There are so many issues with this article, I don’t even know where to start.
I am the father of three Autistic children; two boys, and one girl. I’ve sometimes wondered if I myself am somewhere on the Spectrum, (because I’ve seen so many examples in all my children that remind me of myself when I was younger). My boys are “Dead Center” of the Autism Spectrum, (moderate to severe emotional/behavioral issues, developmental issues, communication issues, ect.), while my daughter is, (in the words of her doctors), “…borderline, but Autistic. A little bit to the “left” and she would be a normal little girl, a little bit to the “right” and she is a photocopy of her brothers.”
There is simply no way to “correctly” portray Autism, because Autism covers such a huge range of developmental, emotional, and behavioral issues. That is a fact that anyone who is on the Spectrum should know. To say a TV show of all things gets the symptoms of Autism “wrong” only goes to prove that you yourself do not truly understand the Autism Spectrum. Also, the idea that the “autistic community” should be catered to is total B.S.. More often than not, I’ve found that dealing with the “Community” is far more trouble than the help we have ever received as parents with learning to raise three Autistic children. I’ve talked with members of the “Community” who are beyond arrogant, who seem to think that any child or adult that does not present EXACTLY as they do is not “really Autistic”.
My daughter has a list of the classic symptoms of Autism that so many high-functioning children/adults struggle with every day: lack of impulse control, difficulty dealing with routine changes, fear of loud noises, issues with staying, “on task”, emotional/behavioral control problems, extreme shyness around people she does not know, and, (for her parents), an annoying fascination with certain textures and tastes and smells.
But she is smart. Very smart.
As a matter of fact, she recently told her PCP that when she grows up she wants to be a doctor.
Her speech, while it developed late, exploded once she figured out for herself that she could communicate what she was thinking with her voice. Anyone who talks with her has no idea she is actually on the Autism Spectrum, because, for the most part, she seems totally “normal”, and she has a hunger to learn that can never be satisfied. It’s only when exposed to the “negative” issues, (such as her difficulty with controlling her emotional reactions to external stimuli), that people then often ask, “What is wrong with her?”
And yes, some Autistic individuals can be “ exceptionally neat”. Just because you may not have been does not mean every other Autistic child is not. My daughter is the perfect example; she is a “neat freak” to such an extreme level that I’ve had to stop her from trying to “clean” the shelves at our local Target, because, as she once explained, “…everything should be where it belongs.”
From reading your article, my impression is that you have had some negative experiences in your life that are clouding your judgement of this show. Just because the character portrayed does not meet your definition of what an Autistic person should be and act like does not mean the portrayal is not valid.
At the end of the day, it is that assertion that does the most damage and disservice to those who live with Autism; the idea that Autistic individuals ALL think and act the same way, because they don’t.