AUTISM IN BOOKS, TV &
The popular depiction of autism
in the media has been of relatively severe cases, for example, as
seen in the films Rain Man (autistic adult) and Mercury
Rising (autistic child), and in turn many relatives of those
who have been diagnosed in the autism spectrum choose to speak
of their loved ones as having Asperger’s syndrome rather than autism.
A well known example of an autistic savant is
Daniel Tammet, the subject of the documentary film The Brain
Man. Bright Splinters of the Mind is a book that explores
this savantism further. It is interesting to note that Kim Peek,
one of the inspirations for Dustin Hoffman’s character in the film
Rain Man, is not autistic.
Fictional characters with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Dr. Kio Masada from C. S. Friedman's This Alien
Shore is an autistic savant with a talent for computer science.
The book also mentions his deceased wife, a musically gifted autistic
savant, and includes Masada's musings on the nature of their relationship.
Within the text, members of their culture refer to them as iru,
but Friedman has confirmed that this term is meant to be analogous
Darryl McAllister from A Wizard Alone,
part of Diane Duane's Young Wizards series. His autism gives him
an unusual perspective of the world that in turn gives him unique
abilities as a wizard.
Other fictional characters in books include:
• Christopher John Francis Boone in the book The
Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
• Lou Arrendale and his associates from The
Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon.
Although it is not made explicit, Mr Darcy and
the parson in the movie version of Pride and Prejudice
are excellent examples of two adults with Asperger's syndrome and
encountering difficulties with non-autistic people. It can be quite
distressing to see the parson being ridiculed by other characters
in the film for his difficulty in social interactions. Other films
• Raymond Babbitt from the film Rain Man
played by Dustin Hoffman
• Mercury Rising, with Bruce Willis protecting
an autistic child from killers
• Elvis Presley does some early intervention for
a girl with autism in Change of Habit
• Cody from the film Bless the Child
• An autistic boy is lost in the woods and looked
after by a hermit in Silence
• Ellen Ripley in Alien: Resurrection, described as "emotionally
autistic" after her resurrection
• Linda Freeman from the film Snow Cake, played by Sigourney
• A gangster looks after his autistic son in Backstreet
• House of Cards - a girl shows autistic tendencies after
her father dies
• The Boy Who Could Fly features an autistic
teenager befriended by the girl next door.
In Star Trek, Mr Spock has long been
regarded as an extraterrestrial example of Asperger's syndrome.
Interestingly, he is regarded as completely normal on his own planet,
but cool, aloof and far too logical by humans.
On House in the episode "Lines in
the Sand" the team suspects that House may have low-level Asperger
Syndrome in order to explain his unwavering protests at having the
carpet in his office changed; however, Dr. Wilson later tells House
that House "wishes" he had Asperger's Syndrome so that
he would have an excuse for his rudeness and dislike of people.
The focus of this episode is an autistic child.
On Law and Order: Criminal Intent, the
episode "Probability" features an insurance fraud expert
named Wally Stevens (played by Mark Linn-Baker) who suffers from
Asperger Syndrome and is eventually betrayed by his own tics and
behaviors. Other examples include:
• Lily Montgomery (Jackson Montgomery's daughter)
on the television show All My Children
• Laurence Burrell, an autistic teenager appearing as a one off
character on A Touch of Frost
• Dr. Bob Melnikov on ReGenesis has Asperger's and discusses
it in episodes 1, 11 and 17.
• Legion (Marvel Comics)
• The DC Comics supervillain Black Manta
• Johnny Do, in Psi-Force was a severely autistic young
paranormal with pyrokinetic abilities
• The character Seth in the comic strip Clear Blue Water
has been diagnosed with autism
• Marvel series Fantastic Four - Invisible Woman thinks
her husband may have Asperger's.
Click here for the full
range of autism and Asperger's fact sheets at www.autism-help.org
This autism fact sheet is licensed under the GNU
Free Documentation. It is derivative of autism and Aspergers--related articles at http://en.wikipedia.org