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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.


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.

     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 
  • Many fan fics authored by SaoirseParisa, who is autistic herself, feature main characters who are explicitly autistic, some of which include her Pokémon fan fic, Pokémon: A Marvelous Journeynote , and her Tales of Zestiria Alternate Universe fan fic, Love Feels Like Home.note 
  • Let Us Be Your Poison: In the RWBY rewrite Let Us Be Your Poison, 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: The Loud House fic My Sister Leni interprets Leni as having been diagnosed as autistic at young age. Her little sister Lisa is also autistic.
  • Obsession: Jirarudan in the Pokémon fic Obsession is autistic, though the term itself is never mentioned in-story.

    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.
  • 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.
  • Chocolate: Zen is a non-verbal young woman with autism. Her autism makes her a highly skilled martial artist.
  • Killer Diller (2004): Vernon Jackson is a piano savant who joins a blues band.
  • 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.
  • The Lifetime movie Miracle Run stars two twin boys, Phillip and Steven, who are autistic, and the story focuses on their mother raising them.
  • My Name Is Khan - Rizwan Khan is an Indian man with autism living in the US in the late '90s and early noughties.
  • 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.
  • Rain Man: Charlie Babbitt's previously unknown brother Raymond is a mathematical genius on the spectrum. Being autistic is treated as a Disability Superpower.
  • Temple Grandin: A 2010 Biopic about Temple Grandin, an autistic doctor, professor and best-selling author.
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    Literature 
  • The Amy Virus: The main character, Cyan Beaut (real name Cynthia Butt, but she hates it) is autistic, even though her family has her on a strict diet that they claim can cure autism. The story is about her realizing the truth, trying to rebel against her parents' Control Freak tendencies with the help of her two friends (one of whom is autistic herself), and her attempts to meet an obscure bossa nova singer.
  • Hainish: Osden from "Vaster Than Empires and More Slow" used to be autistic... until an experimental treatment made him into an empath instead.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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".

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Girl Meets World: Recurring character Smackle has Asperger's Syndrome.
  • Eureka: Allison's son Teen Genius Kevin is autistic in the old timeline, but not in the Alternate Timeline.
  • 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.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Sesame Street: Introduced Julia, an autistic preschooler Muppet designed to help other children identify and befriend children with autism. A study showed that this had a positive impact on autism awareness and acceptance in both children and parents. This was originally done as a partnership with the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, but ASAN ended the partnership after Sesame Street began to include harmful material more typical of Autism Speaks (despite acknowledging that it was harmful.)

    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 
  • The Elder Scrolls Online - the Drake of Blades (the main NPC in the Imperial City DLC's questline) is confirmed to be autistic by the devs. The character 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 studying people she can pick up on things such as whether someone's lying.
  • Mass Effect 2 - the Overlord DLC introduces David Archer, who's explicitly stated to be an autistic savant.
  • 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."
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    Web Comics 
  • Spectra Spell: Vera, one of the two main characters, is a 13-year-old autistic girl.
  • 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.

    Western Animation 
  • Arthur: The recurring secondary character Carl Gould is explicitly mentioned as having Asperger Syndrome.
  • Mary and Max follows a young girl who becomes pen pals with a man with Asperger syndrome.
  • Rick and Morty: One of the two main characters, Morty's grandfather Rick, mentions being autistic while playing Minecraft.

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