032 How Literature Treats Autism Spectrum Disorder

You may have heard, but Sesame Street is debuting its first autistic character, Julia. Good timing, because, April is also Autism Awareness Month.

As one reporter from a Staten Island news outlet wrote: “Producers of Sesame Street said they took a lot of care in how they portrayed Julia. They worked with autism advocates, teachers, and parents of kids on the spectrum to learn about the ways autism presents. From that, they created this character who they say represents one child with autism, not a general description of autism.”

How is autism normally portrayed? And, is it done in a way that exacerbates misconceptions or misperceptions?

We met up with Christina Brando-Subis, a doctoral student whose research shows how current award-winning literature portrays autism, and what the outcomes of that portrayal may currently be.