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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

ASD and Hollywood

At The Boston Globe, Joseph P. Kahn writes that the movie "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" and the TV series "Touch" feature child characters who appear to have ASD.
Another TV series, NBC’s “Parenthood,’’ features an 11-year old boy with Asperger’s. His family’s struggles to help him adjust to daily life constitute a recurring theme on the two-year-old show. Characters with Asperger’s have also shown up in “The Big Bang Theory,’’ “Grey’s Anatomy,’’ and HBO’s feature “Temple Grandin.’’
Besides “Extremely Loud,’’ “Mozart and the Whale’’ (2005) and “Adam’’ (2009) are among recent movies with a story line involving Asperger’s. Novels such as Jodi Picoult’s “House Rules’’ have added to the overall picture as well, as have first-person accounts like David Finch’s new book “The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to Be a Better Husband.’’

Peter Bell is president of the advocacy group Autism Speaks and parent of an autistic teenager. The big change in public awareness has occurred over the past five years, according to Bell, when shows like “Parenthood’’ came along. “Most depictions have been pretty good,’’ said Bell. “And I think most families enjoy seeing autism depicted, as long as the focus is on the more positive aspects.’’
John Scott Holman, a blogger for Autism Speaks and Wrong Planet, likewise gives “Parenthood’’ high marks. He is exploring the topic of “pop autism,’’ as he puts it. Now that Holman, who lives in Kansas, has been diagnosed with Asperger’s, “it seems contagious,’’ he quipped. “It’s practically become trendy, a pop culture buzzword.’’