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Literature / Anything but Typical

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Anything but Typical is a 2009 middle grade novel by Nora Raleigh Baskin.

Jason Blake is a 12-year-old boy with PDD-NOS. He struggles to navigate an overwhelming, confusing world, surrounded by people who don't understand him. It's only through writing that he can make himself understood. When a girl who goes by PhoenixBird leaves a positive review for a story he posted online, he hopes she can be his friend. But he worries that if they meet in person, she'll be put off by his differences.

Anything but Typical contains examples of:

  • Character Tics: Jason blinks his eyes, sometimes one at a time and sometimes together, and flaps his hands. His younger brother Jeremy bites his nails whenever their parents aren't looking.
  • Eyes Always Averted: People assume that when Jason doesn't look at them, he isn't paying attention, but the truth is that he finds paying attention much easier when he isn't being distracted by people's faces.
  • Meaningful Name: Jason names the protagonist of his new story Bennu, after the Egyptian equivalent of the phoenix. He hopes PhoenixBird will notice.
  • Potty Failure: On the day he was diagnosed with autism, Jason wet his pants while playing video games.
  • The Scapegoat: The other kids in art class throw clay around the room and blame it on Jason.
  • Sensory Overload: Jason gets this almost every time he goes out in public.
  • Speech Impediment: The bully Eric Doyle can't pronounce his R's.
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?: Jason's mother wants to "fix" him and blames his autism on everything from brain damage to peanut butter.