Rather than speaking of autism spectrum characteristics as “symptoms”, I’ll be referring to them as traits — personality traits, not deficits, impairments or anything that implies that something is “not functioning” as it should. As stated, that is not to say that several of these traits don’t have a limiting and impairing effect in everyday life notably due to lack of support and understanding.
When looking at the autism spectrum and taking its diagnosis criteria as well as people’s experiences into consideration, I loosely sort its traits into two categories: stereotypy and social interaction. For the purposes of this shrine, several related traits may be grouped to be addressed on one page. Likewise, some details concerning Haru are mentioned more than once due to their relevancy in different contexts. Where applicable, connected topics around the shrine are roughly summarized and linked at the end of the pages to further emphasize the interplay of elements, as the different aspects flow into each other and can’t be cleanly separated.
Stereotypy is not to be confused with “stereotypes”, which are fixed and oversimplified conceptions of a subject (for example the stereotype that all autistic people are rude and have no “common sense”). Stereotypy refers to persistent repetitive and rigid patterns of behaviours and interests, which is often also described as being restricting, and sadly not rarely portrayed as inappropriate. Constants such as rituals and routines have a big impact in the everyday life of an autistic person, and that particular aspect is usually not appropriately reflected in media — something which you can also tell by how rarely this aspect comes up when non-autistic people speculate about autism and whether or not a character can be read as being on the spectrum.
Water as a constant longing, a companion, a connection.
Rigidity and routines dictated by sensory processing.
As Haru has no issues with language acquisition, social interaction and communication are combined in this category. After all, social interaction is all about communication, and difficulties with communicating and expressing yourself lead to difficulty in social interaction, whereas issues with interpersonal elements are reflected in the way one communicates. Even body language, mannerisms, the inability to express certain things, and the lack of response are in the end aspects of communication, as they all convey something.
Facial expression and eye contact; mannerisms; physical contact.
Prosody; literal interpretation; scripts and echolalia.