How Atypical Helped Brigette Lundy
The actor discussed how the team behind the Netflix series and its fans became allies in their journey.
Warning: Atypical season 3 spoilers ahead.
In a moving scene from the new season of Atypical, Sam recounts to his sister, Casey , the story of a gay penguin couple, Sphen and Magic. He does so in order to communicate to her that he has no stigma toward LGBTQ people or toward the relationship that Casey is embarking on with her new love interest, Izzie .
They courted each other and built a nest. When a negligent heterosexual pair left their egg exposed to the elements, the aquarium staff gave it to Sphen and Magic, Sam, who is autistic, explained to Casey. They have a baby now. Its name is Sphengic. I think they could have done better with the name.
Later, Casey opens her backpack to find a drawing of Sphen and Magic yet another gesture of acceptance to a sister coming to terms with her sexuality.
That was such a special scene, Lundy-Paine reflected to The Advocate in a recent interview. Most scenes between them, I just find so beautiful and ethereal, like really pure love.
The character of Casey is also a show of love from Atypical, a Netflix series that centers on a teen with autism and the family and friends who support him. As Lundy-Paine has continued their coming-out journey they came out as queer to The Advocate last year and nonbinary in so too has Casey grappled with matters of the heart and LGBTQ identity.
What Is The Best Way For People To Follow You And Your Work
I am not a huge social media user, but I do have an , and it has been an amazing place to meet people. Since season three of Atypical was released, so many people have reached out to congratulate me or to say hello, and many have told me their stories and how important the show is to them. It actually has been so great, because having been pretty isolated most of my life, I feel like there are so many people who understand me and now I can connect with them.
Is Actor Sam Keir Gilchrist Really Autistic
Netflix drama series Atypical is about to enter its latest series on the streaming platform. Keir Gilchrist, 28, plays teenager Sam Gardner in the series.
Sam, who is on the autism spectrum, tries to overcome various obstacles in high school and college, including dating and relationships.
The series has already had three seasons and will now end on Netflix with its fourth.
During the show, actors with autism were welcomed into the cast, such as Tal Anderson.
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Typical People May Think They Cant Relate To People On The Spectrum Because They Dont Understand What Autism Is Why Do You Think Sams Character Is So Relatable
Thats a common misconception. People have asked me, How could you possibly get inside Sams head and play a character like that? And I dont know that its as difficult as people think it is. Theres a lot of misunderstanding about the autism spectrum. Ive even been amazed when I started playing the part that people really had no idea what autism even was. Even if theyve met people on the spectrum, they dont understand how it works at all. But its very relatable. Ive even had friends tell me, Oh, yeah, I am on the spectrum, and I had no idea before that. Obviously, no two people on the spectrum are the same.
Sams just this very relatable person and thats partly because of his honesty. Hes so honest. Almost brutally honest, at times, I would say. And its a lot of where the comedy comes from with his character. But hes so honest, and especially, I think having the voiceover where you really are in Sams head. It makes him very relatable because he says exactly how he feels about the things around him. So, thats one way hes so accessible to a lot of people.
Everyone needs an emotional support human ????
Youve Also Starred In Its Kind Of A Funny Story And United States Of Tara Both Of Which Focus On Mental Health Can You Share A Bit About Why Mental Health Is An Important Topic For You
My own personal mental health has been a struggle, so thats always been very close to me. And a lot of people in my family have struggled with mental health and I happen to be lucky enough to come from a family where its actually talked about and were very open about it . I suffer from constant, really bad anxiety and have panic attacks all the time. Even from a young age, just struggled with a lot of depression.
Its just a natural thing where I could relate to those stories and they struck a chord with me. I guess thats partially why those have just fascinated me, and I think some part of it is just luck as well. I mean, I dont know that I ever set out to like, only do projects that deal with mental health. But its worked out that way. And those are the stories that I find myself really attracted to. I try to be an open book with that. Its easy to try and hide those things and pretend they didnt happen or whatever. But the best thing possible is to talk about them and just open up communication about mental health and end stigma because there are so many people that are struggling.
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How Does ‘atypical’ Portray Autism
In addition to Keir’s precise, perfectly timed, richly detailed acting, Atypical illustrates the increased, overwhelming sensory phenomena those living with autism frequently describe via a set of additional visual effects, special editing techniques, and first-person voiceovers. To provide an accurate portrayal the community will find relatable, the creators of the show also relied on the help of an on-set consultant, explained Robia to Vulture.
Are The Actors In Atypical Actually Autistic
Keir Gilchrist, the actor who plays Sam in Atypical, is not on the spectrum. However, there are other cast members that are. In part of the show, Sam has a peer support group that consists of 8 actors with autism. The writers introduced them into the show after the first season because they received criticism for a lack of autistic cast members.
Congrats On Season Three Of Atypical What Has The Reception Been Like For Season Three
I have seen in general people seem to be really receptive to the season and a lot of people have said its the best yet and I would agree, personally. Sometimes with a series, it takes till the third season to really get into the groove and the show really comes into its own. I think this seasons gotten a great reception from everybody Ive talked to. Im very excited that people have been receiving it so well and my dad sent me something that I guess its the number three show in the U.K., or something like that, because he lives there. So it seems like a lot of people are watching it. Thats awesome because its a show thats really relatable and I think strikes a chord with a lot of different people from all walks of life.
If Atypical Gets Renewed For Season Four What Else Would You Like To See On The Show
Harte: I would like to see a peer group spin-off. We could see them hanging out together. We could meet their families and see where they live and what they get up to. I think that would be a great show because we would get to know more characters with autism. Like Friends but with people with autism.
Gutman: Going forward Id love to have an opportunity to be able to combine my singing and acting. If there is a season four of Atypical who knows, maybe the Atypical writers could find a way to include a college or community singing contest in the script. One thing which Atypical might do if there is a fourth season, which would benefit the show and the autism community even more is to create additional dialogue between those on the spectrum and the regular cast. This would break even more barriers.
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But Just How Relatable Is It
There’s a commonly used phrase when talking about autism spectrum disorder : If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.
That’s because no two people are alike, so it’s little wonder that while some aspects of Sam played by non-autistic actor Keir Gilchrist strike a chord with some, others just can’t relate.
Melbourne teenager Karly Brownehas high-functioning autism and attention deficit disorder . Like Sam, she’s 18 years old and has recently finished high school.
What does she think of the show?
“Even through its glaring mishaps, it’s nice to have someone who has ASD that’s not the brunt of every joke.”
Why Is Authentic Autism Representation Important On Tv And In The Media
Harte: Maybe someone who thinks autism is weird and doesnt like people with autism will watch Atypical and see that autism is awesomeness. That people with autism are just like they are. We want to be loved and we have hopes and dreams just like everyone else. Also, we are smart and funny and talented. And then, maybe they wont be mean to us anymore.
Hall: One of questions that some directors asked me early on is, Well, what if they have a meltdown on set and what if its too much for them? And I think people were nervous and Im proud to say that we have debunked myths about whats possible for individuals on the spectrum. What I always say is, No, being an actor on a set, thats somebodys happy place. Its being in the real world that can be really challenging. The Miracle Project Actors, because they have changed the way that Hollywood perceives working with someone on the spectrum. Its value-added rather than taking anything away from anyone.
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Is Atypical Season 3 That Bad
Despite spending the majority of this review dragging Atypicals name through the mud, I do believe that the series is a step up from the last. I like that the show is trying new things by introducing interesting new characters with Sara Gilbert being a particular highlight. I even surprised myself by how invested I became in parents: Doug and Elsa.
But, with that said, the script itself often feels incredibly clunky in places, with the setup to future scenes always taking precedence over the moment itself. This often results in most twists being easier to pick out than the moment when Zahids shirt appears in Sams wardrobe. I get that Chekhovs gun is a thing but, do we need this much signposting when it often comes at the cost of the final blast?
As such, while I dont completely agree with Holly and Ellie, who stated that Atypical season 3 Just isnt very good, I do believe that its not even close to being as spectacularly progressive as it intends. With that said though, perhaps this was something I should also have seen coming, when Atypical removed the normal is overrated tagline from its poster. This series was not only underwhelming from my autistic perspective, but painfully bland for LGBT viewers too.
Does Keir Gilchrist Have Autism
Although he plays an autistic character, Gilchrist is not autistic.
The actor has done a lot of research to get to the point where he could play someone with autism, including reading works by writer and speaker David Finch.
Talk to Variety, he said: My rep set me up with Robia , the creator of the show, so I was able to sit with her for a few hours.
It was a really long audition process, and we talked a lot about the different ways I could play Sam.
The most useful research was the book The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome and One Mans Quest to Be a Better Mari.
The book ended up being a very big factor in creating Sams character.
There are other important things to consider when portraying someone on the autism spectrum, and according to Gilchrist it was important to remember what a very specific character he was.
He said Vulture: It took a lot of energy to play this role because Sams mind is going so fast all the time. While everyone is here on this plane, hes here doing his own thing.
While I was working, I was constantly working against my instincts. I didnt really have eye contact with people.
What Im used to is engaging with the people Im in the scene with. Sam, he sure engages, but its in a different way.
It almost took me a while to get rid of the role after doing this for so many weeks. I had to come back to myself afterwards.
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Autism Diagnosis And Treatment In The Real World
Consider Atypical the tip of the iceberg when it comes to autism representation. It captures some experiences accurately but may not resonate with everyone.
With regards to how autism is diagnosed and treated in the real world, we have an entire series on Autism FAQs. You can learn about autism symptoms, cures, support, and more. CNLD Testing & Therapy is a leading provider of autism testing and treatment in Michigan. We provide comprehensive solutions, including educational advocacy and executive functions coaching. We even offer teletherapy! Contact us at to schedule a consultation with a licensed clinician who specializes in autism diagnosis/treatment.
Is Frozen About Autism
Pinning an autism diagnosis on a Disney heroine may seem audacious, but Elsa displays a lot of traits reminiscent of those that clinicians and researchers have highlighted among girls with autism. As a model, Elsa can provide us with some clues about how autism is expressed in girls. . . Read more here!
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Where Else Can You See Whites Work
White also created drawings for Disneys Girl Meets World, the film The House With a Clock in Its Walls, and ABCs Fresh Off the Boat, along with prominent ongoing commercial work and independent freelance projects. As for Atypical, he recently announced via Instagram that he animated a sequence for season four, which premieres Fridayand hints at an emotional conclusion to the series.
In any case, Whites opportunities appear to be unlimited, given that he views being on the spectrum as an advantage. Its given me a superpower, in a way, he told the LA Times.
Then Theres The Mental Exhaustion
While it wasnt a secret, most of Karlys high school friends didnt know she had autism.
As a result, she said she felt a constant pressure to change her behaviours.
Some of those behaviours would include things like becoming agitated when different food groups touch on her plate, being very sound-sensitive to white noise, or having an inexplicable repulsion at even the thought of touching a banana.
I dont want to be caught out. I dont want people to find out that Im autistic. Its not that its something that I want to hide but its one of those things like, how do you even bring that up?
But masking takes a toll.
I feel like its exhausting, Karly said. I come home and Im just emotionally exhausted.
Emma said this is called autistic burnout the exhaustion that comes with masking and managing sensory sensitivities.
It takes a very heavy mental toll, because youre constantly in your brain processing OK, how am I supposed to react to this, instead of just reacting.
You actually have to think about hows my facial expression going to look? What does my vocal tone need to be? What should I be doing with my hands?.
You get to the end of the day and you are absolutely exhausted.
At the core of it, Karly doesnt think Atypical really tackles how isolating it can be to have autism.
ASD is such a spectrum in itself and sometimes I find it hard to identify with other people, she said.
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Atypical Quotes By Sam
1. Whoever said practice makes perfect was an idiot. Humans cant be perfect because were not machines. The best thing you can say about practice is that it makesbetter. Sam
2. Those are three of my least favorite things. Oh, and eating raisins because I dont like to eat things with wrinkles. Sam
3. I dont like getting in water that people have touched. Sam
4. His eyebrows were huge, like he was an arthropod using them as a tactile sensory appendage. Sam
5. Autism isnt an accomplishment. Its something I was born with. You wouldnt write an essay about having ten fingers and ten toes, would you? No, because that would be really, really, really, really dumb. So Ill stick with the boobs. Sam
6. When Im stressed, I recite the four species of Antarctic penguin. Adelie, Chinstrap, Emperor and Gentoo. It helps. Mom taught me when I was little. You should try it next time you think youre dying. Except if you really are dying, it wont help at all. Sam
7. I hate touching the pens at the bank. Thats not really a question. Thats just something I thought you should know. Sam
8. Hi, its Sam, Sam Gardner? I had a plain turkey sandwich today that had very stale bread, and I had nothing to wash it down with. It was an aggravating lunch. Also, I got hit by a car. It was slow-moving, so Im fine. Okay. Sam
9. Zahid is the most stylish person I know. Sometimes he wears two watches. Sam
11. Im not ready to take the D-train to Bonetown. Sam