207: Finding Your Own Path When Neurodivergent, with David Bizzaro

Picture of hosted by Penny Williams

hosted by Penny Williams

Listen on Apple Podcasts  |  Google Podcasts  |  Spreaker  |  Spotify  |  iHeart Radio

It can be hard for our neurodivergent kids to find their path into adulthood. They often don’t yet know what they’re interested in pursuing long term, even after graduating from high school. The key is to support kids, teens, and young adults in exploring their interests, as actor and puppeteer David Bizarro illustrates as he shares his story with us. You’ll gain insights on the ADHD brain and that journey and leave with a sense of hope for your child’s future.


Some of the resources may be affiliate links, meaning I receive a commission (at no cost to you) if you use that link to make a purchase.

Subscribe to Clarity — my weekly newsletter on what’s working in business right now, delivered free, straight to your inbox.

Work with me to level up your parenting — online parent training and coaching  for neurodiverse families.

My Guest

David Bizzaro

David Bizzaro is a first-generation American Latinx actor and an Emmy award-winning puppeteer. He has worked with culture-defining companies such as The Muppets, Sesame Street, The Jim Henson Company, SYFY, and The Flaming Lips. He’s currently the voice and puppeteer of Mochi in the Netflix show Waffles + Mochi’s Restaurant.



David Bizzaro 0:03

I didn't know what I was doing. But I was following my passion, and was doing something that I now consciously live by, which is, if you're interested in something, and it really kind of moves your heart and your soul, you should pursue that thing. And with ADHD, it's a lot easier you know, because we will hyper focus on something and nothing else can be done. But that thing.

Penny Williams 0:30

Welcome to the beautifully complex podcast, where I share insights and strategies on parenting neurodivergent kids straight from the trenches. I'm your host, Penny Williams. I'm a parenting coach, author and mindset mama, honored to guide you on the journey of raising your a typical kid. Let's get started. Hello, everyone, parents and educators, and all the caring adults out there. I'm super excited today in this episode, to be talking to David bizarro, who is an adult with ADHD. And we're just going to talk a little bit about his journey and the career paths that he took and how he figured that out and life as a new dad, with ADHD and all sorts of fun, good stuff. I'm sure it's going to come out of this conversation, and many insights for parents and educators of what life is like as an individual with ADHD in the day to day and in the journey over time as well. So really excited to have you here, David. Well, you start by letting everyone know who you are and what you do.

David Bizzaro 1:41

Yes. And thank you so much for having me. This is gonna be fun. So my name is David Bizarro, I am a puppeteer. And I'm gonna say currently at puppeteer because I've worn a lot of hats in television, and film. I'm also an artist. I've studied art in college. And I still paint and draw and sculpt and do all kinds of fun things. So yeah, currently a puppeteer, TV style puppeteer.

Penny Williams 2:08

And when people maybe recognize your voice from because obviously, as a puppeteer, they won't necessarily recognize your face, which they can't see on a podcast anyway.

David Bizzaro 2:18

Yeah. So and if they do see my face, then they have a really fun version of synesthesia that, I bet it's a delight. So if you're hearing my voice right now, and you are because you're listening, you won't recognize my voice because I currently play mochi and waffles emojis restaurant, which sounds completely different than my voice. He's a small little bit of Strawberry Mochi that has a really cute voice and speaks and meeps and moops and can only say his own name. But yeah, I perform him. And I also do his voice. If you've watched the bear show, which is a YouTube series I did years ago, then you'll probably recognize a little bit of my voice in that. I also did the voice and performed a character named Mr. scribbles for a really fun show called sci fi wire after dark. So if you watch that, you also heard my voice. Yeah. And hopefully in the next year, you'll be hearing my voice. And another way that I can't tell you about now. But I'm super excited for when I can.

Penny Williams 3:23

Definitely, we will want to know, yeah, I want to check that out. So I am just fascinated by how you got to this career as a puppeteer. And as a person with ADHD, you're obviously very creative, because you're also an artist. And you had told me before we started that, you'd like to make things. And so we see a lot of that creativity in people with ADHD. And we don't always as the adults in those kids lives, leave the doors open for creativity as a career or long term because we fear that rain as a parent, we fear that they won't be able to make ends meet maybe or something like that, right. And so it's really hard. I think, for some parents, especially in the traditional ideas that we have as a culture of what his successful career paths are, and that sort of thing. Like, how did you come to go down this path and to be successful in it? I think it would be really fascinating to hear your story on that. And to be able to take that and open our minds as parents and educators.

David Bizzaro 4:35

Yeah, that's a wonderful question. And there's, of course, just like anyone's life, there's a lot of factors that go into why I arrived at this place in what we would perceive as successful. But the reason I'm a puppeteer, part of that I'm now learning because I was diagnosed not too long ago, and I'm still understanding what ADHD means in my life and how I navigate it. It's still fairly new. But one of the things I was actually reflecting on this morning was because I knew it was going to be coming on today was, how did I, how did I arrive here? And it's funny that you asked me that, because it's pretty is basically the same question that you asked. It was, I was asking myself, like, how did I arrive here? Where I am now where I've got a family, I have a house, I have a car, and I'm working at a at pretty high level in this career of puppetry. How did I get here? If I have what the federal government qualifies as a disability? Like how did how did how did that happen? And the thing that I think, got me here is my ADHD, I think that it is my ADHD, you know, you hear people throwing around like ADHD is a superpower. And it's like, well, it isn't it isn't. I think, what helped me figure out how to navigate which what I didn't know at the time was ADHD.

I think my mother really was a big part. Unbeknownst to her. I think she was just doing what her instincts were telling her to do when it came to helping me navigate my creativity in my life. So a little backstory, my mom, she immigrated to this country when she was 16, from El Salvador, during El Salvador Civil War, which ended in 1992. For the listeners who may not know, yeah, so went on for a long time, it officially started, well, not officially. But it started to begin in like the 50s. And really started happening in the 70s. And then it ended in 1992. And there's still remnants of it now. But my mother, when she was raising me, she didn't want to keep me from having the ability to explore anything I might be interested in. Yeah. So if I showed any interest even she was telling me just the other day when we were talking about my kid, she was like, oh, you should get him a guitar. You know, when he was your age, I bought you a guitar. And I was like, you bought me a guitar when I was six months old. And she was like, Yeah, remember that guitar you had, she's like, well, of course, you know, yours wasn't a kid size one because I couldn't get a kid size one. She bought me like an adult size guitar when I was six months old. And it had, you know, it was a classical guitar. So it had the soft strings. And she just let me pluck at it because she saw that I was trying to get my dad's guitar. So she was like, Maybe he likes guitar. But that sort of encouragement never went away.

And it doesn't even go away. Now. You just anytime I was ever interested in anything, didn't matter if it was creative or not. She was like, Well, you know, I bet we can find a cheap version of whatever it is you're into. Let's get that and then you can noodle with it and figure it out and see if you really enjoy it. And that went on. You know, like I said, even until today, she was asking me if I wanted some really fancy expensive tailoring shears, because I've been teaching myself how to sew clothes for the past two years. And she's like, you know, you gotta have the right tools. But yeah, so. So she's still trying to, like, encourage that side of me. And when I was a kid, you know, she definitely, you know, being an immigrant from what me and my first generation friends will say, is from the old country, you know, she had even more conservative beliefs about what makes you successful. And one of those is having a trade. And I know that that's a common fear with all parents that their kid doesn't have a trade or a skill that is marketable.

And I understand that, you know, especially in this country, you know, this country is really built upon having a marketable something. That's why Etsy and Shopify and like Fiverr are so successful, because everyone's looking for a way to monetize their hobby, you know, even like, hobbies aren't hobbies anymore. They're just an heard some, like, Wealth Management guy call it like a under monetized skill or something ridiculous, like, basically something that you're doing that you should just be making money doing, right? It's like, well, now it's a hobby, like, you're not that good at it. Like, you know, macro, May is macro May, but not to knock macro May I do think maximize beautiful as I try to walk back that statement. But my point is that, you know, we want our children to be successful, and I want my child to be successful. And my mother did say to me all the time, like you got to have a trade, you got to have a trade. And she's like, I know you love your music. And I know you love your art. But you have to have a trade. And I tried a bunch of different things. You know, in high school, I was a lot less focused. I definitely was only focused on my arts. I was I ever had a D or an F in all of my other classes. I did really well on my APR class, I got whatever the highest number is, I think it's a four in my APR class. And I was an advanced drama all four years of high school and getting the school grants because of the theater program we were doing, or how well we were doing in the theater program because we also competed oh my god you can do in theater if nobody knows that you can go and compete in theater and get letters and bars like I'm a I was a letterman in high school but theater. So the what was I? What was I saying about that here comes, you know some of that foggy ADHD.

Penny Williams 10:12

My brain does that all the time when I'm interviewing people on it, I'm like so embarrassed. So this time I get to help someone.

David Bizzaro 10:20

I appreciate it, I'm getting better at reminding myself that it's okay. And what happens and I know that happens because I've been really observing myself. One thing that I think the ADHD has done for me through life has helped me focus on myself internally, because of being motivated by family to have a trade. You know, I've constantly been thinking, Well, what is wrong with me that, that I can't focus on something or that I can only focus on this, and so a lot of introspective dialogue. And so with those moments where I'm forgetful, it's not that I'm forgetting or that I forgotten what I was talking about. For me personally, and this is just my experience. When I'm talking about something or telling a story. I literally my mind, like, it's as if I am sort of experienced Anastasia in a way where when I tell the story, I'm reliving it. And I'm seeing it in front of me and not in front of you. But it's almost like I'm there. Yeah. And if I recall, telling the story to somebody like dive was just not like in that moment where it's the icing, forgetful. I don't see anything but the memory of what was happening when I was in high school. And so like, I was reliving those moments. And that's what threw me off.

That's why I was like, Oh, wait, what was I talking about? And it was because I started like, you know, my brain just started reliving those moments. So I'm learning to embrace that. Because on the outside, it looks like I'm forgetful or that I was just rambling on a tangent, but the reality I was reliving a moment in my life suddenly. And to me that is special, because it really means I was being honest. You know, I was telling you exactly how it was. Yeah, yeah. So anyhow, yeah, I had a hard time in high school. But that wasn't really the point. The point was that when I got out of high school, I really that was when I really tried to find a trade. And before enrolling in school, I really made a good effort to be a musician and sell a record and do that whole thing. And I very quickly learned that the market was and is oversaturated, with lots of people making music, and really break through, you've got to either have a lot of luck, or you got to know a lot of people, or your lightning in a bottle. And that's that luck, you find the right moment. And I think that's true for a lot of artistic paths. There isn't a clear cut way to become successful and arts. It's often just luck. And being in the right place. Yeah, through through college, at one point was trying to be a private investigator. I went to a trade school and enrolled in that my mom, you know, it was like 300 bucks. My mom paid for it. She was like, you're learning to trade? Great. Yeah. And I studied to be a private investigator. And then when I got to the cleat exams, I was like, This is not for me.

But now it's funny. I know how to investigate things. And when my wife and I watch investigation programs, I'm always like, Oh, this is probably what happened. And she's like, how do you know, it's like, wow, this and this, and this, and this. And I think that if I had really wanted to be an invested, like, really pursued it, I could have been an investigator, but from there, went to college and try to go at being an illustrator, you know, I was like, well, I'll go to college, and I'll get a degree and I'll go that traditional path. Yeah. And it was around this time when I didn't know what I was doing. But I was following my passion, and was doing something that I now consciously live by, which is, if you're interested in something, and it really kind of moves your heart and your soul, you should pursue that thing. Yeah. And with ADHD, it's a lot easier, you know, because we will hyper focus on something and nothing else can be done, but that thing, but I think for everybody, you can still do that. I was just talking about this on my Instagram story this morning about how like people should get back into sewing clothes. So it's something that everybody used to do for themselves. Everybody used to know how to sew a button.

Everybody was making clothes a lot everybody, their wives were making all the clothes. But clothing was being made at home and people who couldn't afford to buy in the store made it at home. That's why the pattern industry blew up for a long time, you know, or the sewing pattern industry. So what I was doing then, as I was getting out of college as I'm bouncing around here, I'm sorry listeners. But when I was in college I was talking to a guy named George who was the main visual generalist was kind of our title we were working for The Flaming Lips and The Flaming Lips is a psychedelic indie rock band and And I was talking to him on the phone because I needed some advice on how to animate something on my computer. And he animates a lot of stuff for the Flaming Lips. So he casually mentioned, hey, if you know anybody that would want to come work for us and do work for free, basically be an intern, let us know. And I was like, Oh, I would do that. Let me do that. Yeah. And this was the first time a creative sort of job thing came to me. And I jumped at it in the past, and it always been sort of like my friends saying, Let's make something or me saying to myself, let's make a video this weekend, you know, it wasn't a career opportunity. And this was a career opportunity.

And so I took it. And, you know, I had been learning how to do editing and motion graphics, and had done editing, actually, for a production company, some light editing, up until that point, but nothing, you know, super serious. And so what I did was, I very quickly started teaching myself how to do all the things, how to edit, how to do visual effects, how to animate, I took my illustration skills along with me that I had been gaining my whole life, my father is a fine artist, and my mother is also an artist, she doesn't work in art anymore, but she was for a long time an artist. And I took those things with me. And I also took this skill that I didn't know I had, or I didn't know really what it was, which was this ability to take something like visual effects, and focus, like a laser beam on it and learn it very quickly. And I do attribute that now to ADHD, you know, working for The Flaming Lips was something that I was very, very interested in. And it became my special interest. And so I hyper focused on learning how to be the best I could be at that place. And what I'm realizing now to just sort of jump forward a bit, is there are a lot of people with ADHD, that work in professional realms, like in science, and do the traditional trade job, like being a biochemist, who knew they knew they had ADHD earlier in life.

And so they had more tools than I did. But what they did was they were like, oh, chemistry and biochemistry is my special interest. Okay, I'm gonna focus in on that. And they focused in on that, and the hyperfocus. I know that like with me, it can jump around and jump to many different things. Yeah, I'm not saying that you can wield it, you know, like a superpower. Like, oh, I finally learned how to master my ability to fly or to freeze walls or something like that. It's not like that at all. Because sometimes it has a mind of its own. And it takes over and you don't have control over it. But you can tap into it. And I think embracing it. And when it does take over for a day or two or week to not necessarily fight it. Because I find that when I fight those feelings is when I do the most harm to myself, not that I actually do harm to myself, but I get more exhausted, and I'm more irritable when I fight those impulses to you know, pattern a jacket in a day and then sew it in a week. Like, that was what I did. That was my, my week, a week ago. I couldn't not make this jacket, it had to happen. And I was working myself, you know, really hard, but it had to happen. And if I didn't do it, I would have been, you know, I think worse off.

But outside of that, that I hope I'm making sense. I do think that it's possible for folks with ADHD when they're encouraged positively, to take their ability and their ability to learn, which I think is what a lot of times what it is, you know, we love to learn new things, which is, you know, the new reward of dopamine, when you find that, like in biochemistry, there's so much to learn, and you never are not learning, you're always learning. And so if you have an interest in that, you can direct yourself, your ADHD at it, I guess I'm still figuring out how to explain that. But that's what I noticed about myself. And I think that that is a huge part of my success. Because unbeknownst to me, I was harnessing this hyperfocus and directing it where I needed to direct it. And sometimes it was unhealthy places like a relationship or cookies. But other times, you know, it was at learning how color is used in the psychology of marketing. And well when I was working with lips I that's what I did. I I taught myself the psychology of color in marketing. And that helped me be a better artist for them. And you know, further down the road, working in marketing and advertising. I did a lot of different campaigns, like for L'Oreal and all these things. And that knowledge helped me in those spaces. And then when I got into puppetry, all that knowledge came with me. I became super interested in puppetry and And I won't tell the whole story of how that happened. But basically, I got really into puppetry, and did a movie in New York with my wife. And the skills that I had in advertising and marketing, I was seeing how they were being used in children's television.

And, and, you know, all of Jim Henson's work because he also comes from a advertising and marketing background. That was where he started his career. And so, knowing that it made me a better designer, because I could, you know, if someone was expressing, or if I was thinking, like, I really want this character to exude a certain emotion, or to have a certain color harmony, I was able to really implement that, because I had such a deep knowledge of color theory already, not just with the psychology of it, but also with, you know, understanding the color harmony of nature, and bringing that to building a character. And then the same with performance. You know, when I was in high school, I studied acting, like I mentioned, and then I, you know, I got out of it for some personal reasons, but I found my way back to it through puppetry, and then hyper focused on acting, again, and I went and studied at HP studio, which is a prominent acting school in New York. And it really made me a better puppeteer by studying acting. And now when I perform puppetry, I can feel a huge difference in how I perform, because I'm aware of how this character should feel from the inside. And I'm not just aware of it, but I'm also experiencing it in the moment. And now I'm also gonna say I also when I perform that forgetful moment I had earlier where I was reliving the moment that actually plays into my acting really well, because I will get lost in the moment. And that really happens when you're mad at somebody or you're happy or sad, or whatever. And I used very basic descriptions of emotion as I'm, you know, pontificating about acting. But those abilities helped me be a better actor and a better performer. And so, ultimately, yeah, this thing that is considered a disability by the government, and a weakness by a lot of people has actually been one of my greatest strengths and life.

Penny Williams 22:24

What strikes me in your story is two things. One, you had a family who supported you exploring any and all interests that you had 100% into it, and they didn't try to guide you to anything in particular, they let you guide that journey. I think that's so so important. And the other thing is that it was a journey, right? You didn't like, leave high school and go, I'm going to be a puppeteer. And this is what I'm going to do. You just follow where things led you. And then I guess some things started to really click right, or there were things that you really enjoyed, and you worked really hard to make them happen to, like, you were like, Okay, here's this opportunity. I'm gonna learn all the skills that I need to learn to be the best at this job, this opportunity. And that sort of determination, I think, is an ADHD trait. When we are parenting kids with ADHD, we also see it as you know, stubbornness or perseveration. Or, you know, these things that are frustrating at those times sometimes, but we have to look at what Dr. Halliwell calls the mirror traits. And I think that determination is the positive side of being able to harness that ADHD, right to be able to say, Okay, this is what I've got, and not even knowing that I mean, you didn't even have a diagnosis at that time. Right, right. Yeah, I had no idea. You didn't even know that that's what was going on, or that's what was sort of helping you in some ways. But I talk so often to parents about this, like, we have to be open to whatever our kids shows interest in. And as parents, we often get really upset when, you know, our kid is like 15 or 16. And they have no idea what they want to do. And it sort of seems like they don't have any skill yet. They don't have that trade. Right. And what I have learned over the years is that it's a journey. And a lot of people with ADHD, just get there on their own path and in their own time. And I think that's so important. And you took your time and you let that sort of play out and had a lot of fun adventures too it sounds like.

David Bizzaro 24:52

Oh, yeah, I've had so many adventures. When I was in my mid 20s. I would tell people about some of the things that I've done, and they're like, are you sure you're not? 50? You've done a lot. And I have I've, like you said, I've, when I was younger, I didn't actually understand it in this way. But I do now that life is a journey. You know, we're also constantly on a journey, just just being on the planet Earth, you're journeying through the solar system, there was a lot of things you said, that really resonated with me. And I've got to remember to look up mirror trades, because that's, that's fascinating. Yes, letting your child because I, there are, like so many things, I want to mention that you said, I'm going to start here. So when I was talking with my wife, two weeks ago, I was telling her like, you know, I can't not solve the problem, which is this jacket, I'm trying to pattern like I was trying to draft this pattern, and it never was quite fitting, right. And I couldn't figure out why I couldn't find a resource that would explain it clearly. And so I up to this point pattern and attempted the jacket, I think five times. And my wife said to me, you know, I was telling her, like, I wish that I could just let go of this obsession.

Because it at a certain point it can become it can torment you, you know, it was like, this jacket was making fun of me every day because it wouldn't fit. And I was mad about it. I was like, can't I just let go of this, I don't want to do this anymore. I want to be making Puppet videos again. And I like I want to be doing this other stuff, but I just can't. And she put it in a really great perspective. She's such a good partner. She was like, you know, it's she's like, well, it's actually really interesting that you have failed so many times. And you still really want to figure out how to get this done. And she said, Because if if I'm trying something new and trying to learn something, and I fail once, she's like I give up. Yeah, like, if it's not something that is already making, it's like it's not part of my career already make any money or not a part of like this path that I'm already on, I give up on it, and I walk away. And she's like, but you just can't walk away, you have to figure it out. And she's like, You should just, you know, just lean into that. And I think we're the fighting, the inner fighting had come from his my awareness of ADHD.

And because before wasn't an awareness, I was just like, Nope, there's just what I'm doing, you know, I'm doing this. And now I'm like, Oh, this is my hyper focus. This is this obsession that that is occurring in me. But you know, I'm becoming more gentle with myself on that in that area. But yeah, I think, you know, again, to your point of allowing your child to explore different either creative paths, or mathematic paths, or whatever science, whatever that may be playing in the mud. Because that can even lead to some sort of career, there are people that dig in the mud all day long, and discover flu vaccines. So that's a thing. Yeah, but just embracing that you have a child that is really going to be on a journey. And most people in our society, it's very easy for them to just put themselves into a cog or a box and find a career and live with that. And I think that's wonderful and beautiful. And before I had my diagnosis, I honestly wished I could do that I was envious of people that could do that. And I'm just, I'm incapable I can't I try it. I can't do it. There seems to be like a four year mark, I hit with just about everything where it suddenly just starts to wane depending on what it is, but with Yeah, sorry, I totally got distracted. By my own mind. It happens. It does happen all the time, especially when I get excited about a topic. Yeah. Because I know that with my own kid, you know, he may have ADHD, I don't know yet. But I'm going to give him all those tools that I had and nurture any ones that he builds for himself.

And know that, you know, as long as I'm, this was something I wanted to say I'm remembering it now. As long as I'm also reminding him that he still has responsibilities, he still has to be a kind human. Yeah, just because we are a type of person that society hasn't been built for. We're a type of person that when told we need to think outside the box. We've already destroyed the box and made it into something else, but also made this other thing next to the box. Like we're those people. Yeah, even though we can do that. And this is the world we live in. We can't forget that we have to be kind. We are responsible for things. Even though we're hyper focusing or I'm hyper focusing on a jacket, I still got to pick up my kid from daycare. I still have to love on him and give him time and space and I still have to give my wife time and space. It isn't just about me. Yeah. And so when your kid is hyper focusing on something, it is still good to give that kid structure and say this is great. You got an hour go. Whatever it is you're wanting to do do it for an hour. Once the hour is done. You got to come inside and mow the yard or not come inside. You got to come inside To clean the house, I keep all my grass indoors. I don't know if anyone knows that, but it's, it's cheaper and better for you. I think, you know, I'm all it's a part of the whole barefoot movement.

But, you know, if you give your kid those structures, it I think reinforces the fact that they still have to be a responsible person, even though they have this side of them. And it's hard. It's difficult, you know, to do the dishes, when you want to hyper focus, and you're going through puberty. I know, I've been there. And I think, again, my mother, being the amazing person that she is, she put a whole lot of structure on me and would say things like, you know, like, yeah, you've got 30 minutes to keep doing whatever it is you're doing, and you gotta mow the yard. And there's no questions about it. Like, if you don't, I'm gonna drag you out there and make you mow the yard. Not saying that's the answer. I'm just saying, like, she put the structure there. Yeah. And she would also say things like, you know, as a very young age, I remember her telling me this all the time. She would say, David, you need to think before you speak, think before you speak. And that's what started a thing that a lot of people with ADHD do, which is rehearsing what I want to say, or rehearsing a conversation. And so I was really thinking about what I was going to say. And anyways, I feel like I'm starting to really chase a rabbit here. But what I'm saying is that encourage the hyper focus and embrace the fact that they're probably going to be into many, many things, but still give them structure and teach them the same morals as you would any other child.

Penny Williams 31:32

Yeah, I'm really glad that you brought that up, because a lot of parents really struggle with that, where, how much do you sort of bend because of differences? And meeting your child? Where they are? And how much do you hold the line on expectation, yeah, and there is a balance, there is a middle ground there, you can't lean 100% One way or the other. Because either way is super bad. Either you're gonna have a kid who has no idea how to take care of themselves, or you're gonna, you know, break your kid by having expectations that are outside of the brain that they have, and the capabilities that they have, or even the interests, you know, what you're talking about, all this time really is chasing interests. Yeah. And seeing where that leads, and it's an easy thing to do. You know, we're not saying, you know, go out and get your kid to the best school or, you know, spend 50 grand a year on the school, or whatever it is this tutoring or special things to help them with their ADHD, like, just let them chase their interests, give them the tools that are necessary and the opportunities to do that, and they will find a path. And I'm a huge believer in that. And I have a 20 year old who graduated high school is not ready for higher education. And it's taking a long time, right, and to find what that path is for him.

But I know enough now, to be okay with that. And to know that he's going to get there. And when you share your story, it helps parents like me to remember or to sort of reset our perspective on that, that it's okay to chase interest. It's okay to make it this journey of discovery. It doesn't have to be well, I go to high school, I go to college, I have a career. That's not for everyone. And that's okay. We need all different types of people. Right? Yeah. And I think your story illustrates that so beautifully. And I'm so glad Well, you've virtually met, I'm so glad that you're sharing your story. Because it really does help. You know, I remember my son was diagnosed with ADHD at age 6, 14 years ago. And the first thing I wanted to know was what that was like for him. And I had no idea. And there was little out there to help me with that, right. And so I was desperate to understand what it was like to walk around in the world with his brain as a six year old. And I couldn't understand that. But the more that we're honest about these things, and the more that people share their stories like you are, it helps us as parents and educators to see more of what's going on. And to know that we have to sort of lay down the walls of that box, and let them go in their own way, and that it will work out. And that's the hard part, I think, as an adult who care so much for a kid who's struggling to have faith that it's going to work out. And so by being so open with your story, you're helping all of us have that faith, right that things are gonna work out and it's so beautiful.

David Bizzaro 34:43

I appreciate you saying all that because that's really all I want. When I do share my story. Any side of my life that I share, I I just hope that it does help people in some way. You know, I've been through a lot in my life and it It's taken me a lot to get where I am now. And like you said, it doesn't happen overnight. This didn't happen overnight. I think that there's a common belief, also in our society, not just in the United States, but across the world where we believe that success can happen overnight, and it doesn't ever. I think it's helpful also for parents to remember that most of the people that we look up to and see is our thought leaders, and were never recognized as the most influential thought leaders until they were in their mid 30s to early 40s. So Brian, you know, I've told my friends and people who are fans or people that I've mentored you know, that when they're like, Oh, but I, you know, I'm, I'm 20, and I feel so behind, and it's like, well, you know, Steve Jobs didn't feel that way. And Jim Henson didn't feel that way when he was, you know, 30 and not being noticed. So, you know, life takes time. And I'm just now reiterating the stuff that you said, you know, you said it much better than I did.

Penny Williams 36:02

A long time to practice. Again, I appreciate you sharing your story so much. And I think that, that's how we help the world is by being really open and honest with our whole lives, and not just our highlight reel, and what we want people to see. And now more than ever, we really need that we need to see when other people are struggling so that we can reach out and help them. We need to see, you know how someone else did something and to have faith and hope that it can happen for us to write. And I'm just such a proponent of storytelling in general, but in being just really open and honest with each other, because I really think that it helps other people in a profound way. And so it's just so amazing that you're really open with what's going on. And I know that just this one conversation is gonna help so many parents, so many kids, too, right? We don't talk to the kids directly, but we're always helping the kids by helping the adults who care for them. So I'm just so grateful for that. I want to let everyone know before we close that, you can get links to David's social media, myths, YouTube channel, all that good stuff at the show notes for this episode, which are parentingADHDandautism.com/207. For episode 207. Any last words of wisdom? Oh, my gosh, put you on the spot. And you can say no, it's okay.

David Bizzaro 37:40

Never over boil your hard boiled eggs. That's not my last words of wisdom. I mean, everything you're saying is great. And I totally agree with you sharing our stories is really what we need right now. Because oftentimes, when we're feeling sad or down or, you know, alienated or having FOMO, or going, you know, why is my brain so messed up? Why am I the only one that's this way? The truth is that actually, the whole world is messed up the same way as you are. So really, the world is a mess, like, you're not messed up, and no one's messed up, we are just afraid of talking about what we're going through to others, or sharing the reality we live in, which is the fact that I didn't get here on my own success I got here on the success of others, and by others helping me. And the success of others is the knowledge they gave me in. And like I said, like being lifted up by other people. And when I am feeling depressed or overwhelmed, there are millions of people around the world that are experiencing the same things as I am. And so I'm not alone in these feelings. And yeah, whoever's, you know, listening to this, either parent, with or without ADHD, or even a kid, if they're listening, you're not alone in your feelings. And in your fears. There are a lot of people in this world that are feeling the exact same way as you. But the only way that I think you can get out of that feeling of being alone is by sharing with someone else. And it doesn't have to be just anybody you know, you can share with your friend, that you find the closest, it doesn't have to be your parent, just share that with someone, because keeping it inside is going to do more harm to you over time.

Penny Williams 39:27

Absolutely. I think that's a great message to close on to is that we need each other. We do and we have to be open to that we have to realize that everybody has some sort of difference and some sort of struggle. And as a society as a whole. We have to embrace that. And when we do, it's going to be such an easier journey. Not easy, but easier. I think you know, and so, yeah, the more we talk about it, the more we're helping to do that to move in that direction. Thanks again. It was a pleasure. And I will see everybody on the next episode. Take care care. Thanks for joining me on the beautifully complex podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and share. And don't forget to check out my online courses and parent coaching at parentingADHDandautism.com and thebehaviorrevolution.com

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Thank you!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it. Have something to say, or a question to ask? Leave a comment below. I promise to answer every single one. **Also, please leave an honest review for the Beautifully Complex Podcast on iTunes. Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and appreciated! That's what helps me reach and help more families like yours.

I'm Penny Williams.

I help stuck and struggling parents (educators, too) make the pivots necessary to unlock success and joy for neurodivergent kids and teens, themselves, and their families. I'm honored to be part of your journey!

Pinpoint the
Help You Need
right now

Take my free quiz to cut through the overwhelm and get focused on the information and resources that will help you and your child RIGHT NOW.

free video series
Quick Start: 3 High-Impact Actions to Transform Behavior

Transforming negative or unwanted behavior is a long and complex process. HOWEVER, there are a few actions you can take right now that will provide a big impact. These 3 high-impact strategies address foundational aspects of behavior, empowering you to help your child feel better so they can do better.



Makes time visual for those with time blindness.


Blends gaming with off-screen activities to teach coping skills through play.


Manage chores and routines while building self-confidence and independence.


A chair that gives kids a sensory hug.

About the show...

I'm your host, Penny.

Join me as I help parents, caregivers, and educators like you harness the realization that we are all beautifully complex and marvelously imperfect. Each week I deliver insights and actionable strategies on parenting neurodivergent kids — those with ADHD, autism, anxiety, learning disabilities…

My approach to decoding behavior while honoring neurodiversity and parenting the individual child you have will provide you with the tools to help you understand and transform behavior, reduce your own stress, increase parenting confidence, and create the joyful family life you crave. I am honored to have helped thousands of families worldwide to help their kids feel good so they can do good.

Listen on Apple Podcasts  |  Google Podcasts  |  Spotify  |  iHeart Radio

Share your thoughts.

Leave a Reply

Start Typing