One Parent’s View on Autistic Representation

One Parent’s View on Autistic Representation

I expect that there will be those who will disagree with my view, but that’s okay.  Discussing this issue is never a negative thing.  🙂

I am mom of a teenage son with Asperger’s and Tourette Syndrome (he was diagnosed as a child).  I always view any representation of autism and neurological disorders in the mainstream with interest.  Recently, I came across an article from The Huffington Post, about a theatrical version of Mark Haddon’s “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” (excellent book btw), in which the lead is a young autistic actor by the name of Mickey Rowe.  The idea of having an actor who can relate to the character on such a personal level is fantastic, and I wish Mickey all the success that this opportunity will bring. Check out the article where Mickey discusses his role and his view on representation.

Finally, An Actor With Autism Is Starring In ‘Curious Incident’

Mickey brings out a good point in the article.  Why is it not unheard of to have a non-disabled actor play someone with a disability, but you seldom hear of an actor with a disability playing a non-disabled role (Hamlet being played by an actor in a wheelchair was his example)?

Food for thought.

the good doctor

 

This brings me to the new ABC drama, The Good Doctor, which is the US version of a Korean show by the same name.  Starring Freddie Highmore of Bates Motel fame, the show focuses on a young autistic man by the name of Shaun Murphy.  From ABC’s official description

“Coming MONDAYS 10|9c this Fall to ABC. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore, Bates Motel), a young surgeon with autism and savant syndrome, relocates from a quiet country life to join a prestigious hospital’s surgical unit. Alone in the world and unable to personally connect with those around him, Shaun uses his extraordinary medical gifts to save lives and challenge the skepticism of his colleagues.”

The trailer actually shows more chops than the description, and unlike what’s said in the description, Shaun is able to connect with people in his own way (this type of description always bugs me when I hear it).  The show doesn’t seem to be trying to make Shaun a “superhero”.  Although talented, Shaun deals with the attitudes that many young people on the autism spectrum deal with when it comes to how others view them.  Personally, I think that this show has a chance, even though Freddie is not autistic himself.  From what I’ve read on social media, the Korean version was brilliant, and the US version hopes to be the same.

From my own experiences as a parent, I welcome any chance where autism is a focus.  The downside, is that here is once again a situation where the role is given to someone who doesn’t have the personal experience with the disorder that his character does.

So, I have to ask, what do you think?  Can a show “do justice” to areas like autism, when the lead doesn’t have it?  Can Freddie’s portrayal even be compared to Mickey’s, when the two actors are coming from different directions for these roles?

It’s a tricky topic, and honestly, I don’t write-off any portrayal of this type without seeing more.  I have no idea if ABC even looked for an autistic actor, or thought of Freddie right away.  From the trailer, I did see aspects in his performance, that reminded me of things that I see in my own son.  I am not familiar with Freddie’s other works, but he appears to approach this role with the respect that it deserves.

There will be those that will dismiss him for no other reason than the fact that he’s not autistic.  I can’t blame them for that.  The fact is, television and movies still don’t have the breadth of diversity that they should, whether it’s race, gender or showing areas such as autism (and I could write a much larger blog on this, but that’s not my focus).  I do want to see more representation and I would like to think that, at the end of the day, we will see more actors like Mickey take on lead roles…PERIOD.

My take is that in both Mickey’s play and Freddie’s show, if people come away with a better understanding of the world of autism, and more respect and openness towards those who have it–then that’s a good thing.

And really, that’s all that this parent wants.

 

 

 

Text © Written In Geek blog (2017) All rights reserved
Pictures © Written In Geek blog, used with subject’s permission or under public domain (2017)- Feature image is a taken from the Huffington Post article.  Official show poster image courtesy of imdb.com

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The Power of HELLO

The Power of HELLO

HELLO.

When you read this word, did you automatically want to say hello in response?  Did it make you smile?   🙂

In English, or in any other language, this word has become one of the most powerful words in the world.

Such a simple word has turned strangers into friends, lifted someone’s spirits, and made someone feel welcomed when they didn’t feel like they fit in.

My post today is inspired by an article shared by the Kitchener Public Library on Facebook.  It’s a list from www.teachthought.com of 30 books that inspire empathy in childrenalthough you don’t need to be a child to read them.  What started me thinking about the word HELLO wasn’t the list itself, but the remarks made in the Comments section.  There was a discussion going on about whether you should say hello to a stranger when you are out and about.  For some people, it’s a given, a gesture of politeness.  For others, they saw such a gesture as an invasion, stating that some people just want to be left alone, or maybe too shy to engage in a conversation with a stranger.

When did we become such a cynical society, that the idea of saying hello to someone, can be seen as something offensive?  I am a very shy person, but I live in a neighbourhood, where saying hello to someone when you are out for a stroll is just…well, it’s just done.  This acknowledgement is usually brief, but has sometimes lead to a short conversation (especially of said individual is out walking a dog.   😉   ).  Even when I have wanted to be alone in my thoughts, this gesture has lifted my spirits, making me appreciate the type of community that I live in.

I’m lucky that way.

Maybe that’s why I think of the word hello as being so powerful.  I am not prying into someone’s life, I let them decide if my action leads to a conversation or not.  It’s wonderful when it does.

Take this past Mother’s Day.  While waiting for our seat at a local restaurant (I was with my family, my folks and my MIL), an elderly gentleman came over and said hello, and wished the ladies a happy Mother’s Day.  This lead to a brief but humourous conversation that made me feel like I was talking to the late, great George Carlin.  This gentleman’s wit and sarcastic, but good-natured humour made us all laugh, and brightened what was already of lovely afternoon.

And it all started with a HELLO.

So remember, when you are out there (in the world that seems to encourage, way too often, the nasty and the self-absorbed), to say hello to that stranger that you may otherwise pass by.

You just might make their day.   🙂

Don’t forget to check out the list above.  I have read two of the books, #12 and #30, and saw the movie version of #29.

One more thing, I was just about to post this, when a friend shared this on Facebook.  Ladies and gentlemen, the HELLO BENCH.

 

Text © Written In Geek blog (2017) All rights reserved
Pictures © Written In Geek blog, used with subject’s permission or under public domain (2017)- feature image courtesy of Pixabay

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From Nerdist.com/Playground Equipment: 30 Inspirational Quotes

From Nerdist.com/Playground Equipment: 30 Inspirational Quotes

I love inspirational quotes.  They tend to show up on my social media feeds on days that I could really use a pick-me-up.   🙂

Most of the time these quotes are from real people, but I thought that it would be fun to share a list of quotes from the characters of literature, television and movies.

Leave it up to Nerdist.com to share this great list from a company called Playground Equipment.  It’s quotes from some of pop culture’s most famous teachers, and was created to inspire children (or the child in all of us).

Feel free to save and share this infographic.

Click below for quotes from Harry PotterThe Magic School Bus and Mary Poppins as well as others.  Feel free to share quotes of your own in the Comments section below.    🙂

30 Inspirational Quotes from Fictional Teachers and Mentors

And remember…

Be Excellent to Each Other - Imgur.gif
courtesy of imgur.com

 

 

Text © Written In Geek blog (2017) All rights reserved
Pictures © Written In Geek blog, used with subject’s permission or under public domain (2017)- feature image courtesy of Pixabay

About Me…