The world of movies and television has the power to shed light on diverse experiences and perspectives, creating a platform to tell stories that might otherwise remain untold. Over the years, there has been a growing interest in creating content that reflects the lives of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This has offered both entertainment and education to many audiences. These movies and shows provide a window into the unique challenges, triumphs, and humanity of autistic individuals, aiming to foster understanding and acceptance. ABC has curated a list of movies that have portrayed autism in a sensitive and authentic manner.

  1. "Atypical" (2017-2021)


A TV series that offers a multi-faceted portrayal of autism, "Atypical" follows Sam Gardner (Keir Gilchrist), a young man on the spectrum, as he navigates the challenges of high school, relationships, and the pursuit of independence. The show delves into the dynamics of his family, showcasing their individual struggles and growth alongside Sam's journey.

  1. "The Good Doctor" (2017-present)


This medical drama series follows Dr. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore), a surgical resident with autism and savant syndrome. The show explores Shaun's challenges and triumphs as he navigates the medical field, debunking misconceptions and showcasing the value of diversity in the workplace.

  1. "Sesame Street" (Julia’s First Appearance: 2015-Present)


A beloved classic that has stood the test of time, "Sesame Street" has been leading the way in inclusive programming. Through the inclusion of Julia, a muppet with autism, the show promotes understanding and friendship among young viewers. "Sesame Street" offers a variety of resources to help children and families understand autism better.

  1. "Temple Grandin" (2010)


Based on the real-life story of Temple Grandin, an influential autistic woman and animal behaviorist, this biographical film portrays her determination to succeed despite societal challenges. Claire Danes delivers an exceptional performance, highlighting Grandin's unique perspectives and contributions to animal science.

  1. "Pablo" (2017-present)


"Pablo" is a unique animated series that follows the adventures of Pablo, a 5-year-old boy with autism who uses his creativity to turn his imaginary friends into art. The show aims to capture the experiences and perspectives of autistic children, fostering understanding among peers.

  1. "Mozart and the Whale" (2005)


Inspired by the real-life experiences of Jerry and Mary Newport, "Mozart and the Whale" explores the romantic relationship between two adults on the autism spectrum. The film challenges stereotypes and celebrates the complexities of love and connection within the context of neurodiversity.

  1. "Loop" (2020)


Pixar’s "Loop" is a short film that beautifully captures the connection between two non-speaking autistic teenagers during a canoeing trip. Through minimal dialogue and expressive visuals, the film promotes empathy and highlights the importance of recognizing nonverbal communication cues.

  1. "Life, Animated" (2016)


This touching documentary tells the story of Owen Suskind, a young man with autism who learns to communicate and understand the world through his love for Disney animated movies. The film highlights the role of storytelling and imagination in helping Owen connect with his family and the world around him.

As society becomes more attuned to the importance of representation and accessibility, the film industry has started pushing boundaries and breaking stereotypes. Movies and shows about autistic individuals have the power to foster empathy, break down stereotypes, and promote understanding. Through authentic portrayals, these stories not only entertain but also contribute to a broader conversation about neurodiversity and inclusion. By watching these films and shows, audiences can gain insight into the unique experiences of autistic individuals, ultimately promoting a more compassionate and accepting society.

At Action Behavior Centers, we strive to provide compassionate care for children on the autism spectrum. We believe that early Intervention can be a great foundation in building a brighter future with Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy. ABC is committed to getting your child started as soon as possible because every moment counts. 

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