Portrayals of autism on television don’t showcase full spectrum

If you’re a fan of either of two new television shows that debuted in the United States this September — “Atypical” on the streaming service Netflix or “The Good Doctor” on ABC — I’ve got news for you. You’re watching an overly positive depiction of autism that doesn’t reflect reality for the majority of people on the spectrum.

To the TV-watching public, autism has come to mean the verbal, higher-skilled, savant end of the spectrum, because individuals at that end make for interesting characters.

In “Atypical,” the protagonist Sam’s autism complicates the typical struggles high school students face, from finding a girlfriend to fitting in with the popular teens. But Sam never seems to spend any time in a special-education classroom, much less at a special school.

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7th November 2017