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Mascot that represents people with autism

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Autism is a spectrum disorder that affects the way an individual communicates, interacts with others and processes information. People with this disorder often find it difficult to communicate and interact with others. They also often have restricted or repetitive behaviours or interests that many may find weird. As a result, the autism community came up with the term, autism creature, to help people understand what it means to live with this neurological condition.

Therefore, autism creature led to other things, like memes which became viral on the internet. This article takes a look at the term and why it represents people living with autism.

What is autism creature?

What is autism creature?

According to Cross River Therapy, autism creature is a term used to describe the unique characteristics and behaviours of individuals with autism. It is not a medical term. Rather, the term was coined by an autism community to create awareness about what it is like to live with autism.

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According to World Health Organisation (WHO), about one in 100 children live with autism. Although the condition can be detected in early childhood, it is often diagnosed until much later. It is important to understand that the autistic creature is neither a disease nor a monster. However, it does have some distinct characteristics you can spot in people living with autism.

These characteristics are the following:

Sensory sensitivities

Some people living with autism are often overwhelmed with certain sounds, sights, smells, or textures. For instance, some autistic people react very badly to loud sounds, bright lights or certain fabrics. Some people in the community believe they are trapped in a bubble, where every sensation is heightened to an unbearable level, making it difficult for them to communicate effectively.

Repetitive behaviours

People living with autism often exhibit some repetitive behaviours such as hand-flapping, rocking back and forth, or repeating certain phrases or words.

Struggle with social interaction

Some people living with autism may experience challenges in making eye contact, understanding social cues, or engaging in conversation with others. These are social interactions that often come easily for people not living with autism.

Intense focus

Some people with autism are sometimes fixated on certain topics or activities. For instance, an autistic child can spend hours spinning the wheels of a toy. This intense focus can be positive, in the sense that they can become experts in the area of focus, or negative in the sense that it can interfere with other aspects of life.

Autism creature yippie

Autism creature yippie

The autism creature is also known as the Yippee creature or the TBH (To Be Honest) creature. It is often described as an autistic mascot. It is an all-white, four-legged creature with a large head, big black eyes and a neutral expression. It was called yippee because of the “yippee” sound effect which often accompanies the creature’s meme.

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Part of what makes the autism creature mascot special is the fact that it is a blank slate that allows for creativity and distinction. The mascot is attentive without expressing any emotion which is exactly how to describe an autistic person. It can be used to express whatever you like. No wonder it resonates strongly in the autism community.

On the other hand, some people have heavily criticised the autism creature as the symbolic mascot for people living with autism. The main argument is that the emotionless mascot paints people living with autism as soulless and emotionless like they do not want to be associated with things, creatures or beasts.

Some are also offended by the idea that the mascot looks empty and should be removed. People with autism may not often show emotion but that does not mean that they are empty.

Autism creature meme

Autism creature meme

The autism creature meme first went viral on X (formerly Twitter) after the first image was posted on the platform On January 1, 2021, when a user, @acmeiku, posted a meme captioned: “I’m playing Identity V, fancy a game?” The meme showed a four-legged creature with a blank expression and black eyes. The tweet gained over 180 likes in a year. By 2022, the meme has gone viral on Tumblr and has since inspired other memes.

The autism creature is often used as a “paper doll” template, where users draw or photoshop new and personalized looks onto the character. The meme often depicts support for autism causes or makes lighthearted jokes about autism spectrum disorder.

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