More than two decades ago, Dustin Hoffman won an Oscar for his portrayal of an autistic adult in the 1988 film "Rain Man." This year, Claire Danes snagged an Emmy for her role in "Temple Grandin," an HBO movie that chronicled the remarkable life of an autistic woman who graduated from college and became an expert in the humane handling of livestock. Movies and TV shows can be a powerful force in shaping attitudes about mental health disorders, but do Hollywood-crafted tales tell the whole story?
The NBC TV series "Parenthood" (10 p.m. Tuesdays) returns this season with a continuing story thread about how the Braverman family deals with their son, Max, who has been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome. Lauren Presti, director of a program at Trellis Services Inc., which treats children with autism and related communication disorders, discussed how "real" the series is on the Baltimore Sun's Picture of Health blog. Presti says, in part:
" 'Parenthood' also gives its audience an insight into the family dynamic. We could see how the entire family responded to Max's diagnosis and struggled as a whole in adjusting work and school schedules as well as daily home routines. In my own experience, I have had parents like Max's mother who completely break down in intake or call to express their frustrations with the different therapies, diets, schools, etc. they are juggling for the benefit of their child. The frustration in the mother and even the father made the depiction incredibly true in my perspective."
Read more on the Baltimore Sun's Picture of Health Blog: "NBC's 'Parenthood' offer look into life with Asperger's"