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“Atypical”: A New TV Series About an Autistic Adolescent and His Family

The Netflix TV series “Atypical” (here is a link to the trailer) centers around the life of a suburban middle-class family, and particularly of Sam, a high school senior on the autistic spectrum who has recently decided that he wants to start dating. The show follows Sam as he warily confronts a host of new challenges, from learning how to smile in a way that doesn’t scare off girls to figuring out how to preserve his own happiness and sense of comfort in a (spoiler alert!) relationship that is pushing all of his boundaries.The show provides a stark but overall forgiving look at the life of Sam’s surrounding family: a well-meaning father who does not know how to talk to his son, a highly involved mother who must re-establish her own identity as she is confronted with her son’s newfound teenage independence, and a protective sister who has often been forced to relegate her own needs to the background in order to allow her parents to focus on Sam.

The eight-episode first season of “Atypical” is characterized by its compassionate but honest portrayal of some of the challenges faced by a person on the spectrum, as well as those that affect the loved ones closest to this person. It does so with humor, sensitivity, and fantastic acting, and is a must-see for anyone who wishes to get an inside glimpse into what it might be like to be autistic and the impact of having an autistic child in the family, or has someone whom they wish to educate and inform about it.

                Irit Felsen

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