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How 'The Good Doctor' Addressed a Major Misconception About Autism

Warning: There are spoilers below.

In an episode of “The Good Doctor” titled “Islands: Part One,” Dr. Shaun Murphy goes on a road trip with his friend and neighbor Lea. In the scene in the video above Lea and Dr. Murphy share a moment that really touched me.

Often while giving talks around the country about my own experiences growing up on the spectrum, I’m stopped by a family or two who ask me what I think about the whole “people with autism lack empathy” misconception that sometimes gets spread around. With autism often being considered a social and communication disorder, some people think those with autism aren’t capable of relationships with other people.

This misconception is just not true.

Many of my mentees on the spectrum love to talk about the girls and/or boys they like. When I’m talking to them about their transitions to adulthood this is always one of their key focuses. We discuss everything from how to ask someone out on a date, how to understand social cues, etc. Many of them today have had success in the dating world along with other areas of their early adulthoods.

That’s a key reason why I appreciated what “The Good Doctor” has been showing through several of their episodes. Dr. Murphy’s skills at the hospital show that those with autism can be successful in the workplace, and now the show is demonstrating that they also can be successful in their personal lives. I had a lot of struggles growing up on the spectrum, but today have had several successful jobs and several relationships I wouldn’t trade for the world. I was even able to work on a film that focused on a young woman with autism trying to find love in NYC.

I applaud shows like “The Good Doctor” for exploring topics such as these, and for the conversations they’ve started. Their presence on a national television network such as ABC have given many people an opportunity to learn, and for that I’m grateful.

A version of this article originally appeared on

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Photo screenshot from “The Good Doctor” Facebook page.

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