Sample Sociology Paper on Media Portrayal of Disability

Media Portrayal of Disability

The Good Doctor is a story about a young surgeon, Dr.Shaun Murphy, with an autism spectrum disorder (, 2019). The condition is a developmental disability characterized by abnormal functioning that impairs communication, socialization, and behavior of the individual (Cox, 2019). The diagnostic criteria for the condition require abnormal functioning, restricted or repetitive stereotyped patterns of behavior or activities, qualitative impairments in communication and social functioning, and absence of Childhood disintegrative disorder or Rett’s disorder diagnosis(Cox, 2019). Despite the abnormal or delayed functioning, persons with Autism can also be highly functioning individuals with mild social impairments.

Equally, Show positively portrays the challenges faced by people with autistic spectrum disorder and helps in creating awareness about the condition. First, the show highlights the need to focus on an individual rather than their disability. For instance, during the Board of Directors meeting that discussed the hiring of Dr. Glassman States, “Aren’t we judged by how we treat people? We hire Shaun, and we give hope to those people with limitation…..” (, 2019). Secondly, the Show counters many myth and misinformation that autistic people are not sympathetic, and are not concerned with their communities.  That aspect is best portrayed when Dr.Shaun recognizes his past traumatic experienced as a factor that made him become a doctor when he was asked, “Why do you want to be a Surgeon?” (, 2019).  Lastly, the film also addresses struggles experienced by people with autistic disorder in maintaining a productive relationship in the workplace.

Therefore, the media presentation of autism is accurate to a certain degree.  However, the dramatization of Dr. Shaun as superheroes and with wonderful memory is not only sarcasm but also creates a negative impression of the disability (ABC.Com, 2019). Even though the film writer wanted to create a positive impression of autism, the fact that Dr. Shaun is the only person with autism disorder in the hospital environment portrays the condition as being very rare. Furthermore, the story gives a narrow view about autism since it is centered on one character, Dr. Shaun. Secondly, the clinical experience of Dr.Shaun is questionable since he believes in conducting the test without considering challenges faced by patients in footing hospital bills. Therefore, the Show continues to draw the attention of the professional viewers to the autistic doctor rather than the disability.

The Show challenges the Medical model of disability that looks at what has to be treated in a person to correct the impairment and ignores their strengths and aspirations (Sandy’s View, 2019). Notably, Dr. Shaun, an extraordinary doctor, cannot treat his condition or a child with autism. However, the movie supports the Social model of disability by portraying society as the barrier to progress and aspirations of people with disability (Royal College of Nursing, 2019).

References (2019). Watch The Good Doctor TV Show – Retrieved from the-good-doctor

Cox, S. (2019). Autism Spectrum Disorders. Retrieved from view article/ 761663_1

Royal College of Nursing (2019).The social model of Disability. Retrieved from

Sandy’s View (2019).Media and People With Disabilities: Are We Represented Accurately? Retrieved from