Autism has been depicted in various TV shows over the years, but often times the representation has been inaccurate or stereotypical. In recent years, however, there has been a push towards more accurate and respectful depictions of autism in TV. The most recent is in popular rebooted television show, The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder.
In Season 2, episode 9, BeBe, the Proud family discovers that BeBe is on the autism spectrum when they meet with child psychologist, Dr. Lord. Oscar Proud initially reacts defensively to her diagnosis, fearful of the challenges they will face as he grows and the insinuation that BeBe is being called "stupid". In response to Oscar’s fear, she assures BeBe’s parents, Oscar and Trudy, that children on the spectrum tend to need extra support and attention, but it doesn’t indicate a lack of ability or unintelligence.
The significance of this scene is that it is an unfortunately very common real-life scenario when receiving news that your child has been diagnosed with autism.
The episode was not only special for the audience, but for the voice actors, as well. Firstly, Aiden Dodson, who is on the autism spectrum, plays the voice of BeBe. Secondly, Holly Robinson Peete, who has been open about her experiences as a mother of an autistic son, plays the voice of Dr. Lord. It's amazing that people that are living these experiences are apart of a show in order to tell a story that’s really needed in the media.
Along with bringing authenticity, having an autistic character being portrayed by an autistic actor is very important and special, especially with controversies such as Sia’s Music film from 2021.
Here's a short, important clip from the episode:
You can watch the full episode, along with other episodes of The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder on Disney Plus.