Despite mainstream media and their mostly dismal attempts at creating autistics. It’s rare to see examples of autistic characters who feel ‘real.’ We’re not all rain man or white, young, male savants.
We’re real people who are just as diverse as every other subset of humanity.
Many autistics like myself will tell you if you’ve met one autistic–you’ve met one autistic.
When creating neuroAtypical characters, I try to be cognizant of creating individuals, and not carbon copies of either myself or some stereotype I think non-autistics will easily recognise. I will admit many of my own experiences find their way into my stories. How could they not?
In fact, one of my favourite parts of writing my most recent release, The Lion Tamer, was including Alex and Alice. Autistic twins. They’re on different parts of the autism spectrum with their own special interests and struggles.
Neither of them is some off the charts genius.
They’re just autistic.
No massively high IQ required to be legitimate human beings who deserve to be celebrated.
So, here are a few tips on creating autistic characters, or what are some of the pieces/parts to doing so. (And please keep in mind, this is from my personal perspective.)
- Talk to #actuallyautistic people, not just autism parents before you start.
- Avoid AutismSpeaks.
- Stimming. Your autistic character should have a stim. We stim.
- Special Interests. I could write an entire post about this. We have them. Obsess over them. Use them to calm ourselves from super stressful moments.
- Emotions are something many autistics struggle with. We can feel quite intensely, but we don’t often understand what we’re feeling. I’ve spent days trying to decipher an emotion before.
- Sensation. Many autistics suffer from hypersensitivity. I, for example, struggle with touching certain fabrics. Light affects me. Certain sounds can trigger me into a meltdown.
Just a few thoughts.
Not sure if any of it is helpful.
I might turn this into a series of posts about being autistic/writing autistic characters.
Do you include neuroAtpyical characters in your stories? Do you have characters who have anxiety, or PTSD, or are autistic? Or some other mental disability or illness?