Autism Spectrum

MSU Photo

Tall, dark-haired and slender, Ray Chumbler IV is a recent magna cum laude graduate of Murray State University in Non-Profit Leadership Studies. He's also been a student ambassador for the Office of Student Disability Services, working to increase an awareness about people who are on the autism spectrum, like he is. He shares his experience living with autism, being diagnosed as a teenager and his hopes for the Ray Chumbler IV Autism Scholarship Endowment scholarship with Kate Lochte on Sounds Good.


When a child is determined to be somewhere on the autism disorder spectrum, parents have new work ahead, navigating the child's progress in life with expert and parent-peers. Paducah has a support group called Families on the Autism Spectrum including Kim Steele, whose own experiences have led her to the consultancy "Child First Advocacy Group." Bloom Behavior Clinical Director Dr. Becky Nastally is a Paducah-based psychologist and an advocate who specializes in helping families make sure their kids ge the most appropriate services from area schools. On Sounds Good, Kate Lochte branches off of an earlier conversation, to learn more about how parents deal with teachers and schools.

Families on the Spectrum, Facebook

Families on the Spectrum president Krissy Ramey visits Sounds Good to tell us about the development of the Western Kentucky Autism Spectrum Center for which fundraising is underway. Ramey says the goal is to be a one-stop autism shop for the region, where a child or adult with autism or family member can come for support and community.

Pediatric neurologist Dr. Gregory Barnes from the Commission for Children with Special Healthcare Needs in Louisville is opening the Office of Autism in Kentucky, a statewide and regional office providing support for families and caregivers by coordinating resources, and giving referrals -  local points of contact - of specific physicians such as pediatric developmental doctors. Crissy Ramey of Families on the Spectrum comes back to Sounds Good to tell us about the meeting at Lourdes tomorrow night (Tuesday, July 22), welcoming Dr. Barnes to Paducah.

For families with children who are living in the autism spectrum, routine safety awareness is even more important. Crissy Ramey of Families on the Spectrum speaks with Kate Lochte on Sounds Good about keeping potentially vulnerable kids safe. Hear the conversation:

The federal law that governs special education lays out the goals pretty clearly: Students are entitled to an appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment.

But some parents of children with autism feel their local public schools aren't meeting their kids' needs. And with autism diagnoses rising, new schools are emerging specifically for autistic children.

Some parents see these specialized schools as a godsend. For others, they raise a new set of questions.

Paducah's Crissy Ramey of Families On The Spectrum joins Kate Lochte on Sounds Good to talk more about parents of autistic kids dealing with IEPs, or Individualized Education Programs. Families on the Spectrum is a new local non-profit group, whose goal is to provide fun family outings, meetings, parents' nights out, and to offer community support for autism families in western Kentucky.

Hear the conversation:

Families on the Spectrum is a support group for families of autistic children with outreach based on love, awareness and acceptance. Krissy Ramey is one of its board members, the parent of an autistic child, and an aggregator of information about real life with autism. Kate Lochte speaks with Ramey about the group and how you can get involved.


Legislation passed last Friday in the Kentucky House of Representatives codifies a new Advisory Council on Autism Spectrum Disorders. We learn more about this Council and how it reshapes services to ASD individuals with the Medical Director of the Kentucky Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities, Dr. Allen Brenzel, a Lexington Pediatrician and Child Psychiatrist. Kate Lochte opens the discussion by asking how this council differs from its predecessor, created during the administration of Governor Ernie Fletcher in 2005.