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  • jenniferdrewett7

I'm an Autistic writer - why does that matter?

In December 1993, I was a 4 year old girl who'd just been diagnosed with Autism alongside my younger brother. The progosis from my paediatrician was pretty bleak: I wouldn't read, write, speak or be 'a functional member of society.' Whilst my parents understood there were extra needs in their two middle children, they refused to simply accept what the paediatrician was telling them. Through a lot of struggle in a pre-Google world, my Mum did research into the subject to try things that may help at home. They did what they could to ensure we got extra support at school which was not an easy feat and is sadly still a struggle for parents of disabled children in the United Kingdom. In spite of what the medical world seemed to think I can read, write and speak. I'm a functional member of society in that I have a part-time job in the NHS. Sure, I have had and continue to have challenges to face in society not only due to my Autism but my ADHD, Fibromyalgia, hEDS and mental health issues. I do however try my best to muddle through life. It's been a difficult road at times but I do my best to make progress each day. 

So why am I talking about this? How is this relevant to my Kickstarter campaign? Well, reader, I'm glad you asked. I bring this up because the main character for 'New Leaves, Old Scars' is autistic too. Hilda is an introverted soul who prefers to be sat at her laptop writing over being around people. She has a difficult time reading social cues. She does fine in one-on-one interactions with people she knows but she struggles in groups, with people she doesn't know or has a difficult relationship with. She thrives on routine. She has difficulty with eye contact and emotional regulation. She masks as best she can but even the best of masks slip under pressure. 

Autistic characters, whether merely coded or explicitly so, have been written by writers before whether the writer themselves are on the spectrum or not. The representation of disabled characters has been minimal. Out of those representations, there's been plenty that has been offensive and/or disappointing. It's not a surprise that a marginalised group in society has struggled with positive representation of themselves in media whether it be in televison, books, films and more. It's been a struggle for a very long time amongst the fight for equal rights. I do hope that 'New Leaves, Old Scars' can act as a good representation of an autistic woman living in the world.

Feel free to check out the Kickstarter for 'New Leaves, Old Scars' and pledge and/or share today if you haven't already! 

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