Is autism misrepresented?

Browse movies, tv shows, books and more where autism is misrepresented.
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Movie • 2021 Report
Yes
48
No
3
13
RyanS
A very bad depiction of people with autism
TV Show • 2017 Report
Yes
39
No
2
18
DeenGray
The show says that autistic people are useless unless they have "savant"-like skills, and that our autism causes us to be bigoted. This is basically what a white suburban Christian mom who runs a mommy blog’s idea of autism is.
TV Show • 2005 Report
Yes
27
No
3
6
shaymin
a doctor with autism is portrayed very stereotypically and is shown to be rude and cold. many other doctors make fun of her before finding out shes autistic, and even after she says she is, she refers to it as aspergers. theres a mention if curing autism later in the show i believe.
TV Show • 1997 Report
Yes
24
No
3
-1
SiRenfield
S15
 E15
Well ummm…in Ass Burgers they claim autism is not real (at least if I recall correctly) so make of that what you will
TV Show • 2017 Report
Yes
20
No
1
Movie • 1999 Report
Yes
19
No
1
8
jdpamv
Peter describes being in a waiting room with an autistic woman and she’s seen and heard screaming. Pretty terrible misrepresentation NGL.
TV Show • 2017 Report
Yes
18
No
4
1
greenseaturtle
Actual person with autism here: this show is actually a mixed bag in terms of representation. While Season 1 can come off as a bit backward and stereotypical, Keir Gilchrist's performance becomes more nuanced and well-researched in later seasons, and there are several actual autistic actors in the form of Sam's support group. I wouldn't go so far as to say that watching this show makes someone an expert on ASD, but I found myself enjoying and relating to it.
Movie • 2009 Report
Yes
17
No
1
9
Autismcreatureirl
It's a film made by autism speaks, which has a long known history of misinfo and harm to autistic people.
The way is shown here isn't any better. That's it
TV Show • 2013 Report
Yes
16
No
6
2
Okamidani
The character in question says they are 'on the spectrum' also that they are 'closer to Asperger's' and that they have some 'UNDIAGNOSED PERSONALITY DISORDERS' ***Small spoilers**** the mixture of disorders and where he is on the spectrum allows him to profile killers for the FBI.
--The best term to describe the character in question is when someone says: "There isn't a word yet for what SO AND SO is."---
-- If autism is misrepresented then so to are 'various undiagnosed personality disorders' ---- Even then, if they are misrepresented they are only done that way to enhance a character to make them a better 'cooler' more interesting detective. ---- What they end up doing or not doing as that character is not chalked up to their autism or personality disorders ****MORE SPOILERS****** it is chalked up to something beyond the character's control - something that is done to them.
Movie • 1988 Report
Yes
15
No
2
12
RyanS
Rain Man has a complicated legacy in it's depiction of autistic people. It's long been criticized for perpetuating the autistic savant stereotype, but it also dispelled other myths and misconceptions about autistic people and improved awareness of how autistic people have been failed in accommodations.
TV Show • 2011 Report
Yes
11
No
8
8
TheCassandraComplex
The character Hodor has autistic traits, although he is not autistic. He is very much autistic-coded with repetative behaviors, stress-induced meltdowns, and difficulties with verbal speech.* (MAJOR SPOILERS) If the “neurodiversity is supernatural” trope bothers you, Hodor’s neurodivergent traits turn out to have a supernatural cause in the canon.

*Just a friendly reminder that autism is a non-linear spectrum and many of us do have speech apraxia, expressive aphasia and other speech-language disorders as a comorbidity.
Movie • 1997 Report
Yes
11
No
0
2
throughourphantoms
Kazan, who has some developmental or intellectual disability, has a lot of harassment and dehumanization done towards him, but he’s also given the math genius stereotype
Movie • 2006 Report
Yes
11
No
0
6
SiRenfield
Pretty bad anti-autism propaganda
TV Show • 2010 Report
Yes
10
No
0
4
cha0ticneutralsystem
Asperger’s is an outdated, racist and antisemetic term and is used to describe Sherlock being autistic. He is also a white male autistic savant trope who has supernatural-like powers from his autism that balance out or nullify the disability part of his autism. ASPD and personality disorders are also misrepresented as “sociopaths” and so on. Sherlock is also called a “sociopath” derogatorily so I’m unsure if he actually has ASPD and is having a term used on him that does apply to him but is used in a perjorative way or they are trying to say that him being autistic makes him a “sociopath”
TV Show • 2005 Report
Yes
10
No
8
3
Dr. Spencer Reid is implied to be on the autism spectrum, but they never say it explicitly.
TV Show • 2011 Report
Yes
10
No
3
Movie • 2009 Report
Yes
9
No
0
4
AngusONeillMacdonald
This whole movie is about how autism is caused by vaccines (which is false).
Movie • 2014 Report
Yes
8
No
6
8
DelilahV
While not explicitly stated in the film, Samuel displays numerous autistic traits and is seen as autistic by lots of viewers and fans of the series. This could be upsetting to some because he's also described as having "severe behavioral problems" and is neglected due to his symptoms.
TV Show • 2007 Report
Yes
8
No
0
3
cha0ticneutralsystem
Sheldon is the stereotype of savant autistic who is smart but socially inept and often gets away with some really fucked up things because he is quirky. To clarify I don’t think he is actually canonically autistic but coded to resemble autistic people. The actor even said he “studied Asperger’s”, which means the actor isn’t autistic and he used an outdated, antisemetic and ableist model of autism to base his character on and based it around “high functioning” models. Sheldon is also shown to be extremely bigoted, much like the rest of the boys and depicted at asexual and a romantic which is a trope used to infantilise and desexualize autistic people
Podcast Report
Yes
7
No
4
2
NebbyAxolotl
The statement giver’s cousin in MAG 54 — Still Life is mentioned to be autistic. Their autistic traits are compared to the traits of someone who turns out to not be human.
Movie • 2000 Report
Yes
6
No
2
3
1emon
Not explicitly, but a person presumed to have mental disabilities is stereotyped and mocked
Movie • 2004 Report
Yes
5
No
2
TV Show • 2009 Report
Yes
5
No
0
TV Show • 2023 Report
Yes
5
No
1
TV Show • 2007 Report
Yes
4
No
0
0
S1
 E1
There are characters who are veey mean-spirited autistic stereotypes. First one that comes to mind is Mandy in iAm Your Biggest Fan. The main characters really hate this 10-year-old for being annoying.
TV Show • 2018 Report
Yes
4
No
0
3
TautologiaLgica
(spoiler)

Rosie's complete diagnose is shown on the special, she has dyrk1a syndrome, learning disability and autism
TV Show • 2024 Report
Yes
4
No
0
2
Iveta
When John and Jane are arguing, John yells at Jane saying “I don’t know if you’re on the spectrum or what” accusing her of being emotionally unavailable, never having cared about anyone, not being empathetic, and more.
TV Show • 2013 Report
Yes
4
No
0
0
roww
not explicitly stated, but there is a character who has a type of mental disability, possibly autism
Movie • 2018 Report
Yes
4
No
1
1
SiRenfield
Ooooh yes, serious indigo child vibes here considering how they call autism the next step of human evolution and treat it like a superpower in a way that’s rather condescending
TV Show • 1989 Report
Yes
4
No
0