Representation in TV and Film
I have been keeping my eye out for different representation of autistic and disabled people in the media, both cannon (part of the story) and headcannon (popularly viewed as being).
Pablo is brilliant, it is a tv show made with the main characters being autistic and autistic people area major part of the production.
Pablo is a young pre verbal Irish presachooler boy. He draws to help him process and understand the world around him. He draws a series of four animals and a cartoon version of himself, all whom seem autistic too but with different presentations of autism.
It is available both on netflix and on youtube, and is worth a watch whatever your age.
Sesame Street Autism
Sesame street is a long time running educational preschool show.
Julia is a new character on Sesame Street. She has yellow fur and is autistic. She stims a lot and isn’t able to answer questions.
It is really great because when the other residents are introduced to Julia and see she isn’t joining in,instead they have fun by joining Julia in her stimming.
Steven Universe Autism
Steven Universe is a cartoon based on a group of magical beings who are the self appointed protectors of the Earth, and their 'little brother' half gem half human Steven.
A common headcannon is that Peridot (one of the gems) is autistic. Peridot sometimes uses AAC, talks to themselves using a tape recorder. They also have problems with being super literal, and getting upset when the gems are unpredictable. They also make up their own vocabulary for things they think should have their own name. There are many more indicators, Peridot has many autistic traits.
Star vs. The Forces of Evil Autism
This is a cartoon about a 14yr old magical princess who gets sent to the regular world to prove to her parents that she is mature enough for the magic wand she got given for her birthday,
Although it isn't canon, she is widely seen as autistic (there are even whole blogs about just this). She stims with her want, runs flapping her arms, and displays echolalia with repeating words over and over. She also seems to have difficulty empathizing with others in her class.
Linus is commonly seen as autistic, particularly that he still carries his comfort item around and sucks his thumb and doesn't see anything unusual about it. He is also very knowledgeable and prone to monologuing about a chosen subject.
Heartbreak high Autism
A series following a group of Australian Highschoolers as they navigate racial tensions, high school remances, and tee angst. One of the main characters is an autistic teen girl, played by the autistic actor and activist Chloe Hayden.
One Day At A Time Anxiety, Depression, Alcoholism
One Day At A time is a Netflix series based around a Cuban American family living in a three generational household. The mum, her two children, and her mum live together. The children's Dad is a recovering alcoholic, both parents have PTSD, and the mum also has anxiety and depression. The mum is a nurse who worked in the army with her husband before splitting due to his alcoholism and her wanting to protect the children.
The teen daughter is a perfectionist and deals with anxiety. The show follows the family as they deal with the teen daughter coming out as gay, and the dad not accepting her.
The main character Sam is an autistic 15 year old boy. He goes to mainstream school where his younger sister looks out for him. The show is about him and his family, and the issues they all face from Sam being neurodivergent.
The A word Autism
The A Word is a BBC drama television series based on Israeli series Yellow Peppers (פלפלים צהובים) by Keren Margalit. The series follows a five-year-old boy and how his family cope with the revelation that he has autism.
The doctor diagnosing does use person first language " 'so he is autistic?', 'that's not how I describe any of my patients' ". The adults use a whole host of ableist language as they come to terms with who their child is.
One of the main characters is a young boy called Jake who is autistic and non-verbal. His mom died in the 9-11 bombings, and he is being raised by his Dad who is facing losing him to the courts because of a lack of communication between them- the he discovers Jake is communicating through numbers and is predicting future events and revealing threads between seemingly disconnected people.
The Good Doctor Autistic Savant
The Good Doctor is an American medical drama television series based on the 2013 award-winning South Korean series of the same name (굿 닥터).
The series stars Freddie Highmore as Shaun Murphy, a young savant autistic surgical resident at San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital.
Community is a sitcom about a community college in America and a group of unlikely friends that form- a stay at home mom, a goody goody girl, an ex football star, a lawyer who lied his way up in work, and Abed who is really into film and who is autistic.
Big Bang Theory (and Young Sheldon) Autism
It is a sitcom about a friend group of nerdy scientists, two of whom live together. Sheldon, one of the friends, is a ex child genius theoretical physicist who is autistic.
Though this show is really popular, it has mixed reviews among the autistic community for its stereotypical portrayal of autism (male genius really into maths and trains), and that Sheldon seems to be the butt of many jokes. However this tends to be indicative of the nature of sitcoms, and many of the tropes are true to many people’s experience of being autistic.
The IT Crowd Autism
This is a comedy centred on the basement dwelling IT department in a large business
The manager knows nothing about IT, one worker seems to live there, one is grumpy and desperate for attention, and one is delightfully odd and headcannon autistic (Moss).
New Tricks Autism, Alcoholism
This is a comedy crime show. Based on a new unit set up to solve unsolved murder cases using retired police officers. One of the retired police officers is called Brian, and it isn't cannon but is widely accepted that he is autistic. He relies on his routines being set, doesn't cope well with change, is hyperfocused on details of cases, and has a brilliant memory for dates and what happened on any particular date.
Peep Show Autism
This is a comedy based upon two late twenty something male flatmates who met in university. One whom is a failing musician, and the other who is an uptight and headcannon autistic accounts manager.
It has a unique style where it switches between the two main characters points of view, showing you what they are thinking throughout the show.
Power Rangers (2017) Autism
In this version, the blue Power Ranger is autistic.
Some pros of this film are that he is not the butt of the jokes (a common thing for autistic characters), and being an autistic POC where most portrayals of autism are of white middle class boys.
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them (Harry Potter Universe) Autism
Newt Scamander is widely regarded as autistic. He has a very highly specialised special interest in magical creatures and is a world expert in them knowing much more than anyone at his time of living.
He wrote the groundbreaking ‘Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them’.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Autism
The Accountant Autistic Savant
A film about an autistic maths savant who works as an accountant for criminal organisations.
This portrayal, although stereotypical, it is realistic and includes quirks of autism such as needing to finish a task before stopping, needing to stim, and having a set routine.