Science is a never-ending loop of questions where the answer never changes, it’s only our understanding that changes. Life is like this, and art can try to be like this. Everything is multifaceted, and like that comic of two people standing on a number, one person seeing six, and one person seeing nine- it’s perspective.
Autism is one of those things. It’s a diagnosis we think we understand until we don’t. As is quoted in Lauren Ober’s The Loudest Girl in the World - if you know one autistic person - you know one autistic person. People who are not involved in the autism communities have one idea, those involved have another, and people diagnosed with autism…well. They have a whole lived experience viewpoint many of the rest of us do not. Complicate this further by the fact that autism ten, twenty, or even thirty years ago means something else entirely than it does today; it is not something that is easy to navigate.
A few months ago I listened to Autism’s First Child. This is a podcast about the early days of autism diagnosis, and the first person to be diagnosed with autism. I’m not saying you need to listen to that podcast to understand The Loudest Girl in the World - but what I love about having listened to that podcast, and then listening to The Loudest Girl in the World - is that it highlights this ongoing understanding of what autism is and how we move with and around the diagnoses. They are excellent foils for what the past held, what today has become, and what the future could become if we only open our hearts with kindness.
The Loudest Girl in the World is a beautiful, at times diary-like podcast- where we get to see this transformation from: “maybe I have autism”, to a diagnosis, and moving forward with this new information. The main story sits across nine episodes, each around 40 minutes with some give and take. Lauren Ober guides us through the journey of her own diagnosis as an adult woman receiving this diagnosis. It is funny, heartwrenching, captivating, and important. This podcast is informative and comforting, even in its moments of discomfort.
The production value is solid, as it is a podcast produced by Pushkin. For the most part, it is effortless to listen to. A few episodes change the format, but it fits in well with the overall arc of the story. I do have to admit, some phone call moments and other moments recorded right on the phone might be jarring to those listeners who prefer the smoothness of constant studio-quality recording: but to me, they round out that this is a real story, with real lived experience, and real consequences.
While this is for anyone to listen to, its poignancy will most strike people who share a later-in-life diagnosis, like the host, or those who have children who have this diagnosis. That is to say, The Loudest Girl in the World isn’t a podcast for the 8-year-old who just got diagnosed, it can be a comfort for the parent of the 8-year-old who just got diagnosed. I can see this not only being a shared-story podcast, but also one where people can have a breath of relief. No, the default settings of the world may not be the most comfortable for people with autism- but there is hope and further understanding than there was even ten years ago.
After we go through Lauren’s journey, the feed transitions from her story, to interviews with other autistic people. I have not listened to these interviews, although a few peppered into the last few episodes of Lauren’s journey. This change in feed is exciting as an opportunity to keep moving forward with Lauren in the world of autism, and a continuation of what being The Loudest Girl In The World means as a work of advocacy.
I really enjoyed listening to this podcast, to the point where I stopped listening so I could let it last a little longer. I wanted to marathon through it with every new episode but took my time to fully appreciate the breadth of emotion and story that is here.
Podlink for The Loudest Girl In The World Here
Keep an eye out for a future review of Autism’s First Child as a companion piece to The Loudest Girl in the World. If you like reading my podcast reviews, please subscribe. You’ll get monthly updates and I’ll get to see what people like and don’t like.
Later this week, I’ll have the last of my Release Day Reviews Revisited. I am officially moving Death by Dying to January because I want to give that feed some more time to drop with their schedule adjustment to every two weeks. January will also feature some aesthetic changes!
Thanks for being here!