Autistic Culture
The Autistic Culture Podcast
Protecting Kentucky Kids (Episode 62)

Protecting Kentucky Kids (Episode 62)

Come on, man!
Autistic advocates make a podcast about hcr 51 a bill in Kentucky that would mandate ABA therapy in Kentucky schools, harming autistic children.
Kat: We're going to get an island called Autisca. We'll have a petting zoo.

*TW: This episode discusses ableist policies and “therapies” and their statistically likely consequence - death by suicide. Please respect your personal and emotional boundaries and listen with care

In this episode of The Autistic Culture Podcast:

Hosts, Dr. Angela Lauria and Matt Lowry, LPP, are joined by two Autistic advocates to discuss a concerning situation in Kentucky where an "autism mom" is pushing for ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy to be mandated in all public schools across the state. Matt, a member of the Kentucky Advisory Council on Autism (KACA), strongly opposes this move along with his fellow autistic council members Winter Type 01 Alice (“Winter” for short) and Kat. As a safe-guard, they make sure to state that their opinions are their own and not that of the council.

“My opinions are not those of those useless neurotypical cowards on the Autism Advisory Council.” — Winter

The main points raised are:

  • ABA is seen as unethical by many autistic people as it focuses solely on modifying outward behaviors without addressing inner experiences, thoughts and feelings. It operates from a deficit model of trying to make autistic people appear more neurotypical regardless of the negative outcomes of masking.

  • Matt, Winter, and Kat argue that including autistic voices and prioritizing acceptance, accommodations and understanding is far more beneficial than pursuing the outdated goal of a colonialist and eugenics-motivated "cure" for autism.

  • ABA is dangerous. It causes trauma and deepens the shame of internalized ableism. It also leads to an increased likelihood of death by suicide.

  • Investing money into better teacher training, more special education staff (especially Autistic educators), sensory rooms, class support animals, and other accommodations would be much more helpful for autistic students than forcing ABA on them.

  • Autistic advocates face burnout from constantly fighting these battles, especially those with fewer resources (a frequent result of societal ableism). Building community support and sharing the advocacy workload is crucial.

  • There is a window of opportunity to organize and counter the autism mom's push before the bill (HCR 51) advances too far. Connecting autistic-led organizations and advocates is key to stopping it.

“Self-acceptance is free, accommodations are pretty cheap, but ABA is a 1.8 billion dollar a year industry that claims—irrationally so—to fix autistic kids.” —Matt

The overall perspective is that autism is an integral part of identity, not a disease to be eliminated. Ethical, compassionate support focusing on authentic quality of life for autistic people should be the priority over compliance-driven behavioral modifications.

What kind of neurodiversity-affirming supports would have helped you in school? Tell us in the comments and use #AutisticCultureCatch to share your answer on your social media and connect with other listeners!

Show notes and resources:

Kentucky House concurrent Resolution 51

House of Representatives in Kentucky

Kentucky Advisory Council on Autism 

Mandatory ABA lived-experience - ABA Abuse Traumatizes Autistic Teen (A First Hand Account)

The Great Big ABA Opposition Resource List

Milton’s Double Empathy Study

Scholarly article: A systematic review and meta-analysis of suicidality in autistic and possibly autistic people without co-occurring intellectual disability

Scholarly article: Death by Suicide Among People With Autism: Beyond Zebrafish

Video: The Sensory Room: Helping Students With Autism Focus and Learn

Kentucky House Standing Committee - Education

Winter’s website: Translunar Academy

Find Winter’s advocacy group: Autistics United Kentucky Facebook and Instagram

Other episodes to check out if you liked this one:

Episode 36: Bad Autism Diagnosis

Episode 20: Sesame Street is Autistic

Episode 24: The Trouble with Temple

Ready for a paradigm shift that empowers Autistics? Help spread the news!


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Learn more about Matt at Matt Lowry, LPP

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*Note: Transcription technology is still new on this platform. We are aware of the gaps and errors in the transcript and are dedicated to editing it for accuracy as soon as the new technology allows. We appreciate your patience as we work to expand accessibility as quickly as we are able.

**TACP recognizes that ABA for autism is harmful to Autistic mental health. We reject the use of ABA therapy and pathologizing language like Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and associated functioning labels and the harmful monolith: Autism Speaks. To learn more, please listen to: Episode 20: Sesame Street is Autistic and Episode 24: The Trouble with Temple Grandin.

Autistic Culture
The Autistic Culture Podcast
Welcome to the Autistic Culture Podcast. Each episode we dive deep into Autistic contributions to society and culture by introducing you to some of the world’s most famous and successful Autistics in history!
Whether you are Autistic or just love someone who is, your hosts, Dr. Angela Lauria, the Linguistic Autistic and Licensed Psychological Practitioner, Matt Lowry, welcome you to take this time to be fully immersed in the language, values, traditions, norms, and identity of Autistica!
To learn more about Angela, Matt, and the Autistic Culture Podcast visit