The Rai cartoon about an autistic child: good intentions, but the reality is different

I saw an episode of Leo’s world by Dario Piana and Nicola Brunialti, on Raiplay from tomorrow. It defines itself as the first Italian series that tells the adventures of a child with autism spectrum disorder, nothing to say about the technical quality of the product, unfortunately I must confess that what I haven’t seen is autism.

I don’t want to sound like a spoilsport, but it’s not clear to me whether it is a sort of audiovisual support, the purpose of which is to support therapies for children on the spectrum, if so, it would be for the exclusive use of families with autistic care or possible educators, it makes little sense to broadcast it on a television channel considering that there is already a lot of specifics on the market.

It could then have an educational function, a job aimed at creating an “inclusive” climate for other neurotypical children, perhaps to start creating a school environment that is as least hostile as possible, in case they have to deal with a fellow on the spectrum. Even this destination leaves me perplexed, I’ve really seen better to help “tell” autism to children. Leo is perfectly verbal, has a lively and complex imagination, has no obvious stereotypes, except for wanting to wear striped shirts, which Marzullo does too without being autistic, has no problematic behaviors… In short, he is just a child who, like everyone else, throws a tantrum and he doesn’t want to go to school. In the first episode he says that the noise his companions make annoys him, a little dog and a rabbit-shaped puppet make him change his mind, who accompany him on a sort of recurring lysergic journey, in a riot of colors and giant letters, so much so that he convinces himself that the school is beautiful. I appreciate the good intentions but honestly I can’t take any more of this fable about autism, as if it were only a slight whim of children gifted with imagination and resources. It is the cashmere cover that hides a more crude and cowardly institutional inaction. Leo maybe will have a life of satisfaction and happiness. He starts off well with a father who prepares breakfast for everyone in the morning… It seems real!

Leo won’t know the sadness of being put in a room during his school adventure, only for the other moms to protest, saying that because of him their model children can’t go ahead with the program. Leo’s parents won’t have to struggle, struggle, eat their guts with the non-existence of competent support, with birthdays from which he is excluded, with school trips that are closed to him. Leo doesn’t scratch, he doesn’t scratch, he doesn’t bite, he doesn’t make repeated and annoying noises, just because no one around him knows the right tools to manage his anxiety.

Leo is the autistic “model” that all of us parents would have wanted for our son, certainly when he has a beard and mustache he won’t weigh a ton, he won’t cling to us from morning to night because in the smiling and petalous society there is no corner for him . Leo will play sports, he will eat organic. He’ll get his bachelor’s degree, then his master’s, then he’ll be a director, a writer, an influencer and he’ll continue to tell the world about the wonder of being comfortably divergent.

The Rai cartoon about an autistic child: good intentions, but the reality is different