Note, this article contains a spoiler from this weeks episode of The Good Doctor. While I have made commentary about media portrayals in the past, I felt this was necessary because of the relationship factors autistic people face.Dustin
Last night, I shared a story on The Mighty regarding a review of a Love scene by Dr. Kerry Magro, a speaker on Autism who is on the spectrum himself. In summary, Shaun’s girlfriend states that their relationship will never work. He asks is it because of his autism, she cannot come to herself to an answer. I have embedded a scene below for your viewing pleasure.
Even though Lea (his girlfriend) is entitled to her reaction if she felt she was being pushed by Shaun, to me, her explanation — “You are autistic. You can’t fix that” — came off harshly. There are people in the world, like myself, who are on the autism spectrum and are not organized like Shaun is. If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism. A diagnosis should not be the reason someone says no to a person for a date. There should be specific reasons why someone says no whether it be organization, no spark, etc.
Dr. Magro is worried that some of the people he mentors will believe they’ll have fewer dating opportunities because of this scene. Additionally, he worries they’ll believe any potential partner might steer away from them because they are on the spectrum. As a community, we should be advocating for finding the right person when it comes to dating. It’s possible to find someone who accepts you just as you are.
With that being said, I must stress that we as advocates for whoever we may be advocating for must be tolerant, accepting of who one on the spectrum wishes to be partnered with. I myself dislike the simple fact that film and TV portray relationships as solely heterosexual. There is a plethora of knowledge that is proven in the online world that this is simply not true.
Mainstream media has a generalization portrayal of what a relationship in not only the autism community, but the overall disability community that it is of the standard nature. I do understand that several are in denial about this fact, however in my opinion, you will never know what that person identifies as unless you have that serious conversation.
That conversation may be difficult and cumbersome to have, but relationships are as well. They are not easy for the general populace to start, let alone one with other factors such as a physical, cognitive, mental, intellectual disability. If we truly care about what an individual wants to have the perfect relationship, if they say what they feel (even though it may be diffucult to accept) we must be willing to accept it and assure that the persons have the tools at their disposal to become successful in what they identify as.
Also as those in the autism community must first and foremost in any relationship make aware what consent is to the autistic person and try in their terms to make sure they comprehend that it is very important to know what they are able to know the power of it.
Many say to a person that they are entitled to be who they want to be, but we as advocates and those who love them must be willing to accept the fact that that may not be either what we want it to be or what it is is not normal. A autistic person wants to be happy, just like you and not have hard feelings because it is not wrong. An person on the autism spectrum has a whole other set of issues, they just want to have some sort of happiness in their life, don’t let them down