LOCAL NEWS

New KSL Podcast: Celebrating the Spectrum with Debbie Worthen

Aug 14, 2022, 10:50 PM | Updated: 11:11 pm

The KSL podcast lineup is getting a new show. “Celebrating the Spectrum,” is a KSL original podcast that will drop weekly episodes every Monday morning.

The show started as a passion project for KSL TV anchor/reporter Debbie Worthen. Her young son, Asher Gilbert, is autistic, something Worthen and her family wouldn’t change even if they could.

“He’s genuinely one of the funniest and sweetest people,” said Liv Gilbert, Asher’s oldest sister. “And maybe I’m biased because we’re best friends, he’s the funniest, six-seven-year-old I’ve ever encountered, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

But the family recognizes not everyone feels the way they do about autism, and they want that to change.

“All of our experiences over the last few years led us to kind of the celebration aspect,” said Worthen, host of Celebrating the Spectrum.

She approached the KSL bosses in early spring about launching a podcast that would celebrate autism and special needs.

“Immediately I knew it was something we should do, and that is because, as you are making the discoveries that you are making with your son,” said VP of Podcasting for Bonneville and KSL Podcasts.” You are going to be able to help others in the community who are experiencing the same thing and maybe having the same questions.”

Debbie Worthen and Brandon Gilbert

Worthen and her husband, Brandon Gilbert, said the last few years have brought a steep learning curve to the family and they felt a podcast would be a great place to spread awareness, work for inclusion and learn.

“We’re always learning, and this is going to be a great opportunity for us and our family to get more insight, more tools, to help Asher along on this journey,” said Gilbert.

The podcast will feature experts, community members, and others. Worthen said Episode 2 was fun because she was able to interview Jennifer Cook, a dating coach on the Netflix original: Love on the Spectrum U.S., who was identified as autistic as an adult.

“Cook’s perspective on autism, dating and the real world is absolutely compelling,” said Worthen. “It’s an interview everyone would enjoy.”

Ava Gilbert is 11-years-older than her brother Asher, so unlike many sibling relationships where rivalry is front and center, hers has been one of constant entertainment and fun. In fact, many of her social media posts center around Asher and his constant antics.

But when Ava talks about the podcast and the importance of spreading awareness and acceptance, she gets much more serious.

“I see it firsthand, and with Asher, I just want him to be happy,” she said. “It’s hard seeing that and having strangers not understand like I do.”

Ava hope is adults will learn from the podcast and share that knowledge with their kids. And for Liv, she hopes listeners will understand people have far more alike than different.

“I just hope with the podcast, everybody understands that relationships with autistic people everywhere are so easy and they’re not something to be afraid of.”

Celebrating the Spectrum is a KSL podcast. www.kslpodcasts.com

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New KSL Podcast: Celebrating the Spectrum with Debbie Worthen