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A new play about autism has sparked a row by using an inanimate figure pulled by strings in the central role, while the other characters are played by humans There are some ideas that should never get past the brainstorming stage. All in a Row, a new play about autism at the Southwark Playhouse, London, is under fire for reportedly using a puppet to play the part of an autistic child, with the National Autistic Society pulling its support for the production. It doesn’t help that the puppet is grey and mawkish, with earlier versions appearing more suited to a horror movie. It would be easy to dismiss this row as another example of our online offence culture, but it goes to the heart of the dehumanisation that disabled people face – quite literally by representing us as other than human. It is particularly damaging here because of stereotypes of autism, which characterise neurodiverse individuals as unfeeling and with no autonomy. Continue reading...