The Benjamins

The episode “The Benjamins” gave an inside look into the life of two brothers living with Autism. We get to see the daily lives of brothers, Brad and Kenny. In this episode we get to learn a little about the brothers, their forms of autism and how it affects their lives and interactions with their family and friends.
The narrative that would best describe “The Benjamins” would be the chaos narrative. Autism is not a condition that goes away. In the episode you can see that the boys can struggle from day to day with social interactions and other tasks. Like we learned in the video lecture in the chaos narrative there can be feelings of disjointedness and frustration, of which can be seen in some parts of this episode.
Both boys know they have autism and are using this narrative (the actual episode itself) to explain their situation and how they go about their lives and how they live with autism. It was amazing to see that right off the bat the boys were addressing that there is no need to think of them as tremendously different from anyone else. They wanted to use the opportunity to have an episode about themselves to make people aware of autism and how people who live with it do normal things just like anyone else.
By doing this they were addressing a culture and stigma so many people have in the way they view people with disabilities and special needs. There wasn’t anything in this episode that addressed experiences with medical professional, but the boys would have been diagnosed with their forms of autism at a young age. For the sick role, like I had mentioned before, these boys know they have autism and have limitations due to it, but this does not stop them from having regular responsibilities. In the episode you learn that one of the boys has a learners permit for driving and that they are in charge of throwing their own dinner party to further their social skills.
Illness narratives such as Anna’s (as well as the Benjamins) gives people (be it patients or healthcare providers) a look into how someone living with an illness view it themselves and how they manage their condition. In Anna’s story we see her checking her blood sugar level as well as checking the carbohydrates in the foods she wishes to eat. On the episode about the Benjamin brothers, Brad and Kenny, we see how they live with autism. Knowing how a person with a certain illness experiences it does wonders on giving others an idea of what it would be like to have that condition and potentially how to treat it.

“A Day Living with Diabetes,” YouTube Video, 8:51, Posted by christimclean1313, July 22, 2010,

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Taylor Smith says:

    This video seems to be a very different type of illness narrative. I think that Eric’s brief story is the perfect example of a quest narrative. He realizes that his condition will never go away, but he has learned to deal with his situation and make the most out of it. I think that the doctors’ poor outlook made both him and his parents that much more determined to prove them wrong. He has used his disease as a way to push himself, break barriers, and become the best person he possibly can.
    I think that a huge part of Eric’s attitude about his disease being a positive one rather than the chaos suffered by the Benjamin brothers in the True Life episode is that his parents never gave up on him or let him give up. Breanna did not really discuss how the parents fit in to the brothers’ sick roles, or whether or not they had a positive attitude. I think culture, in addition to family, plays a large role in both situations as well. When we turn on the episode of True Life, we somewhat expect to hear a chaos narrative, because we see autism as something that is incredibly detrimental and imposing to a normal life. However, Eric does an amazing job of breaking these stereotypes, and showing people that his disease does not have to control or ruin his life.

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