You may know that I am a science fiction fan. In recent years, I have seen some popular TV shows that prominently display autistic characters in a positive way. Two excellent shows, “Alphas” and “Eureka”, both sadly cancelled, had autistic characters who frequently saved the day and everything! I wrote about them in a guest post at scienceinmyfiction.com. You can read the post by clicking here.
Now, about the brightest smile…
The following three paragraphs are taken from the Science in my Fiction guest post mentioned above:
“One of the reasons why I liked Alphas so much is that one of its main characters, in fact, my favorite character in the series, Gary Bell, had high-functioning autism. He also had THE coolest “superpower”, he was able to see parts of the electromagnetic spectrum that normal humans are not physically capable of seeing, like radio waves for example (they never addressed the source of his ability in the show, but perhaps he had additional photoreceptors?).
In a wonderful allegory to the autistic condition, Gary literally saw the world in a truly unique way. He would kind of “see” frequencies invisible to the rest of us. In Gary’s case one of the consequences of that is that he did not need a computer to use the Internet. He could just see the signals with his naked eyes and was even able to manipulate them. Now if you ask me, that’s really what “online” was surely meant to be. Moreover, Gary saw the internet directly, exactly as it is; he is the ultimate hacker!
To construct this character, the writers masterfully took advantage of the hand gestures that many autistic individuals make. These gestures are a little bit like conducting music and the actor that played Gary (Ryan Cartwright) played it perfectly. I know that because my own son who is in the autistic spectrum, frequently moves his hands in a very similar way!”
And it is absolutely true, my son does that quite often! Keep in mind that Ryan Cartwright is not autistic, so his portrayal of Gary’s character was truly masterful.
Last night I was talking to my boys, Reynaldo and Andy about “Alphas”. We are very open about Reynaldo’s autism (see Autism and love). So I was telling them about Gary and his wonderful ability. I addressed Reynaldo and I told him, “You know what? Gary is autistic; do you know anyone like that?”
He responded cheerfully, “Me! I am autistic!”.
And gave me the first bright smile of the night.
My wife then came to the room and I asked Reynaldo to tell her about Gary. He told her about Gary’s powers and then I told him to tell his mom what else can he say about Gary, and Reynaldo said:
“He is autistic, just like ME!!!“
And regaled us with the brightest smile of the night…
Talking about science fiction, I wrote a science fiction story with an autism theme which has a quite uplifting message (see the link to my Amazon’s author webpage at the end of this post for more information. BTW, you can download it from Amazon absolutely free until tomorrow Jan 9!).
Want to see more of the things I write? Go here for some other posts. By the way, I wrote a neuroscience book!
TFB is available as an ebook (Kindle, Nook, as well as in iTunes).
This is a popular science book, which I hope to be enjoyed by laypeople and biologists alike.
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