09/29/2014 04:51 pm ET

How 'Parenthood' Broke Down The Autism Awareness Barrier

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In a series that has depicted teenage pregnancy, abortion, alcoholism, a breast cancer battle, and a young war veteran’s PTSD, one of the most emotional, and painful, scenes to watch on NBC’s critically acclaimed Parenthood came when Max Braverman (Max Burkholder) went on his first unsupervised school field trip in Season 5. A few hours in, he is so tormented by his classmates, he throws a tantrum and has to be picked up by his parents. In the car ride home, after two hours of silence, Max begins to tell them how one of his peers peed in his canteen. “Why do all the other kids hate me?” Max asks. “Is it because I’m weird?” His parents, Kristina (Monica Potter) and Adam (Peter Krause), are speechless, but Max is overwhelmingly honest. It’s a moment that showcases a realistic situation many people on the autism spectrum, like Max, and the families of those people unfortunately deal with regularly.

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