ATYPICAL

Hey, so I just binge watched Atypical on Netflix (not difficult because eight thirty-minute episodes do not constitute a series by any standard) and I wondered if anybody else has seen it yet and what you thought? Reviews have been mixed so far, but I enjoyed it.

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  • I think that any TV shows which feature or at least portray people on the spectrum are a good thing, because they let other people in on our little secret: that people on the spectrum are human beings with feelings and needs and different talents and strengths and limitations, just like everyone else. That is something that I think is too often forgotten by neurotypicals. I think they basically tolerate us in principle, but I think that some of them give themselves way too much credit for doing so, as if it's some sort of massive chore.

    I could be wrong, and I'm not a sociology expert, but it seems to me that a lot of attitudes have been changed just by exposing "ordinary" people (in their own minds, of course) to different groups of people who tended to be discriminated against. Over the decades, once people of all races were seen interacting with each other on TV, I think a lot of people who used to feel uncomfortable with that sort of thing started to think it was perfectly acceptable, or even cool, and, moreover, that it was "uncool" to retain an attitude against it. Once there was a TV makeover show for straight guys run by gay guys, all of a sudden it became cool to be gay, and that's when that "metrosexual" thing came about, making it cool not only to be gay, but also to be straight and be perfectly ok with anyone else's sexuality. I'm not saying that there is now no racism or no homophobia, but there is a lot less than there used to be when many of us were young, and moreover, such prejudice is considered a shameful thing and not something that someone would make public speeches about (let's just forget the current poliitical situation in America for now).

    Anyway, now I think it's our turn. I think it will take some time for people to drop the stereotypes, but neurodiversity is no longer going to be considered a shameful thing that should be hidden from mainstream society. If neurotypical people come to recognise neurodiverse people as "people" first, and not drains on society, problems to be solved, or all the same as each other, that is a huge step forward.

    That show portrays an adolescent boy coming of age, going to school, going on dates, and following his interests. Perhaps the way he goes about those activities is unusual, but TV viewers are able to identify with his desire to follow his dreams and to make connections with others, even as they watch all the goofy situations he gets himself into and how he reacts to them in such a naive and innocent way.

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