1. Parenting

SpongeBob SquarePants and Henry the Penguin

Submit an Entry: Diagnose a TV Character With an Autism Spectrum Disorder

By Laura

Name of Character

SpongeBob SquarePants and Henry the Penguin

Name of Show

SpongeBob SquarePants and Oswald

Why Do You Think This Character Is on the Spectrum?

SpongeBob: concrete/literal thinking, poor social skills, inability to read non-verbal cues, can't detect sarcasm, strict adherence to the rules, and obsessive interest in Jellyfish resulting an encyclopedic knowledge of same. Henry: strict adherence to routine, doesn't grasp idioms or humor, poor transitioning skills..but what sealed it for me was the episode where the Oswald gang is fishing and they hook a treasure chest. Everyone is gasping with excitement because they haven't caught anything all day and Henry says, "It's not a fish, though." I nearly fell out of my chair! LOL

Is This a Good Portrayal of Autism or Asperger's?

I'm an Aspie and I think both shows handle the character's differences wonderfully. Both Henry and SpongeBob live independently, have friends, jobs, and social lives. It's just a little bit different than they way NT characters would have those things.

What I'd Do Differently

  • For SpongeBob, I wouldn't change a thing. I think it's pretty accurate, and, of course the show's writers aren't trying to portray an Aspie per se. Now that I think of it, the same goes for Oswald.

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