A Character Analysis, Diagnosis, and Treatment Plan for the Movie Rain Man Kristie Pellicani
When learning about an individual with autism it may be ones first reaction to assume they are intellectual disabled, however that stereotype could not be further from the truth. Research found that half the children with autism are not intellectually disabled (Geschwind, 2009). About 45% to 60% of people with autism are recorded to have an average or above average IQ (Durand & Barlow, 2013). After thoroughly engaging with someone who has autism, one will learn that in fact it is their social and behavioral functioning that is abnormal.
When this counselor in training watched the movie “Rain Man”, it was known that the main character Raymond has autism. However, this author took a further look into why autism was the appropriate diagnosis for this character. Individuals with autistic disorder have significant impairment in social interactions, communications, and show restricted patterns of behavior, interest, and activities (Durand & Barlow, 2013). Raymond presented each of these symptoms throughout the movie, making the diagnosis of autistic disorder accurate. Evidence of Symptoms
According to the DSM- V, persons with Autistic disorder will have persistent deficits in social communications across multiple context manifesting in the following; deficits in social-emotional reciprocity, in non-verbal communication, and in maintaining, developing, and understanding relationships (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). This counselor in training found that Raymond lacked the ability of having a normal back and forth conversation, at times not responding or only saying “yea”, even when not meaning yes. Another example of Raymond’s deficits in social-emotional reciprocity was when the woman was hitting on him, gave him a kiss, and Raymond showed a lack of response or emotion. Raymond also demonstrated lack of normal non-verbal communications often gazing up and to the left when in conversation with someone. When it came to understanding and maintaining normal relationships, it was evident Raymond was not capable of doing so. When Raymond learned his father had passed, there was no expression on his face. Furthermore at the end of the movie the doctor stated to his brother that although he bonded with Raymond, Raymond was not capable of having a relationship with someone. In addition to social communication deficits, when diagnosing Autism, one must consider the behavioral patterns of the individual. According to the DSM-V, the individual must show restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interest, or activities (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Furthermore these restrictions must be present in at least two areas to qualify for an autism diagnosis. Immediately this counselor in training observed abnormal behavioral patterns such as Raymond’s obsessions with Abbott and Costello jokes and his abilities to count. Another area this counselor in training observed was repetitive motor movement. Raymond would frequently have his head tilted to the side, regardless of what he was doing. This author also noted Raymond’s strict adherence to a schedule. When first taken away from his schedule he would repeat every day the time he was supposed to eat and what exactly he ate that day. One specific scene was when his brother stopped at a stranger’s house to allow Raymond to watch his scheduled television programs. He stated that if he did not watch the show that Raymond would throw a tantrum. Lastly, Raymond demonstrated hyper sensitivity to sound and visual fascinations with lights or movement. During an accident scene, Raymond got out of the car and was pre occupied with all the lights and noise going on. To demonstrate his sensitivity to noise, in another scene the fire alarm went off in the house and Raymond became scared, resulting in a tantrum and him becoming...
References: American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.) Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing.
Geschwind, D. (2009). Advances in Autism. Annual Review in Medicine, 60, 367-380. doi: 10.1146/annurev.med.60.053107.121225
Maine Department of Health and Human Services & Maine Board of Education. ( 2009). Interventions for autism spectrum disorder. (Report of children’s services evidence based practice advisory committee). Retrieved from http://www.maine.gov/Dhhs/ocfs/cbhs/ ebpac/asd-report2009.pdf
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Levinson, Barry. (1988). Rain Man (Special Edition). United States
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