This week’s edition of Autistically Speaking features Nicole, aka “Nikki.”
When I would get overwhelmed (overstimulated), I would have a panic attack. I didn’t know how to deal with it, so I just started doodling. In eighth grade, drawing my favorite Dragon Ball and Digimon characters became a way for me to calm myself down while in class, even though it was only a step up from stick figures.
I had always liked reading and drawing comics, and sometimes, I would make comic strips and comic books. My drawings were still on a level of an elementary school student, and wasn’t very encouraged, but I kept going because I enjoyed it, and because it helped decrease my anxiety from meltdowns.
Since I always loved reading comics and “the funny pages”, I started to try and make my own comics. My biggest inspirations were Calvin & Hobbes and anime (Japanese Animation).
Recently, I wanted to make a comic which went back to the “bare basics” of past comics: ones like Calvin & Hobbes which could teach lessons and procure laughter without the use of bad language and-or graphic violence. I called this comic strip “AuTalkz”.
When I first started AuTalkz, I just wanted people to laugh at the day to day things which are exasperating at first, which was why I styled it as a satire. The idea was for the opinions and comedy to come “from the viewpoint of someone with ASD”.
Then, I decided to branch out and do something I’ve always wanted to do: Help people understand autism. I want people to be able to understand Asperger’s and the spectrum, and what it’s like for people on the spectrum. I also want it to be a positive experience; one people can experience with a smile.
My hope is that my comic can help promote understanding, particularly teachers who have students on the spectrum, parents who have children on the spectrum, and even kids and workers who have classmates and co-workers on the spectrum. I also hope that people who are on the spectrum and read the comic can associate with it and feel like they aren’t alone out there.
Having Asperger’s can be a curse at times, but when someone on the spectrum finds their niche, it can open up doors and become a blessing.
By: Nikki Jeanette
You can check out Nikki’s comics HERE
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