Autistic Culture
The Autistic Culture Podcast
Bad Autism Diagnoses - Special Episode (Episode 36)

Bad Autism Diagnoses - Special Episode (Episode 36)

Getting an Autism diagnosis can be a pivotal moment, but knowing what to look for in a diagnostician is critical.
Listen to Autistic podcast hosts discuss: Bad Autism Diagnoses - Special Episode. Autism Podcast | Getting an Autism diagnosis can be a pivotal moment, but knowing what to look for in a diagnostician is critical.  Matt and Angela discuss ABA, functioning labels, and ableist approaches to autism tests.
Angela: And that’s how capitalism works. Matt: Yeah, because acceptance is free.

*Trigger warning: This episode discusses ableism, discrimination, and some challenging topics related to autism diagnoses. It is intended for a mature audience. Please listen/read with care.*

Matt Lowry, LPP shares a first-hand account of a problematic autism diagnosis experience. Matt and his co-host, Dr. Angela Lauria, discuss red flags to watch out for when choosing a diagnostician such as:

  • affiliations with ABA therapy

  • affiliations with Autism Speaks

  • pathologizing language

  • including an IQ test in autism evaluations

A bad diagnosis can lead to harmful recommendations such as 40 hours per week of ABA “therapy,” which has roots in gay conversion therapy.

“If they support Autism Speaks, if they support ABA, what they're telling you is we are going to approach the diagnosis from a medicalized or a pathological perspective…This guy dehumanized my son from the very moment we walked in.” —Matt

Matt contrasts the pathologizing view in the diagnosis report his son received with a more affirmative, neurodiversity-embracing perspective. They discuss pros (accommodations) and cons (discrimination) of formal diagnosis, as well as valid alternatives like self-diagnosis and peer review.

Angela shares about her personal experience with doubt and imposter-syndrome following her diagnosis—a common struggle (especially among those who are self-diagnosed) stemming from a life-time of being told one is “too sensitive” compounded with internalized ableism.

“So we're going to get louder, we're going to get clearer, we're going to get stronger, because this leads to very negative outcomes for our people, and we are not going to stand for it.”

On this week’s virtual culture trip, podcast hosts aim to expose problematic diagnoses in order to push for more affirmative, empowering experience that prioritize the mental health of the Autistic individuals and their families.

Was your diagnosis (or self-diagnosis) experience helpful or harmful?

Related episodes…Episode 13: Labels & Autism, Episode 31: Chess is Autistic, Episode 35: Sex is Autistic, Episode 24: The Trouble with Temple

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


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