The idea of this book is to explain disability issues by using examples from Star Trek. In other words, the book is written in the language of Star Trek. For those of us who love the show, we talk Star Trek like some people speak French.
I write about the Star Trek characters most associated with autism: Spock and Data and while they did struggle and comment on the human condition, they would not meet the ICD-10 criteria for autism. Once I started working with the criteria, it was clear that Seven of Nine had the most number of ASD/AS traits.
While writing the book I interviewed a dad with 3 children with ASD. He mentioned things I had not considered, such as the Universal Translator and how wonderful it would be if children with ASD has some device to "translate" their thoughts into the "right words" to be understood by their teachers.
I also interviewed two fans with high functioning autism to get their perspectives. And one of my beta readers is the mother of a son with Autism and writes an Autism Advocacy blog on Facebook.
Last year I went to a comic con and saw a group of teens dressed as Data. I think they all were on the spectrum. But it was wonderful to see how they could interact and “get” each other. There was a connection they made not just with the other Datas at the table, but with all the con goers. Many people stopped and asked to take their pictures. I think science fiction allows for more neurodiversity than many other settings.
In my book I deal with questions such as:
Who were the characters on Star Trek with the most autism-like behaviors?
How can Star Trek be used to explain autism to other people?
What are the myths about autism which are still around in the general public?
I am considering creating a panel/presentation about Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome and Star Trek that I could use at comic cons. Let me know if you think this would be an interesting topic to see at a comic con.