Changes in Perception of Autism

Autism is quite new disease from the aspect of science and people generally do not know well autism since recent years. But the wrong perception of autism has consolidated in people during short time. So I want to explore how has people changed their perception about autistic people, and what influence them to do that. Since the inspiration of the topic came from the book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, so I went back to the book. It is a unique books to me, because author used first person point of view. When I first started reading it, I see straight forward language. No metaphors or similes, no ambiguous sentence, or any fancy words. It is just diary of a autistic person. He did not use chapter by whole numbers but prime numbers, and there are many charts, figures to illustrate the protagonist’s topics about math, science, detective novels. Even though it is just 200 hundreds pages book, but the information the author provides is large. I get to the inside world of a autistic people, and how would they write if they are able to. I feel like I get into Christopher’s world through the book, and it convinces me that that how every autistic people is like. However when I go back to the book second time, I figured out the trick. Like most of the directors, writes, film presenters, Mark Haddon, the author creates a unusual story of an autistic children and tries to make him like usual autistic patients. Because the techniques he used in his writing, it is easy for readers to feel the genuine of the author. That’s how the author unconsciously tries to convince us that savant syndrome is common for autistic people. 


research essay outline

Topic: Stereotypes of autism : svantism and disability of communicating with people.

1. Identify two stereotypes of autism and included behaviors/ symptoms:

  • savantism: autistic people who has excessive abilities or talent, especially on mathematical skills.
  • dysfunction in human contacts: patients have symptoms of difficulty communicating or any other contacts with people, they also are unable to express feeling to people.

2. Describing how these two misrepresentation have developed deeper in people’s perception over time from two approaches:

  • from professionals: Asperger’s case study in the beginning; professionals’ actions today.
  • from media: Rain Man(1988) & Snow Cake(2006).

3. Consequences and reasons why should people care about this problem:

  • Family members’  and others’ ways of dealing with a autistic member because of the misrepresentation of autism; impacts on autistic people’s mental health from the environment they are in.
  1. Dr. Phill’s video, “I hate my autistic daughter.”
  2. Tito’s case.
  3. claiming that people’s perception influence how they treat autistic people; their actions and attitudes affect autistic people’s mental health.

4. Claiming that the intervention toward these two major stereotypes of autism should be presented in the society; serious consequences will follow and affect many people in our society because of these stereotypes.


Stereotype of Autism bibliography

1.Draaisma, D. “Stereotype of Autism” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 364, 1475-1480. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, 27 May 2007. Web. 25 Feb. 2014.

Douwe Draaisma used two approaches to explain how stereotypes of autism have developed in our society: media produce massive amount of savant autistic images on the screen; many experts also help to create this stereotype but not stopping this phenomenon. Draaisma used many characters from movies, Rain Man, Snow Cake, Mercury Rising, as examples of movie produced stereotypical images of autism. In addition, Asperger also created a category for autism in the beginning of his case study of 200 boys. Draaisma described how Asperger’s description of those boys’ behaviors effectively produced the imagination of autism. In the end of his analysis, Draaisma also provides the reasons we should stop the stereotypes of autism; the consequences of the misrepresentation of autism can seriously affect autistic people’s life and influence justice system. By claiming these reasons can bring audience attention and answered the question of why should we care.

2. “I Hate My Autistic Daughter.” Dr. Phill. CBS. Los Angeles, California, 8 Nov. 2012. Dr. Phil. Web. 10 Mar. 2014.
This is one episode from Dr. Phil’s show which talk about a British lady hates her autistic daughter and she thinks she does not deserve a daughter like this. She even tried to leave her. As a mother, she hates the fact that she hates her own daughter. The pressure between her and her daughter bring sorrow for both of them; this pressure and sad environment is not healthy for her daughter’s cure. If a mother can’t stand her daughter’s disease, how could anyone else care about her?

3. Levinson, Barry, dir. Rain Man. United Artists, 16 Dec.1988. Film.

Rain Man is a introductory movie of autistic. Back to 1988, autism is not familiar to most of audience, the film introduce people to autism through the main character Raymond. Raymond is a savant autistic which means he has the difficulty contacting with others and he has exceeding mathematical ability. The film illustrated his disability through his one week time with his brother Charlie; Charlie has difficulty communicating with Raymond and understanding his odd talent.

4. Evans, Marc, dir. Snow Cake. Momentum Picture, 2006. Film.

This film is about a autistic women Linda’s friendship with Alex. Alex suffered a from a car accident, and Linda’s daughter Emily was killed in the accident. As more days Alex spent with Linda, he was more informed of Linda’s situation. Linda felt nothing when she knew her daughter died. She has the cleanness and neatness problem which she hates to touch anything dirty especially garbage can, and everything in the house has to be arranged in certain pattern. What’s different about this movie from Rain Man is that the movie shows that people are more informed about autism by now, and the stereotype of autism is deeper into people’s perception.

5. Derold A, Treffert. “Savant Syndrome 2013-Myth and Realities.” Wisconsin Medical Society.  2013. Web. 13 Mar. 2014.

Treffert’s article of autism did a comprehensive comparison of reality and myth of autism. As doctor Derold revealed, generally people always consider savant syndrome is one of autism’s symptom, but actually it is another disease. So the patients who is autistic do not necessarily have to be savant. Besides savant syndrome, Dr. Derold introduced many other stereotypes of autism.

6. Haddon, Mark. The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night Time. UK: Jonathan Cape, 2003. Print.

This book present a inner world of a autistic boy who live in a single dad family. it is wrote in the first point of view, and the language is from the perspective of a autistic person. The story started at a death of a dog. The protagonist Christopher wants to find out who is the murderer. As he digs more into the investigation, the more he found about the mass of his family. His mother turned out left him and his father and went away with the third wheel instead of dead, but she was writing him letters all the time which were hidden by his father.  In addition, Christopher’s dad is responsible for the dog’s death. All of these changes frightened him and his parents, and all of these caused a lot of trouble because he is autistic.

7. Blakeslee, Sandra. “A Boy, A Mother, and a Rare Map of Autism World.” The New York Times. 18 Nov. 2002. Web. 13 Mar. 2014.

Tito is a autistic boy who is educated to express himself to the world by writing. His mother is the one educated him all the time from the basic. This phenomenon was rare and precious in 2002 because there weren’t a lot of ways to cure autism. Tito became a eye  for the psychiatrist to see through what inside of a autistic people’s mind. Many studies were done through him, and more ways to deal with autism were founded.