How Media Represents People With Autism (Autistic Children)

560 words | 2 page(s)

Autism is a developmental disease that appears in the initial three years of a child’s life. According to estimation given by experts, two to six children out of a thousand will be affected by some of autism during their early stages of growth. Experts also estimate that male children are four times likely to be affected by autism than female children. The disease affects the ability if a person to communicate and socialize with others (Freedman, 2008). Many other aspects of the life of a child such as psychology, familiarly, and socially are affected. Research has not yet to find the possible cause of the disease even though there is cure for the disease. In recent years, the rise of autism has been covered by the media in almost every media outlet from print to television. The paper discusses how media represents people with autism in different aspects.

The media has been portraying the topic of autism in only a positive way. The media has only been showing the public the beneficial side of the issue such as the present treatments and cures. The view creates a lifting spirit of autism for the readers and viewers of media. The media has not tried to show the challenges which people living with autism are experiencing or how it is difficult to raise a child with autism. The stories in the media do not indicate any realistic approach to living with autism even though it portrays the positive developments in fighting autism (Silverman, 2007).

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The media only focuses on the new and upcoming autism treatments. Readers and viewers only get the positive light of the disease while the more concerning aspects of autism such as the challenges people living with autism face, are left uncovered. For instance, in the People article, Evan, a son to Jenny McCarthy was diagnosed with autism. According to the article, McCarthy worked hard to support her son by putting him on a dairy-free, wheat-free, and artificial-additive-free diet in order detox his system. Evan underwent through several treatments, behavioral therapy, and speech therapy at UCLA. The treatments help Evan to battle autism. Evan is getting better with the help he received even though he is not cured. The article shows the reader that the upcoming and new treatments such as keeping watch of what the child eats will help to find the cure for autism (Silverman, 2007).

Even though the media shows the treatment benefits side only, it does not portray the strain effects of treatment on a family raising a child with autism. It is challenging to raise a child, however, it requires a lot of energy and patience to raise a child with autism. The media does not incorporate the financial aspects brought with an autistic child on a family. The media rarely portrays the reality which families with autistic children struggle with. The media does not provide any information to the reader about the real idea on the challenges of raising an autistic child. It is unfair for the media that it does not show the whole aspect of the story which most people do not understand. People have a right to be informed the real emerging trends related to autism in the society.

  • Freedman, J. (2008). Autism. The Rosen Publishing Group
  • Silverman, S. (2007). “Jenny McCarthy opens up about her son with Autism.” People Magazine 17 September 2007. Print.

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