Replace the show "Atypical."
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My name is Lydia. I am a 19 year old autistic woman. As far as canonically autistic characters go, we have very few we can relate to; this is especially true for female characters who are canonically autistic. And whenever the media portrays us, it's almost always a terrible representation.
So when the show "Atypical" was announced, I was a bit hesitant. The day it came out, I decided to give it a chance. I could only get 5 minutes in until I was absolutely disgusted by it.
First off, it's the same stereotype we have seen for years; a white, cis, straight male who is autistic, interested in science, monotone, awkward, apathetic, highly dependent on neurotypicals, etc,. Second his traits are clearly played up for laughs. His bluntness gets him in trouble. His facial expressions get him in trouble. What he says gets him in trouble. Third it uses person-first language (person with autism) almost exclusively. Many of us in the autistic community prefer identity-first language (autistic person) because our autism is not separate from who we are.
Something else that really bothered me is that it portrays us autistic people as burdens. The mom can't be intimate with the dad because the son, who has a job and is functioning well, now wants to date? The support group for "Autism Moms"? On top of it, the actor isn't even autistic, nor did he or any of the production team actually talk to autistic people. All they did was basic research, which can only get you so far. Talking to people who are actually autistic and listening to us are what get you to truly understand what being autistic is like.
This show is highly detested by a large percentage of us in the autistic community, while most of the good reviews come from neurotypicals or parents of autistic children. And now it is being renewed for a second season. I cannot express my distaste enough towards Netflix's decision to move forward with a terrible and stereotypical representation of autism or their refusal to listen to autistic people.
The media heavily influences how we view others. People may begin to generalize autism and base their assumptions about us on this show. This can lead to autistics who don't fit the stereotypes feeling out of place which can lead to depression and perhaps to suicidal ideation. In fact, according to Psychology Today, autistic people are twenty-eight times more likely to attempt or commit suicide. This needs to change.
I am hoping that with this petition, it will move Netflix to replace "Atypical" with a show that is much more informed about autism, doesn't rely on stereotypes, or portray us as burdens to society. I also hope that this show will star an autistic actor/actress or multiple autistic actors/actresses playing autistic people and/or have many actually autistic people working on it. If we can spread our own stories and get them out to the mainstream public, people may begin to have a better understanding about autism.
Today: Lydia is counting on you
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