One of the best representations of autism in my opinion is in the TV show Scorpion. I think the episode “Little Boy Lost” (season 3 episode 4) gets incredibly close, because apart from anything else it’s genuine and respectful. The first interaction with Daniel is compassionate and caring. By midway through the show they have explained AAC (in a straight forward way), said autistic people see the world differently and are all individuals. I loved and appreciated that. Daniel hasn’t been in the show much by this point, but they way they talk about him is how it should be.
He is an autistic child, reacting to environment and circumstance. They don’t say he’s mentally ill or stormed off in a tantrum. They state that he is responding to fear in the same way a negative charge from a magnetic source does to a compass. He instinctually responds by moving away from the source of fear and anxiety (plus “Loud” as he states with his tablet). This is the kind of representation needed, I am currently 18 minutes in and I feel for Daniel, I am invested. I want the story to have a positive outcome and for him to be ok. My mind is in the moment, I care about the character.
Most representation I have seen isn’t respectful because autism has been seen from an external view. This episode doesn’t do that but shows the world from the viewpoint of Daniel himself. They even get his mum to help guide by asking questions that help them understand him. The last episode I watched with a stated autistic character was awful, just fell short to me, like a golf ball without a core (cough cough *Boston Legal* cough). This episode made me feel like whoever made it cared so deeply they wanted it to be genuine and truly Au-thentic, I appreciate that so, so incredibly. Because if an autistic child was in a room when this episode is on I think the message would be clear. You are different, you see the world differently but we will learn to understand you and support you.
All my best and love
Words – Ross A Fraser
Graphic Design App – Canva