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NBC's 'Parenthood' is Back for Season 5!

The Braverman clan is black for Season 5 of Parenthood! Max finds a friend and mentor in Hank, who is encouraging him to explore his interest in photography. Find out what Sheila Wagner, M.Ed. has to say in her commentary on 'Expert's Speak,' originally posted here.

Photo Credit NBC's Parenthood Tumblr


I’m glad to be writing this blog about Max’s fictional life again this season. I call him “fictional,” yet Max’s character and experiences in this show are replicated in the lives of thousands of children with Asperger’s, and in the lives of children I see daily when working with school systems in Georgia and elsewhere in America. Welcome back, Max! This is a fantastic opportunity to continue to learn from you and the events that come your way in this series!

In this episode, Max forms the beginning of a friendship with Hank, Sarah’s ex-boyfriend. Though Max is a child and Hank is an adult, it’s actually a good match. Adult mentors are very important to those with Asperger’s. Yes, Hank has real issues with social skills and has little patience for social interactions just as Max does, though their perspectives on the social world appear to be rooted differently. Hank recognizes there is a social world and is irritated by its demands; Max sees the social world as a concrete, one-dimensional, fact-based business. Max learns the social rules one by one, accepting them as necessary but incomprehensible. He can spout every social rule he has ever been taught - but they don’t affect him, nor does he apply them in the same manner as Hank does. Max and Hank have two very different attitudes toward social skills.

In this episode, something exciting happens: Hank looks beyond Max’s exterior oddness and sees the really nice kid inside who has talent in the same area as Hank does - photography. It’s amazing how quickly Hank connects to Max on this deeper level.

Continue reading here.

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The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.