Are Glee Writers Using the Autism Community to Improve Ratings? 6

Read what one blogger said, crown_of_weeds: Sugar, Self-Diagnosis, Appropriation, And Ableism: So Here’s What You Missed On Glee. Do you think they really are using the autism community for ratings? Is this really what our society has come too? I hope not. I really hope the writer did not understand.

Here is an excellent summary of different views in the autism community Debate Heats Up: Is Glee Making Fun of Asperger’s? | Child Mind Institute. There are people within the autism community who do not understand Asperger’s and there are professionals like Allen Frances who make things worse with this What’s A Mental Disorder? Even Experts Can’t Agree : NPR. Is it any wonder that girls on the high-end of the autism spectrum do not get the support and understanding they need?

Here is part of a comment I left on a blogger’s post this morning, “The news media, celebrities and others fight for the rights of sexual orientation, color, religion and even more severe forms of autism and other disabilities including Down’s Syndrome. Most people know what Down’s Syndrome is and most have heard and some are even getting that sexual orientation is not a choice for many. Yet even members of our family fail to understand my daughter. I have left churches that condemned other religions or those who petitioned against same-sex marriage so while your assumptions are valid, you made a leap that missed the mark when you assumed ‘tolerance has to be tailored to fit YOUR PARTICULAR disability or challenge.'” I speak out about injustices related to Asperger’s because people with a diagnosis of Asperger’s are a minority within a minority and girls with the diagnosis are even more of a minority. I speak out because the diagnosis is relatively new (1994), and it will no longer be used in a couple of years therefore, it is misunderstood more than most. Taking such a vulnerable group and making any type of joke at their expense is just wrong.

Please join my e-mail campaign to make a positive change if you agree with me. Find out how in my previous post Glee Needs to Apologize to Autism Community for Recent Episode.


  1. I am the sibling of someone with Asperger’s and I don’t have a problem with the storyline. Actually, I love it. My brother with Asperger’s doesn’t care about the storyline either way. He’s not into Glee. Anyway, I love the storyline because it’s NOT even about having Asperger’s. It’s about a spoiled entitled BRAT (who DOES NOT have Asperger’s) using the diagnosis du jour as an excuse for bad behavior, which does a HUGE disservice to people who legitimately have the disorder. I myself have ADHD which is also a trendy diagnosis that people like to throw around and personally, I am SICK of seeing people do that. It’s about time we make fun of the people who appropriate trendy diagnoses just for their own benefit. It makes my life MUCH harder for me when people self diagnose with ADHD and for my brother when people do the same with Asperger’s. It cheapens and demeans the experiences of people who actually have these disorders.

    Now, if they actually did portray Sugar Motta as having Asperger’s THEN I would have a problem with it. But that’s not the case here.

    In the end, disorders such as Asperger’s and ADHD are not as bad as many other mental disorders. Think about the families who are affected by much more severe disorders such as schizophrenia or PTSD. Sometimes it’s easy for us to get caught up in our own issues. I know that I sometimes have tunnel vision when it comes to ADHD, Asperger’s and breast cancer (my mom has it) because those are the issues that are most personal to me. But I always try to remind myself that I am very fortunate in many ways. There are schizophrenics who are wandering the streets homeless, children are dying of famine, people are dying of AIDS, etc. Getting worked up about a television show seems so trivial. Perhaps we should count our blessings instead of whining and complaining. Most of all, we should also take time to say a prayer or think some thoughts (if you’re not the religious type) for those who are less fortunate.

    • Dear Addrift,
      I appreciate your point of view and your comment. You are obviously a brave young person to speak out for a show you obviously love and I respect that. I hope you and others are right and Glee’s character is “a spoiled entitled BRAT (who DOES NOT have Asperger’s) using the diagnosis du jour as an excuse for bad behavior.” I agree this type of behavior “does a HUGE disserve to people who legitimately” have the diagnosis; however, I want you to go back to the second episode this season and tell me where they use “self-diagnosed” anywhere in that episode. Obviously, we will have to wait until November to know for sure what the writers have planned. I hope you are aware that although most Gleeks watch every episode not everyone does.

      Therefore the second episode made those with the diagnosis look bad and even in the first episode “self-diagnosed” is only used once and the second time it is “Asperger’s.” I also think that it is important to understand that since your experience is one of having a brother with Asperger’s not a sister, you might not realize that it takes much longer for girls to be diagnosed in the first place, and many of them are first misdiagnosed with ADHD and/ or more serious psychiatric diagnoses. I even have a friend who was not diagnosed until she was fifty. Girls are therefore even more vulnerable in some ways due to being misunderstood. This makes them more vulnerable to bullying that can result in PTSD as well. The girls who bullied my daughter focused on those that they knew had been diagnosed with ADHD by a professional not by “self-diagnosis.”

      I can tell from your comment that you came to my site from a link and have not explored any other posts or pages. Perhaps if you did you would understand that my blog focuses on forgiveness and gratitude along with bully prevention and autism spectrum. I hope you will explore more.

      Aloha and blessings,


  2. If indeed Glee writers using the Autism community for ratings, that is just sad!

    To be honest, I have never seen that show, not even one episode of it. And I do not have plans on starting to watch it right now. However, I have heard and read good things about it as being very intertaining, youth oriented musical show, and it has much sensitivity to social issues, that it boggles me why they have taken a leap to the wrong side on the issue of autism and Asperger’s …

    It is sad because there are only a few shows worth watching on TV, minus this one!

    • Charlotte,
      I am still hoping they do the right thing. They are known for making fun of groups, but usually they also show positive sides of these characters and others discussing why the group that is mean is wrong. This has not been the case with “Sugar,” the character who said she has “self-diagnosed” Asperger’s in the first episode and then only calls it Asperger’s in the second episode.

  3. I agree! I liked how you explained how news media and celebreties take up the cause. Like you one of my biggest concerns is most people don’t understand the disorder to begin with. Let alone understand how this “joke” is wrong. My son is constantly misunderstood as “choosing” to not do an assignment. Even though he does 95% of the assignments and the other 5% when gets the help he needs. Doesn’t sound like a choice to me! So a character supposedly poking fun at using Asperger’s as an excuse is really not funny to me.
    I haven’t watched tonight but based on twitter it was the same this week as last. Not good.

    • It has not been on here yet. It is only 3:30 PM, but I am not sure if I want to see it. Part of me thinks I should to be informed, but I really do not want to see more of the same. I agree that it is not funny.

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