8 Autistic Female Characters You Should Know About

8 Autistic Female Characters You Should Know About

Ten years ago, as an autistic child, I didn't see myself in media. Today I can.

As an autistic kid, I didn't often see characters who were explicitly autistic, let alone autistic and female. In the rare case that I did, it usually came through a Lifetime Original Movie™ highlighting the tragedy of autism, of how a person with autism wasn't a person at all - they were an inconvenience. They were a nuisance. They were annoying. According to media at the time, girls didn't have autism. Oh no - they highlighted autistic boys. At the time, there were no autistic female characters for me to with which to identify as a kid; it was disheartening to see so little of me in media. Thankfully, today I am able to see and relate to a few autistic female characters* in TV shows and video games. Want to know more about them? Look at the list below.

*There will be mention of characters who have, by the show/video games creators, not confirmed to be autistic or otherwise on the autism spectrum but are on the list because of their representative traits.

1. Fiona Helbron, Elementary

While researching information for this article, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of female autistic characters that have cropped up in recent media. Fiona Helbron is no exception. She might initially be seen as displaying overtly stereotypical autistic symptoms - social awkwardness, difficult with eye contact, etc. - but, over the course of her time on the show, she interacts with the show's protagonists in positive ways, in relation to both character and story.

2. Brigid Tenenbaum, BioShock

Creator Ken Levine specifically states that Tenenbaum is a high-functioning autistic Jewish woman in Bioshock. She is a flawed character who reflects the world that she had been forced to grow up in; her passion for science influences the trajectory of her story arc and the lives of countless others in the video game franchise.

3. Temperance "Bones" Brennan, Bones

While not explicitly stated as autistic, "Bones" displays many characteristic traits of autistic individuals, more so Asperger's syndrome. She is incredibly intelligent and has a dry sense of humor; she also has trouble with social interaction and has an intense interest (and skill!) in forensic anthropology.

4. Tina Belcher, Bob's Burgers

Again, while not mentioned as autistic - Louise makes a odd joke in the pilot episode stating Tina's supposed autism - Tina does have many traits that convey as such. She has several special interests (horses, zombies, boys), needs more time to understand social cues, and speaks in a seemingly flat/robotic manner. These traits don't solely define her as a character, though; she is able to have crazy/funny adventures with her family.

5. Julia, Sesame Street

A relatively new character, Sesame Street's Julia is an initiative, through their app and online videos, in providing autism awareness and acceptance. Julia is especially relevant to young children with autism, their parents, and their peers.

6. Symmetra, Overwatch

There is a theory floating around the Overwatch fanbase that Symmetra is autistic. Especially evident in the digital tie-in comic short "A Better World", Symmetra displays such traits as disliking large swathes of people, difficulty with socializing, limited scopes of empathy, and preference for structured environments.

7. Saga Noren, The Bridge

The protagonist of the Scandinavian crime drama The Bridge, Saga Noren, is currently lauded by social media as being one of the few female main characters in a TV show with autism. And so should she. Her actress Sofia Helin refers to the condition as such in interviews and researched it before filming began. The research paid off in a big way: Saga's display of autistic symptoms - lack of awareness in social situations, difficulty relating to others, extreme bluntness - have amassed both critical acclaim and appreciative praise from fans.

8. Suzanne Warren, Orange is The New Black

Her disability has yet to be stated in-show, but Suzanne Warren, nicknamed "Crazy Eyes" by inmates in the first season, is portrayed as having symptoms similar to that of autism. As demonstrated in the Netflix hit, these symptoms include difficulty understanding social interactions/cues (latching onto Piper, telling a story about dragons/death to kids at a sleepover when she was a kid), repetitive movements (hits herself), insistence on routine and structure (her hair). She is initially portrayed as a nuisance by other characters in the first season (hence the nickname); in season two and beyond, her characterization and story arc is further fleshed out.

As of now, there are, and should be, more examples of autistic female characters in the future other than those in this list. As of now, only a small percentage of autistic characters in fiction are female or otherwise not male. Today, though their numbers are small, they are growing. Today, it's a different, slightly better story. Let's hope the trend continues, and expands even further in the future.

Cover Image Credit: Sesame Street Workshop

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10 Essentials For A Writer-Friendly Coffee Shop

The best and most inspiring coffee shops all have a story.

Living in 2018 is pretty great. Not for the technology (although, it’s nice as well), not for the politics (ha ha ha), and not for the possibility of self-driving cars in the near future (honestly terrifying). No, I’m happy to live in 2018 because of a single trend: coffee shops.

Coffee shops are the THING now! And in the small college town I live in, there’s one on literally every corner. My absolutely ideal afternoon is one spent in a coffee shop. I love coffee and I love cozy spaces, so they’re pretty much perfect. As a writer, coffee shops have played a large role in my productivity as well. After visiting many different coffee shops, I’ve compiled a list of what makes one the most optimally writer-friendly.

1. Fascinating characters

Some of my best dialogue has come from overheard coffee shop conversations, no joke. I’m not sure what it is about them, but sitting in coffee shops makes people talk like they’re in a private living room. What does this mean? Intimate dialogue perfect for insertion in your latest story.

2. Trustworthy baristas

You know those baristas I’m talking about. The ones who remember your regular order, suggest new and adventurous drinks or give you an extra shot of espresso for free. Once you find them, stick with ‘em.

3. Good music

At my hometown coffee shop, Groundhouse, I can always tell which baristas are on duty if I listen to the music. ‘80s rock playlist? It’s the high school guy's shift! Soft indie? It’s my friend Eden! Acoustic covers? Groundhouse’s owner! Some of my favorite music has been discovered in coffee shops as well. I’m constantly lifting my phone to my mouth and discreetly asking Siri “what song is this?”

4. Insta-worthy aesthetics

Because if it’s not on Instagram, did you really drink coffee? (no. the answer is no.)

5. Big coffee mugs

If you’re spending $3.50 on a latte, it better be worth it. You’re not here to play around.

6. Comfy chairs

Because you’re going to be at the coffee shop for a while, writing thousands of words and getting chapters slammed out. Trust me, I know from experience it’s better to sit in a comfy chair during those thousands of words.

7. A background story

So the best and most inspiring coffee shops all have a story. Maybe they were started by a starving college student 10 years ago. Maybe it’s a family business. Maybe it’s owned by two brothers who wear beanies. Whatever the story, it’s gotta have a good one.

8. A favorite drink

(Chai tea latte, always and forever!)

9. Outlets

If you’re there for hours, the electronics will need juice.

10. Good tea

For the British-inspired days.

What else do you look for in a writer-friendly coffee shop?

*read this post and more written by young authors on the Project Canvas blog!* Project Canvas is a book of writing advice and motivation | 60 contributors from 9 countries... learn more!

Cover Image Credit: Olivia Rogers

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Saying Farewell to "The Fosters"

Thank you for giving representation to those who feel voiceless.

"The Fosters" first aired in 2013 on Freeform, back when the channel was still called ABC Family. Five years and 100 episodes later, it's time to say goodbye.

For months fans of this hit television show took to Twitter circulating the hashtag #RenewTheFosters trying to give the show one more season. Sadly, in January it was announced that the show would end this summer with a "three episode finale."

In short, "The Fosters" revolves around a family of many kids (many who have been adopted) and their moms, Lena and Steph. Each episode follows the family and various struggles that are currently taking place within society; recently, part of the show's plot focused on immigration and the flaws within the system.

From day one, "The Fosters" has represented unconditional love and diversity, something that the fan base has cherished. Various ethnic backgrounds, gender identities, and personal struggles have been brought to the forefront during this show's five year run.

Even though the Farewell Season has begun, it's been announced that there will be a spin-off show following Mariana and Callie, two of the main characters.

"The Fosters" will truly be missed as it gave representation to those who feel most voiceless. The show has made a lasting impact on its viewers and the television industry; from this, hopefully other shows will take the initiative to incorporate more diversity into their cast and characters.

Tune in on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST on Freeform to watch the Farewell Season.

Cover Image Credit: TV Guide

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