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4 Fictional Heroes For Young People With Learning Differences To Look Up To

4 Fictional Heroes For Young People With Learning Differences To Look Up To

Young people with learning differences don’t have nearly enough characters in the media that they’re able to connect with. As someone on the autism spectrum, I certainly didn’t. There were never heroes that I felt were just like me while I was growing up. Sure, there were the outsiders and the loner characters, but it was and still is extremely uncommon for characters with actual learning disabilities to take the center stage in a story, or even enter the stage at all.
Below are four possible exceptions to that rule in the form of four heroes with what could be considered learning disabilities. If you have learning disabilities or especially if you know a young person who does, this post could prove invaluable for you.

1. Drax (from “Guardians of the Galaxy”)

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drax cover

    Drax inspired this list with his inability to recognize metaphors, as demonstrated in this very poignant, touching Tumblr post. A lot of people, especially young people, who have learning differences can relate to his handicap. Drax, an alien who swore vengeance against a godlike villain for killing his family, is far from your typical role model, but that’s what makes him such a great one.

    Young adults with learning differences have latched onto Drax because he’s so completely different from anyone else they’ve seen on the screen, much like they feel they are in their own lives. I don’t know if Drax was meant to represent people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other learning differences when he failed to understand irony, but he’s certainly become a rallying cry for some of the most underrepresented.

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    2. Oscar (from “The Real Boy”)

    real

      Not too long ago, Minnesota Life College, a school that helps recent high school graduates with ASD and other learning differences prepare for the real world, held an event featuring young adult author Anne Ursu, and I was fortunate enough to attend. Anne read an excerpt from her book “The Real Boy” and answered questions from the audience.

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      What makes her book so interesting in a sea of young adult literature is that the central character, Oscar, is one of those four heroes with learning differences. In this case, autism, specifically. He’s shy, he’s different and he’s no less lovable for it. Oscar is one of the most accurate heroes with learning differences through whom others can live vicariously as he goes on his adventure.

      3. The Doctor (from “Doctor Who”)

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      doctor

        The Doctor from the British TV show “Doctor Who” is an alien with two hearts and 13 lives who travels through time and space. His life isn’t exactly similar to that of people with learning differences, but it’s his personality that many of them respond to. He’s clever in a way no one else is, beyond quirky and largely fueled by his wild imagination. All are common, endearing qualities of many young people with learning differences, making him one of the top potential heroes with learning differences.

        4. Sherlock Holmes (from “Sherlock”)

        Sherlock

          The Sherlock that appears in the BBC television show is unique and brilliant, but exceedingly difficult. He’s hard to like at times, but once you get to know him, is impossible not to love. Sometimes he seems cold, but he cares about his friends more than anything. Sound familiar? Young adults with learning differences can relate to the struggles Sherlock goes through as he tries to connect with the rest of the world, and also aspire to his greatness.

          He’s one of the most interesting heroes with learning differences in any form of media. It’s heartening to see the increased attempt to include heroes with learning differences in the media, as audiences and creators become more aware of things like the autism spectrum. If you know any individuals with learning differences, I encourage you to share with them the stories containing these characters so they have people to look up to.

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          Matt OKeefe

          Freelance Writer, Marketer

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          Last Updated on October 9, 2018

          27 Ways to Instantly Feel Better When You’re Down

          27 Ways to Instantly Feel Better When You’re Down

          Who has never gone through some ups and downs in the life? But some people can feel better in a quicker way than others because they’ve found their own remedies to heal the bad feelings.

          If you haven’t found yours, these ways will help you instantly feel better and ditch that negative self talk when you’re feeling bad about yourself:

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          1. Listen to the songs you loved when you were in high school or university, this will recall you of the old good times.
          2. Write something. Write down how you feel as a way to express your thoughts if you don’t feel like talking to anyone.
          3. Draw something. Draw anything you want because no one’s going to judge your drawing skills.
          4. Read the postcards or letters your friends or family sent you before, remind yourself there are people who always remember you.
          5. Silently think of a day or moment which you truly enjoyed and try to recapture that very first feeling. Was it the day of your graduation? The moment you traveled with your loved one?
          6. Take out your photo albums and go over your childhood photos.
          7. Cry when you feel like doing so. There’s nothing wrong with crying; cry out all your fear and stress and just face the truth after crying.
          8. Sing loudly like no one can hear you. Do you know that in Japan, people always sing karaoke to relieve stress?
          9. Cook a nice meal for yourself or for your family.
          10. Read your previous diary entries and look at your great memories.
          11. Dress up nicely to feel happier.
          12. Don’t stay in your bed! Get your laptop or a book and sit in a coffee place.
          13. Take a walk outside and feel the fresh air.
          14. Sweat yourself! Go jogging or play some sports.
          15. Pick up the musical instrument you used to play a lot and start to play it.
          16. Tidy up your desk or wardrobe, you’ll feel good that you’re being productive and actually doing something.
          17. Watch some funny videos, sure you can find a lot of them on Youtube.
          18. Eat something you like, be it a chocolate cake, or an ice-cream. Just please yourself with the flavour you like.
          19. Re-read your favorite book and write down the sentences or passages that you love.
          20. Watch a new movie, there must be a movie which you’ve always interested in but had no time to watch it.
          21. Do something nice that no one will notice, say picking up a rubbish in the street and throw it to a trash bin.
          22. Call your best friend and just talk whatever you want! Human beings are social animals after all, connecting with people close to you will make you feel better.
          23. Do voluntary work and help people in need, you’ll feel happy and satisfied.
          24. Get drunk with your close friends at home – a safe place for you to get drunk and get crazy. Let loose and have fun with your very close friends.
          25. Write an email or a note to a friend who you care about.
          26. Get out of your routine life and meet new friends. Get out of your comfort zone! Meeting new people can give you new inspirations in life.
          27. Look into the mirror and smile. Act like today’s already a wonderful day. How we act affects how we feel. It’s difficult to go on feeling sad if you’re trying to smile!

          Remember:

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          It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.  — Epictetus

          If you want to feel better, change what you’re doing because obviously what you’re doing doesn’t make you happy!

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          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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