Why Television Does A Terrible Job of Autism Representation

Stop Telling People That They Don't Act 'Autistic Enough' To Be On The Spectrum

It's time for the world to wake up. Seriously.

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Note: This article was entirely inspired by this Twitter thread I saw and would highly recommend giving a read! The user touches upon a few points that I may miss, and I wouldn't want to just repeat everything they state.

No matter how many times it is stated, everyone seems to forget that autism exists on a spectrum.

Therefore, the symptoms and signs demonstrated by one individual may not be shared by another. Sure, there may be similarities among two people on the spectrum, but these similarities should not be seen as defining factors of autism. Likewise, someone further along the spectrum may not compare at all to someone else.

Yet, television, films, and other forms of media don't do a great job showing this.

There are very few cases of representation for autism on-screen, but when there is, it is often a very stereotypical, inaccurate case of it. Some traits that I've noticed most of these characters share are accelerated intelligence, lack of tact, honesty that borders on rudeness, and so on. And yes, some people with autism will have these characteristics. But a large percentage of them don't!

In all of my years working with those with special needs, I have never met someone who acts like what television considers the perfect picture of someone with autism. This is a big problem. Why?

Because the general public will start to believe that this is how everyone with autism acts. They'll start to think that these characters define what autism is like, and when they're confronted with the reality that this is not the truth, they won't know how to help.

This false idea of what autism is and means could lead to this concept of not "being or acting autistic enough."

To an outsider, if you don't act like the main character from "The Good Doctor" or Sam from "Atypical," your identity is considered invalid. If you don't have the characteristics of having above average intelligence or complete honesty at all times, nothing matches in their head. See why this is a problem?

Autism is a spectrum in which no individual who has it is alike and will match all of the symptoms and signs.

So it is foolish for television and film to describe autism through the same stereotypes when it is unlikely that the people you encounter will find truth in that representation. Even the best representation will not be accurate for everyone.

While telling someone that they don't act "autistic enough" is already an insult to their identity, that harshness buries itself deeper when you take into account that society already looks down on those with mental disabilities.

They spend their entire lives trying to fit in with the crowd, lessening their ticks until it becomes easier for them to do the everyday activities that you take for granted—all for people to invalidate them by saying they don't look like they're on the spectrum.

Even today, society doesn't know how to explain autism, and admittedly, it isn't easy when it is so different for everyone.

Even the people deep in that world don't understand everything about it, and that's okay. What is important is that we start considering everyone as individuals and not expect to fit them in a box of preconceptions.

It is important that we try to erase the stereotypes and start explaining the truth: autism is complicated and tricky, but that doesn't mean we should ever stop trying to understand or make the world kinder for those on the spectrum.

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13 Signs You Grew Up In The 2000s

Get ready to feel nostalgic
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The 2000s, generally referred to as the decade falling between 2000 and 2009. However, these 10 years were so much more dear to our hearts and definitely cannot be limited to this simplified definition. From hopes that you had the best kooky pen collection, to dreaming about making it to see the year 3000, there was never a dull moment. So, put on those terry cloth sweatpants, charge up that nano iPod, and read about the signs that prove you grew up in the best decade:

1. You might have jammed out to “Girlfriend” by Avril Lavigne on your nano IPod

Yes you had one, and your playlists consisted of the best songs the 2000s had to offer; All American Rejects, Fall Out Boy, The Killers and of course Avril Lavigne.

2. You treated your tamagotchi as if it were your child

This hand held digital pet probably occupied a little too much of your time. You spent your days feeding it scones and watching them reach a new life cycle.

3. Your wardrobe consisted of every color Juicy sweatsuit and Ed hardy tees...

Thank god these terrycloth outfits made a comeback!... Right?

4. ... Oh, and gauchos, you LOVED gauchos

These pants took over your wardrobe before yoga pants came into your life. Gauchos flooded the playground in pink, blue and tie-dye. I miss you gauchos.

5. You had the debate with your friends over whether Webkinz or Club Penguin was better, but you begged your parents for a membership to both

As soon as you logged onto your account your afternoon was booked up. While on your Webkinz you visited the curio shop, got a checkup with Dr. Quack, made a hamburger in the employment office and played cash cow in the arcade.

6. Your friends always had these in their pantry

At the end of a long, hard day of multiplication, going to your friends house for a playdate and indulging in a cosmic brownie was a necessity.

7. This was your first experience with makeup, and a cell phone

This accessory gave the lyrics "my lipgloss is cool my lipgloss be poppin" a whole new meaning. Pretending to answer the phone while smearing your lips in every color imaginable; this was the perfect mix of feeling like you were a teenager while also staying true to your child like self.

8. Lizzie Mcguire was the first ever Bitmoji

You watched her on Disney Channel as Lizzie McGuire, admired her fashion sense, and sang to "Hey Now" an endless amount of times. Hillary Duff was the definition of goals.

9. The auctioning off of silly bandz in elementary school was basically Wallstreet

The must have accessory of the 2000s.

10. You would beg your mom to buy you lunchables when you walked down the frozen food isle

Looking back on it now, eating these was probably not the best idea.

11. You had a favorite Jonas Brother

And it was NEVER Kevin.

12. You dreamed of riding around in a JetX just like the kids in PCA

You put getting a JetX on your To-Do list right under making a key necklace.

13. Instead of homework, your after school activities consisted of watching THE BEST Disney Channel and Nickelodeon shows

Disney Channel and Nickelodeon will sadly never be the same. Classics include: Hannah Montana, Ned's Declassified, Suite Life of Zack and Cody and That's so Raven.

Don't you want to just go back in time and bask in the simple days where all you cared about was how good your blue eyeshadow looked and when the next Disney Channel Original movie would come on?

Cover Image Credit: flickr

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The Inward Struggle Of Being Trans And Christian

When who you are does not match what you believe.

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I was probably 15 when I started to feel my gender was a little different from my body. This only really came with my periods and my chest. Every period, I was in agony not just because of physical pain, but because of mental pain as well.

I have always been a person who wants to know why.

Why?

Why is this happening?

Why was I born?

Why was I brought into this world only to bleed and be in pain while in it and why does no one want to seem to help with this battle.

I, so far, have asked two doctors for a hysterectomy only to be laughed right out of the office. What I really want is to be OK with my body, to feel secure in it, to be happy, and not to bleed. When I first shared these feelings with my father it was because I could hold it in no longer. I was at a breaking point. I had passed every single male I saw on the street and felt extremely jealous, not to mention the jealousy I often felt towards my own boyfriend. I felt this jealousy for my cisgender guy friends, boyfriend, my little brother.

I felt it for practically everyone.

As my father and I began talking, he brought up hell. Hell is something I actually think of quite often. It is something that I know the Lord sends people to when they do not believe Him. That is always what I have believed, however, this sort of shed new light. I never really thought of God sending people to hell for disobedience.

When I was 15 I started wondering why.

Why did I have to have a period?

Why did God do that?

Why must I bleed once a month?

Why was I not born a boy?

I wanted a flat chest, no uterus, testosterone, and I just wanted to shed the skin I was in. It got worse. It hit the worst when I graduated high school and went to college. College was a time of freedom. I had left my parents and was on my own, however, along with being on my own came a world. Life seemed so aimless, every period I had, I wanted for the next, and I did not want to go on hormonal birth controls to help or stop it due to the fact that pumping that much female hormones into my body seemed unbearable, not to mention the success rate of fulling stopping a menstrual cycle can be slim (however, more women should know that completely stopping your cycle is perfectly fine and healthy, but that is a different article for a different day,

I lost my purpose.

When I was young, I was bursting of life. I practiced my Oscar speeches and interviews with Jimmy Fallon or Ellen Degeneres in the shower every single day. I had dreams. As I got older, I felt them slip from me. I used to dream and dream and dream. But now I am lost in reality. When I used to dream, I always pictured a girl. I always pictured me. I saw myself winning Oscars, talking to Jimmy Fallon, and laughing with Ellen in a female body. I don't know what to see anymore. Because these days, I truly struggle with seeing myself as a girl. The little girl who was born in 1999 grew up to wish that event had never happened. I really can't picture doing those things anymore as Lizzie anymore, because soon she will be gone.

It feels serial to type that name out.

It feels odd to see it on paper. It is something my ears still perk up to and something I still feel a bit of a connection to which I will keep in consideration if and when I decide to change it. But overall, I am terrified. I am petrified of God, of life, of the future. Many times I have been told to pray and to accept this body, but doing such things are not even close to as easy as everyone insists. I am crippled by dysphoria. There is not a waking moment where it is not on my mind. I wake up anxious often, sometimes I even wake up in the middle of my deep slumber from nightmares. I dream of the blood coming from a place I never asked, I dream of the millions of others who have to deal with such horrors, I dream of hell and of Heaven.

My life with dysphoria is a living nightmare.

I want to give some hope. I want to give hope that it will not always be this way and that change is possible. I am hurting. I am closeted. I am disappointed with the lack of research of making the lives of trans individuals, women, and others seeking to suppress dysphoric bodily occurrences.

In this day and age, we shouldn't have to have periods. We shouldn't have to stay at home. We should progress in our technology and medicine. But these changes just never seem to come quite quickly enough.

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