The Unseen Things When Raising a Child with Autism & Why Community Matters

Guests: Diana Toman and Desiree Cole | Season 10, Ep. 422

“This experience awoken a grace in me towards other parents.” – Diana Toman

Parenting can open new doors to community. While kids may be different from one another, parents are still able to speak the same language and navigate similar things happening in their lives. However, raising a child with autism spectrum disorder or other special needs can be a different experience for a parent – one that comes with a realization that you aren’t speaking the same language as everybody else. These parents say isolation can be the hardest part of the journey. In today’s episode, Dr. Michelle Robin invites Diana Toman to tell her story about raising her son who is on the spectrum, graduating high school, and soon entering college. She shares some of the challenges and triumphs that came while raising him in those early years, and why support and community made a difference in her family’s life and her well-being. Diana also provides some guidance and advice to co-host Desiree Cole, whose son is also on the spectrum and beginning his journey into school and the community. By the end of the episode, Diana explains why she has no doubt that God selected her to raise her son, and that every parent should trust that they are the right parent whether they are raising a neurotypical or neurodivergent child.

About Today’s Guest and Co-Host:

Diana Toman is the CEO of Toman Advisory Group and a former Fortune 500 Chief Legal Officer, who has parlayed years of large company experience into an advisory firm focused on corporate governance, ESG, risk management, and strategy. She is a mom of two teenagers, Parker and Reagan, passionate about being involved in the community, and advocate for the things she believes in.

Desiree Cole is the Content Director and Brand Manager at Small Changes Big Shifts. She creates, writes, and manages the voice and content for the brand. She has loved all things wellness since she was introduced to the lifestyle in college, where she learned to cook more plant-based food and care for the whole body in holistic ways. She began her journalism career in Chicago and New York City, where she worked in Manhattan as an editor for news agencies, magazines, and book publishing. She’s part of the Small Changes Big Shifts team because she believes words are powerful messengers to the spirit, heart, and mind. Desiree was born and raised in Kansas City and believes there’s no place like it. Her husband (Zach), son (Ollie), and two golden retrievers (Linus and Lucy) live in a loud and happy house with its eight paws and a very joyful little boy who loves them.


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