John Schneider and Asperger’s

I absolutely love Smallville. I can watch those shows over and over! As a matter of fact, I do watch those shows over and over (while I’m doing constructive things, of course). Well, for the first five seasons, John Schneider (of Dukes of Hazzard fame) plays Jonathan Kent, whose son, Clark, has special abilities. (Clark is Superman, after all).

Most of the time, Jonathan encourages his son in his abilities, believing that he has a special destiny (which he does). But there are times when Clark has lost his powers, and Jonathan doesn’t seem to mind. He figures that, at least then, Clark can fit in with his peers and not keep all sorts of secrets.

But John Schneider himself is in a similar situation. His son, Chasen, has Asperger’s Syndrome, a neurological condition that includes a deficit in social skills as well as a high level of knowledge in certain areas of interest. Chasen, like Clark, is different from most of his peers.

How does Schneider react to his son’s Asperger’s? According to the wikipedia article, John Schneider (television actor), he “spends much of his spare time raising awareness and money for the research and treatment of said condition.” This seems to portray John Schneider as a curebie, one who wants to cure his son of his Asperger’s rather than seeing the condition as a gift.

But another article, John Schneider promotes Asperger’s Syndrome awareness, presents a slightly different side of him, one that actually values the Syndrome. He states:

“My son has Asperger’s Syndrome, which is part of the autism spectrum. It’s likely Albert Einstein had Asperger’s, and so did Thomas Jefferson. Bill Gates I’m certain has it. With many highly motivated successful people that have done something in an obscure area, you’re going to find an ‘odd bird’ now and then…Ask Chasen just about anything about baseball, and he can rattle off names, dates, statistics, you name it. He just consumes everything he can about baseball. It’s his thing.”

Schneider still believes in treating his son’s condition through social skills training. And that makes sense, for that will help Chasen in the long run. But he sees a positive side to the Syndrome.

I love John Schneider. He’s given his Christian testimony on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. He’s on the list of known celebrity republicans. And he criticized the 2005 Dukes of Hazzard movie because it contained illicit sex and profanity (see ‘Dukes of Hazzard‘ Star Takes On Hollywood ). He is certainly a light in a morass of Hollywood darkness! He also reminds me of another of my favorite actors, Michael Landon, who had a stiff, masculine demeanor. As a matter of fact, Schneider played Landon in “Michael Landon: The Father I Knew.”

I’m glad that John Schneider accepts his son for who he is, even as he helps him to grow. In that, he reminds me of the wonderful father he plays on Smallville.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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