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Friday, October 7, 2022

‘Woo, Lawyer Extraordinary’ Netflix Series Sparks Autism Debate

A South Korean series aired on Netflix about an autistic lawyer with a high IQ has sparked debate in South Korea, where people with autism say they feel “invisible.”

For more than a month, Woo, an extraordinary lawyer was the most watched non-English speaking series on the Netflix streaming platform, following in the footsteps of another South Korean phenomenon, the squid game.

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The series, of 16 chapters, follows the journey of a first-time lawyer whose autism helps her find brilliant solutions to legal puzzlesbut at the same time, leaves her in situations of social isolation.

The emotional series sparked a debate about autism, as the extremely intelligent lawyer also shows visible signs of the disorder, such as echolaliawhich consists of the precise repetition of words or phrases, often out of context.

In fact, Lead actress Park Eun-bin, 29, was hesitant to accept the role, aware of the influence that the series could have on the perception of autistic people.

I felt I had a moral responsibility as an actress“, he assures. “I knew (that the series) was going to inevitably have an influence on autistic people and their families”, he explains.


some of these families they crossed out the series as “fantasy” and they considered that its main character was not believable at all.

Lee Dong-ju, the mother of an autistic child, explained to a local media that for many people with autism spectrum disorders, achieving success like Woo does would be like “a child who wins an Olympic medal in cycling without having learned yet. to walk”.

Although Me Woo is undoubtedly “a fictional character created for maximum dramatic effect,” his story is actually more real than many South Koreans believe, observes psychiatry professor Kim Eui-jung of the hospital. Mokdong of Ewha Womans University.

About a third of people with autism spectrum disorder have average or above average intelligence, it adds. In addition, they may not have visible features of autism or even know they have them.

This is what happened to Lee Da-bin, whose diagnosis only came after he dropped out of school and went to a psychiatrist for depression. “People don’t recognize mild forms of autism for nothing,” he explains. “I have the impression of having become invisible“, Add.


Lee shares many commonalities with the character in the series, including the hypersensitivity or academic excellence. He also grew up knowing that he was different and reproaching himself for not being able to integrate.

“I spent my whole life thinking that I was a weird person (…) and that it was my fault if I couldn’t get close to others,” he says.

Public awareness of high-level autism and its understanding are very limited in South Korea.”analyzes Kim Hee-jin, a professor of psychiatry at Chung-Ang University Hospital in Seoul.

For the general public, autism is “a disorder involving severe intellectual deficiency”, which contributes to misdiagnosis, he observes.

But early follow-up can help people with autism avoid “feeling guilty about the difficulties they encounter … for example in making and keeping friends.”

Lee Da-bin believes that if she had been diagnosed earlier, she would have suffered less. Since then, she has resumed her studies with the aim of starting a medical career.


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Reference from www.milenio.com

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