One of the biggest issues I have is trying to explain to people how Autism can be. We as a culture rely on the media to tell us how everything is. People assume all autistics are like Rain Man. They have no idea what it is really like. There are a couple times the media gets it right, and House is one of them.
The episode is the fourth from season three. I can’t stand silence, so I often have a show or music going while I do my schoolwork. I have been watching House for the first time, and this episode was amazing. It is the story of a nonverbal autistic boy who is eating a safe lunch with his family, when he suddenly starts choking on nothing. He screams. The teams had to run tests on him, which results on a number of issues many NTs don’t consider.
First, it is something new, which means the child does not handle it well. This child has every moment of his day structured, and this break in routine is an additional issue. Some tests have to be run while the child is awake, which he cannot handle. For the tests they can sedate him for, he does not understand why he should take the sedation, so they cannot sedate him. It takes a few adults to pin him down to try to do it, which is traumatizing. Thankfully, House reaches out to the boy and calms him down. Yes, House is the one.
This is one of my biggest fears. I worry that one day, Buddy will have to go to the emergency room and they cannot sedate him. I worry about him screaming as a team of strangers pin him down to try to do what they need to in order to save him.
On House, one of the doctors comes to run a test on the child. The child is in the middle of a video game, and the parents warn him not to interrupt. They will do the testing when he finishes that section of the game. The doctor becomes impatient and presses the issue. The parents protest, but the doctor tries to take them game away. The child responds as we knew he would, and the doctor cannot test him until they calm him down.
House seems to have a special connection with the autistic child, and House’s best friend even suggests that House himself may have Asperger’s. House knows that the biggest issue for the child is not understand the situation. House overcomes this by showing the child what he wants the child to do by doing it himself. For example, when it is time to be sedated, House actually takes some sedation himself to show him how to do it and that it is safe. When he goes to ask the boy a question, he puts it in a way that the child can understand and uses visual cues.
I recently shared my ideas on Facebook. I had people respond and tell me that “Buddy seems so normal.” “They just spoil the child.” It hurts to read. They’ve never had to take Buddy to the doctor or for a simple haircut. They don’t know how it is.
Thank you, House, for showing how it really is.