Tag Archives: stigma

Autism, We Have a Problem – Let’s Talk about Stigma

We’ve got a problem. With the way autism is represented in the media.

 

Parents of autistic children are fed stories that “autism is a horrible tragedy that will destroy lives, families, & marriages”. Big organizations and people have made lots of money spreading this mis-information, drowning out autistic voices who speak up against them.

 

There is real damage done by well meaning parents, determined to rid their children of their autistic nature. Imagine if your parents were determined to reshape your entire identity because your natural way of being has been deemed “socially unacceptable”.

 

Autism is not a tragedy it is a difference, despite what most of the world has been led to believe. Autistic people are not broken or in need of fixing.

 

When parents get divorced, people tend to remind the children that it’s not their fault their parents are separating – because  this type of blame would not be good for a child’s mental health. How is blaming a child’s autism for running a marriage / family any different?


See the video HERE on YouTube.

Inclusive Autistic Traits by Autisticality

I’m hitting the “Reblog Button” for the first time ever. This list is amazing. It is extremely comprehensive without being pathological or overly negative. It also does not dismiss or overlook difficulties. PLEASE read the entire list on the original poster’s page.

autisticality

Problems

Autism is big and messy and confusing, and no-one really understands it. It’s difficult to make a good summary and description of autistic traits, because generally no-one can agree on what autism actually is. But even taking that into account, I’ve never read a satisfactory article or leaflet summarising and describing autistic traits.  Every description I’ve ever read suffered from at least one of these problems:

  • Wrongly weighted. So many descriptions of autism written by neurotypical people focus completely on social traits. Often autism is described as an entirely social thing, and any other differences are considered incidental if they’re mentioned at all.
  • Vague. The “triad of impairments” is the worst offender here. It divides social traits arbitrarily into “interaction”, “communication”, and “imagination”, but there is absolutely no clear distinction between those categories. They’re meaningless and useless divisions that don’t remotely simplify the description, and so they serve no useful purpose…

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A Neurodivergent View of Netflix’s Atypical

I did it! On a long car ride across Texas, David at the wheel, I managed to sit through the entire first, 38-minute episode, of Atypical, titled Antartica.

Let me start by saying that Atypical is a show about autism. It is not made to be a show for autistic people, despite autism being the main theme of the TV show.

Netflix’s new show Atypical has been creating quite a stir in the online autism community. The story is supposed to be told from an autistic person’s perspective, but many people are upset with the show’s apparent lack of neurodiverse representation both on and off screen.

Autistic advocates were most frustrated over the autistic main character, Sam. Many expressed wishes for autistic characters to be portrayed by autistic actors. As expected, Sam’s character is basically just a DSM checklist of every possible autistic stereotype imaginable.

In the first episode, I am already put off by the complaining from the mother character. Hopefully, she’ll take responsibility for her own actions, stop holding her son back, and quit complaining about how much of a burden autistic people are in future episodes.

We’ll skip past all of the completely unrealistic, WTF moments, such as the “brain donation question”, the “sex with a random older female stranger”, and the illogical “bedroom assault”. (Nothing about that first “sex scene” is even believable.)

Atypical is a painfully typical coming of age comedy. It has a very basic family teenage drama dynamic, complete with predictable plot lines focused on teen sex and surviving high school.

Every show needs comic relief and the writers of Atypical have managed to do a great job placing autism front and center as the butt in most of its jokes, because it’s fun to laugh at other people’s difficulties.

Between the poor representation and the bad acting, the first episode of Atypical was one of the most cringeworthy things I’ve come across in a very long time. One was enough. I’ve got no plans to watch another episode any time soon.

Sorry Netflix, that is a big “NO!” from me.

What do you think? Did you like Atypical? Should autistic characters in film and TV be played by autistic actors?

Check out the tag #actuallyAtypical on Twitter for more autistic opinions on the show.