On this week's episode, Adam Braverman is upset because Max, his son with Asperger's, doesn't really interact with him. He's always too wrapped up in his video game, or homework, or whatever to give his father the time of day. This makes Adam feel ignored. Yeah, Adam...it's called having a child with autism!
This has been a topic in our house lately. For the most part, my daughter loves her daddy and is truly a daddy's girl. She loves to give her daddy big hugs and huge greetings! But she isn't always like this. There are times where my husband will come home from a long day at work and our daughter ignores him because she's too wrapped up in what she's doing. And it's been happening more frequently lately.
This behavior can be hurtful. We don't let her get away with it when she does it. My husband will tell her that it hurts his feelings. This is usually enough to get her to give him a really big bear hug and interact with him.
On this episode of "Parenthood," they didn't really approach the problem appropriately until the very end when Adam made a huge effort to talk about his feelings about being ignored with Max. It was a very moving and touching scene.
One aspect of this episode that had me scratching my head had to do with the behaviorist they hired. Her scenes during the first season showed her as being quite capable. She helped with Max's social interactions in the park, and made sure Kristina (the mom) had ways to deal with her stress of raising a child on the spectrum. On this episode, the behaviorist couldn't handle very basic aspects of behavior therapy appropriately (hey, maybe I did learn something from my daughter's behaviorist!). For example, when Adam came home from work and tried to interact with Max, Max ignored him. The behaviorist let him get away with this, then promised Max a reward sticker because she asked him to look her in the eyes, and he did.
Our behaviorist would have NEVER have done this! She would have stopped their conversation, and told our daughter to greet her father. When Adam addressed his concerns of being ignored to the behaviorist, she acted like Adam was expecting too much and didn't even entertain his concern and what they could do to work with Max on this. Considering how high-functioning Max is, his dad's request seem totally legitimate. Also, considering what the behaviorist had Max working on with his peers in the park last season, stopping what he's doing and saying hi to Dad is within his capabilities and should be addressed!
Overall, I think the "Parenthood" writers have done an amazing job in showing what life is like with a cute, smart, high-functioning kid on the spectrum. They have gotten just about every detail right! This was their first big slip-up, in my opinion. The writers need to learn a bit more about how behavior therapy works!
Hey, if the creators of the show want additional writing support, I might be able to free up some time in my busy calendar! Just saying...