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Portrayal of Autism in Rain Man and the Relevance of Psychological Testing

Updated on December 13, 2014

My main problem with how autism is portrayed in Rain Man is that the movie makes it seem like all autism cases come with the same problems and advantages. The movie makes it appear as if all autistic people are high functioning with a high intelligence in at least one area. I work as an after school counselor at an elementary school and one of the children in my group is autistic. While the child is high functioning she is not a genius like Raymond in the movie. She occasionally becomes violent with other people for seemingly no reason; the movie does not show that autistic people can become violent when angry or frustrated and yet it does occur. I think that Rain Man could have more accurately portrayed autism if the film had had more than one autistic person with a different level of autism to show that autism is not the same for each person aflicted.

Psychological Testing

Psychological testing is an important part of present day society. Psychological testing is used by schools, doctors, employers, and society as a way to discover and treat psychological problems. Schools often use psychological testing in order to discover any undiagnosed psychological, emotional or behavioral difficulties in children and place such children in the best possible learning environment. Doctors use psychological testing as way to learn about their patient/client so that they can better understand and treat them. Employers often utilize psychological testing as a way to determine how much of a given characteristic a potential employee possesses, to measure the person’s abilities, and their overall intelligence level.

When I was in high school I was a member of the Teacher’s Academy; as a part of that class I took a personality test. The personality test was classified as a self-report inventory test; it was very similar to the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI). I took that test about two or three years ago and the only thing I remember as far as my results go was that according to the test I have an introverted personality. This test was less formal than the MMPI, but it overall had the same function of being able to depict a person’s personality based on simple questions as long as the test taker answered each question truthfully. The test was part of being a member of the Teacher’s Academy as it was good at showing people what aspects of personality we possessed that would make us either a good or bad candidate for a career in education.

References:

Chad, S. (n.d.). Use of Psychological Tests in Selection of An Employee. YourArticleLibrarycom The Next Generation Library. Retrieved January 16, 2014, from http://www.yourarticlelibrary.com/business/use-of-psychological-tests-in-selection-of-an-employee/2474/

Cherry, K. (n.d.). What Is Personality Testing?. About.com Psychology. Retrieved January 16, 2014, from http://psychology.about.com/od/personality-testing/f/personality-testing.htm

Saunders, J. (n.d.). Importance of Psychological Tests in Schools. SeatlePI. Retrieved January 16, 2014, from http://education.seattlepi.com/importance-psychological-tests-schools-2298.html

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