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Autism in Media

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Works that deal with Autism and/or Asperger's Syndrome and the portrayals of those on the autism spectrum (for better or for worse). Note that characters with Ambiguous Disorders or coded autistic characters are not to be included with this list, nor media that only deals with autism as an "issue of the week" situation.

See also Creators on the Autism Spectrum.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • With the Light: The protagonist's son, Hikaru, is autistic, and the manga is themed around raising a child on the spectrum.

    Comic Books 
  • Aquaman: Black Manta, one of Aquaman's main villains and Kaldur's father, is on the autism spectrum.
  • Marvel has some autistic superheroes and villains, including Legion (Charles Xavier's estranged son), Laura Dean (Goblyn's twin, both members of Alpha Flight), M (Monet St. Croix from Generation X) and the mutant known as Dummy (Dean Boswell). Marvel also includes secondary, one-use autistic characters, like a young autistic kid whose company the Incredible Hulk enjoys during the issue.
  • The New Universe (a mid-1980s experimental Marvel... thingie) has Johnny Do, a member of Psi-Force.
  • The original pitch document for Postal states that the protagonist, Mark Shiffron, has Asperger's syndrome.

    Comic Strips 
  • AJ & Magnus: AJ has awkward interactions with a non-verbal autistic boy, and during the storyline regular character and Child Prodigy Ebony Adams reveals she is also autistic and educates AJ about the autism spectrum.

    Fan Works 
  • Denounce the Evils: James is written as autistic, though it's never mentioned in the text.
  • Let Us Be Your Poison: In this RWBY rewrite, Pyrrha is on the autism spectrum. She has trouble with socializing but prefers not to tell people in fear that they'll treat her differently.
  • My Sister Leni is a fic for The Loud House that interprets Leni as having been diagnosed as autistic at a young age. Her little sister Lisa is also autistic.
  • In The New Retcons, Robin is eventually diagnosed with autism, and Word of God is that Anthony has undiagnosed Asperger's.
  • Obsession: In this Pokémon fic, Jirarudan is autistic, though the term itself is never mentioned in-story.
  • In The One to Make It Stay, Luka was diagnosed with autism as a kid. Before he was diagnosed, he would lash out more often at things like losing a game to his sister or if his mom didn't have time to play guitar with him. He mellowed out after a few years of therapy and learning to meditate.
  • Many fan fics authored by SaoirseParisa, who is autistic herself, feature main characters who are explicitly autistic, some of which include:
  • Silver Rings and Golden Hearts: James wants to adopt Penny, a little girl who is on the autism spectrum. He has difficulties getting through the adoption process, so he asks his friend Qrow to marry him in order to help.
  • A fair portion of the Voltron: Legendary Defender fanfics written by Squirenonny, themself autistic, reinterpret characters as being on the spectrum:
    • (Don't) Stop Running: Pidge is autistic.
    • Two Years Gone: Keith is autistic.
    • Voltron: Duality: Pidge and Keith are both autistic.
  • You and Me (and Everyone in Between): James' daughter Penny is on the autism spectrum.

    Films — Animation 
  • Mary and Max follows a young girl who becomes pen pals with a man with Asperger syndrome.
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    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Accountant: Protagonist Christian Wolff is an accountant with autism. His autism gives him preternatural ability with accounting.
  • Adam: Adam Raki is a young man with autism working as an electronics engineer and who has a love of space.
  • Alien Abduction (2014): The protagonist is an 11-year-old autistic boy who films his family's abduction.
  • Ben X: Nic Balthazar is an autistic high school student and consistent target of bullies who finds solace in playing a MMORPG as his avatar, Ben X.
  • The Big Short: Christian Bale plays physician and hedge fund manager Michael Burry, who has Asperger's Syndrome.
  • Bless the Child is about a young autistic girl with incredible powers.
  • The Boy Who Could Fly: Eric Gibb is an autistic boy who can secretly fly.
  • Burning Bright is about a teenage girl protecting her autistic little brother from a ravenous tiger.
  • Change of Habit, possibly the first movie with an autistic character, has Elvis Presley curing autism using rage reduction, which is now known to be an abusive quack therapy.
  • Chocolate: Zen is a non-verbal young woman with autism. Her autism makes her a highly skilled martial artist.
  • Cries from the Heart is about an autistic boy testifying in court using facilitated communication, a controversial technique.
  • In Cube, one of the people trapped in the titular cube is an autistic savant.
  • Dark Floors has an autistic girl defeating other-dimensional monsters.
  • The Fanatic: John Travolta said that he played the stalker Moose as being on the autism spectrum.
  • In Fielder's Choice, a man finds himself the guardian of his recently orphaned autistic nephew.
  • Fly Away is about a woman raising her autistic daughter and trying to decide whether to institutionalize her or not.
  • Imagination is about twin sisters with mysterious abilities, one of whom has Asperger syndrome.
  • In Jack of the Red Hearts, a former juvenile delinquent cons her way into a job as the caretaker of an autistic child.
  • Jane Wants a Boyfriend: A Coming-of-Age Story romance between an autistic young woman and her neurotypical love interest.
  • Joyful Noise: Walter, the brother of one of the choir members, has Asperger syndrome. His sister's boyfriend gives him piano lessons, and he eventually joins the choir's band.
  • Killer Diller (2004): Vernon Jackson is a piano savant who joins a blues band.
  • Life, Animated is a documentary about an autistic boy who uses Disney movies to communicate with others and understand the world.
  • In Mabul, an autistic teen is sent home after the institution where he lives shuts down.
  • Mario (1984): Mario is stated to be autistic, although for some reason the word isn't used in the English dub.
  • Mercury Rising: Simon Lynch is a non-verbal kid with autism and a talent for pattern recognition. He's even able to crack top-secret N.S.A. cryptographic codes.
  • Midwinter Night's Dream is an allegory for The Yugoslav Wars starring an autistic child.
  • Miracle Run is a Lifetime movie about two autistic twin boys, Phillip and Steven; the story focuses on their mother raising them.
  • Molly (1999) is about a woman undergoing an experimental treatment for autism and intellectual impairment.
  • Mozart and the Whale is about a couple with Asperger syndrome falling in love.
  • My Name Is Khan - Rizwan Khan is an Indian man with autism living in the US in the late '90s and early noughties.
  • In Ocean Heaven, a terminally ill man tries to prepare his autistic son to live without him.
  • On Body and Soul is about an autistic meat quality inspector who discovers she can communicate with the abbatoir's CFO through dreams.
  • Please Stand By: Wendy Welcott is a young woman with autism and a Star Trek fanfic writer.
  • Power Rangers (2017) re-imagines the character of Billy / the Blue Ranger as an African-American teenager with autism.
  • The Predator: Quinn McKenna's son Rory has autism and is bullied for it, but the Predator finds his autism to be the next step in human evolution.
  • Quantum Apocalypse is about an autistic man trying to prevent the destruction of Earth.
  • Rain Man: Charlie Babbitt's previously unknown brother Raymond is a mathematical genius on the spectrum. Being autistic is treated as a Disability Superpower.
  • Relative Fear is about the Switched at Birth autistic child of a Serial Killer.
  • Season of Miracles is a Sports Story with an autistic baseball prodigy.
  • In The Silence of Adultery, a therapist working with autistic children has an affair with the father of one of her clients.
  • In Silent Fall, an autistic boy is the only witness to his parents' brutal murder.
  • Snow Cake is about a middle-aged autistic woman readjusting after her daughter's death.
  • Son-Rise: A Miracle of Love is a '70s docudrama about a couple trying to treat their son's autism using the Son-Rise method, which they invented.
  • In Stand Clear of the Closing Doors, an autistic boy runs away from home into the subway.
  • The Story of Luke is about an autistic man's quest to find a job and a girlfriend.
  • Temple Grandin: A 2010 Biopic about Temple Grandin, an autistic doctor, professor and best-selling author.
  • Under the Piano is about the relationship between an autistic piano savant and her older sister, who has a paralyzed arm.
  • According to Thierry Zéno, the human from Vase de Noces was highly autistic, which bears eyebrow-raising implications, considering his actions throughout the film.
  • White Frog is about an autistic teenager learning about his deceased older brother's life.

    Literature 
  • In 2312, Fitz Wahram is mentioned a few times to be autistic.
  • The Amy Virus: The main character, Cyan Beaut (her real name is Cynthia Ann Butt, but she hates it for obvious reasons) is autistic, even though her Control Freak Abusive Parents have her on a strict diet that they claim can cure autism. The story is about her realizing the truth, discovering her musical talents, rebelling against her parents' control over her with the help of her two new friends Renate and Eroica (the latter is also on the autism spectrum herself), embracing her reforged identity and new name, and her attempts to meet an obscure bossa nova singer.
  • Anything But Typical is about a twelve-year-old autistic writer.
  • Asperger Adventures is a series of children's books following children with Asperger Syndrome.
  • In Blind Lake, Tess Hauser has been diagnosed with Asperger's a few years before the story begins.
  • Boneland: The protagonist, Colin Whisterfield, is described as a high-functioning Aspergers case.
  • A Boy Made of Blocks is about a man bonding with his autistic son over Minecraft.
  • Colin Fischer is about an autistic fourteen-year-old trying to figure out which of his classmates brought a gun to school.
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time: An autistic fifteen-year-old tries to solve the murder of his neighbor's dog.
  • In Daystar and Shadow, both titular protagonists were abandoned in the desert as children for being "artistic."
  • The Eagle Tree is about a tree-obsessed autistic teen fighting to save an ancient tree from being cut down by developers.
  • Existence has autistic hackers searching for a cloned Neanderthal child.
  • Geist Prelude follows an autistic college student thrust into a Diesel Punk fantasy world.
  • In Ghosts of Tomorrow, a young autistic girl is scanned onto a computer by the South American Mafia so her savant skills can be used to perform market analysis.
  • In the Gone series, Astrid's little brother Pete is severely autistic.
  • Hainish: Osden from "Vaster Than Empires and More Slow" used to be autistic... until an experimental treatment made him into an empath instead.
  • In Harmonic Feedback, a teen with "a touch of Asperger's" joins a band and falls in love after she moves to a new town.
  • In Harmony (2016), a family moves to a commune in the hopes of finding help for their daughter's PDD-NOS.
  • House Rules: Jacob Hunt is an autistic teen who is accused of murdering his social skills tutor.
  • Jackie and Craig features the autistic teenager Amy Black, whose specific obsession is wildlife and biology. It comes in handy when you're facing down Chupacabras, Fleshgaits and Mothmen.
  • In Jackie Boy, Jackie's friend and lover Morgan is autistic.
  • "Joey: A 'Mechanical Boy'" is a probably-fraudulent article about a boy whose trauma-induced autism causes him to view himself as a machine.
  • Kea's Flight is set on a starship inhabited mostly by children rejected as embryos for having genetic disorders. Kea and many of her fellow rejects are on the autism spectrum.
  • Love Anthony has a woman mourning the death of her eight-year-old autistic son.
  • MARiiMO is about an undiagnosed autistic woman creating a developmental robotics platform.
  • Martian Time-Slip has a union leader recruiting a young autistic/schizophrenic boy (the two conditions were thought to be the same in 1964) in order to use his time travel abilities for a real estate deal.
  • In Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, the imaginary friend of a boy with Asperger's helps him interpret social situations and deal with problems at school - and then has to help save him from a kidnapper.
  • Miracle Creek is a Courtroom Drama about the explosion of a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, a form of quack treatment, that kills one autistic boy as well as a different autistic boy's mother.
  • Mockingbird is about a girl with Asperger's syndrome trying to find closure after her brother's murder.
  • On the Edge of Gone: The protagonist is autistic and worries her disability will prevent her from getting a spot on a Generation Ship.
  • In Oryx and Crake, Crake is stated to have Asperger's syndrome.
  • The Outside: The protagonist is an autistic scientist who finds herself entangled with the AI gods who rule the galaxy.
  • The Place Inside the Storm is about an autistic teenager who runs away from home in order to avoid cure surgery.
  • In Queens of Geek, three teenage friends attend a convention, including an autistic and anxious girl.
  • In Rage: A Love Story, a lesbian high schooler begins a relationship with the sister of the autistic boy she's tutoring.
  • Ready Player One: Wade notes that after James Halliday’s death, experts suggested that he had Asperger’s or was otherwise on the autism spectrum; he was known for having strong special interests and knowing vast details about them, his behavior was always considered odd by others, and he found it difficult to interact with others.
  • In The Regulators, an autistic boy gains reality warping powers and uses them to summon creatures based on his favorite TV show.
  • In Rogue, several characters suggest that Kiara might be autistic, and she eventually self-diagnoses using the internet.
  • The Savant is about a twelve-year-old autistic boy who acquires precognitive abilities after hitting his head on a rock.
  • In Shtum, a couple pretends to separate to increase their autistic son's chances of getting a residential placement.
  • Soon I Will Be Invincible: Blackwolf, the Batman analogue, is said to be autistic.
  • In The Speed of Dark, a group of autistic coworkers must decide whether to become cured or not.
  • The Stormlight Archive: Renarin Kholin has been confirmed by Brandon Sanderson to be on the autism spectrum, and demonstrates several tics associated with an autistic person, including fidgeting, social awkwardness and difficulty speaking to people, and so on.
  • In This Alien Shore, every inhabitant of the planet Guera is mentally disabled in some way. Dr. Kio Masada, one of the main characters, is iru, which has been confirmed by the author to mean autistic.
  • This Other World: The protagonist is an autistic woman living on an alien planet.
  • Trueman Bradley is about a young man with Asperger syndrome trying to make it as a detective in New York City.
  • The author of An Unkindness of Ghosts has confirmed that Aster would be diagnosed with autism in today's world. In-universe, another character diagnoses her as insiwa, which seems to have a similar meaning.
  • WWW Trilogy: The main character's father is autistic.
  • Xandri Corelel series: The titular protagonist is autistic. She is the head of Xeno-Liaisons on a first contact ship.
  • Young Wizards: Book 6, A Wizard Alone, focuses on the protagonists trying to find a way to help an autistic wizard complete his wizardly "Ordeal". The New Millennium edition of the book is heavily revised in response to feedback from autistic readers.

    Live-Action TV 
  • All My Children had an autistic teenager named Lily Montgomery until she left the show to attend college.
  • Alphas — two examples:
    • Gary Bell, a core-member of the central team, is a young autistic man who has the ability to sense the electromagnetic spectrum, making him a receptive Technopath.
    • Anna Levy is a non-verbal autistic woman who can only communicate via online text but has Omniglot powers. She is a leading member of the "Red Flag" Super Supremacist organisation, and she and Gary end up in a Dating Catwoman relationship.
  • Atypical: Sam Gardner is a high-school senior with autism. The series is about his efforts to navigate romance and getting along with people.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon is an edge case - although the show's staff have denied repeatedly that he's autistic, Jim Parsons has said that he does see him as having Asperger's and portrays him as such.
  • Boston Legal: Recurring character Jerry Espenson is a lawyer working for Crane, Poole and Schmidt and is stated to have Asperger Syndrome.
  • Degrassi: The Next Generation: Connor Delaurier was introduced in season 8 as Degrassi's first character with Asperger's Syndrome.
  • Elementary: Sherlock's Love Interest Fiona is autistic, or "neuro-atypical" as she calls it.
  • Eureka: Allison's son Teen Genius Kevin is autistic in the old timeline, but not in the Alternate Timeline.
  • Everything's Gonna Be Okay is about a man raising his two half-sisters, one of whom is autistic.
  • Girl Meets World: Recurring character Smackle has Asperger's Syndrome.
  • Good Doctor (South Korea): A Korean Medical Drama about Shi-on, a young pediatric surgeon with autism.
  • The Good Doctor (U.S.): Shaun Murphy is an autistic medical school graduate who becomes employed as a surgeon at a hospital.
  • Parenthood: Max, one of the Braverman children, is diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome.
  • Rose Red has Annie Wheaton, an autistic teenager with telekinetic powers.
  • While the title character on Sherlock insists that he's a "high-functioning sociopath", medical doctor John Watson makes the claim that he has Asperger's. It's consistent with Sherlock's desire for consistency and determination to see things through to the end.
  • In St. Elsewhere, Dr. Donald Westphall's autistic son Tommy is a minor character for most of the show. The last episode reveals that Tommy possibly made up the whole show while staring into a snowglobe.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Sesame Street: Introduced Julia, a preschooler Muppet with autism This was originally done as part of a partnership with the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, but ASAN ended the partnership after Sesame Street began to include material more typical of Autism Speaks (despite acknowledging that it was harmful).

    Tabletop Games 
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    Theatre 
  • A 2019 play called All in a Row, about a family dealing with autism, drew controversy for its depiction of the disorder. Some felt the play promoted bad stereotypes and that using a puppet for the autistic child was dehumanizing autistic people (resulting in the hashtag “#puppetgate”), while others praised it for showing the difficulties that can come with it.

    Video Games 
  • Amy: The titular character is an eight-year-old autistic girl with psychic powers.
  • The Elder Scrolls Online: Two characters are confirmed to be autistic by the devs:
    • Ja-Reet, an Argonian in Shadowfen, cannot read social cues and emotions; other characters of his race suspect that this is because he grew up away from the Hist trees that shape their race and influence their society and they offer a possible cure. He wants to try it, feeling that his difference is a burden on his wife; she is happy with him as he is, and is supportive of him no matter what he decides about it.
    • The Drake of Blades, who happens to be the main NPC in the Imperial City DLC's questline. She notes that she's not good with people and has always found it difficult to talk to others, but that she's exceptionally attentive to detail, and that due to her experience studying others around her, she can pick up on people's intentions. Some of her social difficulty is demonstrated in dialogue with her; for instance there are several moments where she says what she's thinking, realizes that what she just said probably sounded rude, and apologizes.
      Player: Are you feeling all right?
      Drake of Blades: Of course I am. Am I...? I'm being awkward, aren't I? I apologize. I'm not very good... with people, I mean. I usually just avoid talking to people entirely. This is the longest conversation I've had in months.
      Player: Nerves?
      Drake of Blades: Something like that. I guess. I'm perceptive. "Gifted," they say. I can tell when someone's lying, or anxious, or plotting something, just by looking at them. But it's too much sometimes - especially when they start talking to me.
      Player: Must be difficult.
      Drake of Blades: Yes and no. For better or worse, it made me who I am. I couldn't really talk to people, so I had to learn about them through observation. It honed my senses - made me focus on the little things. Details. That's a valuable skill in my profession.
  • Magical Warrior Diamond Heart: Two of the main characters, Sophia Anderson and Zacharie Pelletier, are on the spectrum.
  • Mass Effect 2: the Overlord DLC introduces David Archer, who's explicitly stated to be an autistic savant.
  • Max: An Autistic Journey follows an autistic boy struggling to get through his day.
  • Overwatch: The character of Symmetra was confirmed to be autistic and was referred to being on the spectrum in tie-in lore comic "A Better World."
  • Warframe: Word of God has confirmed that Rell's unspecified mental condition is autism.

    Webcomics 
  • In Abby and Norma, Abby's an Aspie, which was originally what the comic was about.
  • Last Res0rt:
    • Daisy Archanis is an autistic Mad Scientist CEO in her fifties. In the comic, autism and other mental disorders are a symptom of being Light Children, who have similar powers to the Celeste, but didn't get the same training.
    • Daisy and other autistic characters often make use of Augmented Reality devices nicknamed autie lenses that filter out sensory overloads and provide social cues in addition to acting like a smartphone. They're also fairly popular among high-powered businesspeople so it can be hard to tell if someone wearing them is autistic or neurotypical.
  • Brun from Questionable Content is self-diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. She doesn't have an official diagnosis, as people called her autistic as part of bullying her when younger, and she doesn't want to be officially labelled as something she considers an insult.
  • Ruby Nation: Jiro Sasaki is a formerly low-functioning autistic teen who underwent an experimental treatment with nanomachines. As a result, his physical and cognitive skills have been greatly advanced, but his social skills remain arrested. He feels the treatment made him less human and wishes he could get it reversed.

    Western Animation 
  • Archer: Sterling Archer questions if he's on the spectrum throughout the series, as he finds himself being the only one to identify weapons at a glance, keep track of bullet counts, and other such things when in battles. It's never portrayed negatively, more along the lines of "Huh. That would explain a lot."
  • Arthur: The recurring secondary character Carl Gould has Asperger's Syndrome, a form of Autism spectrum disorder which makes him have problems with social interaction when being around people. He loves trains and can point out every detail of them with incredible accuracy and attention to detail. As well as trains, he likes to assemble jigsaws, can draw rather good lions all by hand, "likes apple juice in a box, not a bottle", and his favorite color is blue, but he dislikes the color brown. He can get somewhat anxious around situations that are unfamiliar to him, and he doesn't like George's giraffe ventriloquist dummy, Wally, because it freaks him out, but can often find a rational solution to a problem whenever it presents itself. In the episode where Carl is introduced, Brain reveals that his uncle is also autistic, and gives George the same analogy his uncle gave him on what having autism is like so George can understand Carl a bit better:
    Brain: Imagine you've crash-landed on an alien planet. It looks like earth, but there are lots of differences. For one, a lot of people seem to talk really loudly. And even though you speak the same language, you sometimes have a hard time understanding what they mean. And things that seem hilarious to you aren't funny at all to them. You wish the scientists back on earth had given you a guide book to this strange planet, but they forgot to pack one, so you have to try to learn things all on your own. Maybe there's one thing in particular that captures your interest and you study just that. Hopefully, the people on the planet begin to understand you a little better. And you might even learn to fit in. But you'll always feel a little bit different.
  • Pixar Shorts: In the SparkShort "Loop", a non-verbal autistic girl named Renee (who communicates through making approving and disapproving noises and using her phone) and a chatty boy named Marcus are paired together for a canoeing trip during a day camp. They become friends by the end of the story.
  • Rick and Morty:
    • One of the two main characters, Morty's grandfather Rick, mentions possibly being autistic while playing Minecraft.
    • Morty could also be as well, as Rick introduces him as his "getaway driver with Asperger's" in another episode. If true, it might be the cause of his learning disability, which is mentioned several times throughout the series (and he might've inherited the condition from Rick, as autism tends to run in families).
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Character designs for Season 4 outright refer to Princess Entrapta as autistic.

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