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“Even though we all are different, we’re all pretty much the same”: An Inquiry into Representations of Autism in Children’s Fictional Television Programming

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“Even though we all are different, we’re all pretty much the same”: An Inquiry into Representations of Autism in Children’s Fictional Television Programming

Waheed, Sundus (2018) “Even though we all are different, we’re all pretty much the same”: An Inquiry into Representations of Autism in Children’s Fictional Television Programming. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This qualitative study examines portrayals of autism in children’s television programming by analyzing three television programs – Sesame Street, Mack and Moxy, and Arthur – in terms of the race and gender of the character with autism, the symptoms and personality characteristics exhibited by the character with autism, the setting the character with autism is situated in, the roles of the supporting characters, and the main themes emphasized in
the episodes. A critical analysis pertaining to the above-mentioned categories, as well as a brief comparison of research conducted on portrayals of autism in children’s fictional picture books with portrayals in the present sample, will be offered. The examined programs were found to be successful in representing a variety of symptoms portrayed by the characters with autism and included the more challenging aspects of autism, such as meltdowns, in response to hyper-reactivity. The main themes extracted from the episodes included the ideas of acceptance, diversity, and friendship. The researcher concluded that future depictions of characters with autism should include more female characters as well as characters belonging to various races and ethnicities. While research exploring portrayals of autism in television and film targeting teenage to adult audiences exists, this study fills the gap in research by examining portrayals of autism exclusively in children’s television programming. This research has implications for future television content creators, parents, and educators.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Education
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Waheed, Sundus
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Education
Date:April 2018
Thesis Supervisor(s):Kredl, Sandra-Chang
ID Code:983881
Deposited By: SUNDUS WAHEED
Deposited On:15 Jan 2019 16:25
Last Modified:15 Jan 2019 16:25
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