At the end of the day if I finally get a moment to myself I love to watch something interesting and entertaining on the telly. Thankfully autism is beginning to be better represented on TV, there is still a way to go but it’s a start.
As we all know everyone who is autistic is different so any characters on TV will not accurately reflect the whole spectrum but some do a good job at highlighting differences. Here are some tv shows about autism or with autistic characters that I would recommend.
Drama TV Shows About Autism
This is probably my favourite at the moment. The show is centred around Sam (played by Keir Gilchrist) a 19 year old on the autism spectrum and his family. The first two seasons Sam is at school and searching for love and independence. Season 3 Sam starts college and has to adjust to all the changes that it brings. The characters in this show are brilliant and you will be laughing and crying at this one. Available on Netflix.
The Good Doctor
Shaun (played by Freddie Highmore) is a young doctor with autism, he displays savant skills. The show follows Shaun and his colleagues at the hospital as they treat patients. Shaun has particular difficulties with social communication and the show follows his struggles with interaction. Available on Sky Witness.
The A Word
A family drama which follows the diagnosis autism of 5 year old Joe (played by Max Vento). This is a BBC drama available on iPlayer.
There She Goes
Comedy drama that shines a light on the day-to-day life of a family looking after their learning disabled daughter Rosie. Whilst Rosie is not diagnosed as Autistic it is a good portrayal of life with a disabled family member. Available from the BBC.
Children’s TV Shows About Autism
Pablo (played by Jake Williamson) is a lovely Children’s television series about a 5 year old on the autism spectrum. Using his magic crayons Pablo draws his imaginary friends who then come to life. They go on adventures and help him when he is anxious about situations. I think it is a great show to teach young children about differences and anxiety, my niece is a big fan. Available on CBeebies.
You will probably be familiar with Big Bird and other Sesame Street characters from your youth but you may not be familiar with Julia. Julia (voiced by Stacey Gordon) joined the gang in 2017, a 4 year old girl on the autism spectrum. Some episodes pre-Julia are currently available on Amazon Prime.
Autism in the UK Soaps
If you are a soap fan you might be interested in these two.
Documentaries About Autism
Extreme Love with Louis Theroux
Louis Theroux visits schools for autistic students in America and interviews students and their families. An interesting show if you like Louis Theroux and his style (some probably won’t) and maybe some difference in language we use in the UK / US but still a good watch. Available on BBC I Player.
Chris Packham: Asperger’s And Me
This is an excellent documentary about Chris Packham. A very honest and interesting account of life with Asperger’s and how social difficulties can impact relationships. A BBC production currently unavailable on IPLayer.
The Autistic Gardener
This one I haven’t watched myself but my mum and sister are fans (I’m not a gardener myself). Award winning gardener Alan Gardner credits his success to autism. The show follows him working with other autistic adults with a keen interest in gardening. They then work their magic to transform gardens. Available on All 4
I appreciate not all of these shows are currently availabe. However I wanted to mention them as they will likely become available at some point.
You may also be interested in a recent documentary featuring Katie Price and her son Harvey on the BBC – Harvey & Me.
So what shows have I missed, let me know your favourite TV shows about autism in the comments.