a post by sharky

sharkie-heart  asked:

Hi there! I'm not sure if you've answered something similar to this, but I'm wanting to write an autistic character. She's very severe, and has trouble communicating (slurred speech), her personality is also very spacey and oblivious. Any tips, or things to learn about writing an autistic character when I myself am not autistic? Thank you! Take your time!

Thanks for your question, love!  I apologize for the wait, but I’m happy to finally get to answer this :)

So first, I’ve got a a note on what you’ve described about your character.  For one thing, it’s preferred among most autistic people that there be no “sliding scale” of severity – because there are so many different symptoms and combinations of symptoms, and “severity” seems to only relate to symptoms that bother allistic people most.  Here’s a masterpost on how to handle this topic.

So now that this is out of the way, here are my official tips for writing autistic characters!

How to Write Autistic Characters

So it took me some time to prepare for this question, primarily because I saw so little information out there for writing about autism!  And that’s understandable, since it’s such a complex topic – after all, no two autistic people have exactly the same symptoms and coping mechanisms.  Plus, since autism is basically a top-to-bottom different living experience, it’s difficult for allistics to identify with.

But I’m going to discuss this in a few different parts: symptoms, coping mechanisms, positive qualities, and stereotypes to avoid.  I’ll try to keep it as brief as possible without sparing any information :)

Symptoms of Autism

There are many different symptoms of autism, although the mental/emotional aspects of the disorder is most often overlooked by the general public.  It’s important to recognize that every autistic person’s experience and symptoms are different.  Some people have few social problems but they can’t handle the sensory experience of a restaurant; some have few physical problems, but they struggle with OCD and can’t maintain a conversation.  The only difference between symptoms is that some are talked about and some are not, which makes them seem “uncommon.”

Physical Symptoms

  • Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) – SPD is defined as the struggle to process different sensory input – visual, auditory, tactile, taste, olfactory, proprioception, vestibular and interoception.  SPD causes hyper- or hyposentitivities to certain sensory stimuli (e.g. certain clothing textures, food textures, scents, and lighting – especially fluorescent lighting.  Ugh.)
  • Dyspraxia – A result of SPD, dyspraxia makes it difficult to control one’s physical movement.  It creates problems with planning and executing actions, as well as speaking or judging spacial proximity.
  • Sleep Disorder – Many autistic people struggle with sleeping for various reasons – hypersensitivity seems to be the greatest cause.  Offensive sheet fabric, noises, or lighting can cause sleep problems, as well as racing thoughts or anxiety.
  • Lack of Energy (or Spoons) – Often caused by sleep problems or SPD, a lack of energy intensifies normal symptoms.  Understand that when an autistic person engages in a stressful or energy-consuming experience (prolonged socialization, insomnia, bad sensory environments, anxiety, etc.)
  • Nonverbal Communication – This type of communication is used by nearly one-third of autistic people, either because they aren’t able to use language in a meaningful way, because it requires an excessive amount of mental/social energy, or because they suffer from a learning disability.  Some people go temporarily nonverbal in times of stress to conserve energy.  Most nonverbal autistic people learn other means of communication, like writing, sign language, or scripting/echolalia.

Mental Symptoms

  • Executive Dysfunction – This dysfunction makes it difficult for some autistic people to start, finish, and quit tasks; to make decisions and switch activities; and/or create, organize, and follow through with plans.  This should not be confused with procrastination, as it is not a decision – it’s a result of low energy.
  • Alexithymia – Alexithymia can cause autistic people to struggle to identify their own emotions, or separate physical feelings from emotional feelings.  It’s closely tied with lowered interoception, which is defined as the struggle (or inability) to define and assess physical sensations like hunger, thirst, tension, etc.
  • Meltdowns – Meltdowns are an emotional response to overstimulation and stress, causing some autistic people to “lose control” of visceral emotional responses (e.g. shaking, kicking, crying, shouting, etc.).  There is another type of meltdown called a shutdown, which causes an opposite reaction: dissociation and lack of external response.  It’s a flight reaction rather than a fight reaction.
  • Increased Likelihood for Other Mental Disorders – Since the world isn’t exactly built for autistic people, there are plenty of everyday challenges and stressors (as well as difficulty maintaining supportive relationships) that can cause other comorbid disorders, such as OCD, anxiety, and depression.
  • Learning Disability and Late Childhood Development – While autism itself is not classified as a learning disability, it’s often comorbid with different types of learning disabilities.  Autism can also cause late development of speech and motor skills, among other things.

Social Symptoms

  • Hyperempathy or Low Empathy – On two ends of the spectrum, autistic people often struggle with the “right balance” of empathy – being either unable to identify, express, and empathize with emotions, or unable to shut off or control their own emotions as well as to separate themselves from other people’s emotions.
  • Impulsive Behavior – Because of a (sometimes) weak understanding of social rules and/or imbalanced empathy, an autistic person may struggle to stop and think before they say or do something impulsively.  This can cause interpersonal issues, as impulsive speech may offend or hurt others, while impulsive actions may feel too “out-of-control” or “hard to manage” for loved ones.
  • Difficulty Interpreting or Expressing Social Cues – Autistic people often struggle to understand facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, sarcasm, flirting, or figures of speech – and because of this, they can often come off as “oblivious” or “simple” (although this is inaccurate and contributes to a lot of misrepresentation).  It can also be difficult to express social cues, which is why some autistic people can appear to be awkward, clingy, aloof, or uninterested in friendship/romance.
  • Social Anxiety – Social situations can be especially stressful for autistic people, due to the amount of thinking it requires – to interpret cues, to “pass” as allistic, to express themselves clearly, to curb impulses, to handle sensory challenges – and this leads to social anxiety.
  • Social Isolation – As a result of social anxiety, some autistic people experience isolation, as they may feel more comfortable in their own environment, alone.  This is an unfortunate result of ableist culture, and may be worsened by executive dysfunction which can make it difficult to reach out to others.
  • Struggle with Change – Whether in routine, environment, appearance, or the natural changes of life (such as graduation, moving, marriage, death in the family, new job, etc.), change can cause great stress for some autistic people.  This is why many autistic people enjoy comfort objects, old music, childhood memories/interests, or specific, consistent colors, styles, or textures for their belongings.

Coping Mechanisms for Autistic People

There are many methods of coping with the negative aspects of autism, but there are a few that are most popular:

  • Behavioral & Occupational Therapy – Therapy (often combined with medication) is a continuous process of reducing symptoms, coping with stressors, and learning how to function in an allistic world.  (The most common method of behavioral therapy, ABA, has reports of being abusive, so be mindful of this if you’re researching/writing about therapy!)
  • Stimming – “Stimming” or self-stimulating is a physical coping mechanism for sensory overload and similar stress.  Stimming can be healthy or unhealthy depending on the action involved (some unhealthy stims include skin-peeling or hitting one’s head), and it can be conscious or subconscious.  It’s often seen as “weird” or “bad” by allistics (especially parents), so some autistic people train themselves out of the habit from a young age.
  • Special Interests – Special interests are half a coping mechanism and half a natural part of autistic people’s lifestyles.  It’s defined as a devoted interest to one or two subjects or activities – special interests can reduce stress, help focus, and provide motivation against executive dysfunction. 

Positive Qualities of Autism

Now that we’ve gotten all the bad stuff out of the way, I’m gonna list a few common positive qualities of autistic people.  Remember that these do not apply to all autistic people, but may be a natural consequence of autistic traits:

  • Determination
  • Dedication
  • Divergence (from trends and social expectations)
  • Passion
  • Honesty
  • Uncritical nature
  • Attention to detail
  • Good memory
  • Logical reasoning
  • Active imagination
  • Integrity
  • Understanding of what it’s like to be judged or left out
  • Skilled with children

Autistic people, of course, have many other great qualities, and may struggle with many of the above.  Creating a character with all these qualities will yield you a stereotype, so be mindful!

Stereotypes of Autistic People

Finally, there are a few popular stereotypes of autistic characters, which should be avoided at all costs:

  • Autistic People are Psychic – We get this courtesy of shows like Touch, where the (usually nonverbal) autistic child suddenly starts speaking because they see ghosts or are somehow connected to “another world”.  Autistic people joke about themselves being “aliens”… but allistic people really shouldn’t.
  • Autistic People Need Caretakers – While some autistic people do struggle to manage their lives alone, it’s a pretty harmful stereotype in media considering the lack of positive representation autistic people get.  Plenty of autistic people (whether you consider them high- or low-functioning) lead successful lives on their own, and they deserve representation.
  • Autistic People are Burdens – The most stereotypical portrayal of autistic people is that they are the weight pulling on their parents’ ankles – that they destroy parents’ sex lives and make teachers crazy and their friends need a “night off” from their autistic friends.
  • Autistic People are Childlike – While many autistic people enjoy activities geared toward children, and while meltdowns can resemble an allistic child’s temper tantrum, autistic people are not childish or unintelligent.  Autistic adults are adults, no matter their struggles.
  • Autistic People Look Different – Autistic people don’t all look a certain way from birth – this is a myth that has been debunked time and time again, the same way that the Vaccines Cause Autism myth has been debunked, time and time again.  Don’t perpetuate these myths in your writing.
  • Autistic People are Like Robots – Autistic people may not express their feelings well, but they have feelings.  Being nonverbal, being dissociative, being aloof or awkward – none of these things make an autistic person unfeeling or non-human.  Be mindful to show the emotional side of your autistic character, even if they struggle to express it to others.

Resources for Researching Autism

A lot of these are courtesy of @anonymusauthorin, whom I thank very much for her information and deep connection to the autistic community!

  • Ballastexistenz’s blog (on her personal experience with multiple disabilities and autism). [NSFW language]
  • Yes, That Too (blog on the personal experience of an autistic person with other neurodivergencies).
  • Aspects of Aspergers (specifically about Asperger’s, which is now called Autism Spectrum Disorder).
  • Disability in Kid Lit (discussions of disability representation in children’s/YA literature).
  • @scriptautistic is an active advice blog for writing about autism.
  • @autism-asks is an active blog that takes questions about autism.
  • @undiagnosedautismfeels is an active blog that receives submitted anecdotes about autistic struggles, some specific to being undiagnosed/self-diagnosed.
  • @autisticheadcanons is an active blog that receives submissions of characters that actual autistic people headcanon as autistic.  You can find some common submissions (e.g. Lilo Pelekai, Newt Scamander, Sherlock Holmes) and check them out for examples!

Final Note: You may notice that none of these links are affiliated with Autism Speaks, which is for a purpose.  Autism Speaks has a long history of promoting eugenics, abusing autistic children and adolescents, silencing the voice of actual autistics, and promoting a “find a cure” narrative that’s harmful to the minds of both autistic people and potential parents of autistic children.  When doing research, I’d advise you to refrain from using their resources.

Anyway, this was hugely long but I wanted to really go into it, since I didn’t see many other extensive guides on writing about autism.  Note that while I, myself, am autistic, this is only the perspective of one autistic person.  Either way, I hope this helps you with your character!  If you have any further questions, my inbox is open and waiting :)

Good luck!

If you need advice on general writing or fanfiction, you should maybe ask me!

I learned in the Elven sanctuaries and in the Crossroads that Fen’harel freed the elves, and they pledged themselves to his cause. But when I visited the sanctuaries Fen’harel had built, they were empty and untouched by everything but time. Nothing had been looted, the texts carved into the walls were legible as if they were carved yesterday. Things that hadn’t been read in thousands of years.

There were weapons, elven weapons, so they were gearing for war. But there were no bones there, not like in the Crossroads that was littered with the remains elves trapped there when the Veil went up. Not a step could be taken without ancient bones breaking under the boot, I know the freed elves did not become Dalish - the survivors of the fall of Arlathan, the slaves, are the ancestors of the Dalish.

Fen’harel disappeared with the coming of the Veil, Solas himself said it had weakened him, and so he slept for millennia in uthenera. Where are the descendants of the elves he freed? Are those elves sleeping too, like the Sentinels in Tirashan and Arbor Wilds are? Wouldn’t those sanctuaries be a safe place for them to sleep?

But Solas does not hesitate sacrificing lives for his cause. I fear his army died for him.  And now once again Solas is recruiting elves with false wisdom and the promise of freedom, and when the time comes, those elves will too die. Because not one of us is people to Solas, the one who styles himself as the Dread Wolf. All we are is tools he’ll wield to bring back those who he considers his equals, those who he considers worthy of the gift of life. And that is not us. It will never be us, we are tainted with mortality, and our world in his eyes is a mistake. Thousands of years of lives, love, culture, joy, war, suffering, perseverance he arrogantly considers ‘his mistake’, and he would take that from us.

This is why I am writing this to you. In hopes that you will not listen to his poison words. The Sorrows whisper in my ear, and if the Dalish refuse what I have to give, perhaps I can work with you, give you all I know and all I can learn, and the elves will find the words of a Keeper of the lore and the People more palatable. I hope you will consider it, and take it to the Arlathven. The Dread Wolf killed his own people, and now he’s come for the survivors. His words were clear as day: the return of his people means the end of ours.

And informally, I may be an arm short but I’ve still got five two fingers itching to crush the mad god’s throat. For three years I was his unknowing hammer until he cast me aside and told me to sit and wait meekly for the world’s ruin and the undoing of everything I love, everything the people of this world have built and endured. Will you help? Or will your blood water the gardens of the trickster’s people, will their palaces be built with your bones?


—  A letter to Keeper Deshanna Istimaethoriel Lavellan, written in a large, clumsy script, signed by Spiridon Aphelior, formerly of clan Lavellan and the Inquisition. 
Emergency Commissions

Yo guys I need some help paying for college… 

I just registered for Spring quarter and need help. Since I started my new job I haven’t gotten a lot of hours and with all the other bills and car trouble I have its hard to save money. With help from my Dad I still owe 700 dollars. So I just need to make that up and was hoping a few of you would like to commission me?

These are what I’m offering Traditional Pokemon, that I will send out to you! I would like to charge 20 dollars for a single Pokemon and additional would be an extra 5 dollars? And that price includes shipping! If you aren’t comfortable me mailing something to you I also offer digital artwork! Which would be colored and possible in this style

This would only be 12 dollars! and then and additional 4 dollars for any extra Pokemon.

And if you don’t like Pokemon but want to help out send me a message of what you would like! I’m currently only drawing Animals right now! 

If you just want to help out even a little bit my pay-pal is Fridaythe13@rocketmail.com anything helps right now! Even a reblog would really help!

Check out my Art blog for more examples! artysharky.tumblr.com/

Mother’s Smile(Sanji x Nami) drawn by Sharky-Chan94

I originally wanted to posted this during Sannami Week earlier in march but I hadn’t finished it in time. I also totally forgot to posted it for mother’s day but hell here it isXD 

disclaimer/Artist note(feel free to reblog)

A gifset of Misato and Shinji’s convo after Kaworu’s death in ep. 24 was on my dash and it got me thinking like

Maybe Kaworu is supposed to be, to some extent, deconstructing the idea of the martyr character that has no qualms about dying for everyone else? And how that is usually written as an unambiguously good thing, the character being framed as incredibly selfless. Even if characters are sad about their death, the recognize that it was The Right Thing to Do.

But Kaworu is different, even in the original anime.

Misato doesn’t view it as some selfless sacrifice for humanity, something to be praised. She says flat out that it was Kaworu’s wish to die. It was something for himself. It was, essentially, suicide. Especially when you consider that, as NGE2 shows, Kaworu doesn’t HAVE to die there.

Kaworu’s wish to die is even more relevant to his character when you consider the drafts of the same episode, where he’s described as having scars on his wrists, and where he describes living as “difficult”

Kaworu wanted to die, even if it meant having the person he loves kill him.

As for the reactions of other characters to the martyr’s ‘sacrifice’ - Kaworu’s death absolutely destroys Shinji. Even though he tries to rationalize it - Kaworu was an angel, it was for the good of humanity - the fact that Kaworu is dead and that he killed him tears him apart. He thinks Kaworu should have lived. The tremendous guilt he feels over Kaworu’s death is the major factor that sets off his breakdown and psycho-analysis at the start of episode 25. He can’t accept it as a good thing. He can’t respect or admired Kaworu’s choice to die because he’s too busy tearing himself up over it and regretting it.

Kaworu’s death is not praised. Kaworu is not held up as a hero, someone to be admired and respected by humanity. In fact, his desire for death and disregard for his own life is pretty much frowned up. Shinji doesn’t learn to admire his effort, doesn’t come to understand his choice and respect it.

It also got me thinking about how much that kawoshin fandom tends to romanticize Kaworu’s death. In the fandom it IS held up as the most selfless action he could do, held up as a testament to his love for Shinji. But I don’t think that’s quite the point. I don’t think his death is supposed to be a good thing, a selfless thing that makes us admire him. He’s criticized for Misato for choosing death and abandoning the will to live. His death makes Shinji hate himself and want to die even more, rather than help him.

Kaworu is not completely selfless. Kaworu is not an ideal martyr. Kaworu is not a prince. He’s a boy that’s probably just as lonely and scared and sad as Shinji, with the added burden of being an angel and supposedly deciding the fate of humanity and the angels.

tumblr user scarodactyl posts “easter eggs” of undertale, but just so you all know they’re just edits, not actual moments in the game. they made the naming yourself ‘quote,’ halloween update, accessing grillby’s shop interface, and the grillby boss fight posts which none of those are true they’re just made up easter eggs. Not poorly made, but definitely not real!