Joe Mantegna Joins “The Spectrum” Podcast For a One-on-One Conversation about Autism

Joe Mantegna

The Actor Champions the Impact That Inclusion Has on the Lives of Those with Autism

Joe Mantegna, an actor best known for his work on Criminal Minds, The Simpsons, and The Godfather Part III, joins “The Spectrum,” a new podcast from ABA Centers, an organization designed to disrupt the autism care industry by demolishing traditional wait times, for an intimate one-on-on conversation about life as a parent of an autistic child.

This podcast was launched to provide a space for parents seeking support and encouraging words from others who have lived similar experiences. During this episode, Mr. Mantegna opens up to Dr. Ted Bender, host of “The Spectrum,” about his daughter, Mia, who received an autism diagnosis around the age of two and a half years old.

“Your first impulse is ‘oh my god, now what’… and the next instance is ‘ok, now what are we going to do about it,’” Mr. Mantegna recalled back to when he and his wife received the diagnosis.

One thing that seemed to benefit Mia in those early years post-diagnosis was the act of inclusion. Because Mr. Mantegna’s line of work requires a lot of travel, Mia experienced several different educational settings in her early years. These environments proved to be more inclusive than the Mantegna family was anticipating, with special needs children not being separated into their own classes, but instead being placed alongside neurotypical students, with accommodations being made in-class for whatever a student’s specific special need called for.

Upon seeing just what an impact this type of inclusion had on their daughter, Mr. Mantegna and his wife advocated to maintain this same type of environment as Mia progressed through her schooling: “From that point on, we kind of did our due diligence to try to make inclusion work… the school would respond and they’d talk to the teacher and the teacher would say ‘well, I’ve never had that in the class before, but I’m willing to try it.’ Ninety-nine percent of the time it was positive for everybody, where the kids benefitted from it, Mia benefitted from it.”

The Mantegna family received Mia’s diagnosis in 1990, before the internet was available to the public and when there wasn’t a lot of public knowledge about the disorder, but with information now more readily accessible, Mr. Mantegna is hopeful that the world will become even more inclusive of the autistic community: “[In the 90s] the general populous was a little less tolerant of what was going on because they weren’t being educated, they weren’t aware. The word autism was a scary kind of thing… Over these 30 plus years that Mia’s been our daughter, I’ve seen that education change.”

A limited series podcast, “The Spectrum” features episodes with actress and author, Tisha Campbell, and former NBA champion and Fox Sports Network host, John Salley, in addition to Mr. Mantegna’s.

“The Spectrum” podcast can be listened to on all major streaming platforms or can be viewed on YouTube at

Katie Murphy
Director of Public Relations
(561) 895-6017

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