Cine Health

Atypical, analysis of a tv show about autistic spectrum disorder (ASD)

atypical atípico analisis psicología

Atypical Is one of these series of television (issued by Netflix, in this case) that do you think on the operation of the human brain and as it influences of way so direct in our lives. The series narrates the life of a boy of 18 years diagnosed with disorder of the autistic spectrum (TEA) of high functionalities and of what this supposes for his family and surroundings. His high capacities carry him to want to fulfil a dream that at the same time goes back  an important challenge, and even obsessive, for a person with his disorder: achieve girlfriend.

I have to say that the series describes the disorder of a quite reliable way but have to remember that the people with TEA situate  in a determinate dimension of the spectrum and his functionalities can vary considerably of an extreme to another.

In this article go firstly do a definition of what is TEA for with this base do a small analysis of Atypical.

What is the disorder of autistic spectrum (TEA)?

The Disorder Spectrum Autism, TEA, is an alteration of the development of caracter neuroevolutivo, that is to say, that modifies the processes of neuroconstrucción of the knowledge and the competitions. Especially it affects to the capacities to communicate  socially and to the the ways of behaviour of the person achieve same and with the other. It affects of dimensional way, in spectrum, according to the degree of penetration presenting therefore diverse degrees of severity.

>> Article related: 10 technicians to improve the interpersonal communication.

The people with TEA present a deficit in keys socioemocionales basic, that is to say, in the way in which we understand us, of as you understand me you to me and I to you by what present them severe difficulties to develop and comprise the social relations.

Boys that do not adjust  in the relation, do not give the suitable answers, do not look, do not answer to the name, fault of understanding of the emotional signals. Repetitive behaviours, estereotipado…Or mental and cognitive: obsessive, patterns, fixed interests.

The disorders of the autistic spectrum have a cause of origin neurológico no curable, however does not know  still his origin.

Resumiendo The criteria diagnostics that reflects the current DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual or Mental Disorders),

  1. Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction
    1. Deficits in reciprocity partner-emotional;
    2. Deficits in communicative behaviours no verbal used in the social interaction
    3. Deficits to develop, keep and comprise relations
  2. Repetitive patterns and restricted of behaviours, activities and interests. 
    1. Movements engines, use of objects or speech estereotipados.
    2. Insistence in the equality, adherencia inflexible to routines or patterns of verbal behaviour and no verbal ritualizado.
    3. Interests highly restricted, obsessive, that are abnormal by his intensity or focus.
    4. Hiper Or hipoactividad sensory or unusual interest by sensory appearances of the surroundings.

All these symptoms have to be presents in the period of early development and have to cause alterations clinically significant to social level, occupational or and other areas of the operation. All the alterations signalled do not explain  better by the presence of an intellectual disability or global delay of the development.

>> Article related: The mental disorders drawn.

It is the syndrome of Asperger a type of disorder of the autistic spectrum?

Yes, the syndrome of Asperger is a type of Disorder of the Autistic Spectrum in which it does not observe  delay in the development of the language neither in his acquisition. It does not present intellectual disability and the people with syndrome of Asperger have a good verbal capacity although they present difficulties to hold a conversation or make incongruous comments to the situation.

Syndrome of Asperger, disorder of the autistic spectrum without intellectual disability. Good verbal capacity. Functional use of the no good language, difficulties to hold a conversation or incongruous comments. A person with interest in animals, him loose a monologue on this. Experts coleccionadores of data or collections with rigid norms.

Analysis of Atypical, a series on TEA. 

I recommend you see the series before continuing reading this article to avoid possible spoilers.

The expression that heads the main poster of the series it resume enough very everything: “The normal is sobrevalorado”. The protagonist of the series is Sam, interpreted superbly by the actor Keir Gilchrist, a youngster of 18 years diagnosed with Disorder of the Autistic Spectrum (TEA) with high functionalities. According to the criteria of the DSM-5, exist three levels of severity of TEA and by what can observe in the series Sam presents a level 1, the lowest, that affects him mainly to his social communication and to his interests, of restricted and repetitive character.

Nevertheless, with help of his psychotherapist will initiate an adventure of big load socioemocional that will carry it to try surpass different social and personal barriers: have girlfriend. Why no? Really TEA can have relations of couple, in fact 9% of them are married, according to data showed in the series. It is not that they do not want to communicate, it is that they are unable to do it.

Some examples of behaviours type TEA of Sam (Atypical).

Along the series see  reflected numerous behaviours of people with this type of disorder:

  • It presents atypical answers to social openings with other people. Trivial conversations and merely objective, are unable to understand the sense appeared by what his form to understand the world is literal. Besides, a simple question can turn it into a long monologue on the subject of court strictly objective and out of context.
  • Inability to understand and express properly the emotions. In the series sees  like his psychotherapist teachs him to laugh in function of different situations and contexts. In the principle of the series also shows  like Sam was learning the emotions with the help of his family through letters of emotions.
  • Behaviours of replacement. Like technician to relieve the anxiety that generates the frustration of not attaining comprise and therefore face unexpected situations for him makes behaviours of replacement of repetitive character. In the case of Sam can see  as it recites by heart the types of penguins and walks around the bed.
  • Isolation. The fact of not comprising what sucede to his around carries it to use helmets to isolate  of the sound and of the outside as well as put nervous with determinate noises that seem insignificant, like the noise of the buttons of a jacket.
  • Difficulty to make daily situations like buying clothes.
  • Need to need empirical and objective proofs. So much it is like this, that tries to tie with other girls simply like experiment, makes encuentas to the mates of institute and girls to learn to descifrar the tastes of the same. It annotates and it studies everything of strict way. It is a born researcher.
  • Big interest by a concrete subject. As we said at the beginning, one of the characteristic of the people with TEA is that they centre his attention in subject very concrete and interest  in him of obsessive way. In the case of Sam, his obsession are the penguins and all what have to see with the Antarctica. It is an expert in penguins, knows it everything. When I say everything, is everything.
  • Behaviours estereotipadas. It is another constant in the series. It makes everything of way milimétrica and any variation of the environment can affect him. For example, plant the covered in the table ranged.

Another of the appearances of the series is the reflection that shows on the high level of bullying that presents this type of people. The enormous difficulty for empatizar with these people and darse of his disorder joined to the teenage period can carry it to situations estresantes and verbal aggressions or even more violent.

>> Article related: Analysis of By 13 Reasons (13 Reasons Why) with a bit of psychology.

The best of the series is as it sees  the evolution of this teenage boy that simply wants to be as the other. It achieves to approach to the girls and improve his personal relations although it was of way forced and especially, discovers the meaning of the love although it went of erroneous way. Since  enamora of the mistaken person and does not understand the situation, what carries it to make actions out of place that I will not explain here not to fill of too many spoilers the article. It discovers therefore the meaning of the jealousies.

The family of Sam.

Although the series has a marked main protagonist, can say that it treats  of a choral series in which his family are also coprotagonistas. Sam lives with his mother, his father and his sister that at the same time see  wrapped in diverse plots but that in the majority of the cases see  influenciadas by the disorder of Sam that affected of indirect way to all the family.

The family is the big support for the people with TEA. It is indispensable that know the meaning of the disorder and his repercussions since it is not at all easy to coexist with a person that hardly, or never, will show affection by you. We remember that the series narrates the life of a person with TEA of high functionalities, in situations of greater severity the familiar situation complicates  even more.

Elsa, the mother.

The mother of Sam devoted all his life to the care of his son, attending to all type of familiar sessions and protecting to Sam of any type of event that could affect him because of his disorder.  It lives in a permanent fear to that him suceda something to his son. Once that Sam grows and begins to be more independent suffers what could call syndrome of the carer and begins to feel  more indispensable, what carries it to try redo part of his life.

By moment, could think that she is the true protagonist of the series since one of the ideas that tries to reflect the idea is the big impact in the family that supposes to have a son with TEA. The mother of Sam shelved his life to devote  to his son.

Doug, the father. 

In this case we can see on the one hand the reality of an unable father to bear to face the reality of his son, that does not comprise of emotional bows and that finishes for surpassing it until the point to arrive to abandon during a time to his family. Years afterwards goes back and achieves to tighten bows with Sam once that his interests of teenager begin to generate him questions that shares with his father. It is the reflection of the emotion to feel  wanted to for the first time. From here his relation changes becoming his main support, even more than his mother. In the series also reflect  the matrimonial problems that arise as a result of the disorder of Sam.

Casey, the sister. 

The small sister of Sam, exerts works of protection and is important part of the life of the young. It is his escudera, which feels that it needs to protect it by what even arrives to replantearse his future out of the city far of his brother by fear to not being able to take care it. The life of this teenager also is marked by his brother repercutiendo in his own interpersonal relations.

Other characters. 

During the series appear other characters of great importance like his psychologist, his best fellow and his special friend. All they fulfil a paper of great importance for the development of the communicative skills of Sam.

In summary, Atypical is a series that to all lover of the human behaviour would like him see that it reflect the limits of the brain.

They remain the open comments to share more visions on the series and TEA.


Iván Pico

Director y creador de Psicólogo Colegiado G-5480 entre otras cosas. Diplomado en Ciencias Empresariales y Máster en Orientación Profesional. Máster en Psicología del Trabajo y Organizaciones. Posgrado en Psicología del Deporte entre otras cosas. Visita la sección "Sobre mí" para saber más. ¿Quieres una consulta personalizada? ¡Escríbeme!

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  • hola, buenos días a todos, a mi hijo menor Dante, de 5 años, le diagnosticaron Autismo leve en enero de este año. Desde que comenzamos a ver la serie mis hijos y yo nos atrapó, permítanme decirles que Atypical es un reflejo muy real de lo que es el autismo leve y còmo afecta a las familias. Claro, como se comentó anteriormente y se hizo la aclaración, si un autismo leve es difícil de sobrellevar, un autismo severo es mucho más dramático. Sin embargo me emociona mucho que por medio de una serie de TV se dé a conocer lo que es el autismo, pues tristemente hoy en día hay mucha gente ignorante que pisotea la dignidad de las personas que son diferentes. No sólo por eso me encanta esta serie, la historia en sí es excelente, las actuaciones también lo son, hasta la música que utilizan es buenísima, espero con ansias la tercera temporada.

  • Buen día a todos,
    Excelente esta serie y mas para nosotros los padres con hijos diagnosticados con el espectro, que de una u otra forma logramos identificar aproximaciones de momentos que nos han pasado en la vida real. Me encanta cuando muestran a SAM bebé o niño, los pedazos de la serie que recuerdan el pasado y muestran algunos momentos. Me gustaría que en una nueva temporada mostraran mas del pasado y la evolución de SAM que hicieron de él una gran persona, y que puede contribuir en algo a nuestro día día con nuestros pequeños. Gracias por darnos este espacio de manifestar las ideas y pensamientos. Un saludo.

  • A mi me gusta el capitulo de la serie donde dicen que el autismo no es una enfermedad es una condicion una forma de vida que no se quita y es genial por que con asperger eres una mejor persona y si tu mente piensa diferente y que a veces los neurotipicos no piensan lo que hacen y por eso se mandan embarradas a veces sin ofender a los neurotipicos se que no son todos iguales tal como evan le dijo a sam nadie es normal y es cierto todos son diferentes y raros a su manera gran serie atypical

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