The Autism Spectrum Disorder in Media
The Autism Spectrum Disorder in Media
  • Kim Jang Yunsun
  • 승인 2022.10.05 09:52
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The Autism Spectrum Disorder in Media1)

<Extraordinary Attorney Woo> is a Korean TV drama dealing with autism. As the highest rating for this drama is 17.5%, many viewers were interested in the disability in that drama. Through this drama, people can watch the behavior of characters who are living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They repeat the word others have said before, are not good at eye contact, and display obsessive tendencies. All the characters who have ASD have those features, but one unique thing is that the main character's communicative ability is different from others. He can have conversations with others better than other disorders. It seems that ASD has a spectrum. As the disability's range varies in degree, they each have a diverse degree of it. For example, someone might have a linguistic disorder and intellectual disability, on the other hand, others do not. In addition, very few people who have savant syndrome display mild symptoms and show extraordinary ability in one area. The media often uses this behavior to show those with ASD. The main character of <Extraordinary Attorney Woo> also has mild symptoms along with savant syndrome. He specialized in memorization and legal skills. But there is a different point compared to another drama that deals with ASD. The character who has specialty skills emphasized the aspect of a beginner in society rather than the skills. It represents him as an ordinary person, and this is beyond the idea that disability is special and different from others. Throughout this drama, the recently disabled characters in the media are different from the previous ones.
However, there are negative impacts from the media that are made by dramas. As mentioned before, those who have autism are usually shown as having savant syndrome, and it is also used as highlight material. There were also many scenes in <Extraordinary Attorney Woo> where the main character who has ASD solved the problem. However, the reality is different. the ability in the dramas is like the fantasy for general disorders. Finally, the portrayal of this ability in the media can have a negative impact on those with ASD and their families, because of prejudice and misunderstanding. In other words, the average disorder is likely to be ignored because they have no special ability. In addition, there are other problems. There are discriminations against the disabled that occur in the media. One of those is the chastising of characters in the media like drama or movies etc. Lee Jinseob, CEO of 'Walking in the World with Developmental Disabilities' said firmly, "It is a problem that the actor portraying the character with ASD does not have ASD." He said it comes down to prejudice about actors. Referring to an actor in the drama "Our Blues" who has Down Syndrome, he also said that someone with a disability who can communicate with someone can act equally. Those pointed out that people should pay attention to its problems of it and focus on the position of the disabled.


1) No Jimin, "What is the Fantasy for, 'Woo Youngwoo'", Media Today, July 14, 2022

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