Does The Good Doctor Have Autism?
Freddie Highmore, the lead actor in Dr. Shaun Murphy's role in The Good Doctor, plays a surgeon that has autism spectrum disorder. However, Freddie doesn't have autism or any of its primary symptoms.
He's keen on doing much research into the field, working alongside a consultant with the disorder to assist in the series' accuracy.The Good Doctor first aired on ABC in 2017.
It's a medical drama revolving around the protagonist carrying out various tasks and personal ventures from the perspective of someone with autism.
For this reason, Freddie insisted that his role be as accurate as possible, leading to much praise within the autism community. Freddie didn't first obtain knowledge about autism while working on the show.
He has family members with ASD. Still, he decided to engross himself in all things autism related, including hiring Melissa Reiner to make it relatable to autistic people.
He began reading books as the character developed. It had led to an emerging cult following that people with ASD and family feeling personally connected to Shaun's world, his struggles, charm, and sometimes, humor.
One trait that people with autism might find relatable to the show includes Shaun's hands being held together, as Freddie states. Other more subtle signs are the ever-present symptoms involving repetitive actions and phrases. People on the spectrum will have autism all their lives, as the disorder has no cure. It's this sense of connection that viewers feel to Shaun that Freddie seeks to maintain.
Stories revolve around plots that the autistic could see themselves in, through making identical decisions as the protagonist.In one relatable scene, Shaun becomes increasingly distracted by the sound of air moving out of ceiling vents.
One common symptom of autism is heightened sensitivity to sounds, colors, and other sensory-related annoyances. This is consistently highlighted in the series and helps build a character wishing to be understood, but capable of excelling in their profession. While Freddie himself isn't autistic, he has learned that people with the disorder aren't incapable of learning, growth, improvement, and love.
Having witnessed Shaun begin as a newly-arrived young adult in a strange place away from home, Freddie wants everyone to understand that anyone with the disorder can overcome any obstacles, and change for the better. In the end, with Freddie's talent playing the role of Shaun, the entire series serves to increase the awareness of autism, and the sympathy of those unfamiliar