Portrayals of characters with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and/or with autistic traits on film and in TV-series are increasing. Such portrayals may contribute in increasing awareness of the condition but can also increase stereotypes. Thus, these character portrayals are subject to heated debate within the ASD-community, but also in the general public at large. Following our recent published study on character portrayals of ASD on film and TV we here address some central issues related advantages and disadvantage of such portrayals.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Annotations. (1936). The cinema in psychiatry. Lancet, 228(5909), 1280.
Baron-Cohen, S. (2015). Autism, maths, and sex: The special triangle. The Lancet Psychiatry, 1, 790–791.
Butler, J. R., & Hyler, S. E. (2005). Hollywood portrayals of child and adolescent mental health treatment: Implications for clinical practice. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 31, 509–522.
Byrne, P. (2009). Why psychiatrists should watch films (or What has cinema ever done for psychiatry?) Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 15(4), 286–296.
Conn, R., & Bhugra, D. (2012). The portrayal of autism in Hollywood films. International Journal of Culture and Mental Health, 1, 54–62.
Garner, A., Jones, S., & Harwood, V. (2015). Authentic representations or stereotyped ‘outliers’: using the CARS2 to assess film portrayals of autism spectrum disorders. International Journal of Culture and Mental Health, 8, 414–425.
Gramaglia, C., Jona, A., Imperatori, F., Torre, E., & Zeppegno, P. (2013). Cinema in the training of psychiatry residents: focus on helping relationships. BMC Medical Education, 13(1), 90.
Howlin, P., Goode, S., Hutton, J., & Rutter, M. (2009). Savant skills in autism: psychometric approaches and parental reports. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 27, 1359–1367.
Nordahl-Hansen, A. (2017). Atypical: A typical portrayal of autism? The Lancet Psychiatry, 4(11), 837–838.
Nordahl-Hansen, A., Tøndevold, M., & Fletcher-Watson, S. (2017). Mental health on screen: A DSM-5 dissection of portrayals of autism spectrum disorders in film and TV. Psychiatry Research. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2017.08.050.
Stuart, H. (2006). Media portrayal of mental illness and its treatments. CNS Drugs, 20(2), 99–106.
About this article
Cite this article
Nordahl-Hansen, A., Øien, R.A. & Fletcher-Watson, S. Pros and Cons of Character Portrayals of Autism on TV and Film. J Autism Dev Disord 48, 635–636 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-017-3390-z