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lostdoll
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09 Sep 2010, 2:57 am

So in books and films we're all savants or genii.

Anyone else wish that films with other types of Aspie characters like Eagle vs Shark would say that the characters were Aspie?
Or do you think it makes being in society easier for us that these 'types' are socially recognizable to NT's (i.e. I'm a bit odd but I'm like that girl in that film, not an axe murderer) without them and therefore us having to be labelled 'disabled'/other ?

What kind of Aspie characters and stories do people want to see on tv?



PHISHA51
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09 Sep 2010, 7:33 am

Hopefully not what the media portrays about Autism with the Rain Man characteristics that include screaming, throwing tantrums, and being retarded. "If you can say it in words" and "ADAM" are great example of portraying someone with Aspergers. The characters in those movie can talk very well, they are smart,one of them can drive, they both kind of live in a apartment, and they both had romantic relationships.


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glider18
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09 Sep 2010, 8:13 am

I taught English for 19 years before becoming a gifted intervention specialist. And I always noted that characters in literary works tended to be more on the extreme end of personalities---this tends to hold the attention of the reader. And the same is true in motion pictures and television shows. People like extremes. I know this can be unfortunate because the image that the lay audience gets is that autism is like Rainman for example.

I have a book to aid in writing. It is called the Writer's Guide to Character Traits. It was written by Linda N. Edelstein, PH.D. in 2006. She lists character traits for different types of human behaviors and personality types. Here is what she suggests to writers in dealing with an autistic character of a childhood age:

First---for her description of autism:

"One of the saddest disorders of childhood is autism. It always
appears first in childhood and rarely gets better. Autism is a
severe and pervasive impairment in communication with delay
of or lack of language and poor social interaction:
In its severe forms, there are no relationships and no reciprocity."
[Edelstein 2006]

Second---for her list of traits of the autistic child:

* Is unaware of others; treats people like objects
* Has no awareness of another person's distress; no ability for empathy
* Possesses no ability to play and has no reciprocity
* Prefers solitary activities and is passive
* Has no ability to make friends, share, or take turns
* Suffers from an absence of the need for attachment
* Does not come to caretaker for comfort when hurt or tired
* Has no concept of privacy
* Makes repetitive sounds; monotonous, screeching, or melodic
* Has little or no verbal communications; 50 percent never speak
* Has little or no nonverbal communications: no smiles; has a steady stare
* Exhibits characteristic strange, restricted, repetitive body movements: head banging on walls, flapping, or hand-twisting
* Insists on sameness; reacts badly to any change, such as rearranged furniture
* Follows same dull routine day after day; unchangeable rituals
* May attach to one object; for example, may carry a paper bag around
[Edelstein 2006]

Third---her end paragraph on the autistic child:

"Autistic children are born, not made. Parents usually recognize
a problem before doctors are able to make the diagnosis:
The infants do not want to be held; they don't babble or respond
in expected ways. As they grow, they often spend hours each day
in some solitary activity, such as rocking or thumping, and are
difficult to distract. Some autistic children learn to be more
relational; other more severely autistic children never do."
[Edelstein 2006]

Well, thats what this PH.D. had to say in her book for writers wanting to deal with an autistic character (of childhood age). So...what would this character be like to the reader if an author used the above traits in creating an autistic character?

True, autism in more severe forms can manifest many of these traits. But does she address the spectrum of autism? Or is she addressing extremes? Do we with Asperger's relate to her traits of autism? True, Asperger's is but one part of the spectrum of autism, but I know children who are in the "classic" autism range. And I disagree with many of her traits regarding these children. But is this what the audience wants to see?


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DemonAbyss10
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09 Sep 2010, 11:44 am

glider18 wrote:
I taught English for 19 years before becoming a gifted intervention specialist. And I always noted that characters in literary works tended to be more on the extreme end of personalities---this tends to hold the attention of the reader. And the same is true in motion pictures and television shows. People like extremes. I know this can be unfortunate because the image that the lay audience gets is that autism is like Rainman for example.

I have a book to aid in writing. It is called the Writer's Guide to Character Traits. It was written by Linda N. Edelstein, PH.D. in 2006. She lists character traits for different types of human behaviors and personality types. Here is what she suggests to writers in dealing with an autistic character of a childhood age:

First---for her description of autism:

"One of the saddest disorders of childhood is autism. It always
appears first in childhood and rarely gets better. Autism is a
severe and pervasive impairment in communication with delay
of or lack of language and poor social interaction:
In its severe forms, there are no relationships and no reciprocity."
[Edelstein 2006]

Second---for her list of traits of the autistic child:

* Is unaware of others; treats people like objects
* Has no awareness of another person's distress; no ability for empathy
* Possesses no ability to play and has no reciprocity
* Prefers solitary activities and is passive
* Has no ability to make friends, share, or take turns
* Suffers from an absence of the need for attachment
* Does not come to caretaker for comfort when hurt or tired
* Has no concept of privacy
* Makes repetitive sounds; monotonous, screeching, or melodic
* Has little or no verbal communications; 50 percent never speak
* Has little or no nonverbal communications: no smiles; has a steady stare
* Exhibits characteristic strange, restricted, repetitive body movements: head banging on walls, flapping, or hand-twisting
* Insists on sameness; reacts badly to any change, such as rearranged furniture
* Follows same dull routine day after day; unchangeable rituals
* May attach to one object; for example, may carry a paper bag around
[Edelstein 2006]

Third---her end paragraph on the autistic child:

"Autistic children are born, not made. Parents usually recognize
a problem before doctors are able to make the diagnosis:
The infants do not want to be held; they don't babble or respond
in expected ways. As they grow, they often spend hours each day
in some solitary activity, such as rocking or thumping, and are
difficult to distract. Some autistic children learn to be more
relational; other more severely autistic children never do."
[Edelstein 2006]

Well, thats what this PH.D. had to say in her book for writers wanting to deal with an autistic character (of childhood age). So...what would this character be like to the reader if an author used the above traits in creating an autistic character?

True, autism in more severe forms can manifest many of these traits. But does she address the spectrum of autism? Or is she addressing extremes? Do we with Asperger's relate to her traits of autism? True, Asperger's is but one part of the spectrum of autism, but I know children who are in the "classic" autism range. And I disagree with many of her traits regarding these children. But is this what the audience wants to see?



As A writer myself, I can attest to the fact that readers USUALLY gravitate towards extremes in personality sadly. This hasnt stopped me with my own style of writing, simply because I write for myself, not for the potential readers. In fact I tend to usually pick a middle ground when it comes to character personalities, other than for my main villain usually.

To give an example or two, heres some from my current work.

Dr. Rickard Valmont: Mechanical/Physics Genius. Morally Ambiguous. Tends to get VERY detail-specific, as well as obsessive over certain things. Can easily come off as emotionally cold and aloof, but otherwise seems normal. He does suffer quite a bit socially at times as a foil to his personality. Is like a medium character for the time being, he isnt main, but he isnt a side-character either. I can say he would be a candidate for the whole AS speculation. He would come off as a toned down version of Dr house and sheldon.

Milliardo Liore: VERY Morally Ambiguous. Has plenty of kick the dog moments as well as just straight out killing it. He isnt necessarily cruel. Definately has side motives as to whats going on. He is a political figure. He can be very manipulative, and is extremely intelligent. Best character you can really compare him to would most likely be a mix of Albert Wesker, Lelouch Vi Brittania, and Luca Blight.


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lostdoll
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10 Sep 2010, 3:30 am

Your work sounds great.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a lead character with a diagnosis? Seems to me that without you have more freedom and no responsibility, but also no benefit to the AS community.



jayroo79
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10 Sep 2010, 9:16 am

I'm sorry, but I don't understand the use.

What is a kick the dog moment? Does he do things like kick dogs?


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DemonAbyss10
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10 Sep 2010, 11:18 am

jayroo79 wrote:
I'm sorry, but I don't understand the use.

What is a kick the dog moment? Does he do things like kick dogs?


to effectively quote what it means, ill reference TV tropes.


Quote:
Kicking the Dog is the fodder of anything resembling a modern-day Morality Play. A character performs an act so casual and immoral that you know that they are scum, incompatible with the moral rules of the series that they're in. This is the audience's cue that it's "okay" for the character to meet their end, whether they actually get their just desserts or not. While not all villains kick the dog, dog kicking is a sure sign that the writers want the audience to be wary of this character, even if he is nominally one of the good guys.

The key to this trope is that not only is the act evil, it's also pretty pointless to the actual plot. It establishes the character's morality, which is a useful endeavor, but the actual act itself is rarely important. It is the fact that it had no other point than to be evil, thus putting them on the bad side of the Rule Of Empathy.

It doesn't have to be a literal dog-kicking. It's any act or statement that shows the character's meanness or out-and-out evil, such as a boss demanding an employee come to work during Christmas when the employee's kid is in the hospital, or stealing from a blind beggar's coin dish, or a vicious No Holds Barred Beatdown on the hero or one of his Nakama or Protectorate. A Politically Incorrect Villain can kick the dog by showing gratuitous racism/sexism/homophobia/speciesism.

If an animal is used, however, a dog is usually the pet of choice, partly out of connotations of blind loyalty, partly from tradition. Arguably, however, substituting a cat can be even more shocking. After all, even bad guys like cats. So, the argument goes, if someone goes out of his way to harm one, they must really be a bastard.

Dog-kickings can be verbal as well, when a line of dialogue is used to shock the audience with its sheer repugnance. If it's uttered in the presence of the hero in an action series, he'll echo the audience's thoughts and tell the villain "You're Insane!"

This trope is common in horror-based Monster Of The Week shows, often to set up the as*hole Victim for the Twilight Zone Twist. Anthologies are especially prone to this, as they have to set up their villains really quickly, since they only have one episode to tell their story. This can be played up by having the very same kick of cruelty be the cause of their downfall. At the very least, it is designed to let you know who is going to lose at the end. The opposite of Karma Houdini.

In cartoons, someone who does this can be legally harassed by Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, the Warner Brothers and their Sister Dot, etc. The Screwy Squirrel, however, doesn't need one of these.

One possible origin of the trope name comes from Westerns, where three bandits would ride into the town, one would shoot the Sheriff, one would shoot the Deputy, and one, just to prove he is also evil, would Kick The Dog.

If a character's Kick The Dog moment is excessively horrible, cruel, or otherwise despicable enough to make an audience lose all sympathy for him, then he's crossed the Moral Event Horizon, if he's not on the other side of it already. If the Dog in question is someone the character cares about and discovers Being Evil Sucks, then they've Kicked The Wrong Dog and might be in time to avoid a Face Heel Turn. If the dog belonged to a minion, expect it to help cause a Mook Face Turn because Even Evil Has Loved Ones. On occassions, if karma works in the dog's favor, he'll manage to get a last laugh. On even rarer occassions, after being pushed around too many times, the dog may decide to plan against the Big Bad for his own ambitions, because Being Tortured Makes You Evil.

A more benign, and more comedic, form of this shows the immorality of the villain by having them cheat at Solitaire.

Compare with Cant Get Away With Nuthin, And Your Little Dog Too, Kick Them While They Are Down, The Dog Bites Back, Threw My Bike On The Roof. See "If Youre So Evil Eat This Kitten" for when bad guys do a Kick The Dog test to make sure undercover heroes are really evil.

Contrast Pet The Dog (proving you're good) and Adopt The Dog (going from Neutral to Good).

Not to be confused with Shoot The Dog. (That's what you do when Old Yeller gets rabies.)

See Kick The Son Of A b***h for when it's less of a dog and more of a, well, you know.


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Azolet
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11 Sep 2010, 9:51 pm

I hear "Harmonic Feedback" by Tara Kelly is supposed to be good. There really aren't a lot of good/accurate portrayals of Aspies in books (see thread on "House Rules" by Jodi Picoult). I think I would like to remedy this problem...



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12 Sep 2010, 9:05 am

The Curious Incident of the Dog at Night-time...Oh, and I think some other book...I forgot its name, though.



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12 Sep 2010, 12:33 pm

Oh, and in the book, "Dreams Underfoot", by Charles de Lint, I think there is a person with Asperger's in the book, but I can't really say if it's true or not. Anyway, he is highly interested in music, and he sounds very warm when he sings, but when he has to talk to people, he's highly reserved and can't really get close...I'm sorry if that sounds like a stereotype...the book did say he had xenophobia, though, so I can't really say anything.



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22 Sep 2010, 8:22 pm

IDK, how about batman or the phantom of the opera?



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24 Sep 2010, 12:17 am

KissOfMarmaladeSky wrote:
Oh, and in the book, "Dreams Underfoot", by Charles de Lint, I think there is a person with Asperger's in the book, but I can't really say if it's true or not. Anyway, he is highly interested in music, and he sounds very warm when he sings, but when he has to talk to people, he's highly reserved and can't really get close...I'm sorry if that sounds like a stereotype...the book did say he had xenophobia, though, so I can't really say anything.


De Lint is one of my favorite authors. I like that so many of his stories and novels have the power of music as one of the main themes, and that so many of his protagonists are people feared or dismissed by the "normal" world. I had the chance to meet him in Austin years ago. I'm going to re-read Dreams Underfoot to find that story.



Kady93
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07 Oct 2010, 10:33 pm

I've read a book called "Look Me In The Eye: My life with Asperger's". I forgot the name of the author but I really did enjoy the book very much. It made me cry at certain points because it reminded me so much of my childhood and all of the struggles I went through.



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07 Oct 2010, 11:25 pm

Ive noticed that Willow from Buffy the vampire slayer can seem like she is on the spectrum at times, BUT anya is a better representative, even though her problems arise because she is a demon that has to live in a human society. For her it truly is like he is in the wrong dimension.


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cnidocyte
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08 Oct 2010, 6:12 am

PHISHA51 wrote:
"If you can say it in words" and "ADAM" are great example of portraying someone with Aspergers. The characters in those movie can talk very well, they are smart,one of them can drive, they both kind of live in a apartment, and they both had romantic relationships.


All that sounds accurate up until the part about romantic relationships. I don't even know what love or romance is. What I call love is something I feel for animals just as much if not more than any humans. Thats clearly not the same thing as what other people use the word for. That show Dexter seems to portray someone with aspergers somewhat accurately. I can relate to just about all his traits apart from having an urge to kill. His traits are meant to be because he's a psychopath though, not aspergers.



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11 Oct 2010, 3:03 pm

Kady93 wrote:
I've read a book called "Look Me In The Eye: My life with Asperger's". I forgot the name of the author but I really did enjoy the book very much. It made me cry at certain points because it reminded me so much of my childhood and all of the struggles I went through.


John Elder Robison is the author. I read a couple of chapters when I was in Barnes and Noble a month or so ago, and I liked what I read (but I'm going to look for it in the library). The introduction is by his younger brother, Augusten Burroughs, whose memoirs Running With Scissors was made into a movie. The varied life that Robison has led will, imho, make this book a good addition to books on Aspies, as a counterexample to some of the books that render people with spectrum disorders a two dimensional.