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Netflix Tackles Autism In The Upcoming Series 'Atypical'

By Lord Castleton | Streaming | July 18, 2017 |

By Lord Castleton | Streaming | July 18, 2017 |

My family was invited to a larger family reunion this summer, and when the cost of accommodations proved prohibitive for us, several people suggested that we just throw up a tent on the lawn of one of the rented houses and crash there. It was a kind-hearted suggestion, but absolutely off the table when you have an autistic child. Thinking about that scenario makes me chuckle.

It would have been a straight-up disaster movie.

I’ve tried to explain to my friends and family over the years that having a son with autism has meant having to change the way I do everything in my life. Every single thing. I’ve tried to explain how you operate in a different universe than everyone else, how your timelines vary, how you need to over-prepare, how you need to adjust and re-adjust and re-adjust again, how you need to be ready at all times to drop everything to help your child when the world is too much for him.

And the world is too much for him all the time. Daily. Hourly, even.

Most people have a hard time imagining what that means because on the autism spectrum, there’s so much variance. It’s a spectrum.

Where does he land in the latest DSM-5 designation?
Is your child high-functioning?
Is it PDD-NOS?
Does he have a shadow?
Does he have sensory issues?
Is he mainstreamed?
Does he have anxiety?
Or depression?
Or physical tics?
What meds is he on?
Does he go to CBT?
Does he go to OT?
Does he have an IEP or a 504?

What it all boils down to is: Will your child have a ‘normal’ life? Will he be able to experience the basics, the universal experiences that tie us all together as humans in a crazy world?

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Netflix takes aim at this question with Atypical, starring Kier Gilchrist, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Rapaport, Brigette Lundy-Paine and Amy Okuda.

For a condition experienced by 3.5 million Americans and one in every 45 children, it’s nice to see Netflix building a show around it. On the surface, the casting of Michael Rapaport seems…odd, and there’s no telling whether the show will work or not, but the trailer certainly has its heart in the right place.

Atypical premieres on August 11th.

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Lord Castleton is a staff contributor. You can follow him on Twitter.