15 Best Autism Documentaries On Netflix – Unlocking Awareness

Richard Williamson

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Best Autism Documentaries On Netflix

Are you looking to expand your understanding of autism and gain a deeper insight into the lives of individuals on the spectrum? Look no further! Netflix offers a wide range of captivating documentaries that will not only unlock your awareness but also provide valuable knowledge about autism.

In this article, we have curated a list of the 15 best autism documentaries available on Netflix, ensuring you have access to powerful stories that will leave a lasting impact.

From heartwarming tales of triumph and resilience to thought-provoking explorations of societal attitudes toward autism, these documentaries offer an immersive experience that will broaden your horizons. 

By delving into the lives of individuals with autism and their families, these films shed light on the challenges they face while celebrating their unique strengths. 

Through intimate interviews, personal anecdotes, and expert insights, you’ll gain a newfound appreciation for their experiences and develop a greater sense of empathy.

By taking the time to watch these compelling documentaries, you are actively participating in creating a more inclusive society. 

Not only will you deepen your understanding of autism, but you will also become an advocate for acceptance and change.

So grab some popcorn, settle in for an enlightening journey, and get ready to unlock your awareness as we explore the 15 best autism documentaries available on Netflix.

15 Best Autism Documentaries On Netflix – Unlocking Awareness

If you’re looking to gain a deeper understanding of autism, Netflix has some great documentaries that can help you unlock awareness.

One such documentary is ‘The Reason I Jump,’ which delves into the experiences of nonverbal autistic individuals.

Another popular show on Netflix is ‘Atypical,’ which follows the journey of a teenager with autism as he navigates high school and relationships.

Lastly, ‘The Most Well Kept Secret’ provides an insightful look at a special education program for students with autism.

1. The Reason I Jump

Explore the profound insights and captivating journeys of nonspeaking autistic individuals in ‘The Reason I Jump,’ a groundbreaking documentary that immerses you in their extraordinary world. Based on the best-selling book by Naoki Higashida, this film offers a unique perspective on neuro-diversity through the experiences of five remarkable young people from around the world.

Through intimate portraits, it opens a window into their intense and overwhelming, yet often joyful, sensory universe.

Directed by Jerry Rothwell and produced by Jeremy Dear, Stevie Lee, and Al Morrow, ‘The Reason I Jump’ is an eye-opening exploration of autism that will leave you with a deeper understanding and appreciation for those living with this condition. The film blends Higashida’s revelatory insights into autism, written when he was just 13 years old, with real-life stories that showcase the challenges and triumphs of these nonspeaking autistic individuals.

With a runtime of 1 hour and 22 minutes, this powerful documentary takes you on an emotional journey that will stay with you long after the credits roll.

Movie Information

  • Genre: Documentary
  • Original Language: English
  • Release Date (Theaters): January 8th, 2021 (Limited)
  • Release Date (Streaming): May 9th, 2021
  • Runtime: 1h 22m
  • Distributor: Kino Lorber
  • Production Co: Vulcan Productions, Runaway Fridge, BFI Film Fund, Met Film Production, British Film Institute, The Ideas Room

Immerse yourself in ‘The Reason I Jump’ to gain a new perspective on autism and unlock awareness about this often misunderstood condition. 

This documentary has the power to ignite empathy within you as you witness the strength and resilience of these incredible individuals who navigate a world that may not always understand them. 

Prepare to embark on an emotional journey filled with profound revelations as you delve into the extraordinary lives of nonspeaking autistic people.

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2. Atypical

Immerse yourself in the heartfelt comedy series ‘Atypical‘ and experience the journey of Sam, a teenager on the autism spectrum, as he navigates the complexities of romance and independence.

Follow Sam’s determination to start dating and find love, which leads him to embark on a path towards greater independence. This decision not only transforms Sam’s life but also sends his mother, played by Jennifer Jason Leigh, on her own life-changing journey.

As Sam’s family adjusts to these changes, they explore what it truly means to be ‘normal’ and learn valuable lessons about acceptance and understanding.

In ‘Atypical’, you’ll witness the incredible performances of talented actors such as Keir Gilchrist who portrays Sam with authenticity and sensitivity. The series tackles important themes surrounding autism with grace and humor, offering a unique perspective on navigating relationships and personal growth.

Movie Information

  • Creators: Robia Rashid and Seth Gordon
  • Starring: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Keir Gilchrist, Michael Rapaport, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Amy Okuda
  • TV Network: Netflix
  • Premiere Date: August 11th, 2017
  • Genre: Comedy

Join Sam’s journey in ‘Atypical’ as he discovers himself amidst the challenges of adolescence while also uncovering the power of love and connection. This heartwarming series will captivate your emotions while shedding light on autism in an engaging way that leaves you feeling both entertained and enlightened.

3. The Most Well Kept Secret

Discover the hidden gem that is ‘The Most Well Kept Secret‘, a series that will tug at your heartstrings and take you on an unforgettable journey of love, acceptance, and self-discovery. Follow Sam and his family as they navigate the complexities of life with autism in this thought-provoking comedy.

With its perfect blend of humor and heartwarming moments, this show will not only entertain you but also shed light on the challenges faced by individuals with autism.

In ‘The Most Well Kept Secret’, creators Robia Rashid and Seth Gordon have crafted a narrative that beautifully captures the universal themes of acceptance and self-discovery. Through the lens of Sam’s story, played brilliantly by Keir Gilchrist, viewers are invited to explore the beauty of embracing individuality.

The series delves into how autism impacts not just those diagnosed but also their families, offering a realistic portrayal that resonates deeply.

With Jennifer Jason Leigh delivering a powerful performance as Sam’s mother, viewers get an intimate look into her journey as she learns to understand and support her son’s unique needs. Michael Rapaport brings depth to his role as Sam’s father, showcasing the complexities of navigating parenthood in the face of adversity. Brigette Lundy-Paine shines as Casey, Sam’s sister who struggles with balancing her own desires while caring for her brother.

‘The Most Well Kept Secret’ premiered on Netflix in August 2017 and has since become a beloved series among audiences worldwide. Its honest portrayal of autism combined with its heartfelt exploration of love and independence make it essential viewing for anyone seeking to unlock awareness.

Movie Information

  • Rating: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Original Language: English
  • Director: Barry Levinson
  • Producer: Mark Johnson
  • Writer: Ronald Bass, Barry Morrow
  • Release Date (Theaters): December 14, 1988 (Wide)
  • Release Date (Streaming): September 2, 2015
  • Box Office (Gross USA): $171.2M
  • Runtime: 2h 13m
  • Distributor: MGM/UA Home Entertainment Inc., United Artists
  • Production Co: Guber-Peters Company
  • Sound Mix: Surround
  • Aspect Ratio: Flat (1.85:1)

4. Rain Man

Witness the transformative journey of two brothers as they embark on a cross-country trip that challenges their perceptions and changes their lives forever in the heartwarming film Rain Man.

Charlie Babbitt, played by Tom Cruise, is initially motivated by his estranged father’s $3 million fortune but soon realizes that there is so much more to gain from his autistic older brother, Raymond, portrayed brilliantly by Dustin Hoffman.

As they travel together from Cincinnati to Los Angeles, Charlie begins to understand and appreciate Raymond’s unique way of viewing the world.

The film beautifully captures the complexities of autism and the struggles faced by individuals with this condition.

Through Raymond’s remarkable abilities in counting cards and recalling detailed information, Charlie begins to see beyond his own selfish desires and develops a deep bond with his brother.

Their journey becomes a metaphorical exploration of acceptance, love, and understanding.

Rain Man not only showcases outstanding performances from Cruise and Hoffman but also provides valuable insights into autism spectrum disorder.

The film raises awareness about the challenges faced by individuals on the spectrum while highlighting their incredible talents.

It serves as a reminder that we should embrace differences and approach each other with empathy and compassion.

Movie Information

  • Rating: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Original Language: English
  • Director: Barry Levinson
  • Producer: Mark Johnson
  • Writer: Ronald Bass, Barry Morrow
  • Release Date (Theaters): December 14, 1988 (Wide)
  • Release Date (Streaming): September 2, 2015
  • Box Office (Gross USA): $171.2M
  • Runtime: 2h 13m
  • Distributor: MGM/UA Home Entertainment Inc., United Artists
  • Production Co: Guber-Peters Company
  • Sound Mix: Surround
  • Aspect Ratio: Flat (1.85:1)

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5. The A Word

Step into the captivating world of ‘The A Word‘ and join the Hughes family as they navigate the challenges and triumphs of living with autism. This gripping drama miniseries takes you on an emotional journey, shedding light on the realities of autism and its impact on individuals and their loved ones.

Through the lens of 5-year-old Joe’s diagnosis, we witness the profound effects it has on his parents, Alison and Paul, as well as his extended family.

‘The A Word’ explores the communication difficulties faced by Joe and how it affects his relationships with those around him. 

As viewers, we are given a raw and honest portrayal of the frustrations, misunderstandings, but also moments of joy that come with raising a child with autism. 

The performances by Morven Christie, Lee Ingleby, Greg McHugh, Vinette Robinson, and Max Vento are nothing short of exceptional, capturing both heartbreak and hope in their nuanced portrayals.

This thought-provoking series not only sheds light on autism but also delves into themes of acceptance, love, and resilience. It invites us to reflect on our own understanding of neurodiversity while providing a safe space for audiences to explore this complex topic.

Step into ‘The A Word’ and be prepared to have your emotions stirred as you witness the power of familial bonds in overcoming adversity.

Movie Information

  • Creator: Keren Margalit
  • Starring: Morven Christie, Lee Ingleby, Greg McHugh, Vinette Robinson, Max Vento
  • TV Network: BBC
  • Premiere Date: March 22, 2016
  • Genre: Drama
  • Executive Producers: Marcus Wilson, Patrick Spence, Keren Margalit, Peter Bowker, Lucy Ritcher, Avi Nir

6. Life, Animated

The captivating documentary ‘Life, Animated‘ takes viewers on an emotional journey as they explore the transformative power of Disney movies for a young autistic man’s reading, writing, and communication skills. 

Directed by Roger Ross Williams and based on the book by Ron Suskind, this film delves into the life of Owen Suskind, who was diagnosed with autism at a young age.

Through heartwarming interviews with Owen and his family, as well as animated sequences that bring his imagination to life, ‘Life, Animated’ showcases how Disney films became a lifeline for him.

Owen finds solace in the colorful characters and stories of films like ‘The Little Mermaid,’ ‘The Lion King,’ and ‘Aladdin.’ 

These movies not only provide him with entertainment but also serve as tools for him to navigate the complexities of human interaction. 

As he memorizes lines from these beloved classics and learns to use them in everyday situations, Owen begins to develop language skills and a deeper understanding of emotions. 

The documentary highlights how these movies become a bridge between his inner world and the external reality.

Movie Information

  • Genre: Documentary
  • Original Language: English
  • Director: Roger Ross Williams
  • Producer: Roger Ross Williams, Julie Goldman
  • Writer: Ron Suskind
  • Release Date (Theaters): July 1, 2016 (Limited)
  • Release Date (Streaming): September 20, 2016
  • Box Office (Gross USA): $244.0K
  • Runtime: 1h 31m
  • Distributor: The Orchard
  • Production Co: Motto Pictures

7. Love on the Spectrum

Contrary to popular belief, finding love on the spectrum isn’t just a distant dream. In the Netflix documentary series ‘Love on the Spectrum‘, viewers are taken on a journey into the lives of autistic individuals as they navigate the world of dating and relationships.

The show provides an intimate and heartwarming look at their experiences, shedding light on the unique challenges they face while also showcasing their resilience and capacity for love.

The series follows a diverse group of individuals who are all seeking romantic connections. From first dates to exploring deeper emotional connections, ‘Love on the Spectrum’ captures both the joys and struggles of dating for people with autism.

Through honest and authentic storytelling, viewers gain insight into how these individuals approach relationships, communicate their needs, and navigate social cues.

Movie Information

  • TV Network: Netflix
  • Premiere Date: May 18, 2022
  • Genre: Reality
  • Executive Producers: Karina Holden, Cian O’Clery

8. Aspergers The Movie

Now that you’ve learned about the heartwarming and insightful documentary ‘Love on the Spectrum,’ let’s dive into another incredible film that sheds light on autism: ‘Aspergers The Movie.’

This powerful documentary follows the inspiring journey of Alex Sina, a remarkable individual who was diagnosed with Asperger’s in fourth grade.

Instead of allowing this diagnosis to define him, Alex forged ahead with determination and resilience, identifying and cultivating his talents and passions.

Through hard work and perseverance, Alex not only overcame barriers but also found his path to success. ‘Aspergers The Movie’ showcases how he navigates through life, showcasing his unique perspective on the world.

Alex’s story is one of triumph over adversity, demonstrating that with dedication and unwavering spirit, anyone can achieve their dreams.

In this documentary, you will witness Alex’s inspiring journey from a young boy grappling with Asperger’s to a successful adult who has created a fulfilling life and career for himself.

Through captivating storytelling and intimate interviews with Alex himself, along with those close to him, you’ll gain a deep understanding of what it means to live with Asperger’s. Prepare to be moved by his determination, resilience, and unwavering passion for life.

Movie Information

  • Creators: Robia Rashid, Seth Gordon
  • Starring: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Keir Gilchrist, Michael Rapaport, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Amy Okuda
  • TV Network: Netflix
  • Premiere Date: August 11th, 2017
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Executive Producers: Robia Rashid, Mary Rohlich, Theresa Mulligan Rosenthal

9. The Speed Cubers

Capturing the incredible talent and dedication of Rubik’s Cube-solving champions Max Park and Feliks Zemdegs, this captivating documentary, 

The Speed Cubers,’ takes viewers on a thrilling journey through their extraordinary twists and turns. Directed by Sue Kim, this documentary explores the world of competitive speedcubing and sheds light on the lives of these two remarkable individuals.

From Max Park’s incredible ability to solve a Rubik’s Cube blindfolded to Feliks Zemdegs’ record-breaking times, ‘The Speed Cubers’ showcases their passion for the sport and their relentless pursuit of excellence.

As you watch ‘The Speed Cubers,’ you’ll be drawn into the personal stories behind Max Park and Feliks Zemdegs. The film delves into Max’s journey with autism and how solving Rubik’s Cubes has become an essential part of his life. You’ll witness his growth as he overcomes challenges, both on and off the competition stage.

Similarly, you’ll get a glimpse into Feliks’ experience as one of the most accomplished speedcubers in history. Through interviews with friends, family members, and fellow competitors, you’ll gain insight into their unique perspectives on friendship, rivalry, and what it means to be a part of this tight-knit community.

Movie Information

  • Genre: Documentary
  • Original Language: English
  • Director: Sue Kim
  • Release Date (Streaming): Jul 29, 2020
  • Runtime: 40 minutes

10. The Accountant

Get ready to be amazed by the mysterious accountant who enters the farmer’s life, using their incredible knack for numbers and love of beer to bring a whole new twist to this gripping drama.

As the hard-pressed farmer struggles to keep his farm afloat, he stumbles upon an unlikely savior in the form of an accountant with a hidden talent. 

This accountant, although enigmatic, possesses an extraordinary ability when it comes to numbers. 

With just a glance at financial records and spreadsheets, they can spot discrepancies and uncover hidden profits that have eluded the farmer for years.

But it’s not just their mathematical prowess that captures the farmer’s attention. 

The accountant also has a unique passion for beer, often seen sipping on a cold one while crunching numbers late into the night. This unexpected love for beer adds depth and complexity to their character, making them even more intriguing and relatable.

As the story unfolds, we witness how this mysterious accountant uses their talents and love of beer to navigate through complex financial challenges faced by the struggling farmer. 

Their unconventional methods may raise eyebrows among traditional accountants, but they prove effective in helping turn around the farm’s fortunes.

This gripping drama explores themes of redemption, friendship, and unorthodox problem-solving techniques. It reminds us that sometimes help can come from unexpected places and that true mastery lies in embracing our unique abilities.

Movie Information

  • Genre: Drama
  • Original Language: English
  • Runtime: 47 minutes

11. Autism In Love

Prepare to be captivated by the unique and heartfelt stories of four autistic adults as they navigate the complexities of romantic relationships in ‘Autism In Love.’ 

This documentary, directed by Matt Fuller, takes you on a deeply personal journey into their lives, shedding light on their experiences and challenging societal misconceptions about autism.

Through intimate interviews and candid footage, ‘Autism In Love’ explores the challenges, triumphs, and emotions faced by these individuals as they search for love and connection. 

You will witness their vulnerability and resilience as they share their hopes, dreams, and fears with honesty and authenticity.

The film beautifully captures the universal longing for companionship while highlighting the specific obstacles that individuals with autism may encounter in forming relationships.

As you watch ‘Autism In Love,’ you’ll gain a deeper understanding of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and its impact on romantic relationships. 

The film provides a platform for self-advocacy as these individuals challenge stereotypes and break down barriers. Their stories will inspire empathy, compassion, and a greater appreciation for neurodiversity.

Movie Information

  • Genre: Drama
  • Original Language: English
  • Director: Matt Fuller
  • Producer: Matt Fuller, Carolina Groppa
  • Writer: Ira Heilveil
  • Release Date (Streaming): Mar 2, 2016
  • Runtime: 1 hour 16 minutes
  • Production Co: CG Entertainment

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12. Asperger’s Are Us

The heartfelt and hilarious journey of four friends with Asperger’s comes to life in ‘Asperger’s Are Us‘, a documentary that showcases their unique bond and comedic talents. 

Directed by Alex Lehmann, this film follows the lives of Ethan, Noah, Jack, and New Michael as they navigate the world through their own lens.

As they prepare for their final show before going their separate ways, viewers get an intimate look into their lives and the challenges they face.

In ‘Asperger’s Are Us’, you will witness the power of friendship as these four individuals use humor to connect with each other and the audience. 

Their comedy troupe not only serves as an outlet for self-expression but also as a platform to raise awareness about autism. Through witty banter and clever sketches, they challenge stereotypes and invite viewers into their world.

This heartwarming documentary is a must-watch for anyone looking to gain a deeper understanding of autism spectrum disorders while being entertained along the way. 

Get ready to laugh, cry, and be inspired by these incredible individuals who prove that there are no limits when it comes to pursuing your passions.

Movie Information

  • Genre: Documentary, Comedy, Drama
  • Original Language: English
  • Director: Alex Lehmann
  • Producer: Sean Bradley, Chris Dowling
  • Release Date (Theaters): Nov 11, 2016 (Limited)
  • Release Date (Streaming): Dec 25, 2016
  • Runtime: 1 hour 22 minutes
  • Distributor: Duplass Brothers Productions

13. Silent Voice

Immerse yourself in the captivating world of ‘Silent Voice‘, a Japanese animated film that explores the profound impact of communication and redemption.

Set in a high school, the movie follows the story of Shoya Ishida, a young boy who bullied his deaf classmate Shoko Nishimiya. 

Years later, burdened by guilt and seeking forgiveness, Shoya embarks on a journey of self-discovery and redemption.

‘Silent Voice’ delves deep into the complexities of human emotions and the power of empathy. It sheds light on the struggles faced by individuals with disabilities, particularly those with hearing impairments. 

Through beautiful visuals and an emotionally charged storyline, this film takes you on an introspective journey where every character’s flaws and vulnerabilities are laid bare.

As you watch ‘Silent Voice’, you’ll be captivated by its stunning animation, which adds depth to each scene. 

The film skillfully portrays the challenges faced by both Shoya and Shoko as they navigate their way through adolescence, battling not only their personal demons but also societal expectations. The narrative highlights themes such as friendship, forgiveness, mental health, and acceptance.

Movie Information

  • Genre: Drama
  • Original Language: Japanese
  • Director: Naoko Yamada
  • Producer: Kyoto Animation
  • Writer: Reiko Yoshida
  • Runtime: 2 hours 10 minutes

So grab your popcorn and get ready for an emotional rollercoaster as ‘Silent Voice’ takes you on a thought-provoking journey filled with compassion, understanding, and ultimately redemption.

14. The Hummingbird

As you delve into the captivating world of ‘The Hummingbird‘, you’ll be immersed in the intricate lives of its characters and their struggles, experiencing a range of emotions that will leave you pondering on the complexities of human relationships.

Set against the backdrop of 2022, this thought-provoking drama follows the journey of Marco Carrera, an ophthalmologist whose life takes unexpected turns. 

From the very beginning, you’ll find yourself drawn to Marco’s story as he navigates complex relationships with individuals like Marina, a woman who embodies conflicting qualities of right and wrong.

The film explores themes such as love, betrayal, and redemption, making it a truly compelling watch.

Directed by Francesca Archibugi and produced by Laura Paolucci and Domenico Procacci, ‘The Hummingbird’ showcases their exceptional storytelling skills. The talented cast brings these complex characters to life with their nuanced performances.

With a runtime of 2 hours and 6 minutes, the film allows ample time for character development and exploration of various subplots.

Movie Information

  • Genre: Drama
  • Original Language: Italian
  • Director: Francesca Archibugi
  • Producers: Laura Paolucci, Domenico Procacci
  • Writers: Laura Paolucci, Francesca Archibugi, Francesco Piccolo
  • Runtime: 2 hours 6 minutes

15. Kids With Cameras

Captivatingly showcasing the unique perspectives of children with autism, the film ‘Kids With Cameras‘ delves into their world as they explore their creativity through the lens of a camera. Under the guidance of Brad Koepenick, these kids attend an intensive film camp where they are encouraged to express themselves and share their stories.

Through this process, they not only gain valuable filmmaking skills but also find a powerful means of communication and self-expression. 

The film takes you on a journey through the eyes of these remarkable children as they navigate their daily lives, facing challenges and triumphs with resilience and determination. You witness their struggles and breakthroughs, capturing moments that might otherwise go unnoticed or misunderstood.

It’s a heartwarming experience to see how these kids use filmmaking as a tool to connect with others and make their voices heard. 

In ‘Kids With Cameras,’ you’ll meet an extraordinary group of young filmmakers who defy stereotypes and show us what it truly means to embrace diversity. Their passion for storytelling is infectious, and you can’t help but be inspired by their courage and creativity.

This documentary invites you into their world, offering a glimpse into the beauty that lies within each child’s unique perspective.

Movie Information

  • Genre: Documentary
  • Original Language: English
  • Director: Alex Rotaru
  • Producer: Alex Rotaru
  • Runtime: 52 minutes

Final Thoughts

The top 15 autism documentaries on Netflix are a potent tool for fostering awareness and empathy. They offer an immersive exploration of autism’s intricate world, shedding light on the challenges faced by individuals and their families. 

These films capture moments of triumph and vulnerability, encapsulating the essence of living with autism. As you watch, you’re transported into the lives of those affected, deepening your empathy.

The documentaries showcase the unique perspective of individuals with autism through vivid imagery. From heartwarming resilience to cutting-edge research insights, they inspire compassion and challenge societal norms. 

Engaging with these films makes you an active participant in raising autism awareness and celebrating neurodiversity.

Ultimately, these documentaries both entertain and educate, empowering viewers to foster a more inclusive world. 

So grab some popcorn, settle in, and embark on an eye-opening journey through these Netflix gems. Your perspective will forever change as you unlock a profound sense of understanding and empathy for those touched by autism.

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