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33 Recommended Films and Shows with Autism to Watch this Holiday Season


With the winter upon us, coupled with longer days, spending time at home with your autistic children means lots of cuddling in front of a warm fireplace and movie. These days with the long nights should be used to create closer bonds with children, whether or not they are diagnosed with a disorder, enjoying good books, good games and good films.


A previous article explored some great books to read, particularly after putting the kids to bed, including:

  • Born on a Blue Day
  • The Autism Revolution
  • The Reason I Jump
  • Learning to Dance in the Rain
  • The Spark:
  • The Autistic Brain:
  • Living Through Autism's Eyes: My Journey with My Son
  • My child's got autism: don't panic
  • Mommy, I Wish I Could Tell You What They Did To Me In School Today

Autism is not a disease. It cannot be cured and the causes are largely unknown though many theories exist about its risk factors. It is a genetic disorder that affects how the brain is wired and often aggravated by environmental factors. Children as young as 12 months are now able to be diagnosed, with many countries around the world using the new techniques developed in Australia's La Trobe University. Some areas, like within Tianjin, will be screening all children for signs of autism.

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During or after Christmas, when worries about the best types of gifts for autistic children are over, pictures with Santa are done, and you got your little royals nearby or asleep, here are some films autism parents recommend, with autistic characters utilized:

  1. Rain Man: After finding out that his father left a fortune to his autistic brother he never knew about, the estranged son takes some extraordinary measures to get his hands on the money.
  2. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: A child somewhere on the spectrum has to deal with the aftereffects of the September 11 attacks and his losses, finding himself in the midst.
  3. I Am Sam: Autistic man struggles to raise and protect his only daughter, though the storyline has had mixed reviews. What do you think?
  4. What's Eating Gilbert Grape:Leonardo di Caprio playing the autistic brother? I'm in Heaven!
  5. Temple Grandin: Very much recommended biopic depicting life of autistic Temple Grandin
  6. Mercury Rising: Bruce Willis' character protects an autistic child from government officials who are not so angelic
  7. The Soloist: Cello player with schizophrenia and autism left homeless befriends newspaper columnist
  8. My Name is Khan: Hindi love story between a man with Asperger's Syndrome and his wife, struggling to keep the connection alive
  9. Dear John: Feel good love story touching on autism through characters in the periphery
  10. The Story of Luke: A young man with autism goes on a quest to find a job and a girlfriend
  11. Mozart and the Whale: an Asperger's love story between two autistic savants
  12. Silver Lining Playbook: Inspired by an autism diagnosis, this movie was greatly acclaimed and is greatly recommended
  13. Molly: An unwilling bachelor and his unwilling sister pull together a film that's rather quite interesting

More Films

  1. House of Cards
  2. Benny and Joon
  3. Martian Child
  4. The Other Sister
  5. Adam
  6. Forest Gump
  7. Backstreet Dreams
  8. Ocean Heaven
  9. Loving Lampposts
  10. Wretches and Jabberers
  11. Radio
  12. Miracle Run
  13. Beyond the Black Rainbow
  14. Snow Angel
  15. As Good as it Gets

Television Shows

  1. Big Bang Theory
  2. Elementary
  3. Parenthood
  4. Bones
  5. The Middle

The film "Happy Feet" is also recommended by parents for children who have autism to watch. Enjoy the holidays with a good movie, a steaming cup of hot chocolate, roasting chestnuts and loved ones cuddled with you on a comfy couch. Autism is not always portrayed well in the movies, but parents know something if they recommend these films and television shows for their inclusion of autism either as subject or character.



You forgot Sherlock by the BBC.
True! thanks!
There are also: Mater Amatisima (Spain 1980) and, Mary and Max (2009, Autralian stop motion film)
found on Netflix? Interesting!
the character Abed in "Community" has Asperger's