Autistic Culture
The Autistic Culture Podcast
Parks and Rec is Autistic (Episode 12)

Parks and Rec is Autistic (Episode 12)

Cohosts Matt Lowry and Angela Lauria discuss the Autistic characters and culture in "Parks and Recreation" and the value of Autistic inclusivity in entertainment.
Listen to Autistic Podcast hosts discuss the many Autistic characters in Parks and Rec
M: Yeah, yeah. Because that's the thing. When she loves something, she loves it so much!

In this episode of The Autistic Culture Podcast:

Hosts, Matt Lowry, LPP and Dr. Angela Lauria delve, into the world of Parks and Recreation, discussing how the show presents Autistic culture. Drawing on their own experiences as Autistic adults, Matt and Angela discuss how they feel seen and represented by characters like Leslie Knope, Ron Swanson, Ben Wyatt, & Chris Traeger.

“And that's the thing, because when we talk about the positive traits of being Autistic, these two embody all of them. This dedication, this passion, this hyper-empathy for themselves and for their town and want to work better.” –Matt  

Leslie is passionate, dedicated, intensely focused on her interests, socially awkward, and enjoys detailed organization—traits common to individuals on the autism spectrum.

Ron Swanson has a strict moral code, is annoyed by chit chat, has specialized interests like woodworking, and dislikes chaos and drama. He represents the Autistic preference for routine, order, and lots of alone-time.

The podcast hosts emphasize the importance of showing well-rounded, relatable Autistic characters instead of caricatures or stereotypes—Autistic people are fully fleshed out individuals with passions, empathy, and life goals. Accurate autistic representation helps humanize Autistic individuals and helps allistics relate to our culture. It gives Autistics a sense of belonging and community—positively impacting our mental health.

“Yeah and so what she does for fun, she loves organizing, she loves making binders, she loves making plans, she has a sign maker on retention so that in the event that she needs a sign at a moment's notice she can have a sign in an hour. I get it.” –Angela

The hosts estimate 20% of people are Autistic based on evolving understanding, though far fewer are officially diagnosed. They critique outdated, restrictive diagnostic criteria.

In all, the hosts praise Parks and Rec for its nuanced, positive portrayals of Autistic traits in beloved characters. This representation validates Autistic culture and identity. They also share their thoughts on how including Autistic perspectives in the series helps Autistic people find themselves and the importance of inclusivity and acceptance within the entertainment industry.

Whether you're a fan of Parks and Rec, or just want to learn more about Autistic culture, this podcast is a must-listen.

Are you a Parks and Rec fan? Tell us which characters you relate to in the comments!

Watch: Parks & Rec Streaming on Peacock

Pop Culture and Identity: Autism in "Parks and Recreation"

Amazing Twitter Thread from Autistic Voices United 

Want more Autistic characters and Autistic celebrities? Check out these episodes next:

Autistic woman ruffling politicians’ feathers—Episode 15: Greta is Autistic

Rebellious Autistic woman (Emily Dickinson)— Episode 03: Poetry is Autistic

Autistic-friendly workplace—Episode 04: Industrial Light & Magic is Autistic

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


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Learn more about Matt at Matt Lowry, LPP

Matt’s social media: Autistic Connections Facebook Group

Learn more about Angela at and Difference Press

Angela’s social media: Twitter and TikTok

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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