Autistic Culture
The Autistic Culture Podcast
Fairy Tales are Autistic (Episode 09)

Fairy Tales are Autistic (Episode 09)

Hans Christian Andersen’s special interest was fairy tales and he wasn’t just writing about them--he was living them.
M: We are not ugly ducklings. We are swans. We do swan things. We don't do duck things.

Ugly Ducking author, Hans Christian Andersen (HCA), gets a bad rep in literary circles for being awkward, difficult, unsociable, and egocentric, but pull back the curtains (and add an Autistic culture filter) and a new truth is revealed about Hans Christian. Maybe he wasn’t the “problem” after all.

Andersen had special interests, social challenges, speech differences, and found solace in the arts and performance. The podcast hosts, Angela and Matt, view his work as contributing greatly to Autistic culture because his stories are so relatable for Autistic individuals. Stories like The Ugly Duckling reflect feeling different and not belonging. The Little Mermaid reflects masking one's true self to try to fit in. The Princess and the Pea affirms sensory sensitivity as a positive trait.

“And that was made to mean that I was difficult or histrionic or…I was always compared to the little boy who cried wolf. And in The Princess and the Pea, HCA turns this on its head. And this was why I wanted to hear it over and over and over again: because this specialness—my sensitivity—was not only acknowledged in this story, but it was made to be something special.” —Angela

Other discussion topics include sensory seeking and avoiding, special interests, direct communication, existential loneliness, and Andersen's troubled friendship with Charles Dickens.

“Allistics are very big on what we call ‘exposure therapy,’ because allistics have this thing called ‘desensitization and habituation.’ We don't do that. Allistics become less sensitive to stimuli over time because that's the way they're wired. We don't do that. It just causes trauma for us.” —Matt

On this virtual culture trip, the hosts provide deep analysis of Andersen's stories and life from an Autistic perspective, highlighting how his work gives voice to the Autistic experience in many ways and why Autistic people relate to his work. Listen in and see what you think about popular criticism he received and if it was merited.

Which fairytale do you relate to most? Tell us about it in the comments!

Complete Works of Hans Christian Andersen

Hans Christian Andersen Centre

A Weird visit to Dickens House: Charles Dickens really, really hated his fanboy Hans Christian Andersen.


Dickens Mistress Nelly:

Charles Dickens AWESOME Wife Catherine

The Genesis of Artistic Creativity: Asperger's Syndrome and the Arts

Writers on the Spectrum

Related Episodes…Want to learn about more Autistic fairy tales? Check out Episode 34: Beauty and the Beast is Autistic

Ready for a paradigm shift that empowers Autistics? Help spread the news!


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Matt’s social media: Autistic Connections Facebook Group

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Autistic Culture
The Autistic Culture Podcast
Welcome to the Autistic Culture Podcast. Each episode we dive deep into Autistic contributions to society and culture by introducing you to some of the world’s most famous and successful Autistics in history!
Whether you are Autistic or just love someone who is, your hosts, Dr. Angela Lauria, the Linguistic Autistic and Licensed Psychological Practitioner, Matt Lowry, welcome you to take this time to be fully immersed in the language, values, traditions, norms, and identity of Autistica!
To learn more about Angela, Matt, and the Autistic Culture Podcast visit