How to Create Authentic Autistic Characters with 10 Questions.

As part of my How to Write Autistics series, I thought I’d share a list of questions that can help create an authentic character who doesn’t feel like a stereotype.

And I should point out these are just question that occurred to me. As with anything, other autistics might have their own thoughts. But here we go.

Ten Questions to ask your autistic characters (some might apply just generally to neurally diverse characters):

1. Were they diagnosed late in life or early?

It can affect how they develop coping skills.

2. Are they self-diagnosed?

3. Do they suffer from hypersensitivity? Are they overly sensitive to light, sounds, textures?

For example, I can’t stand the sensation of most fabrics touching my fingertips. It makes drying off with a towel or folding laundry particularly frustrating. I often have to repeatedly dip my hands in water or lotion my fingers to deal with it.

4. What are their special interests?

I hate the term special interest…but obsession sounds equally wrong. Most autistics I know have specific topics or things that qualify as their special interest. Some of us have lifelong ones while others are temporary. Some of my special interests include Bioware Video Games, TV Shows (As Time Goes By  and others), and Football (as in soccer.)

5. How do they stim? Also, how do they feel about their stim? How do those around them react to their stim?

6. What coping mechanisms do they use for dealing with social stresses?

7. How do they deal with meltdowns and/or shutdowns?

8. Are their family supportive of them finding independence as an adult?

9. How do they deal with eye contact?

10. Do they live atypically? In other words, do they try to blend in and mask their neural divergence?

I’m sure there are a ton of other questions.

There’s a brilliant Youtube channel that can be an amazing resource for you (there are others, but this is one of my favourites):

https://www.youtube.com/user/neurowonderful

 

An Introduction to Akash Robinson.


(My visual inspiration for Akash is Raza Jaffrey)

In book four of The Sin Bin, The Royal Marine, which comes out in October, Akash Robinson gets his chance at love. He finds himself in the midst of an awkward love triangle. The baker has shown up a few times in the series thus far, but only as brief mentions.  This is the first real chance readers get to meet him.

I thought I’d give a brief introduction to him with a few random facts.

  1. He’s biracial (or mixed race, depending on what term you prefer). His mother is Indian, and his father is Caucasian.
  2. Akash is completely obsessed with cooking reality TV shows. His personal favourite is The Great British Bake Off.
  3. He always wanted to be a baker.
  4. Until recently, Akash lived at home with his parents.
  5. His hands and arms are covered by tiny scars from getting burned while baking.
  6. Ganesh is the cat that his sisters gave him. Akash has a love/hate relationship with his cat.
  7. Akash played cricket at school–badly. He doesn’t like talking about it. His dad loves to tease him about it.
  8. As a youngster, Akash learned self-defense and has picked up several martial arts.
  9. One of his greatest joys in life is creating spice combination that represents both of his heritages.
  10. Of the three Robinson siblings, Akash has the worst memory.
  11. He and his two sisters were all given Sanskrit names.
  12. Akash’s name means sky or open space. His mother wanted him to feel free to grow into a great man.

Anyway, so there’s a bit about Akash Robinson. The strong-willed, sassy baker who tries to run away with the heart of a certain retired Royal Marine.