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The number of children with autism has been steadily increasing. Up from 1 in 166 children in 2004 to 1 in 59 children in 2018. (https://www.autismspeaks.org/science-news/cdc-increases-estimate-autisms-prevalence-15-percent-1-59-children)

Do you think this increase in the number of autistic children has had any effect on the quality of children's entertainment?


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I think the raise in diagnosed autism in children went up in this span of time because of awareness and inclusion of aspergers and other social inabilities to be included in the spectrum of the disorder.

>Do you think this increase in the number of autistic children has had any effect on the quality of children's entertainment?


I don't think I've noticed much change in the quality of children's entertainment. If anything, it's probably better in some respects.


>Do you think this increase in the number of autistic children has had any effect on the quality of children's entertainment?

That's only a 14 year gap, so I don't think any of those children have started producing TV shows yet.  The effect is probably neutral.


Well I mean, the current producers of TV shows could change what they create to appeal to a growing audience.

In what ways do you think it's gotten better, and what ways do you think it's gotten worse?



I suppose that's fair, and there's definitely a lot of autism awareness movements that might prompt that.

But also, traditionally what autistic kids like is just the cartoons we already had.  I think the most that could happen is we'd start seeing kids labeled as autistic, like Billy from the recent Power Rangers movie.


I think that the shows are talking about more diverse subject matters and that's good. I just watched a show where the children come from divorced families which I think is cool. I can't recall any shows from my youth in which they explicitly mentioned divorce.

Also there are more shows in which the male characters are softer and more in touch with their emotional side, which is great.

I'm terms of how it's worse, I don't really know. I'm sure there are some garbage shows being aired right now, but there have always been garbage children shows.


Billy was my favorite character from the original Power Rangers, and I honestly disliked that they made him autistic.

Billy always filled the socially awkward nerd archetype, but that doesn't nesicarrily equate to being autistic. Why can't he just be a socially awkward nerd? It's also really annoying that, David Yost the actor who played the original Billy, is gay in real life. I wouldn't have minded if they made the character gay as well, but they made the Yellow Ranger the gay one, because lesbians are sexier or something. Kind of rubbed me the wrong way.

I can't remember divorce specifically, but there were some maturer themes in some of the cartoons I watched as a kid. I think it's just cartoons are free to be more explicit about it now. But I'm not sure that's better or worse. Maybe there's some merit in making kids think about what you're trying to say without hitting them in the head with it.


Can you design shows to specifically target at people with autism?
Well, aside from the educational style shows that include autism as its topic. That one might be more prevalent as autism grows in relevance.


I can't answer that question definitely.

I mean, in my opinion, it's reasonable to assume certain media must be more or less popular with people on the autism spectrum. So all you would have to do is find out how and why those things appeal to autistic children, and try to replicate that. But I couldn't tell you what those things are.


Different question as well. Can you discern whether a person is autistic based on what he likes?

Sometimes I wonder if people who are neurotypical talk about different things than people who are on the spectrum.

When I am among people with autism, conversations often go to nerd/sci fi series, video games, image boards and animes.
Is this indicative of dealing with people on the spectrum? Or just your average conversation with people of a specific generation?


While I do think that certain interests are more common with people with autism, I don't think that someone being interested in those things is a good metric for whether or not they are on the spectrum. Lots of non-autistic people like sci-fi and video games, and I assume lots of autistic people have interests outside those things.


The reason why the amount of children with autism is increasing is because the range of behaviours that fall under "autism" is increasing irrationally.

Autism has become such a bloated term that it's almost meaningless at this point. Socially awkward? It's autism. Shy? It's autism. Just a lot of energy? Autism and also ADHD. Let's pump him full of drugs.


Interesting take. Do you have any sources on these misdiagnosis?


Am I missing out on a shitload of drugs?


By drugs, I think he means pharmaceuticals, not recreational drugs.



Skipping the thread.

The increase in the number of people with autism spectrum disorders has really only increased because the diagnostic criteria has become broader, more refined diagnostic techniques have improved to the point that there are fewer kids being misdiagnosed or diagnosed with something like "sensory processing disorder NOS (not otherwise specified)". Also the number of diagnosis of other conditions has also subsequently dropped when it's been discovered that sone conditions were just another manifestation of autism.



Naw, what changed is that we now understand that autism is essentially a form of sensory processing disorders, and well if a child is born with some, they don't always manisfest the same way, and possibly "autism" is a pattern of behavior that occurs or develops because the brain doesn't process the specific sensory information vital for social communication skills, especially for communication on multiple levels, including subtextual, metatextual and, especially, to know when people are being fundamentally figurative, and not literal.


Is not understanding sarcasm actually a symptom of autism?



Not understanding the concept? Not necessarily. Autistic people are certainly capable of understanding the concept.

Now, frequently not recognizing when someone is being sarcastic from tone of voice and other non linguistic cues? Yes, definitely. The brain of an autistic person may not be able to properly generalize or abstract sensory information in such a way that makes identifying and recognizing non verbal communication difficult. Their perceptions might be too detailed oriented to ignore all the unimportant details in identifying those sorts of non-verbal communication.


I remember a testimonial by an autist that I've read once.

It talked about an incident among friends (the guy was a grown up) where he'd embarrass his company by having an argument over an idiom someone used.

I feel like he was aware what it meant, but it bugged him that people expressed themselves as such and you can't really bring up the discomfort without actually arguing about dumb things making the entire event pretty awkward.


Hmm, that's interesting. I run into people who seem to take thigns entirely too literally all the time.

Is "austist" the correct term? And I'm not sure I follow, you're saying he would argue over idioms not being used for their literal meanings?


autist is a correct term:

and he found the expression makes little sense.


Well, just because it's in the dictionary, doesn't mean it's a socially acceptable or politically correct term to use. "Nigger" is in the dictionary, for example.

And idioms don't always make logical sense. It's just how people have begun using the words. Most people can understand that phrase can have a secondary meaning beyond it's literal one.



I can't think of how else you would refer to autists.  Some people might say "autistic people", but they seem like a bunch of extra language with no meaning.


I just want to avoid insulting or offending any autistic people or normal people close to autistic people.


Alternatively thinking people...
Malleoconscious individuals
Strong minded folks.


Let's get back on topic.

If a symptom of autism is not understanding subtle and non-verbal cues, and a growing percentage of child audiences have autism, is it possible that cartoons have or will become gradually less subtle? Will more cartoons have to start spelling out a cartoon character's intentions more directly so the audience will understand?

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