What Hannah Gadsby Wants People to Learn About Autism in 'Douglas'

Renee Fabian
Hannah Gadsby, a white woman with short brown hair, glasses and wearing a blue blazer, speaks into a microphone
Hannah Gadsby, a white woman with short brown hair, glasses and wearing a blue blazer, speaks into a microphone

What happened: In a new interview with Vogue Australia, comedian Hannah Gadsby shared what she hopes people learn about autism from her new Netflix special, “Douglas.” “Douglas” is Gadsby’s follow-up to her critically acclaimed special “Nanette,” in which she laid bare the trauma behind her jokes. In “Douglas,” Gadsby returns to a more traditional stand-up format, but this time, it’s about providing a window into how autistic people think.

The show’s not just that I have autism, it’s that the whole show is constructed to express an autistic way of thinking — I’m not sure autistic is the right word, you know, a neurodiverse way of thinking. — Hannah Gadsby

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The frontlines: Gadsby previously revealed she was diagnosed with autism as an adult. Gadsby shared that getting a diagnosis was an affirming moment, but it took a long time to get there. Autism is often missed in girls.

  • Studies on autism have typically focused on how neurodiversity presents in boys, not girls, and the presentation is often different

  • Research suggests girls are more likely than boys to mask their autistic traits in social situations and mimic typical social expressions

  • As a result of not getting an autism diagnosis, many girls grow up without the understanding, support and resources they need to affirm their neurodiversity and support their mental health and well-being

A Mighty Voice: Our contributor, Molly D. Dann-Pipinias, shared how much she felt seen as an autistic woman thanks to Gadsby’s “Douglas.” “To see someone up there telling jokes in a way that made sense to me was something I never thought I would get to experience.” You can submit your first person story, too.

Related:Autistic Balloon Artist Creates Amazing Sculptures for Frontline Workers During COVID-19

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From Our Community: 

At 31 years old I’ve been formally diagnosed with Autism

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Other things to know: For more insight, check out these other Mighty stories:

Where to watch: If you haven’t seen it already, you can watch Gadsby’s “Douglas” on Netflix and check out the trailer below.

Related:To My Son With Autism on His Graduation Day

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