Tanya reviewed some of the must see shows to watch right now about inclusion and Autism. Read our top 12 shows now.
12. Heartbreak High
Heartbreak High is a “One to watch” This is the remake of the 90’s Iconic series. And, it is going to include an Autistic character played by Australian actor, Chloe Hayden. The show is due for release on Netflix late 2022 and is definitely one to look out for! The actress has been a huge advocate for actually autistic actors being cast in autistic roles. Because of her advocacy, Chloe is well known on TikTok and YouTube for her videos representing autism acceptance and self love. It is no surprise that I can not wait for this one. While this is not a show specifically a shows about Autism is great to have actually autistic characters playing autistic roles.
Can be viewed on Disney Plus.
In Pixar’s newest short “Loop,” all a boy and girl have to do is get in a canoe, paddle around a city lake, and get back. But there’s a catch. He talks a lot, and she doesn’t at all. He’s neurotypical. She’s on the autism spectrum. Loop is a beautifully animated story. Along with the choice to use an actual nonverbal girl for Renee is excellent and inspired. A beautifully animated inclusion on our shows about autism list.
It can be seen on Youtube
Pablo is an autistic boy who draws animal friends to help him deal with daily life. Surprisingly, each one represents a different aspect of autism. So, we have Mouse, who does not like noise. Wren likes to flap her wings. Noa is a nervous dinosaur. Tang the orang-u-tan is full of playful energy. Draff, the giraffe, adores facts. Llama repeats words. Because of these characters at the beginning and end of each episode, the theme surrounding all episodes is that Pablo sees the world differently, and that is okay.
Watch all of the Pablo episodes below.
9. Daniel Tigers Neighbourhood
This popular younger kids show is introduced Max, an autistic boy. Encouragingly, Max is voiced by an autistic actor. I love how this program introduces children at an early age to people’s differences. And, how to best accept and understand them. Since this is a musically based animated tv show, it appeals to a wide variety of children. Max is introduced in Season 5 episode 24.
It can be viewed on Netflix.
The show Community, is centred around Jeff Winger, who is disbarred and suspended “want to be” Lawyer. To earn a legitimate degree, he enrols at Greendale Community College. Interestingly, he quickly becomes attracted to his classmate, social activist Britta Perry, and pretends to run a study group to spend time with her. However, Britta invites classmate Abed Nadir (who struggles with social interactions and is obsessed with pop culture). Despite their differences, they soon become close friends and have different adventures in life and college life together. This tv show is great for some light-hearted entertainment. However, this viewer, thinks that the producers should of made this character openly autistic.
7. A Typical
It can be viewed on Netflix.
Originally this Netflix series was focused on Sam, an 18-year-old autistic man looking for love. As the season progresses, we see Sam face other challenges in life. Because of this, Sam is a lovable character and one I think many parents can relate to. An uplifting tv show for the whole family.
6. The Big Bang Theory
Can be viewed on Netflix, Stan, Fetch Tv, You tube.
The Big Bang Theory has in the past drawn a lot of criticism for its portrayal of Dr. Sheldon Cooper. A physics genius demonstrating many stereotypical autistic traits. Such as, insistence on following rules and routines, problems picking up on sarcasm, inflexibility, hyper-focus on topics and problems, and being detail-oriented. Despite all of this, the writers refuse to admit that Sheldon Cooper was Autistic. The show is fun, funny and ran for 10 years, proving it to be a well written show. It would of been a positive step if DR Cooper was openly Autistic in the show, paving the way for an open discussion on inclusion and friendship.
5. Young Sheldon
Can be viewed on Netflix
Young Sheldon is the prequel to The Big Bang theory. It follows Sheldon as a young 9-year-old boy who progresses early to high school. The show portrays Sheldon’s school and home life and the difficulties as he navigates the complexities of friendships, school and family. It is funny and heart warming, showing a family who accepts their son and will do anything to assist him as he navigates his way through this phase of his life.
Can be viewed on Apple Tv and Google play
Parenthood follows the lives of the Braverman clan. Parenthood is a multi generational drama and appeals to a broad demographic. It looks at parenting from different perspectives. Like a single mothers, juggling work and family, coping with illness and even changing careers later in life. Parenthood has been praised for its portrayal of autism through the character Max. It is not a surprise when it won awards for Max’s Asperger’s storyline and another for a substance abuse plot.
3. The Good Doctor
Can be viewed on 7Plus, ABC or Netflix
The Good Doctor is centred around an Autistic Character, Dr. Shaun Murphy. Shaun also has savant characteristics and has to work tirelessly to prove to his colleagues that his extraordinary medical gifts will save lives. It is a typical medical drama, with lots of medical emergencies and different characters forming complex relationships. It is about acceptance and the often ablest attitudes of society.
2. Sesame Street Introduces Julia a young autistic girl.
Can be viewed on ABC iView.
Julia is the first new character on sesame street in over ten years, and she is autistic. Julia has been perfectly made to show how children on the spectrum can struggle with things. The character portrays the difference in communication, difficulty making friends, and even how sensory issues such as loud noises can be uncomfortable. Her new friends embrace Julia’s differences. A great program that teaches both children and adults about acceptance.
1 Love On The Spectrum
Can be viewed Netflix.
Looking for love is a universal thing, everyone wants to be someone to somebody. And, for autistic people, this is no different. These shows about Autism and love is a reality program that follows the journey of people on the spectrum. It is heart-warming, funny and sometimes a sad account of the quest to find true love. Australia has had 2 seasons of this reality show and is currently casting season 3. The US version can also be viewed via Netflix.
Do you have any other recommendations on shows about autism, or shows with autistic characters We would love to hear about them.