 30:04
Yeah, and the reality is that we can get over it. And we can move forward. So well, let’s let’s talk about Gavin a little bit more. So he’s 10. What do you expect will be Gavin’s future? At some point, will he go into the workforce and have a job? You know, given his level of autism was I’m not going to call it a disability, because it’s no more a disability than being able to see as a disability, but, but he is autistic. What, what will that mean in terms of him being able to ever work or be on his own and so on?
Ashley Pope ** 30:47
Here, as the world would say, and this is another term, not, we don’t really use, but he does have a lot of needs. And so sometimes in the autism community, we’ll hear, Well, is he low functioning, or is he high functioning, or somewhere in the middle, and that is another category of words that we want to kind of let go of using because just because somebody is high functioning doesn’t mean that they don’t really struggle with things related to their autism. And just because somebody is low functioning, doesn’t mean they don’t have anything to offer the world. And that the way that we perceive low functioning and high functioning are not, they mean, really very little to like, the actual experience that that person is having. So we’ve tried to get away from using that language. And my son does have a lot of needs, and he will hopefully be able to work if that’s what he is driven to do. He is really interested in things that I think would be good qualities to have as an employee. He’s super happy. He’s really good at like keeping things organized and clean, you’d make a great merchandiser, for instance, however, he is easily distracted, and he’s not really so into direction at this point in his life. He’s also 10. So you never know. So to answer that question, I don’t really know, I guess it could be anywhere between having a day program or volunteer opportunities up to being like, a legal engineer, I don’t know, could be anywhere. So we’re not so sure. Um, fortunately, he has a lot of family support. And we’ve gotten a lot of the supports and systems in place for him, so that he will be okay financially, and with people around him that care for him, he will never be fully independent, which is hard to say or think about. But that’s just the reality of it. And a lot of you know, a lot of people in this world won’t. So how are we as society, protecting the interests and the rights and the safety of those amongst us who will never be fully independent, or independent, even partially independent, they’ll always need someone
Michael Hingson ** 33:27
kind of almost really submit that most all of us really need someone, and that none of us are totally independent. Probably some people would disagree. But the reality is that we all are interdependent on each other in so many ways, and I don’t see a problem with that.
Ashley Pope ** 33:45
Yeah. I hear you. I think, obviously, there’s levels and you’re right. Everybody’s independent, in some sense, but But yeah, it’s dependents will be a little bit more
Michael Hingson ** 34:01
payments will be a little bit more than, than a lot of people and so on. You know, but he may end up being a great card shark in Las Vegas. We’ll see.
Ashley Pope ** 34:10
That’s right. You never know, either. Maybe
Michael Hingson ** 34:12
they’ll be supporting you. Yeah,
Ashley Pope ** 34:14
it’s very true.
Michael Hingson ** 34:16
Does he have any siblings?
Ashley Pope ** 34:19
He does not. So. But no siblings. He’s,
Michael Hingson ** 34:23
he’s, he’s a lot to concentrate on. Right? Yeah. He and her husband for you?
Ashley Pope ** 34:28
Yes. That’s enough for me. Yeah, that’s
Michael Hingson ** 34:32
a lot of work all the way around. Or your husband has you and he and Gavin to concentrate on and that’s a lot for him too. So that is my wife. My wife and I chose not to have kids. We chose to spoil nieces and nephews. So at the end of the day, we could ship them off to home.
Ashley Pope ** 34:49
Michael Hingson ** 34:50
worked out well. Yes, it did. Well, we valued each other we valued our togetherness. She was in a wheelchair. And so as I always told people she read, I pushed worked out really well. And so we work together, we relied on each other. And that’s, that’s as good as it could possibly be as well. So I appreciate though the the fact that we all do happen to be interdependent in one way or another. Absolutely, which is pretty cool.
Ashley Pope ** 35:23
It is really cool.
Michael Hingson ** 35:25
Well, so for you. What, when? When are you when you discover a parent who has encountered autism? And we’ve talked some about that, but do you have any other advice or any other kinds of words of wisdom that you want to pass on for parents to think about,
Ashley Pope ** 35:48
um, I sometimes come across parents who won’t want to tell their child that they have autism. And I think that that’s cruel. For lack of a better word, we’ll hear that these kids are having a hard time socially, emotionally, maybe with learning. And parents will just be like, oh, you know, I don’t, I don’t want to give them the label. I don’t want them to, you know, feel like they’re living with this or under this. Yeah. And we oftentimes hear from adults with autism, that it answers so many questions to have the diagnosis. And so I think that being able to give them the gift of knowing as early as possible, and have them grow up around the word and around being proud of having a different mind, and aware that their mind is different. And there, they may have some struggles, like they may learn a little bit different, or they might have some social issues or difficulties or differences. But that the family loves them and that they are proud of who they are. And that autism is something to be proud of. Because in a lot of ways, it’s also a superpower. And look at all the things that you’re great at. That is a better approach, and just not addressing it at all, can be really hurtful
Michael Hingson ** 37:21
to that whole thing of living with autism or whatever, it’s the same thing about what we were talking about with blindness or any other kind of so called disability. The reality is we’ve got to get beyond these words that really are only hurtful and not accurate anyway.
Ashley Pope ** 37:39
Yeah, it’s, it’s a gift to be able to grow up knowing and to find your pride and sense of self, within the life that you have, you’re not going to have another one, it’s not going to change, you know that you’re not going to one day wake up and not have autism. So just live with it. And you loving that about your child empowers them to love themselves, regardless of any difficulties that they may have.
Michael Hingson ** 38:09
And they’re going to know that you love them. And if you don’t, they’re going to know that. It’s it’s something that so often we don’t understand. Children and and other people in general, really observe instinctively as much as anything else. And they know when you’re blowing smoke or when you’re genuine, whoever you are, and whatever you do. And I, and it’s, you know, I learned it a long time ago, I have been very much involved in sales. And I learned a long time ago in sales. They know when you’re faking it, they know when you’re telling the truth. And you can try to pull the wool over people’s eyes. But the reality is, it doesn’t work. People really can sense it. I was interviewing someone actually on a recent episode, who was talking about self confidence, and we talked about confidence and arrogance. And one of the points that he made was with arrogance, it’s usually because there’s an insecurity and you can bluster and, and do all sorts of things. But the reality is, if you’re truly confident in yourself and what you’re doing and so on, that shines through and people can tell the difference.
Ashley Pope ** 39:27
Michael Hingson ** 39:29
And so love is extremely important. And I’m I’m really glad to hear that you can can really support that in the you guys are doing that and Gavin’s gonna certainly appreciate it and give it back in return and that’s is important as anything else.
Ashley Pope ** 39:46
Yes, he is so happy and and I think lucky. Just how much support he has. And we don’t put him in situations where We don’t feel like he is fully accepted and embraced and loved. Ever. So if there was a teacher that I felt was not fit, then we would find a new one. It’s like those types of situations, because we can’t. I want him to be happy and to live that fullest life. And in order to do that he needs to be around people who believe that he can and that he’s worth that,
Michael Hingson ** 40:25
who believe in Him. Uh huh. Well, so I want to talk more about you in terms of your diagnosis and so on. But first, what do you do for the chamber,
Ashley Pope ** 40:39
I do membership development. So I meet with different businesses and organizations and people around the community and bring them into the chamber. I also do a lot of the events work, so help to organize events. It’s really awesome to be able to connect with the business community on a really deep level. It’s a really supportive community here in Ventura. We have a ton of nonprofits who do really great work, and the business community really comes out and supports them. So I’m really in a position to uncover unmet need, and also to find organizations and people who can help to meet that need. And it’s one of the things I’m most grateful for when it comes to my job. Oh,
Michael Hingson ** 41:25
percentage wise, how many businesses are in the chamber? And when not only in winter? But typically speaking? How does that work? Do most businesses join their local chambers?
Ashley Pope ** 41:38
So our chamber has 700 businesses as members, we represent over 25,000 employees. So it’s a really big network. Every chamber is different. They’re all operated independently, they all have different initiatives, different boards of directors. So Chamber of Commerce in one city could be doing completely different things than a chamber of commerce. And another one. So yeah, I mean, Fincher is is fantastic. And chambers in general, do networking, business advocacy, it just kind of depends city to city. I love today, a lot of small businesses join. It’s hard to give like a percentage or, yeah,
Michael Hingson ** 42:22
yeah, I was just curious. I didn’t know whether that was even an answerable question. Because unless you have some real way to track every single business, it’s it’s kind of hard to tell.
Ashley Pope ** 42:33
Yeah. And there’s a lot of businesses that do. Like, if you looked at a business license list, you would see a lot of businesses that pull like a one day permit or do business in the city, but aren’t actually like based in the city, and so no different than hard to measure for sure.
Michael Hingson ** 42:51
In our post COVID world or sort of post COVID world do you find there are a lot more home based businesses and there used to be
Ashley Pope ** 43:02
a lot of businesses have gone virtual. Although that is slowly but surely, people are getting back into the offices. So back to the physical location, we saw it with big tech first, a lot of big businesses called their people back. And now there’s data coming out around productivity, not in the favor of the work from home people. So I think we’ll continue to see that those commercial spaces will fill back up. But that will always be able to do some things hybrid and have zoom meetings. And definitely people are working from home when they’re sick now, which is a nice change because people used to go to work sick. And now that’s kind of unimaginable, you wouldn’t go to work sick, that’s the worst thing to do ever. So definitely some positive change there. They will be really interesting to see what happens in the next 510 years. If the work from home thing sticks at all.
Michael Hingson ** 44:04
I hope it sort of sticks I think what what you just said is true that there there’s this whole work life balance but even in addition to that there’s virtual verse is in person life balance and the fact is that there’s there’s value in letting people do some of their work at home. It’s great to get away from the office and the inherent pressures that that provides and do some of your work at home. My job is pretty much all at home except for a few times and when I go speak places of course, and I love to go speak in person because I get to interact with audiences even in ways that I can’t virtually but between that and then working with accessibly I actually get to go to accessory in Israel this year, which will be fun. And I go to a couple of conventions a year but the I’m used to working at home, and a lot of my sales life, I did remote offices. So sometimes I was at home and sometimes I was in the office. So I kind of got trained to be able to do it and be disciplined to work at home, which is not something that a lot of people are totally used to yet, but I hope that they get there and that they recognize that there’s value in having a little bit of both.
Ashley Pope ** 45:24
I hope so too. I really hope that for our community and for America, especially we’re known as workaholics and and not to take enough time, at home or enough time to self. On one hand, the ability to work from home, I think causes people to continue to work when they’re done working at the office. But we just have to find the balance there. And we have to be able to maintain some of the positive that came out of COVID as negative as it was there was a silver lining there. Yeah. We kind of toggle back and forth on being able to maintain that as a society or not. And I know for sure in Ventura, but I think that’s been kind of a worldwide struggle of do we want our employees to be able to work from home a day, a week or five days a week? Or do we want everybody back in the office? And when do we want things to go back to the way that they were. And every business has different needs. And every manager manager is different, but it’s definitely still a demand. This next generation Gen Z, I believe we’re calling them they are not going to go work in any setting for 40 hours a week. So there’s that generation that’s going to change things, and a lot of ways, but definitely the workforce, they’re not willing to work. Eight to fives like we were. So that’s
Michael Hingson ** 46:57
well, and the reality is that normal will, you know, people can talk about getting back to the way we were but normal will never be the same again. And there have been there are, there’s always change. There are times in our history where there have been quantum sudden changes. I mean, September 11 was one which of course I’m very familiar with, but the pandemic is another one and there have been others that are dramatic changes, normal will never be the same again. And there’s nothing wrong with not trying to get back to the way everything was before. Because if we do that, then we’re going to play in forget what we learned. And so we don’t want to do that.
Ashley Pope ** 47:42
No, we don’t want to do that.
Michael Hingson ** 47:46
So you had your own diagnosis, you talked about Multiple Sclerosis, and so on. How did you’re learning to be an advocate for Gavin, and all that you learned about Gavin and his experiences and adventures? How did all that help you? Because now suddenly, it hits even closer to home for you?
Ashley Pope ** 48:09
Yeah, it was definitely a mind switch. I learned so much through advocating for my son. So being able to immediately know, okay, like I can get through this. I’ve been through other hard things. And I just need to know what’s out there. And I need to find the resources and absorb all of the information that I can and find people who can help. And I’ll be okay. So that was kind of my initial thought I immediately reached out to the Multiple Sclerosis Society thinking okay, well, if Autism Society has gotten me this far, breastfeed, MS society that can help as well. And we did there was a lot of help there. There’s not a lot of answers with a mess, there’s more questions than there are answers. And that has been one of the most difficult things for me. I do find peace through information and through knowing what is going to happen knowing what’s gonna come next. And that really went out the window with Ms. I would say with my son, there’s this constant belief that things are going to improve and they have improved and they’ll continue to improve will continue to learn and older and learn new skills and we can be there for him and with him. And a mess is different, rather than things are going to get better. It’s kind of knowing that things are going to get I don’t want to say well worse but it is a progressive, debilitating conditions. So
Michael Hingson ** 49:56
unless, unless of course somebody finds a way to birsa Cure,
Ashley Pope ** 50:00
yes, a cure. And that is part of the mission of the MS Society is to find a cure and restore what’s been lost, which is awesome. So yes, fingers crossed, but I do have to prepare for more needs down the line. And already in the last few years, I’ve lost some strength in my hand, and in my right hand and my left foot. So it’s just becoming, finding a different level of acceptance. So in a lot of ways, I did it, I don’t think I really went through the same. I call it a grief process, I feel like there should be a better word because you don’t you grieve when somebody dies. And as we’ve already talked about, nobody’s dying. So but it is that same kind of process, right? Where like, okay, things have just changed, I’m kind of going to grieve things as they are, or denial, or denial, right. And he goes through like the same process of like denial, and, you know, the bargaining and anger or whatever, whatever. So, of course, I went through a little bit of that with my son early on. But I felt like with that mess, it was just like, so much easier to just get straight to acceptance. And I talked to a therapist, and I was like, I know, this sounds crazy, but I think I just like, the whole process. And I think it’s because fairly recently in the last decade, I already went through something that’s it’s not similar, but it’s still similar in a way like, they’re, they’re not connected, but I feel like I was just immediately able to be like, okay, Ms. Like, what is it? How do we deal with it and what comes next, and I just kind of skipped, like, all of these stages of grief or whatever we want to call it these stages that people usually go through when they get news like this. And that I think, was interesting. And I do think it was directly related to the work that I’ve already done around accepting things as they come being okay with not having all the information. The fact that I’ll always be an advocate for my son, but that job is never going to be able to retire from that job. Not that I would ever want to, but it made it easier in a way to find the information and just to move through to where I can have an impact. And I was ready to share pretty early on. I didn’t make it super public. But because I was on immunosuppressants during COVID I wasn’t shy about telling people like hey, you know, if you’re if you feel sick at all, or if you haven’t been vaccinated, these are my limitations in that I just started on immunosuppressants. So I did feel really vulnerable in those early days, especially before I knew what immunosuppressants meant for me and during a pandemic.
Michael Hingson ** 53:01
Did you get vaccinated and all that stuff?
Ashley Pope ** 53:03
I did. But with the, the drug that I’m on, it actually greatly reduces the effectiveness of the COVID vaccination, it kills the B cells like that you’re the COVID vaccine attaches to to get to its destination. I’m not a scientist, so forgive me if I said that wrong. But basically, I didn’t have the cells to carry the vaccine. So I did get it. And then off the boosters, and I, you know, I did all the things, but it was very clear, like, that may have been just basically a shot of water for you, and may or may not have actually worked for you. So I was nervous about dying, because I feel like it’s fair to be. But I think, yeah, it just it really did change the way that I think about it, these processes that we go through because I didn’t handle it so different at time. And it also the vulnerability, I think is the biggest thing for me that I had to deal with. That was different from my son. Because as a mama bear, you know, you defend your kid at all costs, you get out there and you make things happen for your kid. But when it came to advocating for myself, I found that I would kind of lose the words when it would come time to talk to the doctor, I found myself kind of been like, oh, you know, it’s not these things are not that bad or kind of stretching. Like if they’d asked me a question like, how can you do this? I would so want to say like, yeah, I can do that I can do this and that and this hasn’t changed that much and just kind of predict things in a positive light. So I kind of had to start thinking like I have to advocate for myself as if I’m advocating for somebody else because it’s really hard for me to say that I need help.
Michael Hingson ** 55:00
The same process does fit. We, I was in New York on March 5, of 2020, to do a speech and flew back early on March 6, because of COVID. And also, my wife had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2017. So she was on medications to suppress part of her immune system to help deflect or deal with the RA. So we immediately went into lockdown, and just stayed home. And, and then when the vaccinations when the vaccines came out, we started taking them. And in fact, I, we both were all up to date. And then I learned that being over 65 I could get another vaccination recently. In fact, I could have gone in late February, but I didn’t know it then. But anyway, I just went in today for another vaccination, because I’m going to be doing some traveling and I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that I can be as protected as possible. And I recognize that the vaccine doesn’t keep you from getting COVID. But it certainly mitigates it a lot. So my intention is not to get it. I also don’t mind wearing masks. I’ve been on airplanes for long periods of time with a mask doesn’t bother me. And it doesn’t seem to bother my guide, dog Alamo. He doesn’t look at me differently, because I happen to wear a mask, so I’m not going to worry. Yeah. But you know, the fact of the matter is that it’s something that is part of our world. And there’s nothing wrong with it.
Ashley Pope ** 56:43
Yeah, I may be on the same drug as your wife. Actually. They’re both autoimmune conditions. So she took her brinsea Oh, no, I’m mine for Tuckson. So but probably still do the same things. amatory processes similar. Yes, different different parts of the body, tissues, whatever.
Michael Hingson ** 57:03
Same concept, in a lot of ways. Well, so obviously, you have a disease that’s very progressive, and I do hope that we find cures for that and other things, or, or at least things to improve it for you as time goes on. But how for you? How has your own diagnosis really affected? How you deal with being an advocate, and how you encourage others to advocate for themselves? You’ve I think you’ve hit on some of that. But if you want to summarize, you know, you’re, you’re now having to be a double advocate, if you will, how is your own diagnosis help with that?
Ashley Pope ** 57:46
Yeah, I think the vulnerability has been good for me, in a sense, I don’t think I’ve ever truly felt vulnerable in my life. Until I got my diagnosis, even through my son’s diagnosis, I always have been like that I can handle it, I can handle it, I’ll do it. I’ll make it happen type of person. And feeling firsthand, like things need to change so that I can live a fulfilling life is a much different place to come from then, even when you’re advocating for your own kid. There’s a sense of, it’s probably, I would think how someone feels when they have a child with special needs. And there they are ending. Like nearing the end of their own life. They probably feel like oh my gosh, who’s gonna protect my, my kid, if I can’t, and I know that a lot of parents feel that as they age. But this was my first experience with like, oh, I have something that can impact my ability to do what I want to do in my life. And it just made me more I think sensitive, and I have a lot more empathy for people and their unique situations now, because it’s a situation that I never could have imagined myself in until I found myself in it.
Michael Hingson ** 59:21
Yeah. What do you want people to know about? Somebody who has a progressive, debilitating diagnosis? How do you? What do you want people to think about that? And what would you like them to do?
Ashley Pope ** 59:37
I see. A lot of people don’t know how to respond. Social relationships can become a little bit strained. Because things change in your ability. Like in my case, my ability to say yes to everything. I really had to stop saying yes, which I should have stopped doing a long time ago. But I’m definitely like I’ve said a couple of times there. In this conversation, I’m a doer. And I had to start saying like, No, I can’t, I can’t take that on, I really need to prioritize that I’m going to prioritize. And there have been some people in my life who didn’t like that so much, or felt that like, I was changing, which I have changed. Obviously, these situations have changed who I am a little bit as we should, I would just say, just be a friend. And don’t be afraid to ask how somebody is doing. Don’t stop checking in and just, you know, do what you would want somebody to do for you in that situation, which is not to disengage. And then general public. I would say that one in four adults in their lifetime will have a disability. So when you vote, and when you advocate for things to be a particular way, keep in mind that that could be you or someone that you love, that has some kind of condition or extra need. And so we should always take care of each other and consider that things should be accessible to all once again, kind of circling back to that, you know, we can we can do so much better with our resources in this country. And it’s rarely the wrong decision when it allows more people access, whatever, whatever it is that we’re looking at, that’s just a very general statement. But if you’re looking at opening the world to more humans who live on it, then that’s probably the way to go. Because it’s just the right thing to do.
Michael Hingson ** 1:01:53
And I think the most important thing you said is be a friend, there’s nothing wrong with different. There shouldn’t be, even if the different is something that maybe you’ve been taught is a bad thing. Is it really? And yeah, Multiple Sclerosis is progressive right now. But we’ve seen so many modern kinds of progresses in so many ways. Who knows, and autism the same thing, or blindness or even being a politician? I’m sure there’s a cure for that. But I haven’t found that one yet, either. So that’s another story. But the bottom line is that, in reality, we’re all different. And you’re right. 25% have what’s considered a typical disability, although I’ve made the case before that everyone has a disability who lives on this planet. And for most people, it’s like dependents. But you know, the bottom line is that we all have different challenges. And we all by the way, have gifts that we get to use, if allowed the opportunity. And that’s the most important thing. And I’m really excited about hearing and having had the opportunity to hear all the things that that you do and get to do. So what are you going to write a book about all this?
Ashley Pope ** 1:03:09
You know, that was something that I was actually in the process of writing a book when I was diagnosed with autism. And I set it aside, and I just was like, so everything changed. In that moment, I have written quite a bit around diagnosis and accepting of diagnosis and how to be a friend in diagnosis. Rather, it’s been a friend to, you know, parent who has a newly diagnosed child, or what that looks like mostly around autism, because that’s my experience. And then I had this experience, and I really just had to set it aside and kind of find my, my opinion, and my, my thoughts. But who knows, maybe down the line right now, I’m just trying to juggle everything I juggle. But we’ll see, you know, you never know, they may,
Michael Hingson ** 1:04:05
you may find that sitting down and writing about some of it will be a help to you. And you now clearly have a whole new dimension that you can add to it, I would think it’d be very powerful, which isn’t to say just drop everything and do it. But you might certainly sit down and continue to write thoughts because those then that will help you. I know for me, people have asked if I’ve ever gone to therapy after September 11. And my response is I hadn’t but I started getting requests for television and radio and newspaper interviews and so on and chose to accept those if it would help people move on from September 11. And I got to teach people about blindness and guide dogs and all that. And I’ve realized over the years that literally going through hundreds of those and talking about September 11 Being asked the dumbest and the most intelligent questions, was invaluable at learning to deal with it, and to talk about it, and I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything. And so it is, you know, I do know that writing is a valuable thing. You know, we wrote thunder dog, which I actually started in 2002. And it took over eight years to complete. But right from the beginning, I started writing a lot of my thoughts, and that was helpful. So even just writing things down, although you may not ready to be ready to put them in a book might be helpful.
Ashley Pope ** 1:05:33
Yes, absolutely. Or, you know, there’s also like voice recording and just getting your thoughts out, I think is really important. So I am a big proponent of therapy and talking and learning, right learning and sharing, I find a lot of peace and volunteering and giving back and talking to other parents and giving people resources. And just learning obviously, even today, it’s been a learning experience. I’ve learned something new about you know, your, your experience, and it’s, it’s all empowering.
Michael Hingson ** 1:06:15
It is and, and you, like all of us can choose how we deal with our gifts and what we know and what we do and what we use. And so I’m sure it’s all gonna work out well for you. And I’m really glad that we had the chance to do this. If people want to talk with you, is there any way they can reach out to you or interact with you?
Sure, I would say let’s enact first by email. And the email I will give is my Autism Society email. It’s Ashley a s h l e y at autism ventura.org. That’s a s h l e y autism a u t i s m Ventura, v e n t u r a.org.
And Ventura really means in parentheses hingsons jealous. But that’s another story. That’s great.
Ashley Pope ** 1:07:05
If anybody is it, is it it’s a fantastic place and also a good place to live. It’s a good place to live for people with autism because there’s great services California in general, has more than a lot of other states. And a mess wise now I’m like, sorry, sorry, family, I can’t go visit you. Unless it’s less than 87 or 87 degrees, it’s probably pushing it like 85 degrees. But I’ve always been so spoiled here in Ventura, because it’s like, we pretty much live between 65 and 73. Like, doesn’t change much from there. That’s where this town’s is all year long. So really good for somebody with an autoimmune condition for sure.
There you go. Well, I want to thank you for being here. And I want to thank you for listening. So if any of you would like to chat with us about this, please feel free to email me. You can reach me at Michaelhi, m i c h a e l h i at accessibe A C C E S S I B E.com. Or go to our podcast page www dot Michael Hingson m i c h a e l h i n g s o n.com/podcast. But wherever you’re listening, please give us a five star rating. We really appreciate those. Those five star ratings, we value your comments and your thoughts. Please feel free to let us know what you thought of the podcast. If you know of anyone who want to be a guest. We would love to hear from you. We’d love to hear from those who suggest Ashley the same for you if you know anybody who would make a good podcast guest love to have them and we will interact with any ones. But again, I want to thank you for being with us and taking all this time and please tell Gavin hello for us. But thanks again.
Ashley Pope ** 1:08:52
I will thank you so much, Michael, thanks for advocating for so many and for for putting in the time and work this podcast is awesome.
**Michael Hingson ** 1:09:04
You have been listening to the Unstoppable Mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. I hope that you’ll join us again next week, and in future weeks for upcoming episodes. To subscribe to our podcast and to learn about upcoming episodes, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com slash podcast. Michael Hingson is spelled m i c h a e l h i n g s o n. While you’re on the site., please use the form there to recommend people who we ought to interview in upcoming editions of the show. And also, we ask you and urge you to invite your friends to join us in the future. If you know of any one or any organization needing a speaker for an event, please email me at speaker at Michael hingson.com. I appreciate it very much. To learn more about the concept of blinded by fear, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com forward slash blinded by fear and while you’re there, feel free to pick up a copy of my free eBook entitled blinded by fear. The unstoppable mindset podcast is provided by access cast an initiative of accessiBe and is sponsored by accessiBe. Please visit www.accessibe.com. accessiBe is spelled a c c e s s i b e. There you can learn all about how you can make your website inclusive for all persons with disabilities and how you can help make the internet fully inclusive by 2025. Thanks again for listening. Please come back and visit us again next week.