Like many parents of autistic children, I throw myself into learning about the condition. This last year I’ve delighted in a plethora of autism inspired TV. I gorged on episode after episode of Atypical on Netflix, was intrigued by Chris Packham’s programme Asperger’s and Me and consumed the second series of The A Word. Even better, autistic characters entered the kids TV world too.
My pre-verbal son, David, seemed to connect with the first ever CBeebies autistic animated character Pablo. And hot on the heels of Sesame Street’s reveal of their first autistic Muppet, Julia, came the re-boot of the Power Rangers Movie. And you’ve guessed it, one of the Power Rangers is autistic. David’s older, also autistic, brother Anthony, is a nine year old Power Rangers obsessed boy. I literally squealed with excitement when I heard the news.
The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers were back! A group of ordinary school kids found themselves instilled with alien powers that they had to master as a team to save the world. And counted amongst those ‘ordinary kids’ was one with autism. The best part was what happened when I told Anthony about it.
“Anthony, you know the Power Rangers Movie that’s coming out soon?”
“Well, this is really exciting…. the Blue Ranger has autism, like you. He will be a bit like you.”
“Oh mum, that will just make him even more like me.”
How could I be so blind?
And then I listened to my amazing son as he told me ways that he was already like the Power Rangers.
He is brave Anthony struggles with lots of things and I often think that he has to be ‘braver’ than other kids his own age. Yes all kids have things they need to overcome, but Anthony is faced with challenges on a constant basis. And some things like entering a swimming gala has a whole set of issues other kids just won’t get. He is brave to get over his fears and worries and works through each and every single day.
He is strong He absolutely is! Take a boy with autism and ADHD who literally spends all day jumping about and you get someone fit. He’s no longer losing weight with his medication now, so he is super lean and strong – not unlike the Power Rangers.