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questions regarding autism for child character in short story.

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by cj graham, Nov 3, 2019.

  1. cj graham

    cj graham New Member

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    Hi, my name is cj, and I am not on the asd spectrum, but know those who are, and the reason I joined was to learn from those on the spectrum, so I am working on a short story and the one of the characters in the story is a child with autism, and I want to know if you are comfortable sharing what symptoms were displayed so I can work on this project as accurately as possible, as to not make the character sound stereotypical when it comes to writing about those with autism, so what i would like to know is how as a child autism was dealt with if that makes sense, like was there use of stim toys, and things of that nature? So where I am in this story is saying that the child in question is having a panic attack, and I would like to know how that would be dealt with in terms of dealing with a child with autism any feedback, and help would be greatly appreciated.
     
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  2. Autistamatic

    Autistamatic He's just this guy, you know? V.I.P Member

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    Why is it relevant to the story that the child is autistic? What is it about their character that you envisage being important?

    As autistic people it's important to us that we are portrayed fairly so to encourage our cooperation it would help a great deal if you would be candid about your intent and motivations.

    As to "dealing with" an autistic child having a panic attack, the best approach is no different to any other child. Be sensitive to their needs, console them in a way that is appropriate (e.g. contact may not be suitable or even make it worse) and do your best to make them feel safe. The only way to alleviate panic is to dampen the fear behind it, autistic or not.
     
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  3. Shamar

    Shamar Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Does the child know he (or she) is autistic? This could be an important aspect as many of us here were not even diagnosed until late in life (age 60 for me), we just knew we were different and could not figure out why. Is it a panic attack or a meltdown? Why panic? If meltdown, what was the trigger? All I see from your post is a stereotype. If you were to write, for example, about a black child having a panic attack because the fried chicken outlet was shut down and the watermelon patch was empty. everyone would be justifiably offended and upset. If you meet one person with autism, you've met one person with autism. If you meet two people with autism, you've me two completely different people. Hence the use of the term "neurodiverse" as opposed to "neurotypical." I think you need to give us a little more information before we are able to help.
     
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  4. Sora

    Sora Professional imaginative

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    Could you give us more information? Like, how was the kid raised, what are they like, what's going on in their life, why did they had a panic attack (or meltdown), who is the person that would be helping them in that case, etc.
    You have to consider that each kid is different, and that also applies to an autistic person. They won't react the same way, you won't be able to "deal" with them in the same way, because each person has a different way of responding to help.
    I know you didn't mean anything bad, but while developing the character remember not to focus too much on autism, because there's so much more to someone on the spectrum than their condition. They're not themselves because they're autistic. That's just a part of them, y'know? Just as much as someone with blue eyes aren't themselves just because they have blue eyes.
    If you give me more information I'd love to help, since I myself also love to write stories and to hear other people's ideas.
     
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  5. cj graham

    cj graham New Member

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    So no the child would not comprehend the fact that they were autistic as being diagnosed at an early age, and I am not trying to offend the autism community just looking for insight to ensure it wouldn't be stereotypical, and it would be a panic attack consistent with night terrors so probably should have said that to make it more concise my bad lol
     
  6. Bolletje

    Bolletje Overly complicated potato V.I.P Member

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    If it’s a night terror, it would be just like comforting a neurotypical child in my opinion. My mom just gave me a hug, wiped away my tears and gave me a cup of warm milk to help me fall asleep again. And she often brought my cat. And if I was really scared I got to sleep in my parents’ bed in between them, which always made me feel incredibly safe.
     
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  7. cj graham

    cj graham New Member

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    So I probably should've been clearer lol so it would essentially be a nocturnal panic attack brought on with no obvious trigger
     
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  8. cj graham

    cj graham New Member

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    but I am struggling to figure out how to properly word it to where it is not insensitive, as well as "guided" in terms of how it would be handled when it comes to dealing with a child on the spectrum, because I know that it may be harder to help a child on the spectrum dependent on the severity towards which side of the scale they lean towards. If that makes sense lol
     
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  9. cj graham

    cj graham New Member

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    So essentially the child comes from a broken home already, residing in Detroit, he is the product of a working single mother, absent father while his 2 older siblings are essentially raising him as well as their sister, while the mother works, then the mother passes away from cancer, and custody is transferred to an aunt, until the main character (mc) reaches age 18 and attains custody of all 3 siblings, and from there the (mc) essentially steps up as father figure to all 3 siblings and tries to give the some semblance of a life from after the aforementioned events. Eventually they end up in Florida as I had to do something to move the story along lol :p as this is somewhat loosely and I mean loosely based on my actual life while still being fictitious, and then end up back in Michigan where family members begin suggesting putting the child in ABA but due to the (mc's) beliefs he feels as though this is not the best option for the child, as he is willing to accept the child as is and if need be to teach the child the necessary life skills necessary to lead a happy, healthy, productive life. literally I would have to have you read the entire thing which is hella long to understand what I am trying to go for lol
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
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  10. Wolf Prince

    Wolf Prince My future job title.

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    While dealing with the unknown autism. Sounds ambitious.
     
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  11. cj graham

    cj graham New Member

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    what's that mean lol?
     
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  12. the_tortoise

    the_tortoise Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    There is always a trigger.

    If you don’t even know the trigger as the author, then the way you are characterizing the autistic child is going to make no sense and/or be incredibly problematic and insensitive.

    Sensitive portrayal of autism means caring about the reasons why autistic people do things and trying to understand the autistic person’s perspective.

    The other characters may not know the trigger as part of the story, but you should, otherwise you are telling a story where the autistic child is not really a character like the others, they are just an objectified problem or a plot device.
     
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  13. cj graham

    cj graham New Member

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    So I will give a quick synopsis to sum the story up like this lol essentially the story goes as follows; a young kid from Detroit, in a family of 5 is thrust into the life of a parent when their mom dies from cancer, and before dying the father who has been absent, and is a alcoholic relinquishes custody to the mom. this was all done previously from her death. Before her death she writes a decree in her will signing custody to the main character once he has attained the age of 18, and after her death the kids stay with the mom's sister until the main character turns 18 and can file for custody of the kids.
     
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  14. cj graham

    cj graham New Member

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    yes while that is valid nocturnal panic attacks can happen without trigger
     
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  15. the_tortoise

    the_tortoise Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Fine, then it is not autism specific and I do not understand what kind of information you want.

    Like with a real person, we would need to know more about the autistic character and the characters interacting with him.

    Is the autistic child totally nonverbal? Does he speak only in echolalic quotes or idiosyncratic phrases? Is he average with language? Is he highly verbal with advanced language skills? Does he use PECS or another AAC? If he has speech does he lose speech when distressed or tired?

    Does he have problems with touch (sensory defensiveness, usually) or does he crave physical contact with others?

    What things comfort and soothe him? What things upset him?

    Does his family understand his needs? If he has speech/language problems can they understand him or not? Are they frustrated by him or not? Do they accept him as he is or not?

    These things, in combination, are the sort of considerations that determine how the scene plays out.
     
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  16. tree

    tree Blue/Green Staff Member V.I.P Member

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    How does the character being autistic advance the plot?

    How does the story grow around that?

    I hope you aren't just adding ASD as a flavor of the month seasoning.
    I have seen that happening in YA and adult books.
    Toss in a dash of that fascinating quirky autism to create novelty.
     
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  17. Sora

    Sora Professional imaginative

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    I get what you're going for.
    As to deal with the kid's panic attack, you have to consider what autism traits you want him to have. If he has sensory issues such as with touch, he wouldn't like to be hugged or touched, and it could make things worse. Of course, there could be some exceptions. I myself hate to touch people I'm not used to touch (not people I'm not used to interacting. For example: I tend to hug and get really affectionate with my friends [which is like 2 people], but I don't really like touching my family, even though I have no particular problem with them.)

    The mc could also calm the kid down indirectly, by playing a song the kid likes, handing him his favorite toy, maybe whispering words of comfort. If the kid doesn't hate being touched by the mc, he could gently pat the kid's back and slowly draw circles on it with his hand, hug him, etc. Like what you would do with a kid who's not in the spectrum.

    In the end it all depends on the traits you give the kid.

    Also, it would be good for you to consider that some people (and most people on the spectrum) get really stressed with big changes. Considering he lost his mom at an early age, started living with a relative, moved with his siblings to Florida, then moved again to Michigan, that kind of unstable life could cause a lot of stress on the kid.
     
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  18. Wolf Prince

    Wolf Prince My future job title.

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    Not every autistic person can handle that amount of responsibility. It places a huge amount of stress on them. Which leads to other problems. Read on the forum you'll see what happens.
     
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  19. cj graham

    cj graham New Member

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    Please read the quick synopsis lol which it's anything but and that should give you a general idea of who is involved with the child, as the story progresses more people step up to plate, but as for the role of guardian that goes on the main characters shoulders, essentially it's sibling parent to siblings if that makes sense lol
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
  20. cj graham

    cj graham New Member

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    So essentially the story is based around the life of this kid who ends up becoming an impromptu parent to his younger siblings and has to manage that, as well as a slew of other problems all while attempting to manage his own trials and tribulations. As for plot advancement it doesn't I just wanted to make a multi tiered family if that makes sense each with there own abilities, interest, goals, ambitions, etc