For this weeks blog we have created a list of the best TV programmes and films you can watch about autism.
We’ve included a summary of what the film or TV show is about, how its been rated, what people thought of it and where you can find it, as well as linking the trailer.
We hope that this will not only keep you entertained during this crazy time but also offer you an alternative way to learn about autism.
Miracle Run (The Unexpected Journey) – 2004
Miracle Run is a film set out to challenge the social stigmatisation and discrimination of autistic children. A mother of twin boys Phillip and Stephen, life drastically changes once her boys get diagnosed with autism.
The film sets out some of the challenges that autistic parents and individuals may find themselves in, such as the struggle of being diagnosed.
In the film, Corrine Morgan-Thomas, the mother of the twins has to visit many doctors and a specialist before her boys are diagnosed with autism. Philip has echolalia, which is where he repeats words that he hears people say while Stephen is the opposite and is completely mute.
Furthermore, it demonstrates the challenge of acceptance with Corrine herself in shock and disbelief at first, her boyfriend leaving her, and her children saying that he does not want to deal with autism; and the boys’ new school telling her she should find another school for the boys when they find out that they are autistic. The film follows the boys into their teenage years where we see them develop and succeed; proving that autistic children are capable of doing things that all other children can.
Miracle Run is currently on amazon prime if you would like to watch it however you will have to pay to watch it as it is not included within the prime subscription.
To watch the trailer please click here
- IMDb rating – 7.4/10
- Rotten Tomatoes – 89%
‘This film shows how hard bringing up children with autism is, and how some people have narrowed views about the children. For parent of autistic children or anyone who comes into contact with someone on the spectrum it shows how certain strategies can be used.
What makes this film even better is that it is based on a true story. If I had to rate this film i would give it 10 out of 10, as it nails all the stereotypes and gives a brilliant and insightful look into the life of a family who’s children are autistic. ‘This review comes from an independent blog post
‘I wonder if this was a made-for-TV movie? It’s a sappy, sentimental film about a strong mother who refuses to give up on her autistic sons. I can’t fault the film’s messages about not treating the kids any differently and refusing to acknowledge autism as a disability.
However, I would have liked to see the mother’s character struggle a bit more. She never seemed to have a moment of doubt, or throw her hands up and not know what to do’Review left on Rotten Tomatoes rating it a 3/5 *
A-typical is a TV series that follows the life of an 18-year old boy called Sam who is on the autism spectrum. In this series we watch Sam decide that he wants to have a girlfriend and gain more independence from his family. We see how he copes with high school, friendships, work and family life.
Series one to three is available to stream on Netflix. The show has proven to be a hit after they announced they’re producing a fourth series earlier this year.
To watch the trailer please click here
- IMDb rating – 8.3/10
- Rotten tomatoes – 87%
‘As a person with higher functioning autism, I find some aspects of this show relatable and depicted in a funny and wholesome way. If you are at all interested in the topic of autism (which you should be) I suggest giving this show a watch.’Review published to the metacritic from frederikb.
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011)
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is a film based on a novel. It portrays a young boy with autism and his relationship with his father who dies in the 9/11 attack shortly into the film.
Oskar, the young boy finds a key in a vase and sets out on a mission across the 6 boroughs to find out what the key was for. Throughout the film we see him breaking down the barriers of his autism as he has to use the subway and enter large busy bustling cities.
You can rent Extremely loud and incredibly close on amazon or buy/rent it from the google play store.
To watch the extremely loud and incredible close trailer please click here
- IMDb rating – 6.9
- Rotten Tomatoes – 46%
‘Extremely loud and incredibly close. Is a hard movie to watch. And not for the reasons you might think. As the parent of a autistic child. I found Thomas Horn’s performance almost uncannily like my son’s. The movie has a simple plot.
Oskar lost his father in 9/11. He was incredibly devoted to his father. His Father Tom always found things for him to do that got him involved in one way or the other in the real world. His mother wonderfully played by Sandra Bullock stands at the sidelines and let’s the father and son Bond.
Tom creates a searching game. He gives Oskar a mission and provided the clues. After his father dies. Oskar finds a key in a blue vase, in his father’s closet. He takes this to mean it’s a quest from his Dad. Struggling with his loss he goes on this quest to find his Dad. What he finds and what he experiences will change his life and his mother’s life forever. As well as the people he meets on his quest.
Tom Hanks has basically a extended cameo but he turns in a startling job. Hanks does a emotional job that is refreshing and vibrant. As Tom Schell he wants his son to transcend the boundaries of his Asperger’s. He want’s Oskar to learn how to function in the real world by interacting with people.
As a parent of a child with Asperger’s this movie was so hard to watch at times. Simply because I saw my own son reflected in the movie. I enjoyed this movie because it felt so true to life for me. Worth watching if you like this kind of story.’Review left on IMDb
The Good Doctor
Shaun Murphy is a young surgeon with autism and savant syndrome who relocates from the country to join a prestigious hospital surgical unit. He struggles to connect to those around him and uses his medical gifts to save lives and challenge the skepticism around him.
The Good Doctor currently has three series and can be watched and streamed on Sky, Now TV, Amazon and ABC.
To watch the trailer please click here
- IMDb rating – 8.2
- Rotten Tomatoes – 63%
‘There have been few storylines that stand out beyond the typical medical drama; this one’s just done well enough to make you buy in, thanks especially to Freddie Highmore’s committed, layered turn.’Review published to Rotten tomatoes by top critic Ben Travers
Temple Gradin is a film based on the life of a young autistic woman who overcomes the limitations and barriers facing her as a result of her disability to graduate with a Ph.D. and become an expert in her field of animal husbandry.
With a passion for animals developed from spending time at her Aunt and Uncles ranch, the audience learns that she did not speak until she was four years old and struggled through high school.
Most notably, however, she is known for creating her “huge box” which is a widely recognised way of relieving stress in autistic children and her humane design for the treatment of cattle in processing plants which have been published in several books and won her awards.
Today, however, she is a professor at a university in the United States and a well-known speaker on autism and animal handling.
Temple Gradin can be streamed on Amazon Prime and Google Play.
To watch the trailer for Temple Gradin please click here
- IMDb rating – 8.3/10
- Rotten Tomatoes – 100%
‘Riveting true story of a young autistic woman’s journey.’Published on Rotten on Tomatoes
‘Inspirational, insightful, uniquely realized, and undoubtedly fascinating, Temple Grandin is yet another strong biopic from HBO. Based on the life of Temple Grandin, an amazing woman with autism who has added both hope and understanding to the condition. It’s through her work that we understand the autistic mind as a complex one, capable of remarkable brilliance, thinking visually and able to replicate and recall images to an unbelievable degree.
The film goes through Temple’s life and major experiences, but does so without a “by the numbers approach”. It accomplishes this through an amazing performance from Claire Danes, who completely inhibits Temple Grandin. The narrative allows us to better understand her mind by giving us flashes of the sort of visuals she experiences, while always keeping narrative focus.
The film doesn’t pander to her or those with autism, but rather transcends condescending notions by showing the underling ability that often goes unnoticed and cultivated. Overall, it’s an effective, resonate, and strongly executed biopic. 4/5 Stars’Review left on Rotten Tomatoes
The A word
The Hughes family work and love and fight like every other family. Then, their youngest son is diagnosed with autism and they don’t feel like every other family anymore. The series shows a journey of how the family cope with the revelation that their son has autism.
The A word is a British Broadcasting Corporation programme and can be watched on BBC One or streamed for catch up through the BBC Iplayer.
To watch the trailer of The A word please click here
- IMDb rating – 7.7/10
- Rotten Tomatoes – 89%
‘The A Word is a tapestry reflecting that autism diagnoses affect how families live and view the world but do not necessarily consume them… This structure allows The A Word to take a break from the serious and real in order to be funny.’Review left on Rotten Tomatoes by a top critic
Charlie Babbit is a self-centered Los Angles-based automobile dealer who is estranged from his father.
As a teenager, Charlie crashes his father’s car and ends up in jail for two days as his father had reported it stolen.
It is then that Charlie learns his estranged father has died and left him a huge bed of roses and a car in his will.
His father also leaves another gift of $3 Million in a trust fund, however, this was not left to Charlie but someone else.
Charlie pretty angry by this, decides to look into this matter. It seems as if that “someone” is Raymond, Charlie’s unknown brother, an autistic savant who lives in a world of his own, resides at the Walbrook Institute.
Charlie then kidnaps Raymond and decides to take him on a lust for life trip to the west coast as a threat to get the $3 Million inheritance.
Rain man is available to watch and stream on Amazon, iTunes and Google play.
To watch the trailer please click here
- IMDb rating – 8/10
- Rotten tomatoes – 89%
‘Rain Man is a moving story about two brothers, one a selfish yuppie named Charlie Babbitt who cares only about the importance of money and the other named Raymond who is a autistic and doesn’t know anything about the importance of money. Charlie realizes that his father left three million dollars to Raymond and little to him, as he also realizes Raymond is his brother! Charlie kidnaps Raymond from his residential home and begins a long journey and discovery that will forever change both their lives.
Rain Man is a completely moving, emotional, funny, and unforgettable movie. Dustin Hoffman is one of my favorite actors and plays his most memorable role as well as Tom Cruise, who gives a great performance that helped a lot in launching most of his career. The direction by Barry Levinson is stunning and of course, his best yet. Overall, the film is a timeless classic that moves me in every way. This is definitely one of the best films of the 80’s and one of my all time favorites. Yea, definitely, definitely, recommend it!’Review left on IMDb
‘Rain Man cheers up its audience but avoids sentimentality. Films like that are rare.’Review left on Rotten Tomatoes
For a more extensive list of films and television show on autism please click here
We hope that you have found this list of films and TV programmes to be enjoyable and that it has not only entertained you but offered you a greater insight into autism. As well as giving you an alternative method of learning about the barriers and challenges facing autistic individuals and their families. Other great recreational activities we are suggesting, you can find here.
By Jinaka Ugochukwu
According to a 2017 survey carried out by the NAS (National Autistic Society), only 16% of autistic adults are in full time employment and 77% of those unemployed would like to be in employment.
How can we bridge the Autistic employment gap?
It can be especially daunting if you’re a parent and your child is leaving education and thinking about their next steps, including finding a job and becoming an adult.
The following tips are useful to consider if you are a parent or carer of an autistic child and they are starting to look for a job.
1.Help to explore interests and skills
There are many ways to think about interests and skills but the next four activities may give you some inspiration.
Ask the person you are supporting about a typical day (or they can write it down). They/you should note down what activities they do. Then rate each activity on a scale from 1 to 3 (1- I love doing it, 2- I don’t mind doing it, 3- I really dislike it)
This activity can help someone to identify what they may like to do more or less of and perhaps what activities they may like in an ideal job.
Starting with the activities that are rated 1 (I love doing it), use post-it notes to list what skills are involved in completing that activity. This website may help you think about activities from a skills-based perspective.
Use the list of skills and think of a job that requires at least one of the skills. The more skills in the skill list it uses the better.
2. Explore their strengths and weaknesses
Ask the person you are supporting to answer these questions:
- What am I good at?
- What have others complimented me about?
- Which projects and tasks seem to use up my energy?
- What have others had to help me with on more than one occasion?
- What can I spend hours doing without feeling tired or bored?
- When I have free time what do I like to do? Why?
These answers in addition to the answers from Activities 1-3 can start to paint a picture of jobs that might be suitable.
2.Discuss this important question: Independent or supported employment?
Can they work independently or do they need supported employment?
If supported work is needed in the workplace, the government scheme called Access to Work (in the UK) might be useful. It is a scheme which provides grants to support people in the workplace and can help an employer pay for specialist equipment or any other adjustments which can help an individual in the workplace.
3. Explore ‘autistic friendly’ organisations together
In theory, every organisation should be an autism friendly workplace but the reality is sometimes different. Theres a few ways to find employers that can really support your child.
Firstly, the disability confident scheme recognises employers that are committed to hiring disabled employees.
Secondly, there are increasingly many schemes in places that recognises employers that are committed to hiring autistic individuals. These include P&G, Siemens, Auticon and Ernest and Young.
Stack only partners with autistic friendly organisations. Register here if you’re looking for employment.
4. Set a good example and share your work experiences
If you are employed it can be really helpful to share your experiences, including talking about what you do, what you do on a daily basis and rituals. Examples of these include making small talk in the mornings, contributing to collections and signing birthday cards and navigating the office lifestyle.
5. Offer guidance on writing CVs and cover letters
Many jobs still require an application form or a CV. Therefore, completing either of these can be really difficult for every job-seeker, not just an adult with autism.
Check out our guide to writing a basic CV so you can be in the best position to support an autistic individual with this task.
You can also email us at email@example.com to get access to our CV and cover letter templates.
6. Offer assistance writing application forms
Did you know that the key to a successful application form is to show competence in a skill?
Bear this in mind when someone asks you for help. The STAR framework is a popular way for people to think about their experiences and demonstrate competence in required skills. This technique can be useful both in applications, cover letters and interviews.
S Situation Where/When/With whom?
T Task Describe what you hoped to achieve
A Action Describe what you did
R Result What did you achieve? What skills did you develop?
‘While I typically like to plan out my work in stages and complete it piece by piece, I can also achieve high-quality work results under tight deadlines. Once, in a previous role, an employee left days before the imminent deadline of one of his tasks. I was asked to assume responsibility for it, with only a few days to learn about it and complete it. I asked other people to help and delegated tasks so we were all able to complete it with a day to spare.’
7. Mock interviews
Great, so your child has got a job interview! This is fantastic news, but can be daunting for an autistic individual.
One way to prepare for this is through role play. A good way to do this is by using the job description and preparing potential interview questions such as:
- Why do you want this role?
- Give me an example of a time where you’ve worked well in a team?
- What do you consider your strengths and weaknesses?
Wearing appropriate clothing can help it feel more realistic and you can even ask someone you know to act as the employer, which may make it feel more formal. This helps your child prepare for the interview and practice in a less formal setting.
8. Brush up on the law
a) If you think the person you’re helping would benefit from adjustments so they they can perform their best at interviews and within the job the law could help.
b) However, an individual doesn’t have to disclose the fact they’re autistic, but could benefit in three key ways:
- Employers have a duty to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ within the recruitment process and the job
- If reasonable adjustments are put in place, people are likely to be more successful at work and may find work less stressful.
- If colleagues know that someone is autistic, they are likely to be more understanding which can help build better relationships.
9. Collaborate on a safety plan
We really hope everything goes well in the workplace however remember this final tip just in case.
Support them to write a safety plan that they can follow. The plan will remind them about how they want to manage a situation that isn’t going well.
The following questions can help them form this plan:
- How will you know that all isn’t well?
- Who will you tell?
- How would you want them to help you?
Most people find the process of looking for work artificial, stressful and difficult to manage. We hope this article has given you tips and tricks to support your autistic child to make it a more comfortable process.
If your child is looking for work, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can support them on their journey.
Monday 8th June 2020
Last week Matt, my autistic brother, got promoted to director of the MOT centre he works for!
As a family, we are so proud of how far Matt has come. He left college at 16, with a talent for mechanics and a desire to learn and help others.
Despite this he often found meeting new people, doing interviews and expressing his feelings.
My Mum supported him to get a job when he left college at a local garage. Instead of working on cars, he found himself working at the managers farm with cows.
He was being clearly taken advantage of and not being able to utilise his skills.
A few jobs later, he’s now at a job he loves and is supported by a fantastic team who understands him.
His confidence has increased significantly and he’s now married to his lovely wife.
He’s now managing an MOT centre where he has to look after customers and find solutions to all our car problems – a heroic task in itself.
Despite this hard work, he never shy’s away from a ‘what does this flashing symbol on my car dashboard mean?’ text from us!
As many of you know, Matt was a huge inspiration in starting Stack and I am a true believer that with the right support and environment, every autistic individual really can thrive.
There are over 400,000 others like my brother here in the UK, with a desire to start their career and follow their dreams.
We are working really hard to educate employers on the benefits autistic individuals can bring and supporting them to create a neurodiverse workforce.
Hope everyones staying safe!
With everything that is going on in the news and on social media at the moment concerning black lives matter and George Floyd it was only fitting to write this week’s blog on the intersectionality of BAME (Black, Asian, minority ethnic) and autism. Despite there being over 700, 000 people living with autism in the UK, from a variety of backgrounds, identities, and cultures there is little research on the experiences and challenges of black, Asian and minority ethnic individuals with autism. Therefore this week’s blog will be a research post that aims to outline some of the barriers of autistic BAME individuals and their families and identify some of the ways you can help.
The Research: Diverse perspective
After producing studying a variety of research, The National Autistic Society realised that there was a lack of information about the experiences and challenges faced by BAME communities with autism. So, in 2012 they set out to address this need by carrying out a focus group of parents, careers, and children with autism to explore the barriers they face in accessing service. 130 people participated in this research, of which 71 identified themselves as either Asian or specified Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Chinese, and Vietnamese. 56 identified themselves as black, 2 as white, and 1 as Middle Eastern. Participants were asked to consider three key questions.
- What support do you and your family need in relation to autism?
- What are the challenges in getting the help you need?
- If it has been difficult to get help, why do you think that is?
Those involved were encouraged to consider the potential impact of ethnicity, faith and religious beliefs, gender, and language when considering the questions. In short, many families stated that their difficulties were down to their Childs autism and not their ethnicity. Although this was the case many also faced additional barriers that appear to reflect shared experiences within BAME communities.
Getting a diagnosis
The first challenge that was experienced by all was the challenge of getting a diagnosis. While this is a challenge for all it may be particularly apparent in BAME communities as they are tend to live in higher inequality areas that are underfunded. As a result, they may lack the necessary infrastructure or their services may not meet their cultural needs.
This is evident in the study produced by The Equalities National Council and Scope (2012) which found that many disabled people from BME (black and minority ethnic) backgrounds in the UK are unable to access the services they need.
They reported that 44% of BME disabled people are living in household poverty, compared to 32% of all disabled people and 17% of the population as a whole.
Schools not noticing the signs of autism
Another challenge that was experienced by the group as a whole was that schools were not noticing the signs of autism. The group discussed how often their children when labeled as having behaviour problems. Again this could be more apparent with black children, boys in particular because of prejudice and stereotyping. Too often, people’s first assumptions with black children, is that they are naughty and have behavioural difficulties. They often because of this don’t look any further into the issues that the child is facing.
Similarly, failing to notice delayed development and speech is prominent in BAME children with autism as often English is not their first language so speech development is put down as them having difficulty learning and using English.
Shame and Blame
Shame and blame was also another common factor between parents and careers of this group. Due to a lack of knowledge and awareness of autism within communities and religions, bad behaviour was often put down to bad parenting. Families felt embarrassed about taking their autistic child out in public. Not only that but some BAME communities may hold a stigma about disabled children so parents may avoid talking about the topic. There is a real need for more autism resources and awareness to be available in a variety of languages to help BAME communities battle this barrier.
Cultural Stigma and Negative views
This is something experienced far more by BAME families and individuals with autistic children. As mentioned previously one cultural view is that autism as a disability is not a condition but bad parenting and is something that can be ‘cured’. There is a lack of role models or high profile cases of autistic BAME individuals and as a result some associate it to be a white-only condition.
Language and Communication Barriers
Information on autism in the UK is primarily in English and for BAME families this can be a difficulty as some may speak no, or little English making the information inaccessible to them. They often have no access to translators and when interpreters are available the information they relay is not always accurate as they can misunderstand or insert their own cultural assumptions, losing the clarity that professionals can offer. Those that can speak English have stated that they struggle reading the information because it contains too much professional jargon or that they do not feel comfortable asserting themselves in discussion with a UK professional about their Child’s health and education
There are still so many more challenges facing BAME autistic individuals and their families. (i.e. Denial, isolation of parents and careers, and difficulty finding the right support). For more information on these and other challenges faced by BAME autistic individuals please see the link. As previously stated we have been able to recognise just a few to see the full extent of the inter-sectional challenges of BAME autistic individuals. There must be more research done.
What you can do to help raise awareness of these challenges:
Write to your local MP
Let them know how you feel about the subject, educate them on the lack of research on BAME in autism. Ask them to raise this issue and make sure that Policy-makers and commissioners properly assess the needs of BAME communities when producing autism policy and commissioning autism services.
Raise awareness of this issue on social media, to your friends and family.
Check in with your Groups and friends
If you know of any autistic groups or have friends or family that identify as being BAME and autistic, ask them what you can do to help lessen the challenges they are facing. Similarly, with autistic support groups, check-in and make sure that they are discussing this and are doing all they can to support individuals and families who are Black, Asian, Ethnic minorities with autism.
We hope that you now have a greater understanding of the intersectional challenges facing autistic BAME individuals and their families. Now we hope that you understand how you can help address these issues.
Stack Recruitment stands in complete solidarity and we will not be silent. What we do on the surface is important – through social media, hashtags and statements we can help create awareness. What we do beyond this is vital in order to create systemic change of the challenges the black community face globally.
Stack’s mission is to help autistic job seekers find meaningful employment. For more information contact us.