Finding a Way With Sam Mitchell of The Autism Rocks and Rolls Podcast


Do you feel alone and have a diagnosis of Autism?

Our guest today Sam Mitchell, shares how he has taken his story and combined it with the stories of others and helps members of the Autism community feel connected.

In the last 20 years, Autism has been on the rise, and with that, a need for connection has risen in the Autism community. We all know that feeling when you are around people who understand you and get you, and for people diagnosed with Autism, that feeling is even rarer.

This episode with Sam will inspire you to believe that you will find a way, no matter what label or diagnosis, if you have the will.

Key Topics:
  • What made a podcast something you wanted to start (1:33)
  • Have the goals change from when you started to today (2:36)
  • What were the early challenges you ran into starting the podcast (3:35)
  • How did the people around you respond when they heard your full story (5:50)
  • What has the journey been like to turn a passion project into what it is today (7:44)
  • How have you grown your community around the podcast (8:55)
  • Creating a non-profit around the podcast (10:08)
  • Has live podcast recordings been a focus (12:19)
  • What does the future look like for the podcast (13:50)
  • What is the advice you would share with something thinking about getting started (14:47)
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Speaker 1 (00:02)
Hi and welcome to Cause bods. I’m your host, Matthew Passy. Here at Causepods, we have one simple mission to highlight the amazing folks who are using podcasts as a way to raise awareness for good causes and make the world is a better place, whether it’s in their own local community or they’re taking on global issues. Please visit where you can learn about our guest show, their favorite charitable cause, join our Facebook group with resources for Cause based podcasters and find a link where you yourself could be a guest here on Causepods. Again, that’s

Speaker 2 (00:39)
All right, everyone, we are taking you to Indiana. We are powering through. Sam and I have been trying really hard to get this conversation going. We are determined to make it happen. We are chatting with Sam Mitchell. He’s the host of the Autism Rocks and Rolls Podcast, executive director of the Autism Rocks and Rolls Corporation. It’s a five on C three that promise you will learn a little bit more about. He’s a Ted Talk speaker, motivational speaker, and he even coordinates events. Sam, welcome to Causepods.

Speaker 3 (01:09)
Yeah, man, it’s been a pain in the butt, but hey, I’m great. I’m glad to be here. I’m glad we can maybe get to do this finally.

Speaker 2 (01:16)
Amen to that, sir. So in one of our previous recordings, you were telling me that you were diagnosed as high functioning Asperger’s, and you were a little young, but you’ve powered through, so let’s skip all that and let’s take you to the present day. What was the impetus that had you thinking, I should start a podcast related to autism?

Speaker 3 (01:42)
Okay, I know you said you can’t tell the past. We got to go there a little bit, but I won’t get into it big time. So the basis of the past was I was very excluded. I felt very lonely, and I thought I didn’t have anyone but one person other than family and a person. But during my sophomore year, I decided, you know what? I’m tired of this crap. I’m tired of being excluded. I’m tired of just being ignored. And that was when, sophomore year, I found podcasting through immediate Club. I was introduced to in freshman year, and I helped out with my peers with Thundercast. I went in, run it by myself. I had help, but I have Thundercast on my side. Well, realize that I can’t be a senior high school, and eventually I have to leave Media Club. I want to expand and continue my media skills. And that was why I decided to create autism Rocks and rolls.

Speaker 2 (02:34)
So what was the idea for the show initially?

Speaker 1 (02:39)
Like, what was that you were hoping.

Speaker 2 (02:40)
To do with the show, and is that still what is happening on episodes today?

Speaker 3 (02:45)
The mission of the podcast itself is to obviously take the negative stigma off of autism and mental health as well, like anxiety, depression, Tourette syndrome, OCD, and many others. But that’s the main mission just to get rid of the negative stigma that no one with a disability can do anything. Try again because look at me, I’m writing a podcast. I know people who are blind but can tie at the Grand Canyon. I know someone who’s a musician who is deaf but can sing. It’s just trying to show that we can be successful no matter what society throws at us.

Speaker 2 (03:26)
So when you were first working on this podcast, right, you left the Media Group and you’re taking this venture on your own. What were some of the early challenges that you faced and were any of them related to your diagnosis or was it just sort of runofthemill problems at all podcasters face?

Speaker 3 (03:45)
It’s a good question. I would say there’s a little bit of both. Setting up with one of them definitely kind of just get rid of the ropes because in the end I was rope cast. But when I had to go to Autism Rocks and Road, I was like, okay, what do I need to do? What do I buy? Because obviously I can’t buy what the school is buying. Ain’t going to go steal it. Didn’t plan to at least. But I just need to know what to get, how to set it up was the main problem with podcast as far as challenges itself. It was just coming out there because some of these stories I told and some of the stories I shared with, I never told my family. I decided I was going to tell them on that podcast and I didn’t know, honestly if there was going to be a big hit. I just thought, oh, it’s a podcast on autism. There’s tons of out there, move on. But on there, I was wrong on my thoughts and me and my own moral enemy, kind of. I think that’s what was due to and I thought honestly, it was going to be a few hits in there and people was like, oh, cool, ten downloads.

Speaker 3 (04:51)
No, I got some that afford. I have some over 100 downloads and I even have sponsors who are even backing up the mission with ad space.

Speaker 2 (05:00)
That’s awesome. Super incredible. So you’ve been doing this for looking at it at the time that we’re talking, you’ve got a little over 200 episodes that have been published.

Speaker 3 (05:11)
We can talk about that too, maybe. Hold on. Thought it’s actually 70 something because it’s kind of a main purpose in school. ThunderCats. We did like 2002, which was season two, episode two.

Speaker 2 (05:27)
Got you. Okay, but still, I mean, we’re talking about still.

Speaker 3 (05:33)
I’m not trying to downgrade myself, I’m just saying I just want to clear that up. But last time I checked, I was over 74.

Speaker 2 (05:41)
So I want to go back a little bit. So you said these are stories that you hadn’t even told your parents, your family, and you said you were going to put them on the podcast what was it like for them and for some other people that knew you to hear these stories for the first time through this medium in particular?

Speaker 3 (06:01)
Well, that’s a good question. That’s a question for them, to be honest with you. And you have to ask every question. So I’m not going to speak for them, but I’m going to speak for his entire population just based on my observations. So through what I’ve seen, I think they’ve been a little more compassionate, and maybe we’re still working on the empathy there because I don’t want pettiness, I’m so sorry you had to go through it. I’ve been mad enough about it already, if that makes any sense. And I could be angry at the role right now. He excluded me. That bleep bleep where’s it going to get me.

Speaker 2 (06:41)
I love the attitude there that you’ve been angry enough about it, now it’s time to move on from there. And that you’re not looking for sympathy. You’re not looking for people to make you a charity case. You’re just simply looking for people to better understand you and just treat you with the same amount of respect that they would treat you in any other way.

Speaker 3 (07:06)
I appreciate the passion. I always will. I mean, we’re raising events to make people accepting and aware of it. Can we do I don’t need that. I apologize. Must be hard, too. But, hey, I’m glad you went through it and not glad you went through it. I’m glad you got through it. That’s what I appreciate. Honestly.

Speaker 2 (07:36)
You’ve developed an audience. You’ve probably connected with people. You have folks who are now on your team that are helping you out. So I’m just curious, like, what has it been like to turn this little independent passion project into something bigger than yourself?

Speaker 3 (07:51)
Very surprising. As I said earlier, I never expected to get this big. No bigger than me, I’ll be honest with you. So the one word is just unexpected, but very happy. Because I used to complain to my parents, I need a life, I need a life. I need a life. Because all I was doing, basically is playing video games, and I try to do some stuff at playing. I’m a black ball taekwondo. I participate in media club, I participate in basketball club. But it wasn’t really a life. I didn’t get any fulfillment. I didn’t get any joy out of it. I mean, I enjoyed the Taekwondo, but that was more of a hobby for me. Oh, my gosh, I want to go do a Taekwondo school. It wasn’t that, but it was more like I finally had signed up, fulfilled me. I try to fulfill people my whole entire life with some but little success. When I found podcasting, this was more for me, and it fulfilled my personal success.

Speaker 2 (08:55)
And have you grown your network? Have you grown your community? Do you actively engage with new folks that you have met as a result of doing the podcast?

Speaker 3 (09:08)
Yes, because I always attend networking events and I’m always open to working with people with certain restrictions, obviously. I mean, you can’t work with anybody you meet. But I try to do networking in order to not only promote myself, but just to do some work, some great work with them. I mean, case in point, I threw a guest. I had I’m going to go speak at their school in Florida next year, 2023 for case in point, I met someone through clubhouse, actually. And through that we’re going to be a guest like Charles podcast where I’m going to talk about autism on his he’s going to come on mine, talk about his nonprofit, about how he’s helping the king and pre king world with basketball, but showing them certain life skills such as leadership and respect. So I’m hoping to work with anyone even though it may not fit into category of work.

Speaker 2 (10:07)
You mentioned friend there, they’re 501. So you turn this podcast into its own corporation, into its own 501. What was that process like? What was the challenges and maybe what was the motivation to say, I can do more with this than just have a podcast.

Speaker 3 (10:26)
Right. We had to talk about that with our family. We had a big family me and just say, hey, do you want to go through this? And I chose to do it for two reasons. One is because I want to grow and I wanted to get promotion for myself. So it was more of a personal feeling. But number two, I saw this as something bigger. I saw this as this could really help someone. I could actually help somebody out here. And I’ve always wanted to make a difference in some way in life, but I didn’t have the opportunities to until now.

Speaker 2 (10:58)
So what is the kind of work that you’re doing through the non profit specifically?

Speaker 3 (11:03)
I got to help out with events. So I’ve helped out with Password kids, which is like where people with disabilities go fishing. I’ve got to help out with that. I get to actually live my dream, actually with some cool opportunities. For example, I actually got to commentate at a local wrestling show. I’m going back on August 7, so that’s kind of cool. But we also do event planning so I can get that. On September 24, I’m hosting a week on Autism Farm Day where one of our sponsors is giving us the barn and we can do whatever we want with it. I think what we’re doing is we’re taking a walk for autism and then I think we’re also helping out with their Special Needs Night, which is where tons of people with abilities can go to the farm and not deal with the stresses that you might take for granted. But we also host an annual gala every April where we try to do a theme with autism and just have a nice dinner with a speaker or maybe multiple. Hopefully last year’s theme was actually success. And how do we get there? Basically, in my eyes, it’s showing that owning a limo and getting out of equals each other out.

Speaker 2 (12:16)
That’s pretty cool. So have you thought about doing live podcasting as an event for the nonprofit?

Speaker 3 (12:25)
I have a problem with that, and this is just me being autistic, so I’m very person in the order. Like, if you’re doing all audio and then it’s one video, it’s like everything in my brain is basically screwed up. So it’s like, yeah, I want to, but I know it will just complete and I don’t want to go through that.

Speaker 2 (12:49)
That’s fair.

Speaker 3 (12:51)
Does that make sense?

Speaker 1 (12:52)
I know it makes a ton of.

Speaker 2 (12:53)
Sense, and I highly respect anybody who can identify their weaknesses or identify their limits and work within those constraints, as opposed to someone who says, I’ll try and do everything and then have to get frustrated or whatnot, and then that turns into a different kind of energy that you might not want to give off.

Speaker 3 (13:16)
Yeah, but I will admit I do bend sometimes. So I’ll be honest with you, I have a YouTube channel, and it’s mainly just for my podcast, but I didn’t want to do video for the next season, but I did Bent and I decided to do video. So there are some, like, video interviews on my YouTube channel with some of.

Speaker 2 (13:36)
The all right, very cool. Glad to see that you’re expanding and glad to see that you are, in fact growing. So you’ve got this podcast, you’ve been speaking, you’re putting on events, you’ve got your own 501. What is the dream for you? What is the future of this venture if you have a solid goal in.

Speaker 3 (13:59)
Mind, the future for me is I always joke around and I say, ask me in five years and we’ll talk again. But I’m hoping to expand this more and bring more to this podcast and just make it more of make it more than I am, as you said earlier, because it could help out so many folks out there in the world. But as far as me, I’m in college right now. I plan to attend Vincent University in Vincent, Indiana. For me, you’re entrepreneurship, and I’m taking Ivy Tech classes right now for business administration.

Speaker 2 (14:33)
Continue to add to your skill set and continue to grow and see what else you could do with this venture.

Speaker 3 (14:38)
Yeah, I mean, why not, man? Why is that something you’re good at.

Speaker 2 (14:43)
And that you are passionate about? I love that attitude. So as someone who has launched their own podcast, has created their own nonprofit, who seems to be doing something and really working towards their cause, what would be your advice to someone else out there who is thinking about championing their cause and thinking about maybe using a podcast to do so?

Speaker 3 (15:13)
Well, I would say if you’re passionate about it, go for it. And my idea is this. If it’s something similar or kind of like a rip off, maybe to the next person, try to find a way to make it your own. Case in point, look at Buffalo wings and rings. I like buffalo wings and rings. I’m not saying that’s bad, but you could tell it’s a complete burnt off. The buffalo wild wings. But buffalo wings and rings are still successful. They both equal each other out. In my eyes.

Speaker 2 (15:40)
There’s good advice in there which is don’t necessarily copy someone exactly, but there are models that work. You just have to twist it a little bit to make it your own and to make it something that works for you. I think that’s a great analogy. I think this is a great attitude that you have there and I think this is a great concept that everybody should be checking out. So once again, it is the autism rocksandrolspodcast. You can learn more about again. It is also a 501 C three and they’ve got some links there where you can donate and support the work that Sam here is doing. Sam, it has been a real pleasure. I’m glad we persevered and we got this done. Thank you for joining us here on Causepods.

Speaker 3 (16:24)
Yeah, then thank you again for having me.

Speaker 1 (19:01)
Thanks for listening to this episode of Cause. If you’ve been inspired by the work of our guest, please check out the show notes to this episode in your podcasting app. there you will find links to their show, their website, their podcast, links on Apple, Google, Spotify, as well as a link to support the charity that they highlighted here in this episode. You will also a way to subscribe to this show on your favorite podcasting app, how to sign up to be a guest on this show, and a link to our Facebook group which is going to have special resources just for the folks who are podcasting for a good cause. And I can tell you right now, we’ve got one great deal from our friends at Pod page, but you’re only.

Speaker 2 (19:41)
Going to learn about it and get that special deal if you are a.

Speaker 1 (19:44)
Member of the Facebook group for Causepods. And before I go, I should say thank you. In particular, this show is edited and produced by Ben Killoy of the military veteran Dad’s podcast of what a great.

Speaker 2 (19:54)
Job he has done.

Speaker 1 (19:56)
And all this is made possible because of the great support that I received from Shannon Rojas Once again, if you want to learn more, go to Causepodsorg. Thank you so much and we will see you next time on Cospods.

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