Autism Spectrum Disorders in the Media – Fiction

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  • Literature




The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Mark Haddon





examines the world of its teenage autistic narrator, Christopher Boone, a 15-year-old boy who has memorized every prime number through 7,057


Trueman Bradley





Alexei Maxim Russell portrays an openly Autistic private detective and the first work of literature which sought to portray Asperger Syndrome as a different way of thinking, with certain benefits over neurotypical thinking, and therefore not necessarily a disability.
Simple Simon


Ryne Douglas Pearson Features an autistic protagonist who has the mathematical ability to crack NASA security codes.
The Speed of Dark Elizabeth Moon Explores the possibility of a cure for autism and its effect on autistic people.
Oryx and Crake




Margaret Atwood’s Has a university labelled Asperger’s U, where almost every student appears to have Asperger’s syndrome or autism. The novel features an autistic character who uses his atypical reasoning to topple society.



  • Film
Temple Grandin (2010)


Biographical dramatization of the well-known autism advocate Temple Grandin.


X+Y (2014)


Protagonist Nathan Ellis is based on mathematical genius Daniel Lightwing who has Asperger syndrome.



The Big Short (2015)


About the 2008 Recession which focuses heavily on the hedge fund manager, Michael Burry, who plays a leading role. Burry himself is on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome. During the course of the film this is never revealed but rather it is greatly implied.


My Name is Khan(2010) Rizwan Khan, a Muslim from Mumbai, suffers from Asperger’s syndrome. After 9/11, Rizwan is detained by authorities at LAX who mistake his disability for suspicious behavior. Following his arrest, he meets Radha, a therapist who helps him deal with his situation and his affliction.
Haridas (2013) Sivadas, a daring cop is forced to leave the force for a while to take care of his autistic son, Haridas because of an unfortunate matter. With much difficulty he enrolls Haridas in a normal school where Amudhavalli is a teacher specialized to deal with special children.




  • Television


Features an autistic character, Gary Bell, portrayed by Ryan Cartwright as one of its main characters.


Criminal Minds


Spencer Reid from shows behaviors which imply he has minor Asperger’s Syndrome


The Politician’s Husband


The impact of Noah Hoynes’ Asperger’s on the boy’s behavior and on his family, and steps Noah’s loved ones take to accommodate and address it, are prominent plot points.





Sugar Motta is regarded as a highly offensive stereotype; one commentator said: “the dismissive humor with which Glee treats Asperger’s and its symptoms is worthy of rage. The character’s deliberately obnoxious behavior and lack of personal accountability feed into the prejudices people with Asperger’s face every day.
Yellow Peppers Deals with a young boy who is on the autism spectrum and how his family tries to cope with this diagnosis.
The Perfect Woman Micaela Gómez has Asperger syndrome. Initially, it is clear that Micaela has a condition, although neither Micaela nor her family know what is it. She has a great memory for details and numbers, enjoys telling statistics and fun facts about football, and fails at understanding sarcasm and maintaining visual contact. The show focuses on the obsession that some women have with beauty, cosmetic surgery and the need to become the perfect woman, something Micaela fails to understand.


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