I thought I'd finally outgrown MTV, until I came across the show World of Jenks featuring a boy with autism named Chad. A boy whose aura was infectious, personality so endearing, and family's struggle so real. The show chronicled Chad's last year in high school as he navigated the system from student to adult, though still living at home with his parents. My children and I watched every episode together, smiling when he compared a girl's aroma to balsamic vinegar and laughing with him at the sometimes timid, but always honest, way he approached life.
Sadly his journey on the show ended, leaving me wanting for more and hoping others got a glimpse inside a world they might not know. There have been other characters in movies like Rain Man, but none compared to Chad. The only other place on television where I've seen characters with autism, excluding P.B.S. and all other news programs, is on The Real Housewives of New Jersey. I really do watch other quality programming. Really, I do.
I wish that people on the autism spectrum were mainstream today, like Down syndrome used to be with the character Corky, in that early nineties show Life Goes On. The way little people are represented with Little People, Big World and with the actor, Peter Dinklage. There seems to be a double standard for autism or maybe the disorder is too new.
That issue also begs the question why people still put the name of the disorder ahead of the child. Ever since I heard a psychologist make the distinction, I cringe whenever I hear the label come before the child's name. Think about it. Have you heard "that down syndrome girl" or "the girl with down syndrome? Probably the latter. Society has become too politically correct and maybe that's rubbed off on me. I just want to see my son before the autism and I hope others will, too.