Healthy Living

Autism: TV Makes Strides in New Programming

What the critics have to say

For one thing, the lead character, Shawn Murphy, isn’t just on the autism spectrum; he also has savant syndrome, which the show uses to explain his incredible intelligence. Critics of the show have noted that while it’s positive to show a character with autism, especially in an age when the diagnosis is increasingly common, coupling that with savant syndrome drastically changes the dynamic. Very few people have savant syndrome. Since Murphy derives his gifts from that condition, the show may present the message that it’s savant syndrome that makes him valuable, rather than promoting the idea that a character is valuable regardless of abilities. Shore has argued that he thinks the message of the show will be understood by audiences and he hopes that it will have an impact. Whether the message that all people are valuable regardless of abilities can get past Murphy’s super human intelligence has yet to be seen.