Kayden Gordon High-Spectrum, or Highly Spectacular?
It may come as a surprise to some that The Kayden Gordon Show, Today’s Best Country Mix, was developed by a 14-year-old teenager who was diagnosed with autism at the age of two.
Kayden had to face many obstacles growing up. For instance, he had to have a lot of help learning how to speak and communicate. He also had to learn how to be patient, and how to control his emotions. Anxiety was especially difficult for Kayden to control. Eventually he found coping skills that helped him to not feel so overwhelmed and stressed out. Remaining calm helped Kayden in dealing with the chaotic world around him, and he found solace in listening to Country music. He loved calling into his favorite radio stations and talking to the DJs. In so doing, Kayden began to wonder what it would be like to become a DJ himself.
Kayden delved into research eventually finding a Facebook radio station group. In turn, that group helped Kayden discover different online radio stations looking for volunteers to do live, or syndicated (pre-recorded), shows. One such station was Spectrum 23.9, owned and operated by John Graham. Kayden began collaborating with Graham asking him for help learning the audio in his programs. Graham, also a producer for Federated Media, taught Kayden how to use various DJ equipment. In only one month, Kayden mastered all he needed to know to move forward.
Kayden developed his own radio showf aptly named, The Kayden Gordon Show, which became both a tremendauous relaxing and coping tool. Kayden reached out to various stations, they loved what he was doing, so they gave him the opportunity be on the air. Kayden continued to self-promote his show via Facebook and Instagram. Simultaneously, Kayden began volunteering his time, virtually, with Spectrum 23.9 to do both a live, and also a syndicated, show on Graham’s station. Graham eventually offered Kayden regular work, which Kayden readily accepted. Kayden is also quite excited about a brand-new radio station he now owns, launched this last September: Kayden Gordon Radio Network.
Extremely unique, Spectrum 23.9, is the first online radio show to allow people with autism, and other disabilities, the chance to be on air. One program, called, “Radio for a Cause”, helps such individuals work on communicating effectively in both social, and professional settings, both obstacles Kayden himself had to overcome. Thus, he is extremely passionate about this program. One of the most impressive facts Kayden disclosed to me about this program, is that John Graham uses his skills to help people with so-called “disabilities” discover what particular skills they have, or need to work on. Graham then teaches them about media and radio broadcasting. Subsequently, he helps each individual build their own radio station based upon their favorite interests. Kayden has such a passion for this outreach program, he now co-owns it.
In addition, Kayden has taken on the responsibility of managing other employees by making sure everything is running smoothly online, and DJs are able to successfully connect with the station. Kayden also commits himself to industry sales in regards to the station. He’s in charge of helping other businesses become aware of less expensive, and more effective ways for them to promote and market themselves. Always striving to expand his knowledge, Kayden is also enrolled in a marketing class with VHS learning (a supplemental online class for High School students).
Kayden also volunteers his time aiding Graham in his development of Spectrum 23.9’s, “Underage Training Program.” Branching off the same concept of, “Radio for a Cause,” this program is specifically meant to teach children and teenagers under the age of eighteen what it’s like to be a DJ. More than anything, Kayden wants to use radio to help other people with autism, or other disabilities, to get their own voices heard and if they like, to help them pursue a career in communications. Kayden has profoundly taken his greatest weakness as a child, communication, and he has unbelievably turned it into his greatest strength. When he was younger, Kayden felt held back by his autism. Now, he says it is what drives him forward.
Communication is only one of Kayden’s many strengths. He learns very quickly and is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to research. Now, at the age of sixteen, Kayden says he has not needed special assistance for quite some time. On his own, he made Honor Roll last year and was also nominated to be a member of the National Honor Society due to his single-handed ability to consistently earn very high grades. Outside of academic achievements, Kayden has learned to how to be patient, how to control his emotions, and how to push through challenges and achieve goals he has set for himself. He emphasizes that independence, use of coping skills and time management have all played a key role in his ability to control his anxiety and greatly contributed to his success.
These abilities have empowered Kayden to accomplish his childhood dreams of becoming a DJ and hosting his own radio show. The Kayden Gordon Show, developed is now broadcast on roughly sixty online, as well as FM, radio stations. It’s a two-hour syndicated, Country music show that not only plays both popular and independent Country music and includes interviews with celebrities as well. Stars such as Havan Flores, from Nickelodeon’s, Danger Force, Kensington Tallman, from Nickelodeon’s, Drama Club, Rich Fields from The Price is Right, Ryan Phoung from CBS’s, Young Sheldon, Rayne Johnson and Parmalee. Broadway stars are also occasionally interviewed.
Kayden loves to ask during his interviews, “What advice do you give someone that wants to start singing, acting, or pursuing a career in communications?” More often than not, he receives this answer, “Just get out there and do it! No matter how old you are, whatever physical or mental disability you may have, don’t let any obstacle get in your way of fulfilling any dream that you want to make happen. If you put in the effort, you’ll make it happen.” Every time this gets mentioned, it motivates Kayden and his audience to keep doing what he loves, in spite of his own disability.
In addition to his typical show, Kayden has also created some podcasts he calls, A Daily Mystery. These podcasts tell of his everyday life, his personal adventures, where he’s going next, and stories he would like to share.” It seems difficult to imagine that a sixteen-year-old, still in High School, who is taking on this many activities, would have any down time at all. Yet, he somehow manages to spend time with his pets, especially his dog, Scout, and of course his family. He loves the outdoors, going places with his family, and watching T.V..
When I asked Kayden if he had any advice to give, especially to others with autism, he responded, “Keep your head up! Don’t ever let anyone discourage you or bring you down. Don’t let anyone pick on you because you have autism, and you don’t fit into their definition of “normal”. You are just as important as they are, and we are more alike than different. Find some coping skills and use them. You can succeed!”
To emphasize his point, Kayden added several additional words of encouragement to others whom society deems as “not normal.” “Here I am, at a young age, chatting with some big Country music stars and other celebrities, and I have autism. I am considered “not normal,” and they are right. It isn’t normal for a 16-year-old with autism to achieve what I have been able to, nor was it easy. In fact, it was very difficult. So, do whatever you put your mind to do! You can do anything you want to do! Just follow your dreams. Believe in yourself. And you will make things happen!”
Kayden was diagnosed early when his parents and doctors noticed that he was not reaching milestones considered “normal” for his age. For example, he wasn’t able to speak, clap, or do other things that other two-year-old toddlers should be able to do at that age. Thankfully, Kayden had an incredible support system, especially his mother and his grandmother who were the most supportive as Kayden struggled to overcome many challenges associated with his disorder. Kayden was often ostracized and what few friends he had often ditched him, especially when it came to including him in activities. Kayden expresses that he never felt understood or accepted for who he was and felt that some peers were jealous of the “special attention" he received due to his autism.
While many people stigmatize or stereotype, those with autism seeing them as “mentally deficient”, this is simply not true. World renowned individuals with autism include: Albert Einstein, Anthony Hopkins, Charles Darwin, Bill Gates, Michelangelo, Sir Isaac Newton, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Ford and Steven Spielberg, just to name a few. Are we to call them “mentally deficient” or “not normal”? Rather, their “abnormality” is perceived by our society as genius, successful, and spectacular.
Kayden Gordon's remarkable achievements and passion for his Country Music shows, radio DJ accomplishments and hand up to others struggling with so called disabilities, is exactly that “highly spectacular.”
Written By: Melissa Morgan