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Readers' Choice: Favorite Special-Needs TV Show


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Finalist: Alphas

Show: Alphas
Network: Syfy
Url: www.syfy.com/alphas
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Finalist for: Favorite Special-Needs TV Show

What it's about: According to the Syfy site, "Five ordinary people are brought together to form one extraordinary team of Alphas -- people with the unique power to stretch the capabilities of the human mind giving them superhuman physical and mental abilities." One of those team members, Gary, is a young man with autism.

Why it's special: I asked Shannon Des Roches Rosa, co-editor of Thinking Person's Guide to Autism (a Readers' Choice Awards finalist for Favorite Special-Needs Parenting Book) and a fan of Alphas, what makes the show special. She wrote:

Alphas is unique in that it presents autistic people as complex human beings -- even if, ironically, its two autistic characters have superhuman "Alpha" abilities. Gary, the main autistic character, is a full member of a special task force. He is not presented as "less than" -- in fact his team mates consider him a friend, and characters who patronize him eventually realize their pity is misplaced. He is also not merely a foil for the non-autistic characters, but has his own character development -– telling his mother to stop smothering him, learning to drive, standing up to bullies by declaring "I'm autistic!" The other autistic character, Anna, is notable for being a second autistic character in a TV series, and because her autism is nothing like Gary's -- a take-home concept for viewers. Anna is also profoundly intelligent despite not speaking or making eye contact (though I wish she didn't have to be an evil genius). I watch Alphas because it challenges autism stereotypes in a way no other series does.

Are you a fan of Alphas too? Tell us why you love it.

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