April Post 11: Autism Portrayals in Media 

Much of the Autism Awareness talk has died down by now. Even the store displays are showing the leftovers from puzzle piece junk, like keychains and stuff.  

I’ve decided to talk about an issue that seems to plague the portrayals of autistic people in the media. The fact is, nobody is listening to anybody else about how people really are. I know for a fact that it plagues all portrayals, but I am focusing on autism here. I have struggled to find a similar portrayal that falls far short – and needs somebody to explain to these people how – and I found it in Japanese Engrish.  

I’m only giving you this link to the site because it is very offensive, not only to English speakers, but it makes the Japanese look like morons, just because they don’t know the ins and outs that native English speakers do. Now, it’s kind of like this Japanese Engrish unlearnedness that plagues portrayals of autism in the media. Many of us autistic people find most portrayals offensive. So far, the best portrayal I can find is Billy Cranston in the new Power Rangers movie. Otherwise, even little Julia from Sesame Street has some traits that offend autistic people. This comes from people not listening to those of us with autism. 

Now, tell me: would you rather have a portrayal of autism that is accurate and tasteful, or an autism portrayal that is like Japanese Engrish?

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April Post 8: Meet Julia 

This is a reaction post: I must admit I haven’t seen Sesame Street in a long time.  

10:32 – Julia is not taking greeting very well. She seems to be rubbing Big Bird a little wrong.

10:33 – They’re explaining Julia’s autism to Big Bird in very simple terms.

“Play, play, play!” Is her first real line. She’s very sweet.

10:35 – Uh-oh – sirens. She’s holding her ears. A little insight: it’s apparent to Julia that sirens are much louder to her. It’s common for an autistic person to experience things more or less.

10:38 – Big Bird is getting that people are different from each other. Elmo seems to get Julia a little more, as does Abby.

10:40 – They’re singing about differences, and friendship.

10:42 – They’ve changed things a bit. Now they introduce the Letter of the Day with a song. Cool. By the way, its “F” for Friendship.

10:43 – Boy, this is FAST. We’re now in a segment about friendship. I’ve forgotten how quickly the child’s brain processes information – at least with Sesame Street.

10:45 – “Hey, come play with me” is a great song.

10:46 – Now were learning how to take turns with the Two Headed Monster.

10:47 – How Many Cookies Today? 2!

10:48 – Now Elmo and Abby are learning to count to 2.

10:49 – A song about 2!

10:50 – Whew! I have to go FAST.

10:51 – Now we’ve got Smarty the Smartphone. And we’re talking about friends. (I’m sensing a theme here.)  Now they’re playing Tic Tac Toe.

10:54 – A man and dog teaching how to play with a friend.

10:55 – Elmo is doing the Happy Dance Dance. 🙂

10:56 – Big Bird and Julia are now good friends. Goodbye NOW?! (That’s OK. It only lasts for a half hour.)

10:58 – Roll Credits – with a song!

I’m happy Julia has made the jump to TV Sesame Street. If Julia or some type of autistic child had been around Sesame Street as a kid, maybe I would have been more accepted instead of teased for being a crybaby. (To be honest, I’m getting jealous of autistic kids today. They’re having opportunities for love and acceptance I never did.)  

I guess you have to start the acceptance and friendship with different people REALLY young. Hopefully, they’ll get the message one day.

I haven’t got the skills to detect if Julia is stereotypical or just right at the moment; I’ll make a more informed decision soon.

Now Playing At Applebee’s: Dinner Music for the Not Very Hungry 

Sometimes, I like to veer off into more lighthearted things. We all need a good laugh every now and then.

There was a funny story involving the music at Applebee’s today. (They have good French Onion Soup, so there.) I tend to run toward rock and roll, but the music somehow made me laugh. I mean, you usually tend to get music toward the calm and soothing, right? The thing is, the song  ensemble went like this: It started with “Freebird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd, with its crazy guitar solo at the end. It then went to “Rock and Roll” by Led Zeppelin. It then went to Van Halen. Of course there were a couple of songs in between. It just seemed out of place in a fairly basic restaurant that basically wants to be a steakhouse. I blame the waitstaff. I thought it coincided because the woman who served me seemed in her fifties, which would have put her teenage years in about the 1970s, or the era of the music being played. Maybe it was the fact that I was in the company of my mother, who prefers more gentle music to soothe herself, but I thought it was rather funny to eat soup and salad with Led Zeppelin in the background.