My review of ‘Everything’s Gonna Be Okay’ as an adult with autism
By Kerry Magro | January 21, 2020
This guest post is by Kerry Magro, a professional speaker, best-selling author and autism entertainment consultant who is on the autism spectrum. A version of this blog appeared on Kerrymagro.com here
While shows such as "The Good Doctor", "Atypical" and "Parenthood" all focus on boys on the autism spectrum, "Everything’s Gonna Be Okay," gives a platform to girls on the autism spectrum
This dramedy that just debuted on Freeform looks at the life of a college student who becomes the guardian of his teenage half-sisters after their father dies of cancer. One of the sisters is Matilda, a young girl on the autism spectrum. Matilda has challenges with social cues and is honest to a point of making it challenging for other members of her family. I could relate to a lot of those challenges growing up on the autism spectrum.
Here were some of my key takeaways from the beginning of the show:
Matilda is played by Actress Kayla Cromer who also has autism. Recent studies indicate that 95 percent of top show characters with disabilities on TV are played by actors without disabilities. As an autism entertainment consultant who recently just worked on the HBO series Mrs. Fletcher based on one of the characters who is nonverbal, I’m very excited to see that more people on the autism spectrum are being included in projects such as these. This is a great step towards more representation and authentic performances.
An emphasis on autism & dating
For individuals with autism, relationships are going to be possible for some. Matilda in the show talks to boys she’s interested in and openly communicates about things such as sometimes having difficulties with being touched. When I get the opportunity to mentor individuals with special needs, I wish I had more resources I could provide them on relationships minus my own personal successes and challenges dating on the autism spectrum. I hope this show may be able to start a larger conversation on this topic in our community.
A beautiful reminder of how parents can often be their child’s greatest advocate
In the pilot episode, Matilda - during her father’s funeral - says how she had to rely on her dad to help her interpret the world around her. She became the person she did today because of her dad going "above and beyond." I didn’t talk until I was 3. If my parents didn’t go above and beyond for me, much like Matilda’s dad did for her, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
Overall, I would recommend this show without reservations but especially for teens and young adults. I chuckled more then once through the first few episodes and believe this show, thanks to its strong characters, has true staying potential.