When around his beasts, Newt openly understands their needs, laying on them both a gentle hand and a firm discipline. However, when around people, Newt’s speech turns quiet, words and eye contact kept to a minimum. Like Newt, many autistic individuals too obsess over an abnormal strength, unfortunately at the cost of forming easy people relationships.
Six-Word Lessons on Growing Up Autistic, Lesson #19: They Have Their Own Exceptional Talents.
Six-Word Lessons for Dads with Autistic Kids, Lesson #21: They Have Delayed Speech and Language.
Newt proved throughout Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them that he’s hard to trust because he underestimates the severity of certain situations. Newt most wants to convince the wizarding community that these fantastic beasts aren’t dangerous, and of course, they are certainly dangerous, as the Erumpent and Occamy both cause extreme property damage. Likewise, due to misunderstanding instructions or underestimating situations, some neurotypicals can have trust issues with those on the autism spectrum.
Then Newt practically lives inside a magical briefcase of countless magical creatures, many resembling real life animals, such as the platypus-echidna cross Niffler or the snow monkey-esque Demiguise. This can resemble how one with autism looks at the mundane.
Six-Word Lessons on Growing Up Autistic, Lesson #13: They Don’t Just See a Tree.
Six-Word Lessons on Growing Up Autistic, Lesson #14: Their Imagination is Over the Top.
Newt’s Hogwarts house, Hufflepuff, is also worth a mention. The Pottermore website describes Hufflepuffs as those who “value hard work, patience, loyalty, and fair play.” Each of these traits apply to autism, especially in the workforce.
Six-Word Lessons for Autism Friendly Workplaces, Lesson #69: They Work When Nobody Is Watching.
Was it really intentional for Newt Scamander to display these autistic traits? Well, neither the filmmakers nor J.K. Rowling herself confirmed the theory, but based on the universal speculation across the web, it could very well be intentional.
And you know what? Amongst all the talk about empowerment towards women and Blacks in the media, now it seems Newt Scamander’s subliminal autism works to further normalize the condition, emphasizing its strengths rather than its weaknesses. Other sources made similar strides to normalize developmental disorders, like Sesame Street, HBO, and Lion Forge Comics, although Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them took it a step further by not making autism the subject of the character.
- As with Newt Scamander, do not identify others based on their disability. I for one am more than autistic, just like how a person in a wheelchair has much more identity beyond a handicap label.
- Know that publicizing autism inclusion doesn’t necessarily mean you are solving the problem. In fact, it might do more harm than good, as it addresses the autistic individuals based on the weakness, rather than the greatness.
- Look out for characters in movies and TV shows who could have autism. You may be surprised on what you discover. I suggest watching The Big Bang Theory, E.T., and Rocky.