Aired: August 23, 2008

Autism in Contemporary Film, Literature – and Life

One in every 150 American-born children is diagnosed with an autism-spectrum disorder. Christofer Foss (University of Mary Washington) has examined how autism is portrayed in contemporary literature and film and says it is time to re-think difference, dignity, discrimination, and other disability issues. Also: Nicole Myers (University of Mary Washington) says with proper training, teachers can make significant strides with high-functioning autistic children in the mainstream classroom. And: producer Nancy King visits a Charlottesville family who is building a special “therapy room” to meet the challenge of their young son who has autism.


3 Comments on “Autism in Contemporary Film, Literature – and Life”

  1. jenniferlovehewittfan

    Here’s something to ponder: Amanda Baggs, the woman who many think suffers from Dissociative Personality Disorder, really has something even more interesting, which is psychogenic autism, possibly one of her personalities. It is also possible this is a factitious disorder, as she is reported to have ‘studied” other severely autistic cases in order to adopt mannerisms…Very interesting case. You Tube video: “autism epidemic out of control” and “autism spectrum seems out of control” go into this subject a tad…this is definately something on the horizon. A new phenomenon, sparked by the autism explosion and creating mass hyteria and psychogenic factors within unstable minds to adopt such a diagnosis, as they feel this will bring them attention and nurturing they so deeply need, due to often traumatic upbringings (ie…Donna Williams, a most interesting case as well). The trouble is, when these psychogenic autism cases are featured on CNN (as in case of amanda baags) then you have a case of avoidance, where the media that once promoted or featured such a person, is now unwilling to realize or accept that this was all a fraud, or fabrication of such. This is not helpful for neither the patient or the community at large. Shame on the American Psychiatric Ass. for not having the intelligence or courage to expose these autism frauds. And double shame to Pres. Obama for his absolute failure to understand autism by appointing Ari. Neeman in any type of autism position. Where have all the courageous critical thinkers gone? Psychiatry is losing all respect and being attacked at all levels due to their internal dissassociation from confrontation. Deal with controversy. It’s part of life. It’s part of maintaining the core traits of diagnostic criteria.

  2. Tommygirl

    Amanda Baggs is definately NOT autistic. Nor is Donna Williams. Williams has been diagnosed with multiple personality disorders (MPD). Baggs appears to have suffered brain damage from ingesting copious amounts of mind alterning hallucinegics, LSD, etc…and also is said to have MPD. C’mon media, quit making yourselves look stupid. You should know better. Where or where have the critical thinkers and investigative journalists gone?

  3. Sheogorath

    @ jenniferlovehewittfan and Tommygirl: Amelia née Amanda Baggs does not suffer from psychigenic autism alone, it is part of her factitious disorder inflicted on self. The proof can be found on her blog, in which she details having been successfuly diagnosed with and treated for a number of physical conditions. I think the reason her ‘autism’ has lasted so long is because she is still receiving attention because of it, however negative. As for Donna Williams, she has dissociative identity disorder and one of her alters either has autism or PDD-NOS. I’ve been researching those two for quite some time because they do no favours for those of us who are genuinely Autistic.

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