“Atypical” follows the misadventures of the Gardner family – mainly Sam (Keir Gilchrist), who suffers from autism, as he struggles in the world of high school, love and college applications. “Atypical” is a reflective look at the different facets of humanity. It is a show that everyone might enjoy, but more importantly, the portrayal of autism makes it a show we need to watch. A revolutionary and necessary TV series
In “Atypical,” the show’s creator, Robia Rashid, proved to be an expert in portraying autism in a positive and authentic way. The first season received criticism for the presence of what appears to be the default autistic character in entertainment: a straight, white, cisgender male with an affinity for STEM subjects and a lack of empathy. And, unfortunately, this character wasn’t played by someone with autism. However, the new season of the show deliberately pushes those boundaries in a number of ways. First, Sam tries out group therapy and the viewers get involved in his new peer group, played by five actors, each with autism.
According to Rashid, “It’s a show, first of all it’s about a family, but it’s definitely about the autism community, so I wanted as much involvement as possible from the autism community and I loved the idea of ​​this peer group. It was more successful, it was more fun and beautiful than I hoped ”. Reading helps children with autism to relate better
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Of course, it’s crucial to watch how Sam, the most prominent character in the series, was featured. In the episodes of the various seasons, he has been depicted struggling with independence, from cooking his breakfast to deciding which college he wants to attend. In doing so, Sam shocks his friends and family by choosing to pursue art instead of a STEM program. This is clearly a spur to move away from the idea that everyone in autism is genius in mathematics and science and that those with autism are not sensitive enough for art. Yes, Sam still has a knack for biology and a penchant for arctic penguins, but he’s also passionate about art. Against the stereotypes of autism
This duality is partly why Sam is such a dynamic character. His autism explains how it processes the world, but it is not the only quality that defines it. He is not a walking compilation of symptoms, he is a person with hobbies, relationships and fears. He makes mistakes and learns from them, has family drama and is confused with girls. Sam’s character can be referred to everyone, even to neurotypical viewers.
At the end of the day, what makes this show so important is its relatability. Other shows that portray autism (“The Good Doctor” or “Rain Man,” to name a couple) and present the characters as if they are practically otherworldly. While these characters don’t seem real (although autism syndrome is very real), Sam’s ability to connect with the audience allows viewers to get to know him and give the show authenticity. World Autism Day, Phrases and Quotes for Greater Awareness
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Sam’s romantic entanglements and his relationship with his parents are also complicated. His feelings change and grow with each episode. It is important to include the different dynamics and layers of each relationship because it makes it realistic. It is humanizing, which shouldn’t be revolutionary, but in a way it is. In a world with a severe lack of representation of autism in entertainment, it needs to be emphasized that autistic people are, in fact, just people.
Stella Grillo

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