Autism Stereotypes in Film

(Image found in Grantland.com).

In today’s generation many people understand that autism is rapidly increasing among our youth. When someone’s child is diagnosed with autism, their parents are normally  fear that their child will lead a dependent and unfulfilling life. Sadly, Hollywood has perpetrated this stereotype characterizing those with the disability  as being weak, dependent or annoying to their peers and family.

The best example of a movie that perpetrated a this stereotype of those on the spectrum  was the 1988 film The Rain Man where Dustin Hoffman played an autistic savant called Raymond Babbitt. The film is a stereotype to people on the autism spectrum because it’s been proven by psychologists that only 10% of autistic individuals share the same qualities that Raymond displays in the movie.

It’s wrong to oversimplify this complex condition and make it seem as if these symptoms are apparent in all autistic individuals. Like all minority groups, there should be proper representation for the autism community not one that generalizes but that acknowledges and understands the different characteristics that manifest in all autistic individuals. My wish is that in the future there will be films that portray an autistic individual that can overcome their obstacles and make it through life.