Wanted: Sensitivity readers for neurodivergence

If you’re neurodivergent or you have experience with neurodivergence (you are a practitioner, have autistic family members, etc.), please consider helping me out (◕ᴥ◕)

Never fear… you will not have to read all 120K words or so of the actual book (although you’re very welcome to, lol). I’ve compiled chapter excerpts containing the most potentially sensitive content–which adds up to just a little under 4.5K words–for people to review.

There will also be author notes to make sure any potential sensitivity readers will understand what’s going on without reading the entire book.

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So here's the gist:

I’m writing a political fantasy novel, and I have tertiary characters who would be considered neurodivergent in our world. Given that my setting takes place in a secondary world, the people there are yet to build a concept or understanding of what neurodivergence even is.

No, I am not adding neurodivergence just for the sake of diversity and to add something “unique” to spice up my world----it actually plays a major role to one of the main plots of the story.

Here are my main areas of concern:

  • I want to try to present a realistic portrayal of what neurodivergence looks like, but I’m also worried if my scenes come across as stereotypical representations of autism. Since these are tertiary characters, we don’t spend much time with them and hence don’t see all the facets of their personality and behaviour.

  • I like to present as realistic a portrayal of society and people in general, so this includes portraying how ignorant/inexperienced people view and react to neurodivergence. This means there are insensitive, ableist attitudes coming from some secondary characters. These attitudes do not go unaddressed, but I just want to check with a neurodivergent audience that this is made clear, and that the text and story overall does not come across as ableist.

  • Since I do try to address problematic attitudes towards neurodivergence (and mental health in general) in the text, I want to make sure it doesn’t come across as preachy or pandering, either.

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What research have I done, you ask?

I have both under- and postgraduate background in Psychology; I also observed the evaluation and intervention of autistic children for a few years as part of a certification programme, so most of my knowledge has been derived from there.

It doesn’t matter because at the end of the day, I’m still not the right person to determine whether or not my representation of neurodivergence is problematic or not, which is why I’m looking for sensitivity readers.

Unfortunately I can’t pay for services, but I’ll be happy to give a shout-out or otherwise help with a (non-commercial) book cover or something like that [you can check my cover shop for examples and/or premades].



𝓋 𝑜 𝓁 𝓊 𝓃 𝓉 𝑒 𝑒 𝓇 𝓈

@/MyReadingBlues on wattpad
@ writer #1 on wattpad [anonymity preserved]
@/Skye_Flame on wattpad

[ 𝓈 𝓉 𝒾 𝓁 𝓁 . . . 𝓈 𝑒 𝒶 𝓇 𝒸 𝒽 𝒾 𝓃 𝑔 . . . ]

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I’d love to help you out, but don’t know if I’ll be available much. I have exams next two months and after that classes start again. I might have some time the next three/four weeks though.

Your cover shop looks really nice btw!

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I’m not really in a big rush… it’s still a first draft, and I’ll be making any major changes during my round of edits after I finish writing the whole book, so I’m totally fine with people just finding time to read and give feedback whenever they can, it doesn’t even have to be all finished at once.

If that works for you, I can send you a link to the google doc, and you can comment any feedback or thoughts directly on the document. I keep separate documents for separate sensitivity readers, so you can take as much time as you need and be as blunt as you want.

And thanks so much (^ヮ^)

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Alright, that sounds good to me!

Yeah that works for me! Hope docs’ notes don’t have to low a character limit though cause man, do I love being wordy XD.

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Link sent to your inbox! (〃^▽^〃)

Also, no character limit that I know of? Even if your comment doesn’t fit in one go, you can always reply to it and continue on for as many times as you need (ᕑᗢूᓫ∗)

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Thing is… they can’t. They think they can but they really can’t I was talking about this with my friend Pine on Twitter. Madeline_Pine is an autistic writer with a large following I recommend looking them up cause loads of rep ect. Anyway theres this discourse where Autistic mothers of people AMAB think they can write us cause the little boy they raised is us and its just … so bad. I rec looking for actually ND people cause… I’m literally a doctor now and didn’t get diagnosed until I was 25 and thats after being diagnosed with BPD and depression. So theres like we are all very different.

Just saying.

Ooo I like this.

So what if you did. DO THAT ISH BABY! We love to see it (done well)

Theres about 7 of us on this site alone and the only similarity 3 of us have is that we are blunt because… why not? (They know who they are)


Fun fact… a lot of us fuck with science. Shout out to Henry Cavedish. I invite you to look up Autistic scientist. Turns out STEM is a great profession cause we are not forced to think in a box.

I get a lot of “You dont look/act/sound” as Autistic. Mostly from men which I take as code for “I want to have sex with you and I cant if I think you have a baby brain. Sure you’re more educated than me but I have default neurons”

Idk bruh you dont need to like “Tell that story” to me in my opinion. Its like its not yours so why? If it has to do withyour story go for it but otherwise no ted talk needed.

I think either way it will but being aware of it is good. You did good. You get a cookie.

I really do love you lets me friends. UGH A BRAIN I LOVE BRAINS

Issue, theyre not us. They’re babies. Like I showed signs as a child sure but im a 90s baby so a simple IQ test and people decided she isn’t this shes weird. Then I spent 20 years like huh… you people are all weird to me but I guess if this is how Im meant to be lets pretend.

I love you so much. You should join our writers discord it has so many different people and a lot of ND people.


All this talk of neurodivergence makes me wonder if I’m just very oblivious to what normal people expect. I never really listen to anyone when they say to be “more polite” on a good day. But if the internet has taught me anything, it’s that people actually care about fitting in.

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Thanks for this very comprehensive response!

Yeah, I think so as much. It’s more because I don’t think there are too many ND people on the wacky forums, so I had to broaden up the scope. I’m not looking for their perspective on what it’s like to be ND or how an ND person would think/behave/react/etc., so much as to their perspective on how the other characters react to my ND characters (since they also have family members, ranging from supportive to full-on ableist).

I think this one was coming from all the criticism I’ve heard towards authors who write outside their own lived experience. Some writers include disabled/POC/ND/LGBTQ+ characters just to score “woke” points and appeal to that market, which is not what I’m trying to do. I’m not trying to specifically market this book as ND Rep or anything (although I’d be jumping for joy if it does end up connecting with ND readers).

Better be safe than sorry is my motto XD

I mean, have you heard about the whole Finding Sam debacle by Mary Bleckwehl? She wrote a book people (including ND readers) have said to be ableist.
I didn’t read it since the book has been pulled, so I can’t make an informed judgement, but reading from the blurb, it sounded like she was writing from the perspective of a young 12 year-old kid who has an autistic brother, and who is ableist–you know, because he’s young and immature. I got the sense that the whole point of the book was about this kid growing up and learning to accept how his attitudes and viewpoints have been wrong all along.

However, people have been taking snippets of the book where this kid is indeed spouting off ableist thoughts, and therefore the book as a whole is ableist. There have been several criticism saying that it’s unnecessary to be portraying certain negative representations of autism since it is hurtful.

So that’s just the tricky line I’m trying hard not to cross.

I have ableist (tertiary) characters as well. I include incorrect perspectives about autism as well. Are we not allowed to include these in a book? Is it better to forego realism in favour of making sure no one gets hurt reading it? Or is there a balance that can be struck–and if so, where?

Take for example this snippet (and criticism) from the book:


This one struck to me because one of the major arcs in my story does include the revelation that a parent of a ND child is trying to “cure” his child. Again, the fact they are ND is unknown in this world–Neurodivergence simply hasn’t been discovered in their science or lexicon.
This arc deals with the MC (with the help of another character, who is the closest thing to what their world has to a psychologist/therapist) stopping this from happening and addressing how incorrect and harmful this is. Even with magic existing in this world, they cannot “cure” his child because it simply isn’t an illness or disease.

Now, I don’t know how Mary Bleckwehl handled it in her book, but her mere inclusion of a character who hopes his autistic brother will be cured seems to be very triggering and offensive to some people. So as you can imagine, I’m also veeery wary about how to go about it in my own work.

By the way, the fact that the father is trying to “cure” his child isn’t added for “realism” or to include a challenging topic or anything like that–if it were that tripe and unnecessary, I’d rather avoid hurting anyone and just remove this whole arc at all. Unfortunately it actually ties in to the plot in a major way, so it’s not a plot point that can be removed without a massive re-haul of the book.

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Yaaay cookies!

Please don’t eat me :fearful: Leave some for the real zombies.

I love friends, and it gets harder at this age to find new ones, ha ha. But then again, it’s always been hard for me to find close friends with similar interests.

Yeah, I also saw that during my studies. Some people progress so rapidly within a year, others don’t progress much even after two. Some people progress more slowly, but it’s good progress. It’s just a whole range of possibilities, which no one singular book can encompass completely. I do have one ND child in the story, and another who is a full-grown adult, so I hope the differences between those two can at least show how there is no one, singular presentation as to what ND “looks” like.

That sounds fun… the more discord servers to join, the merrier XD

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