I've noticed some weird correlations between autistic people and depictions of the fae... can you add to my list?

I've noticed some weird correlations between autistic people and depictions of the fae... can you add to my list?


I’ve noticed this too, I think a few people have. Do you think disappearing into the forrest for random, non-sensical periods of time might be related to autism/ADHD tendencies to loose track of time and seek out quiet places away from others?


Certainly another possible correlation.


I’ve read a paper about how the myth of changelings is probably the first written records of early autistic traits in children. Sadly I can’t find it rn


Wait, are we all just changelings???? This is lore.


There are many parallels between what you speak of, "indigo children" and a few other folkish denominations of neurodiversity. Hidden changes between people have been noticed throughout history. Even in Plato's Republic you can see autistic characteristics in Socrates ' définition of philosophers, and NT characteristics in sofists / the crowd. I think it's an interesting and useful perspective.


from what I heard about fae, they cannot enter your home without an invitation. there's something there about rules. If they give you money it might turn to dirt the next day. Money is a social convention. Its value comes from people agreeing it has value. As an autistic person I've often not valued things that I didn't see as valuable, even if those around me saw it as valuable.


which makes me sad thinking of the autistic children left out in the cold to die because their parents think theyre fae and "want their kid back"


Parents can often still act this way too, treating autism as an "epidemic."


yea true. also the people who say ur faking because their "cousins sisters dog is autistic and they dont act like you!!"


Just wait till they figure out how to detect autism in a fetus. If history’s any indication, people kill what they fear and fear what they don’t understand. Autism’s likely to go the way of the dodo if public opinion doesn’t change.


yep, this is believed by many to be the source of fae/changeling myths. iirc there might have even been a study on it??


A lot of the correlations between autism and the fae are modern connections that come from misunderstanding the lore. It started as a joke by Victorians about how stupid the Celts were and unfortunately ableist arses latched onto it, then tumblr got a hold of it and it grew arms and legs. I believe Morgan Daimler (an autistic expert in Irish folklore) has some writings on it


There’s the old term “fae touched” that evolved into just “touched” and it described someone who was childlike and didn’t fit in, as I interpret it. I expect that was a way people described us before psychology came along.


I heard a theory that the changeling myth was made up to describe autistic children, makes total sense to me.


Bargains and contracts. Often hellbent to fulfill a contract once entered into, but may become "creative" in the interpretation of the agreement.


Seems like genies to me.


Yep djinn partially fill that, though they're more often regarded as spirits or demons rather than physical beings. Though the creative fulfillment of bargains seems to appear in mythological beings of various cultures.


Are djinn from African folklore?


[Djinn](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jinn) are from Arab folklore.


**[Jinn](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jinn)** >Jinn (Arabic: جن‎, jinn) – also romanized as djinn or anglicized as genie (with the broader meaning of spirit or demon, depending on source)(p 22) – are supernatural creatures in early pre-Islamic Arabian and later Islamic mythology and theology. Like humans, they are created with fitra, neither born as believers nor as unbelievers, but their attitude depends on whether they accept God's guidance. Since jinn are neither innately evil nor innately good, Islam acknowledged spirits from other religions, and was able to adapt spirits from other religions during its expansion. ^([ )[^(F.A.Q)](https://www.reddit.com/r/WikiSummarizer/wiki/index#wiki_f.a.q)^( | )[^(Opt Out)](https://reddit.com/message/compose?to=WikiSummarizerBot&message=OptOut&subject=OptOut)^( | )[^(Opt Out Of Subreddit)](https://np.reddit.com/r/AutisticPride/about/banned)^( | )[^(GitHub)](https://github.com/Sujal-7/WikiSummarizerBot)^( ] Downvote to remove | v1.5)


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I love your username


Thanks! Do you want to know what inspired it?


I would presume it's either to do with rallys like gatherings, or you're a fan of off road car races.


The first one is close. It's from the 2010 Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. I attended it before joining reddit.


Wow, I feel weirdly called out, haha


I think we can also find depictions of autistic people in the horrifying history of exorcism. Like, having a meltdown could be seen as being “possessed by demons.” Or something in the bible. I read about depictions of epilepsy in those holy books. Probably we can also find something related to autism there, too.


My parents repeatedly tried to exorcise the autism out of me. Autism, Epilepsy, Homosexuality, Transgender Identity, etc. are still considered to be demonic possessions by some southern churches (The Pentecostal church being a notable example.).


I actually cut my mother off last week, because I'm undergoing a cancer screening and she said that if I turn out to have cancer it is because I decided to let demons give me cancer and didn't believe in /her/ (personal) power over demons. The last few exorcism attempts nearly killed me and left me with PTSD. I'm not going to have her trying to force me through that again.


You did the right thing, people like this shouldn't be around you. It's wild that things like this are still practiced.


The theory is that we are changelings, that we are dopplegangers, that we resemble the original child, but the original child was taken away, and us the impersonator that's actually a fae replaced them... And that our relationship to our families/parents/the world in general is abnormal cause we're a fae impersonator instead of the real child. Certainly a very interesting theory.


Honestly, that's still what some "autism mums" believe today


Yeah, this was essentially the folklore that explained neurodivergent children. It was more seen in a dehumanizing way in ye olde times, but I like to reclaim my fae heritage personally! Thanks for laying out the comparisons.


​ "Greetin's fella humans" --Rayla from Dragon Prince "in disguise as a human" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kGNsbnb9D4


This is literally how I speak to Allistics when I can't conjure the energy for masking.


I don’t know the fae lore well but I know there’s something about names, and I don’t like it when people use my name unless I am very comfortable with them.


I have always been neurotic as hell, if people I don't know, know my name. I used to drink a lot to cope, I was a chaotic drunk and unfortunately people would learn who I was and I would be too drunk to recall the meeting. It caused an awful lot of stress, it really makes me feel weird.




I’ve actually been obsessed with this concept for months now. The fey dance in circles! Fairy rings. That sounds really fun. I picture goblins collecting things, especially gold (shiny!) Fairy dust is glittery and fun. They get offended when given gifts of clothes (Maybe they have sensory issues and only like certain fabrics) Some autistic people have to wear “pixie” cuts because their hair touching their neck bothers them. One way to keep yourself safe from the fey was supposed to be turning your clothes inside out, which for some reason would make them ignore you. Also Samhain, later renamed Halloween, is about dressing up as fey/spirits so they see you as one of them and don’t harm you. I think that these imply that fairies are faceblind and recognize people by their clothing rather than their faces. A bit of a stretch, but maybe those pointy-toed shoes that curl up like you see on Christmas elves could be designed for tiptoe walking. Getting along with animals. In folklore fairies are often nocturnal and live underground (beneath the sidhe/hills of Ireland) Maybe sunlight bothers them. Many magical creatures including fairies are often described as having to obsessively count seeds if you scatter them on the ground. Leprechauns seem very solitary and like they are happy to keep to themselves. There’s an style of Irish/Scottish music called something like “Puirt a Beul” (Mouth music) that is extremely repetitive, rhythmic, and fun. I don’t know much about echolalia but maybe someone with that could like singing that. (Here are examples that I keep stimming to constantly: https://youtu.be/YCIIsbipyLU and https://youtu.be/7AoblivaM4g. The second one only gets good at 1:16 in the video) I read somewhere that it is helpful for autistic children struggling with motor functions and speech to try singing and dancing instead. Fairyland could be good for them then. Time passes weirdly in fairyland so that hundreds of years can pass in the human world in a single fairy night. That sounds like ADHD. I read somewhere that it is helpful for autistic children struggling with motor functions and speech to try singing and dancing instead. Fairyland could be good for them then.


I'm imagining if places like Iceland and Ireland had established separate autistic communities in the distant past which inspired the myths of elves and fae in these countries....


OMG hoe have I never noticed that?!


That's pretty cool. Thanks for sharing!


Not Fae but some depiction of ‘the grey’ type of aliens. Just a general depiction of being logical and appearing unrelatable to human beings but still intelligent. Often misunderstandings of human culture etc.


I was told that the Chinese word for autist is "child of the stars" because of how we sometimes seem alien. I'm not sure of that validity but I fully embrace it as I have long felt alien and I go by Marz (and love SciFi)


That sounds absolutely amazing and I love it.


It's bad enough living among these *humans.* Ugh. /s


I found this https://fairyroom.com/2013/04/the-real-life-damage-of-changeling-lore/ Laughing at things that the normies don't find funny: > most were designed simply to trick the changeling child into revealing itself for the non-human it was suspected to be. One such trick that shows up in many changeling tales has the parent brew a special concoction, usually in an untraditional cooking pot such as egg shells, which would then cause the changeling to remark something like, “In the many years I’ve been alive, I’ve never seen such a thing as cooking a brew inside of egg shells.” I read one story where the mother got her child back, but the goblin-babe wouldn't eat real food. The mother stole a mouse from the cat and started catching other gross stuff even though the village told her to let it starve. Her real child said that he only got proper food when the goblin got the food it wanted. This is vampires/fey, but if you throw a handful of grain or hang a sieve in its path, the creature will stop to count. I think autism has OCD-like overlap. r/goblincore is about finding nice objects. Some autistics like to find things to stim with. I found this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Changeling > "Nothing under heaven could have a more beautiful face; but though between five and six years old, and seemingly healthy, he was so far from being able to walk, or stand, that he could not so much as move any one joint; his limbs were vastly long for his age, but smaller than an infant's of six months; his complexion was perfectly delicate, and he had the finest hair in the world; he never spoke, nor cried, ate scarcely anything, and was very seldom seen to smile, but if any one called him a fairy-elf, he would frown and fix his eyes so earnestly on those who said it, as if he would look them through. His mother, or at least his supposed mother, being very poor, frequently went out a-charing, and left him a whole day together. The neighbours, out of curiosity, have often looked in at the window to see how he behaved when alone, which, whenever they did, they were sure to find him laughing and in the utmost delight. This made them judge that he was not without company more pleasing to him than any mortal's could be; and what made this conjecture seem the more reasonable was, that if he were left ever so dirty, the woman at her return saw him with a clean face, and his hair combed with the utmost exactness and nicety."


This sounds oddly like a connective tissue disorder as well, something like ehlers danlos or simply hypermobility. I 100% agree autism has ocd overlaps. I have severe ocd along with my aspergers and it's a nastily unpleasant combo; I know another guy with aspergers and ocd as well. And I have hypermobility disorder, as well as very pale skin, and I'm skinny with long limbs.


> This made them judge that he was not without company more pleasing to him than any mortal's could be I misread this as he was more pleased in his own company than with mortals.


u/LenaWinchester this makes so much sense


It does! It would also explain the appeal to fae's


Yessss 😅😅


That and feeling non-human, as if we are a different species, like we were born on an alien planet of some sorts.




A lot of the original folklore (or as close to the original as we can get these days) aren't as similar to autism as people these days think, most of the connections come from Victorians and modern people misundering the lore and cherry picking bits of the lore, especially considering fae is a blanket term for hundreds of creatures from multiple different countries and cultures


Please note, I'm not necessarily only looking for things related to traditional depictions of the fae... I'm pretty sure lemons and caffeine aren't in any of the traditional lore. I'll take any even vaguely widespread representation.


I've had this idea in my head for a while now of a Percy Jackson esque children's book about fey that have been happily adopted by human families, and this is just a stereotype. Now there's one way to reclaim a myth. Bonus points: the fairies all have traits that humans would call ADHD or autism so it's one big allegory. Bonus bonus points: the villains are a fake charity of warlocks trying to turn fey into humans.


This is great! I once saw a comic that compared vampires and autistic people as both needing to explicitly be invited in! Just to continue our supernatural presence…


I can’t so this…I’ve been obsessed with faeries my whole life. I’ve stopped talking about them and how I still at 44 believe in them because I know people thing I’m crazy. But it’s true. They do exist. I’ve seen them and interacted with them. I never thought about this theory though. Honestly, I’ve started down the path that we are alien/human hybrids but I’m reluctant to talk to people about that too. Thoughts?


I'm a pagan witch, and I've seen and interacted with them too! They're a fun little folk. I've got aspergers and between that and my "otherworldly" leanings I've been on a path there may be something a bit nonhuman about people like me, as well.


I wouldn't be surprised if autistics of the past had to do things like hide in forests and make their own communities away from NTs and then become things of legend. I have no doubt that many autistics of the past were also deemed as wizards, shamans, and eccentrics.


Tangentially related, but I'm playing a changeling bard in D&D right now and they have three personas that completely unintentionally ended up being autistic-coded in wildly different ways. There's the one that just vibes and casually hangs out around people they like and randomly wanders off on their own; the one that learned the rules of social interactions with incredible precision in order to survive but trusts nobody enough to unmask; and the idealistic people-pleaser that believes the best in everyone else but feels ashamed of her very nature


The similarities with fae I think is more of an autistic people were more likely to be druids and bard so the fae reflect that the changing stuff is a bit more iffy changelings aren’t just like wierd kids they are more like psychopaths the entire thing with the fae is that they are beyond human they have the morality of nature so the idea with changlings is that they are humans but with the morality of a fae