Day 8. Talk about traditional media. Have you been influenced by autism themes in the media? Have you had to correct misinformation about autistic people that others got from the media?
Oh … Kay … this one is going to be a bit of a rant, now before I get started let me just say this …
- Doctor WHO
- The Big Bang Theory
These are shows that I have always been a big fan of, but …
I am not a fan of the characters being used as examples of people with autism/Asperger’s syndrome. Below are my reasons why …
Let’s start with The Doctor. Yes he’s socially awkward, usually not a massive fan of kissing/touching (unless its David Tennant) and do you know what else he is?
A FUCKING ALIEN!
Of course he is going to be strange to humans … He comes from a different planet!
However much he may seem to love modern day London (Or Cardiff, the London bits are usually filmed in Cardiff) it is not his hometown, nor is Earth his home planet.
The Doctor also doesn’t usually give a fuck if he is accepted by the local populace or not, as his home is a flying blue box that allows him to travel far away from anyone he may have insulted.
We autistics can be considered strange, but Earth is definitely our home planet, however much we may sometimes not feel like it is.
We are not aliens!
Onto Sherlock, the high-functioning Sociopath.
I am by diagnosis, a high-functioning Autistic.
I am not a Sociopath.
Sherlock’s mindmaps? The way his brain works? Is that an autistic trait? For some maybe but mine is definitely not that organised.
I can’t work out if you killed your husband just by a stain on your top, unless that stain is blood, then nearly everyone can work that out.
I’m not a master-manipulator. Sherlock has way too much control over his own and everyone else’s lives to be considered an autistic, I can barely control my own life. Never mind a sidekick, brother and landlady at the same time.
Again, I’m not a sociopath. I don’t insult or confuse people for fun or because I can. It’s because my brain doesn’t tell me I’m about to insult or confuse people.
Then we get to Sheldon Cooper.
To be fair he is not an alien, nor is he a sociopath (or at least he doesn’t admit to being either of these).
His traits tend to change depending on the episode or season of the show you are watching.
He has ranged from high-functioning, mid-functioning and low-functioning depending on what the show needs him to be episode from episode.
Sadly this is not how autism tends to work, your traits tend to stay the same. You don’t bounce around the spectrum.
Another thing that tends to annoy me about Sheldon and other media autistics in general is that they always have a very high – IQ. Seems like a fair trade for social awkwardness.
This isn’t always the case though. My IQ is average … I can’t work wonders with maths and science. Sadly, that doesn’t make me any less socially awkward.
Media adaptions of autism tend to be overexaggerated in some ways. We are not all geniuses, we are not all sociopaths and we are certainly not aliens…
These characters are all cool in their own ways, and as fictional characters they are very entertaining.
But do not expect every autistic you meet to be like Sheldon, Sherlock or The Doctor.
We will not live up to your expectations…
My advice for anyone wanting to learn about autistics, would be …
Actually get to know a few autistics…