Daytime TV Tackles Autism Spectrum Disorders

Daytime TV Tackles Autism Spectrum Disorders
The character of Lily Mongtomery on All My Children was first introduced in 1993. Her mother Laurel Banning was embezzling money from a foundation to pay for the care and schooling of her autistic daughter.

Laurel was involved with Travis Montgomery, the brother of Jackson Montgomery. I recall watching the scenes back in the early 1990s when Jackson went to meet Lily with her mother Laurel. When her father Denny passed away Jackson adopted Lily. A year or two later Laurel was killed in an accident.

The writers of All My Children brought back Lily in 2004 when she tried to run away from her school. I stopped viewing All My Children several years ago and did not follow along any of the storylines.

I have continued watching General Hospital and noticed the past week upcoming scenes being aired for All My Children that showed Lily turning eighteen and heading off to New York City to escape being sent back to school. She is involved with a young man, Jonathan Lavery, who has some kind of mental illness. They want to be together and Jackson Montgomery will not allow it and pulled some strings to get Lily admitted back into school.

I have tried to watch the last half hour of All My Children this past week to see how they have portrayed autism. I was surprised to see Lily refer to the disability each time as Autism Spectrum Disorder. She actually said I have Autism Spectrum Disorder, which sounded odd to hear on television!

It seems she got off the train in New York City instead of heading all the way back to the school. The scenes are quite eery to watch - especially as a parent to children on the Autism Spectrum. The camera work shows the lights on the buildings, the traffic signals, walk buttons, car headlights and people all moving around close to Lily.

At times she covers her ears and then the environment seems to be spinning around, at least this is how they are portraying what a young female on the Autism Spectrum is dealing within the chaos of a metropolitan city. Lily is shaking her head, horns are beeping and she is muttering to herself over and over again the same line.

These scenes really bring to life what someone on the Autism Spectrum could be encountering as they wander around city streets trying to become an Adult overnight. Those on the Autism Spectrum are literal thinkers with Lily informing Jackson a few days before she turned 18 that it would not change anything, she would still be the same person.

In her mind she is now capable of taking care of herself, but once out into the streets of a city she is unfamiliar with it all comes crashing in around her. I am curious to see how this storyline expands or whether they drop the ball and just get her and take her back to school.

For those that are interested in viewing the show, All My Children airs on ABC weekdays from Noon-1pm in most markets, although it might be an hour earlier or later in some cities. A reader informed me that you can also catch All My Children on SoapNet. The same episode airs that night with the entire week of shows being aired over the weekend.

All My Children


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