yes, therapy helps!
4 TV series that have characters with Autism Spectrum Disorders

4 TV series that have characters with Autism Spectrum Disorders

May 5, 2024

The works of fiction are a very good way to make known the day to day of minorities that usually suffer the consequences of most people do not understand their situation. People with Autism Spectrum Disorders , until not so long ago, they have remained in the most absolute shadow.

Fortunately, more and more people know what their day-to-day life is like, thanks in part to television series.

  • Related article: "15 films that talk about Autism"

4 television series with characters with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Below you can see a selection of 4 television series in which there are characters with autism with an important role or protagonist. While there are several more that do not appear here, these allow enough screen time for these characters to be clear what are the characteristics and symptoms linked to autism.


1. Atypical

Atypical is the last great series of fiction in which a character with autism has an important role. In fact, Sam Gardner, the young man with symptoms of the autistic spectrum, is the protagonist of this story.

The first thing that catches Sam's attention is the monotony with which he speaks , the little repertoire and intonations he uses to express himself. This is a characteristic of people on the autism spectrum who can use verbal language fluently, as is the case, although the causes of this are unknown (as almost everything that has to do with these disorders).

On the other hand, the other great particularity and Sam in what refers to his way of capturing on the screen the lives of many people with autism is that he has serious difficulties to "read between the lines" . In other words, the interpretation that Sam usually makes based on what is said is characterized by literality; he does not recognize what is or is not a metaphor, and the ignorance of certain phrases and expressions makes him really confused, since he does not know what they mean or they make him believe that the other person has given to understand something really strange.


In addition, Sam feels very vulnerable when he is in environments with a wide variety of stimuli. That is why many times a kind of headphones are placed on the ears that are, in fact, noise filtering. This allows you to concentrate on the predictable aspects of your day-to-day life, the ways of thinking and action in which you will not find yourself startled.

One of the ways Sam has to Do not get out of your mental and behavioral routine is to think of recurrent way in Antarctica and, specifically, in the penguins that inhabit it. For example, when he gets nervous, to calm down he repeats to himself over and over again the names of the four species of penguins that exist in that frozen continent, but even when he is not very stressed his thought ends up with theories about the Antarctica. The predictable and the absence of changes in acts and thoughts is very important for most autistic people.


  • Maybe you're interested: "The 4 types of Autism and its characteristics"

2. Community

Community is one of the most famous humor series due to the high quality of its scripts and the chemistry between its characters. One of them, Abed Nadir (played by Danny Pudi) is one of the most interesting because of the way in which he expresses several of the behavioral traits typical of many people with some autism spectrum disorder .

One of these typically autistic characteristics is the lack of richness in the nuances of voice intonation. Abed seems to speak like a robot, in a dispassionate and monotonous way, but that does not mean that he does not have feelings, although he can get to pretend the opposite.

In addition, Abed also presents another feature of people with some form of autism: has developed a great interest in a specific area , a range of knowledge in which he usually thinks in a recurrent way. This area of ​​interest (and of obsession, in fact) is pop culture, specifically that which is related to series and films. In fact, the series insinuates that a lot of the things that Abed knows are known to have seen or heard through television.

Of course, for Community producers it is very convenient to have a character who is always willing to make a nod to series and films that the viewer can know. However, in the real people who manifest the symptoms of the autistic spectrum pop culture is too broad a scope. The areas of interest of these people tend to be even more specific ; for example, police series, or the universe of a single series of fiction.

  • Related article: "Autism Spectrum Disorders: 10 symptoms and diagnosis"

3. The Good Doctor

Shaun Murphy is a young neurosurgeon with autism who, in many aspects, manifests the symptoms that the protagonist of Atypical displays on screen.

In this series it is clear that people with ASD experience all kinds of emotions, although they may not always know how to express them in a way that the rest of the person understands. Someone with autism is not a robot , simply is a person whose style of socialization does not quite fit with the rest of people and, moreover, is much more susceptible to moments of anxiety and the problems of expression and cognitive (many people with ASD are not able to speak and / or experience intellectual disability).

4. The Big Bang Theory

Sheldon Cooper is possibly the character with behavior patterns of autism that has achieved fame, and is known at least "by sight" by many millennials. In fact, one could say that it is the engine of the series The Big Bang Theory, a work of fiction that at least in its first seasons and focused on creating comical situations from the social ineptitude of a group of young adults maladjusted and with problems when interacting with women.

Sheldon is a clear caricature of many of the characteristics attributed to autism. Like Abed, he also speaks monotonously, removing any trace of musicality from his voice; nevertheless, in his case the creators of the series have tried that it seems that really Sheldon lacks feelings. This shows that, unlike what happens with Abed or Sam Gardner, Sheldon does not seem interested in empathizing with anyone and he seems to enjoy making reproaches.

On the other hand, where his colleagues fail to socialize with women, Sheldon shows simple indifference, at best, or misogyny, because most of the women he interacts with know nothing about your area of ​​interest.

Because yes, Sheldon also has a specific area of ​​interest: physics. However, it must be said that in this case too, this range of knowledge seems to be very open to the convenience of the script. For example, forms of entertainment such as role-playing games or sci-fi works they also seem to be part of this space of "obsessions" by Sheldon, simply to fit the stereotype of a misfit young man. Although it is not unusual for it to occur, there is nothing in these cultural products that is in itself a magnet for people with Autism Spectrum Disorders.


The Good, The Bad & The Autistic! An Analysis on Autism in Movies & TV (May 2024).


Similar Articles