I relate better to supposedly 'alistic' characters

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Joined: 6 May 2019
Gender: Female
Posts: 1,873

14 Oct 2020, 12:15 pm

There's allistic characters in books that don't come across to me as allistic.

I relate better to them than I do autistic characters who were written to be autistic.

Latest example is Shuggie Bain. I googled to see if he'd been written as autistic. Nobody else even brought it up.

What I mean is:
Supposedly NT ie no reference to autism
Kid that gets bullied at school
Kid that sees the world for what it is and sees through social conventions
Quiet kid
Blunt kid
Kid with hobbies
Kid with hobbies which aren't just the same as other kids
Creative kid
Kid who reads a lot

(Not all these are Shuggie. He's just an eg of some of it)

Those are more relatable to me than the severely special needs kids that are written about as autistic, or the robotic nerdy kids who are presented as autistic in books.

I feel like human brains are on a spectrum and I'm somewhere between autistic and NT. And when writers attempt to write autistic characters, they try to flood them with far too many autism diagnostic traits and not enough 'just write a character'. So I - as a HFA autistic person - can't relate to them.

I think the kind of person who tends to write a book is a bit introverted anyway and sees the world past its conventions. They were probably bullied kids in childhood. They probably think a lot about things. Even if they're NT. Then when they write a compelling character/main character, they base it on themselves to an extent - or even just base it on their own personality.

It's the same with certain adult characters. For eg anyone Matt Haig writes - although he often gets away with that by creating many of them as supernatural or extra-terrestrial characters.

If I was to be good at creating a narrative esp a novel long narrative, I might write one based on similar traits to myself and end up with a similar character to the ones I relate to. Despite the fact I've got an autism diagnosis. I'm not sure I'd put the diagnosis into the book - it would alienate NTs but at the same time it would point attention to the similarities between certain autistic people & certain NT people, if NTs could be trusted to continue seeing their own traits in the character.

Tbh I head-canon these characters as autistic, either that or I'm about as 'normal' (word that keeps coming up in that book cos he isn't and society keeps pressuring him to be) as they are.


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Joined: 23 Feb 2010
Gender: Female
Posts: 18,386
Location: Maidstone, UK

14 Oct 2020, 12:35 pm

I agree with you. For example, I can relate to Greg and Rowley and even Fregley in the Wimpy Kid books and movies, because they remind me a lot of Aspies even though the writer didn't intend to make his characters be Aspies.

Also I can relate well to Karen from British sitcom Outnumbered. She reminds me of a very typical Aspie in every way, even though she's talkative and everything. Her character seems Aspie because she's honest, logical, thinks differently, worries about things her peers wouldn't so much, and has trouble with friends at school especially when she starts comprehensive. But again the writers of the show didn't intend to make the character have Asperger's.

If there was a show where a character is intended to have Asperger's I probably won't relate to that character at all. Just like Carl in the later Arthur series, he has Asperger's but is more like a verbal LFA. Even when I was 8 I was nothing like him at all. I was more like DW at home, and George at school.

Aged 30
On antidepressants
Diagnosed with AS, ADHD and anxiety disorder