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Friday, May 12, 2023

Autism Portrayals

Marisa Iati at WP:
The doctor’s voice rises each time he repeats the sentence, crescendoing into a scream by the eighth repetition.

“I am a surgeon!” Shaun Murphy yells at his chief of surgery, who had boxed him out of helping with a procedure.

The encounter, a scene from ABC’s “The Good Doctor,” went viral in some corners of the internet this week, with social media users mocking its intensity. Viewer reactions and the resulting memes reignited conversations about how the show, which just finished its sixth season, portrays its autistic protagonist.

Among experts and advocates for autistic people, opinions are mixed. Some said the character of Murphy, played by Freddie Highmore, is depicted as an unfortunate assemblage of stereotypical behaviors, rather than as a full human. Others felt the protagonist fairly represents some autistic adults but offers no insight into the experiences of many others. Several called on ABC to employ more autistic screenwriters to make the show more authentic.