David Shore did extensive research on autism spectrum disorders (ASD) before writing “The Good Doctor,” telling a TCA panel that “we [the writers] seen a lot of doctors, we’ve seen people, we’ve got people on the spectrum that we’re working with “(via Deadline).
Nonetheless, the medical drama has been criticized by professionals as well as by neurodivergent writers for, like other popular media such as “Rain Man”, describing the ASD characters as primarily “clumsy white male geniuses” and interpreting the differences and Shaun’s challenges as a superpower. . Three experts wrote in an editorial for The Hollywood Reporter that the series “creates a mythical autistic superhero who deceives audiences by distorting how crippling autism can be in this society.”
One genuine autistic doctor wrote that they liked the show, but noted how many autistic people have extreme empathy, not disconnection from others as the show suggests, and wished it described more of the range as well. Behaviors in Autism Spectrum Disorders (via The Conversation). For Slate, autistic writer Sara Luterman also praised Shaun’s humanity as a disabled character “although it often seems to be by accident” on the part of the neurotypical creative team.
Ultimately, the series received a positive reception as well as strong criticism from the autistic community.