Nobody’s normal!! I wish the rest of the world would get THIS memo LOUD and CLEAR. I’m breaking down 5 au-mazing points from the first episode of the newly released series on Netflix called “Atypical”. Sam, is a young man living with Autism on this show. I FREAKING LOVED this first episode as it goes hand in hand with my best seller, “Au-Mazing Gift: A Journey to Autism Acceptance”. I loved that it gave factual information about Autism, as well as real life situations, challenges, and emotions we face daily.
Atypical Point #1: “Common traits of Autism”
They describe the 3 common traits of autism being: repetitive behaviors, difficulty socializing, and persistent intense preoccupations. Sam’s repetitive nature is seen throughout the episode with his established routines. Social difficulties appear with his dating and school challenges. If it’s ONE thing that we definitely learned about Sam, it is his LOVE for penguins. Sam’s preoccupation is with Penguins (and for my son, Zachary, it’s trains.)
Atypical Point #2: “Dating is Non-verbal communication”
Non- verbal communication is key in all relationships. Sam wants to date, but his mom is worried that he is NOT ready. Her worry is because Sam is very literal and non-verbal communication is important in dating! OOOhhh, as a communication expert, making this highlight was so important to share. They also added the important statistic that only 9% of people with Autism get married.
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Atypical Point #3: “Being touched gets me jumpy”
Sam explains why he doesn’t like light touches, prefers deep pressure touches. As he went on the date, and she touched him lightly, he nearly jumped out of his skin. This response startled her and responded with “Is something wrong with your brain” What?!!!! This reaction broke my heart. I immediately imagined someone saying that to my Zachary and knew that this is the hurt his mom wanted to protect him from with dating. Another example of his sensory sensitivities, Sam chose to wear his noise canceling headphones on a date!!! Yes, HE DID! His headphones were worn to help reduce bothersome sounds since certain sounds can feel much louder to those on the spectrum. Sam shows us how it helps him. Unfortunately, they are probably not a good idea to be worn on a date, because he couldn’t hear her. Critical life lessons experienced for him.
Atypical Point #4: ”Self-stimulatory behavior is mostly referred to as ‘stimming'”.
Sam quickly explains how this shows up in his life. He BOLDLY describes it when he’s fidgeting with rubber bands. It shows again as he is spinning, as his response, or to show excitement, when the girl said YES to a date. Such an au-mazing way to inform and show another natural example that may be more visual in society. KUDOS to the show for this!
Atypical Point #5: “You are very honest aren’t you”
Sam loves facts, researchers, details, and asks a lot of questions to learn more. He is very literal, so when he speaks and responds, it will be literal and BRUTAL honesty. He says clearly “I’m not great at picking up signals.” Actually, this honesty is what I love about my son, so we now focus on him being more aware of how the other person will feel as a result of his honesty.
These are just a few highlighted points from only episode 1 of “Atypical”. Other highlights included the other characters. Mom’s constant worry about Sam, Dad’s difficulty with connecting with Sam, and Casey, his sister, spending most of her time defending and protecting Sam against others. If you watched the show, what did you think about the first “Atypical” episode? Any memorable points that stood out to you? Please share something new you’ve learned about Autism so far. I would love to hear.
Christine St.VilAugust 23, 2017 at 2:18 PM
WOW! These are awesome takeaways Dr. Ali! I will definitely be watching this show, thanks so much for sharing.
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