Why I Owe ‘Parenthood’ a Big Thank You
In the history of television, I don’t believe the autism community has ever had as strong a connection to a show as we’ve had with NBC’s “Parenthood.” Last week, we saw the series finale after six magnificent and heartfelt seasons. This show tells the story of the Bravermans, a family that consists of an elderly couple, their four children and their families. One of the more intriguing characters on the show was Max Braverman, a young boy with Asperger syndrome, a form of autism.
I’ve never watched a show on TV that’s depicted a child’s character with autism before. “Parenthood” offered us the opportunity to show a national audience each week a new look into the world of autism.. Viewers saw what families that have a loved one with autism see everyday. Topics such as acceptance, bullying, unique interests, sensory integration, speech, communication and much more were discussed through Max’s character. Later, we’d even be introduced to a character that may or may not be an adult on the autism spectrum (played by Ray Romano).
It became clear early on that this show offered a true portrayal into autism, as well as many family-related issues that happen today. Luckily, “Parenthood” can live forever on Netflix, Hulu and all the other streaming websites.
So I wanted to say thank you to NBC for giving this show a chance to shine. This show gave a voice to our autism community on television. As an adult with autism who grew up loving TV and as someone today who tries to make a career in autism-related films, I’m extremely grateful. This show couldn’t have come at a better time to help spread awareness. I truly hope the series “Parenthood” will open the door for the portrayal of more characters with autism in the future.
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