Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Parenthood... Is it good or bad for the autism community?

I love to junk-out on TV.  That doesn't mean I actually get to watch mainly due to the fact we don't own a television.  Like many other families with kids on the spectrum, we gave away our T.V. after we caught two year old, Tristan watching static.  I guess now not owning a tube doesn't stop you from watching shows online which I do a few times a week, but I do find myself having to schedule and prioritize. 

Last night I found myself watching Parenthood once again.  Parenthood entertains and keeps me coming back week after week.  At first I wanted to see how the writers and actors would incorporate the Aspie character, Max, but now Parenthood draws me into the drama of the relationships and struggles families face.

Sure, Parenthood is a Hollywood version of real life and always seems to end the hour on an upbeat.  Like last episode when Max received his first home behavioral services and by the end of the show Max had his first play interaction.  Not so realistic, but at least the mainstream gets a glimpse of the challenges and joys faced by a family affected by ASD.

Frankly, the most misleading part was in the second episode when Max, who is highly functioning, was asked to leave public school and the parents agreed.   First Parenthood sent a message to their viewers that parents are suddenly able to enroll their child in a private school and that they were able to dig up the money to pay.  But, the most disturbing part of the story line is that the writers erased the last thirty years of special education law that clearly states that all students are entitled to an education even if the school district must make accommodations.  

Instead of portraying parents working with their public school to create an educational environment conducive to learning  for their child with ASD, the writers took the bland way out.  Often advocating for your child within the public school offers some great stories that the Parenthood writers could have pulled from.  Perhaps the writing staff should call some parents with kids on the spectrum to see what everyday life is really like for families.

With that said I guess I will sit down tonight and watch this week's episode and I am sure I will be entertained. 


Anonymous said...

I enjoy the show, also--I don't expect it to be totally realistic--it's TV, and a drama, not a documentary. It is entertaining. I didn't get the same impression that they gave up with the school. I actually had the impression that Max was already in a private school, which wasn't able to handle the extreme situations. It would have been nice to see the school offer other resources, but again, it's TV, and an hour show, devoted to other peoples' stories besides this one... Anyway, that was just my impression...

Anonymous said...

Actually we were asked to remove our high functioning kids from public school.
They wanted us to get the appropriate paper diagnosis for the school to recieve funding which could then be spent at their discretion, and not neccesarily on my kids.
We could have fought to stay but it wasn't worth the battle as my kids suffered in the end.With teachers who didn't have a clue and just bullid them.
We chose to go with homeschooling and we love it.

caren said...

I would have liked a show that showed how much those of us without money go through to get services for our children. In addition to learning to about Asperger's, I have had to learn about special Ed Law, Advocates and Lawyers.

It is also hard simply to drive an Aspie child to all of the support services. In the one where Mom gets to spend a week working I wish we could have seen her leave a list of all of the appointments on the fridge.