Autism and Rain Man

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Autism and Rain Man In the movies things are portrayed in ways that are supposed to make the movie sell, which means that movies are not always accurate. The movie Rain Man was about a man and his brother, who happened to be an autistic savant. In Rain Man Dustin Hoffman played Raymond, who was a high-functioning autistic savant. In the movie Raymond had routines and rituals that he did; and when his routines were interrupted or he was afraid of something he had a temper tantrum where he would hit his head. He tended to babble and repeat himself, and when he was stressed he would recite “Who’s on First?” by Abbott and Costello. Raymond had trouble interacting with people and had problems understanding certain concepts. Raymond doesn’t like people touching him or his stuff. He also doesn’t understand the concept of money. The question is, “Is this a realistic portrayal of an autistic savant?” The answer is that at least part of it is realistic. The character Dustin Hoffman played was based on a real life savant. The name of the savant that inspired the movie, and got the title of “real life Rain Man” was Kim Peek. Dustin Hoffman actually spent time with Kim Peek so he could more accurately play the character. While he may have gotten the savant part of his role correct, Dustin Hoffman may not have necessarily gotten the autistic part of his role correct, since he didn’t actually meet with an autistic like he did with Kim Peek. That means that to find out how accurate the movie was in portraying autism, you must first look into and get a better understanding of autism. People with autism usually experience onset prior to age three. It has been estimated that there are approximately two to five cases of autism per ten thousand individuals. Males are four to five times more likely to have autism, but girls with autism are more likely to be more severely mentally retarded. Also, you are more likely to have autism if one of your siblings has autism. Autism has been


References: NICHD Staff Presentations on Autism Research. (2010, June 2). retrieved April 13 2011, from Autism Research at the NICHD Web Site: http://www.nichd.nih.gov/autism/autism.cfm Treffert, D., & MD. (n.d.). Kim Peek - The Real Rain Man | Wisconsin Medical Society. Physicians Page | Wisconsin Medical Society. Retrieved April 11, 2011, from http://www.wisconsinmedicalsociety.org/savant_syndrome/savant_profiles/kim_peek Kanashiro, N & Zieve, D (2010, April 26). Autism. retrieved April 10 2011, from Autism - PubMed Health Web Site: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002494/ American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association. Nevid, J, Rathus, S, & Greene, B (2008). Abnormal Psychology In A Changing World (Seventh Edition). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc..

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