Autistic Culture
The Autistic Culture Podcast
Trains are Autistic (Episode 22)

Trains are Autistic (Episode 22)

Listen now (57 mins) | A favorite Autistic cartoon, Thomas the Tank Engine has introduced its first official Autistic character, and of course, it’s a brake car!
Autistic podcast hosts Matt and Angela discuss. Autism podcast | Thomas the Tank Engine has introduced its first Autistic train, and of course, it’s a brake car!
M: Everyone appreciates Bruno's differences. Everyone just knows that that's how Bruno is and that's what he brings to the table. And this makes the difference between token representation and authentic representation.

In this episode of The Autistic Culture Podcast:

Angela Lauria and Matt Lowry delve into the fascinating world of trains and their special relationship with the Autistic community.

“So it looks like we're talking about trains, or it looks like we're talking about Pokemon, but we're really talking about how autistic joy is found, how we invent things as autistic people, how we create.” –Angela

Thomas the Tank Engine was created in 1945 by a father based on his Autistic son's love of trains. Thomas has been popular with Autistic kids (and adults!) since it aired on TV in the 1980s. Studies show strong affinity in the Autistic community.

The new Thomas series introduces Bruno, an Autistic brake car. Bruno was carefully crafted with input from Autistic writers, Autistic actors, and ASAN (Autistic Self-Advocacy Network) to prove an accurate fictional representation and neurodivergent role model for kids.

“Mattel worked with ASAN for three years and all sorts of Autistic representatives, Autistic advocates, Autistic authors, and we're going to get to all of these in just a minute, about how to develop Bruno to make him an authentically and delightful Autistic representation.” –Matt

Bruno represents positive, authentic Autistic representation, versus a stereotype or checkbox. The hosts contrast to how how Sheldon is portrayed on The Big Bang Theory, calling it an Autistic minstrel show because of how it spreads misinformation and is offensive in many ways.

They conclude quality Autistic representation is vital for autistic kids to see themselves included. Thomas sets a great example of how to do it right.

The podcast hosts also share personal anecdotes and insights into the deep love and fascination Autistic people have with trains. From the sensory experiences to the repetitive patterns, there is something about trains that resonates with the Autistic mind and has a big effect on Autistic culture.

Are you a train fan? Tell us about it in the comments!

Autism group probes why children love Thomas the Tank Engine

Thomas the Tank Engine and Autism Spectrum Disorder

Thomas the Tank Engine helps autistic kids identify emotions

Children With Autism and Thomas the Tank Engine

‘Thomas & Friends’ Franchise Introduces First Autistic Character: Bruno The Brake Car

Why do Autistic People LOVE Trains?

Why Do Autistic People Like Trains? Actually, Love Trains!?

Mattel Introduces Bruno the Brake Car, First Autistic Character in Iconic Thomas & Friends Franchise

Collaboration is Key as Mattel Introduces First Autistic Character—Bruno the Brake Car—for Thomas & Friends

Episode 38: Productivity is Autistic

A favorite Autistic activity and Autistic cartoon: Episode 16: Pokemon 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