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PhoenixFalcon
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09 Dec 2016, 2:20 pm

This might belong in "Art, Writing, and Music" but I'm not quite sure. If it does, feel free to have it moved.

I'm currently in the process of writing a story where one of the main characters has high-functioning autism. Although I am on the spectrum myself, I recognize that there is a lot of diversity in the autism community. Furthermore, the character in question is female, and my knowledge of how ASD manifests in women and girls is limited.

That said, I'd just like advice on what to watch out for. What are pitfalls I should avoid? Things that I should make sure I depict one way or another? That sort of thing.


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EclecticWarrior
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09 Dec 2016, 7:08 pm

I'm biologically female and have a lot of "male" interests and preferences which have led to me questioning my true gender. However, from what I have seen I am an anomaly. Most girls with AS I have known were very girly- liking pink, current pop music, teen TV shows, that sort of thing.

I do think you'll need a bit more input before you decide on what route your character should take- mileages vary 8)


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09 Dec 2016, 8:08 pm

[quote="EclecticWarrior"]However, from what I have seen I am an anomaly. Most girls with AS I have known were very girly- liking pink, current pop music, teen TV shows, that sort of thing. [quote]

That may be true, but is not how I am. I don't like any of those things. Fashion and shopping are things I detest. I cannot speak for all girls, but I am definitely atypical in my interests amongst my peer group. Perhaps because I don't fit in, or have a group of friends like most people do, I am free to pursue what interests me, instead of popular or 'cool' hobbies. Just a thought.


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09 Dec 2016, 9:55 pm

Me and my friend are currently creating a fantasy world. And so far around 3 autistic characters have been created. I'll give a rundown of each of the characters because why not. There is allot more to them but this is just a brief overview of them. What do ya'll think of this.

Stephen “the Knower” Diogenes: He is a character with severe autism. After being deemed as cursed and uncontrollable by his father he was sent to a mental asylum. There he has gradually adjusted and has made himself at home in his new environment. Despite having echolalia and poor communication, he has the ability to remember every speck of detail in his life and has the surprising ability to pick up on lies and verbal cues. It is because of this that he guards the prisoners and prevents them from escaping. In return he gets rewarded, becoming overweight after receiving more than the typical ration of prison of oats and milk. Though on first glance he may appear to be gullible behind him is a fear of being mistreated due to what he has faced and as a result always complies with what is asked of him. I also plan for this character to be able to receive visions from the Gods.

Maxentius Diogenes: Maxentius is the father of Stephen the knower, a prominent lord and the Magister of Archives. A position given to those in charge of pursuing knowledge in the kingdom, because of this he is charge of establishing universities and managing the spread of enlightenment throughout the kingdom. However he is old now, and after seeing his son and heir, Stephen being forced into an asylum he has lost his energy. That combined with a political rival blackmailing him has forced him to retreat into the countryside in his grand estate. There he has lost his will to live and is viewed with contempt by those around him. His hedonistic nephew and mistress both secretly see him as socially inept and hold a strong dislike for him. And his voice is dead and monotonic. Yet behind the persona he gives off to others Maxentius is a scholar and highly knowledgeable he doesn’t have the energy to show it that is all.

Romanis: Romanis is a young accountant in service to Claudius, the magister of commerce, a big villain in the story. Romanis however despite initially being thought of as timid and a small figure eventually plays a role in disposing his master after uncovering his work in the slave trade.



Shahunshah
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09 Dec 2016, 9:57 pm

What's the story going to be about?



PhoenixFalcon
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10 Dec 2016, 12:49 am

Shahunshah wrote:
What's the story going to be about?


It's a romantic dramedy set in a modern day college setting. It will start out as a typical boy-meets-girl story, but then sort of dive into the aspects of relationships and romance that most love stories don't really tackle.


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Shahunshah
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10 Dec 2016, 1:31 am

PhoenixFalcon wrote:
Shahunshah wrote:
What's the story going to be about?


It's a romantic dramedy set in a modern day college setting. It will start out as a typical boy-meets-girl story, but then sort of dive into the aspects of relationships and romance that most love stories don't really tackle.
Like what in particular just asking.



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10 Dec 2016, 2:53 am

Well, I'll tell you this you're going to need to find people with the personalities you want to make your characters have. The first character could have autism. Though, It isn't likely that he has all of those traits. Especially picking up on social cues. You should say he learned to pick up cues really well. The Second character, Didn't strike me as autistic at all. Same with the third. Depending on when the time of the story is. If it is modern this is unlikely, It's more likely back when kings we're commonplace. Preferably in the Dark Ages of europe. You should base them on characters in the forum. The third character should be obsessed with killing the king or be a narcissist. The first character should escape, while hearing about the third's plot. It's unlikely that an severely autistic person would pick up on social cues. The member That I think would best suit that rule and you might also want to seek out advice is EzraS. The second and third don't seem autistic enough. Their isn't any traits of it. Since, someone is smart or good at math doesn't mean their autistic. If that was the case my sister and father would be autistic. The best characters are based on people the creator knows.


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EzraS
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10 Dec 2016, 9:34 am

I'm very slowly working on a book featuring someone with autism. I'm basing the character on myself and my own experiences and perceptions. But it will also be pure fiction. I'm trying for a Ray Bradbury type story like Dandelion Wine and Something Wicked This Way Comes, which Bradbury based on his childhood growing up in Waukegan, Illinois.



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10 Dec 2016, 10:11 am

Years ago, I wrote a story about a young woman from Spain who overcame autism and grew up to help others on the spectrum, both in Spain and in the United States, where she immigrated to with her family at age four. Today, she is 53 years of age and is a physician. She was a runner in her 20s and today plays tennis. I called the story, "A Work in Progress."

The young woman's name is Eva and she is of Spanish/Catalan heritage.

I was also considering doing a story about a young man from Russia, possibly based on tennis player Denis Istomin. He isn't on the spectrum by any means (as far as I know), but he did overcome great odds to make the professional tennis tour.



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11 Dec 2016, 9:37 am

PhoenixFalcon wrote:

I'm currently in the process of writing a story where one of the main characters has high-functioning autism. Although I am on the spectrum myself, I recognize that there is a lot of diversity in the autism community. Furthermore, the character in question is female, and my knowledge of how ASD manifests in women and girls is limited.

That said, I'd just like advice on what to watch out for. What are pitfalls I should avoid? Things that I should make sure I depict one way or another? That sort of thing.


ASD in females is just as diverse as ASD in males. I don't think it's easy to give any advice without knowing more about that character as autistic people can be polar opposites of each other in many ways. For example some autistic people really do talk a lot and with little consideration for whether the topic interests anyone but themselves whereas others have selective mutism or might be very careful not to say anything wrong and thus hardly speak at all (at least to people they don't know well) because they are aware they don't always understand the social rules. Yet again others might have little interest in sharing their interests and thoughts and thus don't talk a lot. (or anything in between really)
Due to so much diversity it's not really possible to list personality traits or problems your autistic female character should have or things that set her apart from the male autistic population because while there are on average differences in male and female autistic people and there might be symptoms or manifestations of symptoms that are a lot more common in males or females there isn't anything that's true for all female autistic people but not for male (except that they are female).

One thing I read is more common in female autistic people than in male is to spend a lot of time daydreaming and to have a fantasy world instead of a special interest that exists outside of the person herself. One of my sisters is pretty extreme in this regard. Aside from writing stories she doesn't seem to have any strong interests at all. She spends a lot of time pacing up and down seemingly doing nothing and when she was a child she talked a lot more about her fantasies as if they were real than about anything that happened in the real world. Nowadays her stories are not typical fantasy stories and the reason why she likes writing them rather seem to be her character-constellations and her character's problems but it seems she writes in fantasy worlds because it spares her the effort of researching how things work in the real world. Personally I don't tend to have very extreme special interests either and also spend a lot of time daydreaming albeit not as much as my sister. But I'm sure there are male autistic people who do similar things even if they are more rare and there are plenty of female autistic people with more typically autistic special interests.

Another thing I've read and that is true for me is that many autistic girls don't put a lot of effort into their looks even if they care about how they look. For example I have really long hair and unless I am really stressed out I wash and brush it often enough but I don't really have a haircut. My hair is just how it grew. I also usually don't wear make up and it'd be really stressful for me to put a lot of effort into my looks every morning.
It's also said that many autistic females dress youthful for their age (probably also true for me) or care much more for comfort than about fashion (I'd never wear high heels because it's uncomfortable and damages the feet; I don't know anything about fashion but I do care whether I think the things I wear look nice or not).
But of course there also are autistic girls with a special interest in fashion who spend more time than most NT girls on their looks or girls who like a very distinct clothing-style the names of which I wouldn't know due to my complete lack of knowledge about fashion.

It all depends on what kind of girl the autistic girl in your story is.