Asperger’s Syndrome

Asperger’s Syndrome

Asperger’s  Syndrome

TV characters who exhibit common Asperger’s traits:

  • Temperance Brennan (Bones)
  • Zack Addy (Bones)
  • Spencer Reid (Criminal Minds)
  • Detective Goren (Law & Order)
  • Michael Scott (The Office)
  • Gil Grissom (CSI)
  • Charlie Eppes (Numbers)
  • Kevin Stark (Eureka)
  • Connor (Degrassi)

The Big Bang Theory (TV series) (2007-present)

A woman moves into an apartment next door to two brilliant but socially awkward physicists and shows them how little they know about life outside of the laboratory.  The physicist Sheldon presents Asperger’s Syndrome traits.

House M.D. (2004–2012)

An antisocial maverick doctor who specializes in diagnostic medicine does whatever it takes to solve puzzling cases that come his way.  His character has been interpreted as possibly afflicted with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2001-2011) Crime drama.

Focuses on the investigations of the Major Case Squad of the NYC Police Department. Features a detective speculated by viewers to be on the Asperger’s spectrum, because of the awkward mannerisms and strange speech patterns which accompany his brilliance.  This possibility is highlighted in the episodes Probability and Endgame which feature a diagnosed Asperger’s character who commits a string of murders.  Not only does Detective Goren express empathy for him, but the mannerisms of the two men often mirror each other.

Too Sane for This World (2011 documentary)

Explores the challenges, gifts and unique perspectives of 12 adults on the autism spectrum.

A Mile in His Shoes (2011 TV movie)

A pitcher with Asperger’s Syndrome, joins a minor-league baseball team and has a profound effect on the team and manager over the course of a season.

Bodyshock (TV series documentary) Episode: Dad’s Having a Baby (2011)

A documentary series about the conditions or lives of extraordinary people: In this case one of two gay men, married to each other, both of whom were originally women, is pregnant with the couple’s first child together.  They already have two adopted sons, one of whom has Asperger’s syndrome.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011)

A nine-year-old amateur inventor, Francophile, and pacifist searches New York City for the lock that matches a mysterious key left behind by his father, who died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.  Asperger’s traits are evident.

My Name Is Khan (2010)

An Indian Muslim man with Asperger’s Syndrome embarks on a cross-country journey to speak to the President personally.

A Place to Belong: Asperger’s and a School (2010) (V)

Two middle school boys, bullied because of their unusual social behavior, enroll in a school for children with Asperger’s Syndrome. There, they learn new skills and gain confidence.

OC87: The Obsessive Compulsive, Major Depression, Bipolar, Asperger’s Movie(2010)

Director Bud Clayman documents his struggle with OCD and Asperger’s Syndrome and how it derailed his plan to become a filmmaker.

The Revenge of the Aspie (2010 short)

JB, who has Asperger’s syndrome, is sitting alone eating his ice cream on the steps. He is bullied by another man, Keith, who is a martial artist. JB ends up confronting Keith in a martial arts gym for ruining his enjoyment of his ice cream.

In Plain Sight (TV series) Episode: Her Days Are Numbered(2010)

Mary is assigned to protect a witness whose Asperger’s Syndrome allows her to keep all the financial records of a numbers racket in her head, but also makes it difficult for her to understand figures of speech or to keep the secrets necessary to remain a protected witness.

Jake the Film (2010 documentary)

“Jake The Film” is a documentary about the journey of a young autistic man, who dreams of becoming a professional filmmaker.

On the Line (2010 short)

Director Stephen Gibler was diagnosed as a child with Asperger’s Syndrome. On The Line is based on the experiences he had growing up that helped him overcome his childhood social flaws.

Vicente (2010 documentary short)

Vicente is a 17-year-old with Asperger’s Syndrome. In this short documentary the director, his brother, tries to show us the Vicente that usually isn’t seen, through their everyday family life and the boy’s passion for video-games.

Kids with Cameras(2009 documentary)

Onehour documentary produced and directed by Alex Rotaru, following the progress and challenges of a group of children with Asperger’s, aged eleven to nineteen, as they engage in an intensive film camp taught by national award-winning educator, Brad Koepenick and organized by foundation Actors for Autism and its founder, Alisa Wolf.

SABAH: Making a Difference (2009 short)

SABAH is an organization that helps special needs children learn to ice skate as well as cooperate in a group setting. This documentary follows Karlie Herbst, a girl with Asperger’s, on her journey with SABAH and how it has affected her life and her family.

Adam (2009)

Adam, a lonely man with Asperger’s Syndrome, develops a relationship with his upstairs neighbor, Beth.

Mary and Max (2009) Australia

About a pen pal friendship between a socially inept eight year old Melbourne schoolgirl, Mary Dinkle, and a 44 year old, obese New York man with Asperger’s, Max Horovitz. The friendship spans 20 years, and the letters explore a myriad of difficult topics including where babies come from, autism, psychiatry, taxidermy and religion. The film is based loosely on Elliot’s own pen pal friendship with a person with Aspergers.

One in a Million (2009 documentary)

Feature length documentary about the filmmaker’s family, including a daughter with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Bearsac (2009 documentary short)

Bearsac is a teddy bear that lives a life of his own through his owner Debra.  About what it is like living with Asperger’s Syndrome. Explores people’s reactions.

My Violin Cries (2009 video documentary short)

How a girl with Asperger’s mourns the loss of her mentor through the gift of music. In her words:  “My Violin Cries is a short documentary about my journey through mournful emotions after the loss of my violin teacher and mentor Stefanie Graef Carr. In this film I show how my special interest in music was not only the language I shared with Ms. Stefanie, but in the end the way I cried for her.”

Q. & A. (2009 documentary short)

Twelve-year-old Joshua Littman, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, interviews his mother Sarah on everything from animals to her feelings about him as a son.

Degrassi: The Next Generation (TV series) Episode: Causing a Commotion (2009)

After an explosive outburst, Conner ends up expelled from school. When Clare finds out his behavior is caused by Asperger’s Syndrome, she protests the administration’s unfair treatment of him.

All About Steve (2009)

Mary Horowitz is socially inept, yet brilliant with words and information. Convinced that a CCN cameraman is her true love, she trails him as he travels all over the country, hoping to convince him that they belong together.

Boston Legal (TV series) (Seasons 2-5, 2005–2008)

Legal drama-comedy:  Season two introduces an attorney diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. He purrs when he feels anxious or upset; constantly exclaims “Bingo!” as an affirmative; hops when excited; and walks with his hands on his lap. After his diagnosis he receives therapy. In the final season, he is made partner in the firm.

Rainman goes to RocKwiz (2008 documentary short)

A nearly blind recluse with Asperger’s Syndrome has an encyclopedic knowledge of the Australian music charts.  Can he break out of his constrictive routine and show his amazing music chart recall on a live TV quiz show?

Hamish (2008 short)

Claire Moon, an adolescent who lives with Asperger’s Syndrome, knows what it is like to be an outsider, and when her outcast friend Hamish disappears, she worries…

My Brother Tom (2008 short)

Filmmaker Kaz Gamble shares a first-hand portrait of his brother’s struggle growing up with undiagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome.

Standard Deviation (2008 documentary short)

The story of Billy Cottrell, a brilliant physicist with Asperger’s symptoms whose world collapses when the FBI arrests him as an eco-terrorist.

If You Could Say It in Words (2008)

A romantic tale about an adulterous young woman who struggles to rebuild her life and a painter suffering from undiagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome.

Grey’s Anatomy (TV series) Episode: These Ties That Bind  (2008)

Dr. Dixon tells Bailey that she likes the regularity and rules of the human heart, the structure. She then tells Bailey that she has Asperger’s Syndrome.

ABC News Primetime Asperger’s Syndrome (2007)

A documentary featuring three boys with Asperger’s Syndrome.  Each boy has an obsession with something: one with trains, one with washers and dryers, and one with game shows.

Imagination (2007)

About identical twin sisters, one who is going blind and the other who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome. The premise is that together they have a special gift that enables them to rise above their physical disabilities and collectively escape reality into a realm of their imagination. When a major earthquake takes their mother’s life, a neuro-psychologist is left to help the now-orphaned twins cope, while at the same time dealing with his struggle concerning the girls’ prophetic visions.

Family Secrets:  Almost Normal (2007 TV documentary)

What it is like for a mother to cope with two children with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Carbuncle (2006)

Documentary follows a gifted director whose vision is filtered through the lens of his Asperger’s Syndrome creating a trailer park drama about a developmentally disabled woman who is taken advantage of by a social worker.

The Afternoon Play (TV series) Episode: Tea with Betty (2006)

Single mum Wendy, bringing up a son with Asperger’s and dealing with a challenging ex husband, faces a constant struggle as she tries to encourage the residents of the housing estate where she lives to maintain some respect for their surroundings. On the 10th anniversary of the riots that nearly destroyed their home, the Queen decides to visit the estate…

Mozart and the Whale (2005)

A love story between two savants with Asperger’s syndrome.

Law & Order: Trial by Jury (TV series) Episode:Day (2005)

Dr. Olivet interviews an accused rapist about his methods of trying to understand human behavior, and reports that he likely has Asperger’s Syndrome, but says that that does not explain his violent actions.

Somersault (2004)

About growing up without guidance, without role models, without the ability to articulate emotions and understand how your actions impact on other people. Features an underdeveloped but pivotal character whose Asperger’s helps to reveal the inner world of the main characters, Heidi and Joe.

Punch-Drunk Love (2002)

Rather than trying to cover up the mental illness that’s implicit in most of Sandler’s previous roles, Anderson emphasizes it. He gives Sandler a textbook worth of troubles: Asperger’s Syndrome, severe shyness, manic depression with violent outbursts, and possible hallucinations. Love is redemptive.

The Human Face (TV mini-series documentary) Episode: Face to Face (2001)

Examines facial expression as a method of communication. Two cases illustrate the difficulties that can result either when facial expression is made difficult due to abnormal facial nerve development, as in Möbius’s syndrome, or when facial expressions cannot be interpreted, as with Asperger’s syndrome.

The Luzhin Defense (2000)

Set in the late 1920s, The Luzhin Defense tells the story of a shambling, unworldly chess Grand Master who arrives in the Italian Lakes to play the match of his life and unexpectedly finds the love of his life, but it is not something he is equipped to deal with.  Asperger’s traits.

Nell (1994) Jodi Foster

When a woman dies in her home in the North Carolina forest, the town doctor finds a terrified young woman hiding in the rafters. She seems to have a language of her own. He seeks the help of a researcher working with autistic children.  One of her colleagues diagnoses Asperger’s, and recommends institutionalization.  The girl, with the town doctor interpreting, argues in court for her freedom.

Malcolm (1986)

Crime comedy: Malcolm is a chronically shy mechanical genius fired for building his own tram with company materials on company time.  He falls in with a couple of bank robbers.  Malcolm exhibits many traits that are characteristic of someone with high functioning Asperger’s Syndrome, including a peculiar walk, reluctance to make eye contact, poor social skills, and a deep-focus, obsessive interest (in this case, trams). The character was inspired by director Nadia Tass’ late brother, John Tassopoulos.

Q.E.D. (1982 TV series documentary) Episode: I’m Not Stupid

Looks at Asperger’s syndrome.

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