My list of some of my favorite characters in the autism spectrum.
- Brick Heck (played by Atticus Shaffer) from the TV show The Middle. He is by far my favorite because there are some of his quirks that I see in my own son. He has never been diagnosed on the show, but he does have the social and communication difficulties along with social group therapy and tics that speak for so many kids on the higher functioning end of the spectrum.
- Max Braverman (played by Max Burkholder) from the long running series Parenthood was a more straightforward representation of someone who has Asperger’s. You see his struggle and what his family goes through to help him. Representation matters and he was a game changer. plus I just love the show as a whole. I’m sure it’s streaming somewhere.
- Sheldon Cooper and Amy Farrah Fowler (played by Jim Parsons and Mayim Bialik) from the Big Bang Theory clearly fall on the spectrum somewhere although it’s never really been addressed. I know some think it’s making fun instead of lifting up, but I’m not one of them. They are all a hot mess on that show and I love it.
- Shawn Murphy (played by Freddie Highmore) on The Good Doctor is my last TV show on the list, but an important one. Again, representation matters, and I like this show. I don’t know how accurate it is, but I don’t know how true-to-life any of the hospital shows are. His portrayal paints autism in a positive light and I appreciate that.
- Arnie (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) from What’s Eating Gilbert Grape falls on the other end of the spectrum as someone who needs constant intervention. The strain on his family doesn’t pull any punches. I fell in love with this movie over a decade before my firsthand experience and still think this is a good representation of what autism can do to a family.
- Raymond (played by Dustin Hoffman) from Rain Man is probably most people’s exposure to autism on the big screen and a heartfelt movie that I loved.
- Oskar Schell (played by Thomas Horn) from Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. When I read the book I loved that his dad liked to play to Oskar’s strengths. This is what happens when there are deficits elsewhere..
- Christian Wolff (played by Ben Affleck) from The Accountant. Why is a hitman on my list? It was an interesting portrayal about a character that checked a lot of boxes for someone on the spectrum.
- Todd Aaron from the book Best Boy by Eli Gottlieb is a great book showing what autism might look like in adulthood. So often we read or hear about kids, but this is about a 50 year old living in a supported community.
- William Ashe from Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson. I liked this depiction of a strong Aspie character.
Am I missing a favorite of yours?