Here is a key insight to creating realistic autistic characters: We do not do the visibly autistic things we do because of “autism,” full stop. Like non-autistic people, we are responding to our experiences of the world. Those experiences simply differ from those of non-autistic people.
Browsing: autism on the page
Being autistic and also belonging to another minority might be one marginalization too many to sell children’s fiction informed by one’s own experience to a mainstream press, and that is a very sad thought.
What I love most about Kiara—and the novel itself—is that she is unflinchingly genuine. Sooner or later, most Aspie characters written by neurotypicals eventually become caricatures. Having an Autistic character written by an actual Aspie makes all the difference.
As much as I crave representation in fiction, it bothers me that some people seem to see autism as a way to create conflict or add a unique viewpoint to a narrative. It is even more disturbing when so many of these portrayals are inaccurate or incomplete.
I truly wanted to love this book—especially as it features one of the very few textually autistic characters written by an autistic author. In the end, though, I was left with mixed-to-negative feelings and a lot of disappointment.