autism in the media–news show snippets


Autism is more and more present in the media. There are movies, tv series,  documentaries of all kinds… And then there is the odd ‘autism snippet’ on news shows on commercial television. It seems they are all follow the same pattern:  “this family wants you to see what their life with autism really looks like” – cue: screaming child wreaking havoc in the house. Parents talking about how hard it is. For them. Then, briefly some expert : “The causes of autism are not fully known…” (oh snap!) “..early intervention, ABA..” “high costs..” (critic of governments service schemes, ok) and THEN either “new hope for early detection” (in infants.. or before birth, usually VERY early studies..) OR – aaargh! – “the debate continues if autism is linked to [insert scientifically completely debunked autism myth here]” and maybe even room for some self-declared expert quax to deliver their spiel.
Total time: usually less than 10 min. My personal learning experience : zero.
Effect on the broad public : Autism is mysterious and totally scary.

4 thoughts on “autism in the media–news show snippets

  1. Pingback: Autism Articles – Miscellaneous | lovenlearning

  2. sophiestrains

    Yes, yes, yes. Yes 🙂 I’m just so SICK of those “autism minutes” which follow that formula which you outlined. I think the media is more than a mere nuisance- it shapes the views of the people. If people only see autism in those instances that’s the impression they will have. But the media is biased and shallow, what can be done? I studied journalism btw so I do know the methodology of constructing this trite nonsense.


    1. suburp Post author

      it’s once I actually had a child with autism (ie once we knew) that i realised how similar all these little snippets are, and how I had seen them before and how eventually, they would be shaping the idea of autism of the broad public. and then we have to do even MORE to educate people, when actually that should be already the job of proper journalists..
      unfortunately, even a more in depth report on a family doesn’t really bring satisfactory results it seems, you might have read ?



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