Autism in Pop Culture: The Movie!

I learned so much from our class this term! My two favorite lessons from Pop Culture really challenged me to dig deep – first, the deconstruction of the Axe commercial taught me a lot about just how much research and production can fit into such a short message, and then the blog project that forced us to critique news stories helped me further define the differences between news and entertainment. These two projects – as well as others in the class – helped me research and find the book I wanted to use for a book report, narrow my focus for a 2-minute speech I have to give about urban equity, and even become so effective in my internship in state government that I got an unexpected stipend and a job offer!

But perhaps the thing I cherish most from this class was the opportunity I got to take a hard look at an important identity in pop culture: autism. Although I myself am not autistic, my youngest son is. The reason I am back in school is so I can make it my life’s work to educate others about what it means to be autistic, and how those on the autism spectrum can make the world a better place. I got a small taste of what that might be like with our final project, and I invite you now to sit back, relax, and enjoy my newest flick: Autism in Pop Culture.

This entry was posted in Winter 2018 by Jessica Turner. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jessica Turner

I am a 35-year-old single mom of two amazing boys, ages 6 and 8. They keep me busy and inspired me to return to college after nearly two decades. I'm a junior pursuing a BS in Urban & Public Affairs, and hope to work this year with PSU's Career and Community Studies program. I'm also a Peer Mentor in the University Studies program, and look forward to being a part of enriching and challenging discussions during my Freshman Inquiry: Migration, Immigration and Belonging.

2 thoughts on “Autism in Pop Culture: The Movie!

  1. Hey Jessica,

    I think you chose a great and unique way to discuss autistic representation in popular culture. The inclusion of statistics, personal outlook, and visuals were perfectly balanced throughout the video keeping it interactive and captivating. As a result, I was able to see a whole new side to the representation of autism because of the summary of these shows and movie. Popular culture has taught us that although certain individuals- in this case, autistic individuals- are represented in the media these portrayals can still create misinformed impressions. Even more so, these representations made me wonder how females with autism are represented (the same or different) since many of the representations observed were male.
    Overall, I really enjoyed how you ended the video, with one final clip summarizing how autism should be tested and, most importantly, viewed. Great post!

  2. Jessica,

    What a fabulous video! Such an interesting and welcomed change from the ‘paper’ format!
    Additionally, it’s really fun to hear a voice and see images and videos; all of which make your project real and accessible.

    I resonate with your analysis and comments about The Accountant, Atypical and The Good Doctor. I agree that aligning representations of individuals with ASD with savants can be harmful. It is inaccurate to assume that an entire population of diverse individuals would have the same abilities. This is made real for me by the fact that, for the most part, neurotypical populations don’t experience this same phenomenon.

    I study language acquisition in children with ASD through applied linguistics, and one of the comments I get often when people ask what I do is: “Oh Autism, like Rain Man, right?”
    I’ve always been kind of astounded by this kind of assumption, but your analysis makes clear where these ideas are coming from.

    Last, I really liked the last line from The Accountant that maybe “we haven’t yet learned how to listen.” It’s a privileged position to live a life where other people don’t feel they have to accommodate you; it is time for the neurotypical population to return the effort.

    Thank you for your well crafted and insightful video.


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