My instances where the 12th Doctor explains what being autistic is like.
“Look ‘normal’ to be taken seriously. Obey these social rules that change on the spot. Say this, say that, be tactful, don’t be tactful. Say what you think, but lie so you don’t offend. Be yourself, but not that way. Sit still and look tragic while we talk about what’s wrong with you. It’s…it’s like– like–”
And his voice cut off. He grabbed at his gray curls and scratched his scalp. Sometimes he hated how he started talking before he formulated a full idea. Either he ran out of words, or the words didn’t parse into spoken language properly and jammed together as an incoherent mess. It made for awkward pauses that he usually filled in with things that sounded smart so people didn’t notice the lapse.
Thankfully, he didn’t need to hide this from Clara, so he let himself stop mid-statement. She nodded with a mouthed ‘it’s all right’ and waited patiently for him to finish collecting his thoughts.
“I’ve got it!” He resumed like a pause never happened, “Life’s a play and you’re the poor bloke in the audience the cast dragged on stage. You’ve got no script, no sense of your relation to the others and you better hope you say something that sounds important because you don’t want the audience to know you’re different from the cast. How do you do it?”
Clara arched a manicured eyebrow. “Is that really how humans come across to you?”
“Anyone who isn’t autistic comes across like that to me.” The Doctor nudged her with his shoulder to prevent her from feeling guilty, “You’re making a better effort to understand my difficulties than most. And that’s only because I let you see them. Now, Clara…” He pitched his voice low and took full advantage of his Scottish brogue, “It’s Wednesday. Pick your poison.”
–Spectrum, 12 is talking to Clara and displaying one of 10′s old stims (pulling his own hair and scratching his head.)
“Let me put it another way: Autistic brains constantly search for symmetry and asymmetry. Then they try to avoid asymmetry as much as possible because they prefer symmetry. Symmetry makes sense. Symmetry is safe. Sometimes, if symmetry isn’t present, I create it myself– that’s the repetitive behavior known as stimming.”
“Stimming, that’s what you’re doing with your hands.” Bill smiled– she absorbed what he said like a sponge. What a great student.
“Yes, actually, I am. I do it a lot.” The Doctor twisted his clasped hands against each other to put pressure on the joints. “Every autistic person’s inner balance is unique to them. Some people don’t prioritize socializing because their brains are too analytical to chin-wag about somebody’s new baby. Sometimes sensory issues make focusing on conversation a chore if the lights are too bright or flicker too much. It’s like you trying to have a conversation with someone constantly taking your photo.”
“Ugh, that happened to me at a party once. It was annoying. I finally shouted at him to clear off before I broke his camera.”
“See? Autistic people can have a similar reaction to things that seem totally innocuous to you.” The Doctor waved his hand in a ‘there you go’ gesture.
“And all those 'difficult’ behaviors you see so-called 'martyr autism mums’ complain about? They’re what happens when somebody mucks up the mental symmetry an autistic person creates for themselves. Maybe it’s a routine, maybe it’s a form of stimming, maybe it’s an interest– and these mums wreck it all the time because they think it looks too abnormal. Then they blame the child for being difficult or misbehaving.
"Guess what? A teetering tightrope walker flails to keep their balance, and so do autistic brains. If either loses their balance, they fall. For autistic people, falling means meltdowns or shutdowns.”
–Palimpsest, where 12 is basically infodumping to Bill.
People who say autistic people have no self awareness need to shut up now and take the ableism out of their ears.
I had a dream today of Peter giving tours to young Whovians in the TARDIS during his last days on set. I kept thinking of just one-on-one chats with his Doctor for a short amount of time like at a county fair booth, and then the scene moved to his current TARDIS. Would be a nice thing to do, wouldn’t it?
Warrior: I saw this original illustration from the fabulous Rachael Stott and fell in love. I had to see if I could make a more realistic version using photo manips. So yeah, some major differences. I’ve upgraded him to General or something. Overall it turned out okay. Free to use and abuse as you like. Thanks for viewing!