Celest Austin had already been thinking with a scientific mind as a child. Her curiosity and desire to learn inspired all sorts of experiments in order to, “figure things out,”; including the time she set out a plate of cookies for Santa (without telling anyone) to see if he really existed.
So, when her little sister began demonstrating a different way of thinking than her own, Celest was naturally curious about it. Her sister was her greatest ally and friend, and since Celest had already begun to develop characteristics of a mini scientist, she considered it her personal mission to uncover who her sister was, and how her brain worked.
She didn’t know it at the time, but this was only the beginning of a lifelong passion to empower Autistic voices.
The Nuerodivergent Brain is a Strength
Autism and Neuroscience are Celest’s two passions.
Which turned out to be pretty difficult in college, considering there were very limited resources at the time to study. She rotated around a few majors in college before landing on human biology. It gave a holistic viewpoint of human existence and provided the segue to neurodiversity that she needed. From there, she proceeded to take on both graduate and medical schools. Throughout her course of study, Celest was able to identify how the prevalence of neurodiversity was actually a strength in tribes- and recognize the same in modern humanity today.
Wouldn’t it be amazing, she thought, if the field shifted to highlight neurodiversity as the strength that it is?
Celest admits that she had the idea of her now popular app GoManda, long before she even began grad or medical schools. Based on the memory that her sister needed to learn several variations of a noun before really solidifying the concept, Celest wanted the opportunity for every autistic person to harness the power of language by using vocabulary; tailored to their own neurodivergent learning style.
GoMAnda is the culmination of a lifetime of work, the power of values and a testament to Celest’s commitment to curiosity. With her sister as her North Star, Celest has gone on to build a success business that powerfully impacts autistic persons in a way that enables comprehensive communication, which in turn, strengthens relationships and deepens mutual trust and understanding all around.
When asked how to be a good autism advocate, Celest says this:
“The best thing for an advocate to be is curious. Be observant, ask questions and realize that we are all just different beings with different brains. Set aside all preconceived notions and learn. Have an open mind. Those are rules for just being human.”