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Student Creates Comic Series to Explain Her Life With Asperger’s

Discussion in 'Autism Spectrum News, Events and Research' started by AGXStarseed, Feb 18, 2016.

  1. AGXStarseed

    AGXStarseed Well-Known Member

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    (Not written by me. Check out the source link as there are many images)

    Siara Hughes studies graphic design and visual communications at Highline College in Des Moines, Washington, and for one of her final projects last quarter, she decided to produce a comic strip focused on her life with Asperger’s syndrome.

    “I really wanted to tell a story that would help me explain myself, what autism means for me, what my struggles are, and how I’ve had to work through them,” she told The Mighty.

    “This comic is the culmination of dozens of hours of work, lots of frustration, a couple of tears, and an earnest desire to explain myself to other people,” she added on her DeviantArt page.

    Hughes, 21, told The Daily Dot she diagnosed herself with Asperger’s after identifying with an autistic character in a book and then doing research. When her younger brother was diagnosed with autism, she noticed a number of similarities between the two of them, and found an explanation for how she’d been feeling.

    “Watching him go through the daily challenges of school while having them compounded by ASD reminded me of my own childhood struggles and became a sort of inspiration for the project,” she told The Mighty.

    Editor’s note: These comics are based on one person’s experience.

    [​IMG]

    Hughes is sensitive to light, heat and touch, and she finds eye contact difficult. Hughes said she’s known she was different for quite some time, but it wasn’t until she learned more about Asperger’s that she began to feel understood.

    “If I’m going to understand someone else and befriend them and interact in a positive way, I need to get inside their psyche and understand what’s going on under there,” she told The Daily Dot. “I want to be able to communicate, I want to be able to understand people, and it means I have to learn how to do it.”

    So far, Hughes has received a very positive response to the project. “When I turned in the story board, my teachers got really excited about it and asked me if I’d make a poster version for Student Services on campus,” she told The Mighty. “I then decided to adopt the eight-panel story board into a 12-panel webcomic that more completely told the story. I first posted the comic about two weeks ago on DeviantArt and it’s gotten more feedback than just about anything I’ve every posted.”

    Hughes also opens up about meltdowns, and how stressful they can be for her.

    “The meltdowns don’t happen on cue,” she told The Daily Dot. “I don’t will them to happen; I will them not to happen. I don’t like falling apart in public.”

    “My goal in all of this is just to help people understand,” she told The Mighty. “To understand me, my little brother, and all the other high functioning autistic people out there like us. And maybe to help us better understand and explain ourselves.”

    All images courtesy of Siara Hughes

    For more of Siara’s work, visit her Facebook page and her account on Deviant Art



    SOURCE: http://themighty.com/2016/02/student-creates-comic-series-to-explain-her-life-with-aspergers/
     
  2. unsurewhattoname

    unsurewhattoname Well-Known Member

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    Diagnosed... herself? Is this an error?
     
  3. AGXStarseed

    AGXStarseed Well-Known Member

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    Not necessarily; some people have self-diagnosed themselves with Aspergers by comparing themselves to the list of characteristics and comparing their own life experiences to those officially on the spectrum. There's some members here on AspiesCentral who are self-diagnosed.

    The main issues with self-diagnosing is sometimes they can be wrong (the person simply going through a phase, for example) or then using that diagnosis as if it's 'fashionable' and/or an excuse to be a pain in the backside.

    I think an official diagnosis should be sought each time - assuming the person in question actively wants to be diagnosed - although that's sometime not always possible; some people have to wait six months or more for confirmation about whether or not they're on the spectrum.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2016
    • Agree Agree x 2
  4. ancusmitis

    ancusmitis Well-Known Member

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    I'm not against self-diagnosis, but I'm not really comfortable when anyone appoints themselves as the face of autism, especially without first getting diagnosed with it. I know some people don't like to hear that, but you have to ask yourself what it really means to say that your autism is different from mine if you haven't been diagnosed. When I was a kid, I spent three years being dragged from one doctor's office to another, I got kicked out of schools, and I got put in a terrible place for the first half of every day when most kids were going to class. I was bullied too, but I didn't notice it very much. Mostly I got dragged out of my desk by teachers, not fellow students, if I spaced out--not uncommon with some of the drugs I was taking--or if I raised my hand too many times to go to the bathroom. I got thrown into a padded room once and I was left there until I peed myself. At one point I was taking seven pills at once and my medication changed on a regular basis, until they finally started reducing it. My mother had to fight every school year to get me into a mainstream classroom, and we never really won. I just changed schools, to a place that worked on a completely different model. I loved it at the time, but now I wonder if it was such a hot idea. It would have been best for me to go to a regular classroom without getting discriminated against.

    I would never say that someone was not autistic just because they hadn't been diagnosed, but if you haven't been diagnosed then there are just some things that you didn't have to go through and that is a fact.

    We used to have a word for people who had autistic traits or who were very close to being autistic to the point they might even actually be autistic, but for whom a diagnosis would not make sense. But nobody says "cousin" any more. People seem to have gotten this bizarre idea that diagnosis gets you into this elite club where you get all these benefits, free drinks or something, I don't know. It really pisses me off when people say they envy me for getting diagnosed early. Bite me, it's been a pain in the ass.
     
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  5. OnTheMountainTop

    OnTheMountainTop You can call me Dizzy

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    I know this reply is coming two years late, I just felt like throwing in my two cents on that matter, just since that's my work (which I just found was posted on here) and I wanted to clear up any confusion.

    I didn't set out to appoint myself a face of Autism Spectrum Disorder, I made a comic for school and I posted it to my DeviantArt, and people started sharing it. I've tried to find a way get diagnosed officially, but there's not nearly as many resources when you're an adult to be able to achieve that, at least not in a way I've found that wouldn't put a financial burden on my uninsured family. I'd like to be able to look into getting an official one, but it just has not yet been feasible.

    Still, seeing my little brother's daily social struggles (he did get a diagnosis because he's a minor and it's more available to him where we live) and knowing his emotional and social challenges are the same stuff I've gone through was part of why I wanted to share this comic. I'm not officially diagnosed and I made that clear to the Daily Dot reporter who contacted me, but this is my story as best as I was able to tell it.

    But yeah, I'm definitely not a "face for Autism" and I really hope nobody would put me up an a pedestal as one. This is just my story. If my story resonates with anyone else, that's cool with me. If it doesn't describe your story, I think it's great to hear you tell your own, because your life experience may be totally different from mine, and sharing what you've lived for other people to read helps anyone willing to listen get a fuller and more complete view of the world and the people in it.
     
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