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The Shadow Listener, A Voice for Autism


Join Dr. Holmes as she interviews Laura Nadine Dooley. Our show today covers Laura’s identification on the spectrum later in life, navigating the school system with a son on the spectrum, challenges autistic entrepreneurs face in creating businesses, and her many works and contributions to advocacy and music.

Laura Nadine understands first hand the struggles and triumphs of living with autism. She has spent nearly 15 years advocating for a neurodiverse educational model after she and her son were diagnosed with ASD in 2006. She developed an approach for teaching music to students with various learning profiles and recently invented a MusicBoard, inspired by facilitated communication, to make composition and music theory accessible to non-speaking students.

Laura runs Enlightened Audio, an online and in-person hybrid music school with a mission to make music education accessible. In March of 2020, in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, she moved to Canada and utilized the time of isolation to develop an eco-friendly product line of string instruments, non-toxic violin conditioner, and a violin case that is fully compostable. As she works to launch her innovative, eco-friendly product line, she continues a 28-year long career as a music educator.

She has self-published two books, recorded various albums, and was the main subject of the biographical documentary, The Shadow Listener: A Voice for Autism directed by John Schaefer. She also composes music for film including the Astoria Zuker Award winning documentary LISTEN. Laura continues to post on her blog The Shadow Listener at where she provides the layered perspective of someone living with autism, teaching autistic students, and raising a son with autism––what she calls a ”3 Shoes Perspective”.

Laura lives in Toronto, Ontario with her husband Brian and her two geriatric cats. Her now grown children, Allana and Chey, are navigating young adult life in New York City and Toronto respectively.

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