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Sensory: Life on the Spectrum: An Autistic Comics Anthology

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We can read about various themes that help us understand autism and that every autistic person is different. There are times – more times than I care to think – when I completely collapse in to what would be considered ‘low functioning’: noisy environments, if I am touched without warning, if I’m in a difficult situation, or if emotions are running high.

I thought it was brilliant at getting the most important message across that we are all different and that our uniqueness should be embraced. Among the essential skills is the ability to merge cells, a useful technique to improve the presentation of information. This colorful smorgasbord of 53 short comics allows glimpses of how varied life experiences can be for people identifying as autistic. Before having read this excellent, heartfelt and detailed tome on autism, I had watched a 16 part Korean television series, "Extraordinary Attorney Woo". I encourage you to read Asperger Syndrome in the Family : Redefining Normal, by Lianne Holliday Willey, The Way I See It, by Temple Grandin, Connecting with Your Asperger Partner : negotiating the maze of intimacy, by Louise Weston, for many examples of Aspergers (clever autistic) vs.COMICS ARE GREAT: Good triumphing over evil, stories which span the entirety of time and space and, of course, the pun-tastic dialogue – which is awesome when spoken in speech bubble, but will make people groan when said in real life! My heart aches for how I managed to get to know my kids more on holiday, just by actually being with them and doing stuff together. There should be accessibility guidelines to AT THE VERY LEAST make sure the text on the comics is readable, which isn't true for many many of them.

I am sure you can think of many examples where being “not average” will present challenges as well as opportunities. So much praise goes out to all the authors and the publisher for bringing us their stories so we can learn and have a better understanding. I don’t know how one can argue that having a disability or an impairment brings out the same type of differences as a cultural environment though but you can be impacted by both.Creating or using a social story can help you to understand how the autistic person perceives different situations. My 9 year old instantly recognised herself in one of the comics and was eager to read about and from people who are also on the spectrum. I was diagnosed as being on the Spectrum at age 29 after years of wondering why I felt so different from everyone else. Of course, people vary widely, and each autistic person lives with an individual makeup and must find their own best self-care. This middle-grade novel follows Addie, an autistic girl who is appalled to discover the witch trials held hundreds of years ago in the Scottish town where she lives.

Not every installment spoke to me, but I’m sure that anyone looking to learn more about autism will find value. When they first ran on Twitter and Instagram it was as a tie-in to Autism Acceptance Month which, in turn, led to a crowdfunded print volume.But it's always a different experience reading work created FROM the mind and heart of that person rather than factual or narrative work ABOUT them. I would say the longest comic was 6 pages long, the book is almost 200 pages long so you can imagine how distracting constantly jumping from one idea to the next, unrelated one got over time. As an autistic person, it helps to destigmatize many aspects of autistic life, combat some of that internalised ableism and generally feeling less alone.

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