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Diagnosed by the Audience
aka: Ambiguous Disorder

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This character's behaviour is bizarrely outside the norm — it's way beyond mere ordinary quirkiness. No reasons are given for the strange behaviour. No specific diagnosis is ever mentioned in the story. In fact, any resemblance to any real disorder is likely accidental; the character's symptoms are exactly those symptoms the writer wants them to have. However, perhaps the audience has an idea of what disorder they have, and try their hand at diagnosing them.

A lot of mentally ill people in classical literature, especially from the 19th century and earlier, tend to not be explicitly diagnosed; psychiatry was a very young field back then (and, until a certain point in history, didn't exist at all), and so there was no manual to turn to if you wanted to give your character odd quirks. Even if an author did do the research, psychiatry has changed greatly and rapidly, meaning that their work is very likely to be invalidated by the passing of time anyway. Also, the lack of psychiatric expertise during these periods means that many historical figures might have had undiagnosed conditions (vast Wild Mass Guessing exists about this topic).

Compare The Disease That Shall Not Be Named, Soap Opera Disease, Victorian Novel Disease, and G-Rated Mental Illness. The Mad Hatter, who understands himself to be insane and is largely justified in this, will usually have an ambiguous understanding of his own insanity (as opposed to having some educated self-diagnosis of schizoid personality).

For when a character is explicitly confirmed in-story to have a specific disorder, but their portrayal isn't necessarily accurate, please check Hollywood Psych, Hollywood Autism, Hollywood Tourette's, Obsessively Organized, "L" Is for "Dyslexia", Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!, Funny Schizophrenia, and The Schizophrenia Conspiracy. When the creators say whether a character has a disorder or not outside of the work, making it no longer ambiguous in most cases, see Diagnosis of God. When the character's disorder is initially ambiguous but is confirmed later in the work, see Delayed Diagnosis. If the characters don't know what it is but the audience does, it's Disease by Any Other Name.

See also, Trans Audience Interpretation, which is when a character’s traits make the audience think that they may be Transgender in some way.

That said, No Real Life Examples, Please! We don't want to start any sessions of "armchair diagnosis" for real people, since that kind of speculation about real people inevitably leads to controversy.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Aggretsuko: Fans theorize that Resasuke is autistic, as he doesn't show very much emotion through his facial expressions or his voice, is Oblivious to Hints, and is described as a loner by other characters.
  • Ah... and Mm... Are All She Says: Some fans have speculated that Toda and Tanaka are both written as autistic, which could explain Tanaka's difficulty connecting to people or showing emotion, and Toda's problems verbalizing. This offers an explanation as to why Tanaka can easily understand Toda when few others can.
  • Attack on Titan: Many fans interpret Sasha as being on the autism spectrum. She has a great deal of social awkwardness and anxiety, trouble reading social cues, compulsive behaviour (in the form of collecting and eating food), and comes off as selfish at times but not intentionally. She's also very kind and at times overly polite.
  • Azumanga Daioh:
    • While much of her characterization is emblematic of the Cloudcuckoolander trope, Osaka is commonly headcanoned by fans as autistic and/or having inattentive type ADHD as a result of how many traits of hers parallel the condition. Among other things, she tends to space out and get lost in odd trains of thought, displays sensory sensitivities (both seeking out and avoiding various stimuli), repeats phrases she likes, infodumps without regard for appropriateness, has odd but deep interests, and displays an unconventional perception of language (shown by her knack with wordplay and subtleties in kanji, as well as her occasional struggles with distinguishing similar verbal concepts). She also tends to catastrophize about herself and her peers and approaches basic tasks in out-of-the-box and oftentimes counterintuitive ways.
    • Sakaki is popularly considered autistic by the manga's neurodivergent fanbase. Much of it revolves around her obsessive interest with animals, which can be easily interpreted as a special interest: it forms a large part of her daily life, tends to define her leftfield trains of thought, and ties into her tendency to worldbuild on the spot, whether it be for stuffed animals or real creatures that she encounters. Outside her interest in animals, she displays difficulty with socializing, which her peers initially misconstrue as being aloof and prickly, yet counters this with an unusually strong sense of empathy, even if it's for a cat that actively antagonizes her.
    • It's a common headcanon among the fanbase that Tomo has hyperactive-impulsive type ADHD, based on how manic her behavior is even by typical Genki Girl standards. Aside from embodying the words "hyperactive" and "impulsive" to a T, she often does things solely because she feels like it, or to gain attention, without regard for consequences. She also appears to be a compulsive liar (i.e. she lies out of habit with no clear goal or benefit to doing so), struggles to pick up on nonverbal social cues, and tends to speak her mind regardless of whether it's appropriate or not.
  • Belle (2021): Kei's brother Tomo shows very little emotion on his face and tends to stare blankly into space; he also has mannerisms such as talking quietly, singing Belle's love song out loud to himself and moving his arms to the side. While it could be a byproduct of trauma from his abusive home life, its similarities to neurodivergence frequently lead viewers to interpret him as neurodivergent in some capacity.
  • Bocchi the Rock!:
    • Hitori gets this a lot:
      • Officially she is an anxious Shrinking Violet who even states herself that she has a "communication disorder". However, while in Japan the term "communication disorder" can be used to refer to more serious cases of anxiety, it can also be used for someone who simply has No Social Skills. Given just how extreme her anxiety gets, it's still easy for fans to interpret her as having a social anxiety disorder that potentially requires psychiatric intervention.
      • Some other fans speculate that Hitori's extreme, almost debilitating anxiety, many daydreams and fits of disassociation may be indicative of a much more serious affliction, such as psychosis or schizophrenia.
    • Ryo rarely shows much emotion, tends to exhibit rather odd behavior, has no desire to make any friends aside from Nijika, and has encyclopedic knowledge about her interests. This results in many fans interpreting her as being somewhere on the autism spectrum, or at least being neurodivergent in some way.
  • Chainsaw Man: Many fans have semi-seriously interpreted Asa's behavior in chapter 113 as showing many signs of autism, namely, her insistence on maintaining a very strict schedule after she made plans, and her deep interest and knowledge in marine biology. This would also explain some of her other more odd interpersonal behaviors, as her abysmal social skills, general frustration with other people's emotions, emotional attachment to physical objects, and feeling more at ease with animals than with people are also common symptoms of being on the spectrum.
  • Cyberpunk: Edgerunners: While it could just be a nervous tic of his, David constantly taps his foot, which fans view could be a way of him stimming and a sign of ADHD.
  • Fans of Death Note love to diagnose the very strange characters with various disorders. The most common in Fanon are:
    • Light: Antisocial personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder. Light shows no remorse for hurting, manipulating, or even killing other people, insists that he is always right, and believes he is fit to be a god.
    • L: autism, antisocial personality disorder. L is The Stoic and almost never shows much outward emotion, has many odd habits that could be interpreted as stimming (such as playing with his lower lip, biting his nails, rubbing his feet together, sitting in odd positions, etc.), has No Social Skills, obsesses over criminal cases to the detriment of all else, and shows very little compassion for others or interest in social relationships. He was like this even as a child.
    • Near: Same as L
  • Delicious in Dungeon: Fans have noted that Laios shows many autistic traits, such as having a special interest (monsters and eating them), being bad at social cues, and coming off as weird to others. Shuro, who Laios had considered a close friend, even tells Laios that he can't stand him because of his lack of social skills, an unfortunately common experience for some autistic people. Laois is understandably upset, but also confused as to why Shuro didn't just say something.
  • Delicious Party♡Pretty Cure: Fans commonly interpret Kokone as autistic, going off of the fact that she doesn't know anything about communicating to the point where she reads a book about making friends, and when she tries to do anything, she either overthinks or overdoes it to ridiculous levels.
  • Fairy Tail: Erza shows many signs of autism, such as having No Social Skills (this could be due to her childhood as a slave, although you'd think she'd have learned to socialise after having been with the guild for years), difficulty showing emotion, being extremely rules driven, and loving fashion to the point that it comes across as a special interest.
  • Mafuyu Satou from given is often interpreted by fans as being autistic; he tends to come off as very spacey and oblivious, and he admits that he isn't very good at expressing his emotions like most people. A flashback to his childhood also shows him arranging his toys in a straight line, which has been noted by fans to be a habit that many autistic children have. It has, however, been heavily implied that the reason he's constantly spacing out is that he's seeing visions of his deceased boyfriend Yuuki following him everywhere.
  • Haikyuu!!: Tobio Kageyama is often speculated to be autistic due to traits such as being unable to understand body language, difficulty expressing his emotions in a healthy manner and understanding the emotions of others.
  • Hitoribocchi no OO Seikatsu: A number of fans interpret Bocchi as being autistic, as many of her quirks — such as trying to adhere to a literal script when hanging out with a friend, not being able to tell whether people are joking, and going into way too much detail about something off-topic — are common Autism Spectrum characteristics.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • A popular theory is that Jotaro Kujo is on the Autism Spectrum due to his poor social skills, especially at the start of the story, as well as his official description pointing out that he acts like The Stoic because he mistakenly assumes everyone else can figure out how he's feeling.
    • A number of fans speculate that Noriaki Kakyoin from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders is autistic. Such readings hinge on his large knowledge of trivia (including his tendency to infodump), his odd eating habit of rolling cherries on his tongue before eating them, his high observance, his often blunt dialogue, his self-isolation as a result of his Stand (allegorically speaking), and two moments which parallel delayed echolalia. Additionally, fans also speculate Kakyoin has depression, as he isolated himself for almost two decades due to being unable to relate to those that didn't have Stands. This interpretation is further bolstered by his image song, "Goodbye Nostalgia", which elaborates on his longtime feelings of sorrow and isolation.
  • Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!:
    • Midori Asakusa is commonly interpreted by fans as autistic and/or having ADHD. She's often characterized as childish, tends to get lost in fantasies, has a strong attachment to certain objects (including a stuffed rabbit that she keeps as a Security Blanket, clutching it when overwhelmed or nervous), hyperfixates on certain topics, and displays such immense difficulty with being around strangers, especially in crowded settings, that she relies on keeping her friends around her at all times when she goes out in public. It helps that author Sumito Owara has stated that he in part based Asakusa on his own experiences with autism and ADHD. note 
    • Tsubame Mizusaki shows several characteristics that lead fans to see her as autistic. Much of this comes from her emphasis on repetition, especially in regard to things that catch her interest, her tendency to info-dump when discussing body movements, and her fixation on character animation to the point where she gets distressed when her ability to engage in it is threatened. The fact that she displays a subdued and professional demeanor around fans, but more readily opens up when around people she considers close enough to trust is also noted as paralleling behaviors found in "neurotypical-passing" autistic individuals.
  • Komi Can't Communicate: The title character, Shouko Komi, is explicitly stated to have a "communication disorder" that makes it difficult for her to interact with her peers — however, the disorder is never specified beyond this description, since in Japan the term "communication disorder" can refer to anything from being neurodivergent to simply having No Social Skills. Despite this, a considerable number of fans interpret her as being autistic and/or having social anxiety disorder thanks to her preference for nonverbal communication, her difficulties with following the mood of conversations, and her tendency to experience borderline panic attacks when faced with certain types of social interaction.
  • Liz and the Blue Bird: Several fans interpret Mizore as autistic. Signs pointing to this include her having difficulty expressing her emotions (and coming across as morose and monotone as a result), hyperfixations that she easily gets lost in (playing the oboe, feeding the blowfish, reading the storybook), and an anxious tic (running her hand through her hair) that resembles stimming.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: Amuro is frequently interpreted by fans to be on the autism spectrum thanks to his inability to read social cues and his obsession with fixing things and reading, oftentimes to the point of neglecting his surroundings.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Izuku Midoriya has many behaviors and personality quirks that lead a number of fans to headcanon him as being autistic. These include an almost-obsessive focus on a singular interest (superheroes, particularly All Might, in his case) that he has devoted considerable time and energy into over the course of his life (as indicated by his myriad notebooks with detailed information and statistics on heroes), a self-admitted difficulty in understanding humor and social interaction, stimming behaviors (mild exercises, muttering to himself, and rocking in a chair as a child), a natural affinity for patterns (especially noticing them), and hyperempathy.
    • Mei Hatsume has been interpreted as autistic due to her hyperfixation on inventing, her difficulties understanding social norms or cues such as personal space, and her tics that some view as stimming.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • A number of fans headcanon Shinji Ikari as autistic thanks to his shyness, apparent inability to tell when he's being abused, social ineptitude, naiveté, difficulties expressing and understanding his own emotions, and difficulties understanding others.
    • Rei Ayanami is frequently speculated by fans to be autistic thanks to her flat affect, her lack of social skills, her messy room (which fans cite as a sign of executive dysfunction), and her inability to understand and express her own emotions, all of which bely a strong sense of empathy. The fact that she's a clone of Shinji's mom, and therefore Shinji's sister, additionally ties into the interpretation given that autism has major genetic components and that Shinji is also frequently headcanoned as autistic. The fact that Rei was explicitly meant to be creepy and off-putting is also turned on its head by those who interpret her as autistic, given that creepiness is a common stereotype of autistic people.
  • Nichijou: A sizable portion of fans interpret Mai Minakami as autistic thanks to her flat affect, her high intelligence, her inability to pick up on social cues, and her fascination with pranks, the latter of which is often read as a special interest. Such interpretations also portray her hobby of carving statues as a stim.
  • Pokémon Horizons: The Series:
    • A number of fans speculate that Liko is autistic, owed to her lack of social skills, her strong observational skills, her studiousness, and her Shrinking Violet personality. She also displays a strong interest in Pokémon and Nidothing, her favorite internet personality, which is easy to read as special interests, and in one scene discusses how her social ineptitude makes it difficult to talk with anyone about them, an experience that many autistic fans relate to.
    • Similarly, fans have been speculating that Dot is similarly autistic due to her being The Shut-In that almost never leaves her room, not even to eat (apparently she seems to subsist just on vitamin gummies), doesn't directly communicate with her teammates on the Brave Asagi aside from the Rotom Phone's messaging app and her Quaxly, and is a Child Prodigy who helped design the Rising Volt Tacklers's tech systems while moonlighting as the highly energetic Nidothing. Interestingly she describes direct human interaction as "a pain" and something she doesn't have time for while also loves acquiring new information on things, especially when it comes to Pokémon.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica has Homura Akemi, who many fans see as showing couple signs of being on the autism spectrum, such as her mostly unemotional face, monotone speech, and clumsiness before she made her contract. Her emotionless behavior could alternately be due to PTSD, since she was much more openly emotional before she became a magical girl, and didn't become as emotionless until she went through numerous time loops where she failed to save Madoka and repeatedly watched her fellow magical girls die.
    • The spinoff Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story has Mito Aino. The way her classmates often tease her for being an airhead, her peculiar habits, the way her mother talks to her and her attempt to move Mito out of the unfriendly neighborhood imply that Mito is somewhere in the autism spectrum.
  • Serial Experiments Lain: A large number of fans view Lain as autistic thanks to her social ineptitude (which includes an inability to understand interpersonal relationships), her rigid adherence to particular habits, her obsessive tendencies (which are easy to read as special interests), her stunted speech when offline, and her savantlike talent with mathematics and computing.
  • A Silent Voice: Ueno:
    • Less charitable fans, particularly those who only watched the movie, have been known to view Ueno as somewhere on the sociopathic spectrum for her lack of empathy and remorse in addition to her wild mood swings.
    • Manga readers are more prone to diagnosing Ueno with Borderline Personality Disorder, as its symptoms match a lot of the mental and emotional problems that she's shown to have throughout the series, including her violent outbursts.
  • A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow: Some readers speculate that Koyuki is on the autism spectrum since while her issues with social interaction can partially be attributed to being pressured to be a model student, she also has difficulty considering Konatsu's feelings.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman and the rest of the Batfamily are widely considered by fans to have PTSD (at minimum) as a matter of course, due to their shared experiences with violence; the level of canonical support for this varies.
  • The Flash: Thanks to the effects of Super-Speed, several of the Flash Family demonstrate Personality Powers, leading many fans to note they appear to have ADHD. Wally West and Bart Allen both have impulsive personalities, are easily bored and get agitated when bored, have short attention spans and tend to require constant stimulation, and enjoy unhealthy eating habits. Jesse Quick, meanwhile, is neurotic, emotionally sensitive, and a workaholic who loses herself in work and gets agitated when she doesn't have something to keep her busy, and both her and Wally have anxiety and hyperfixations they clung to in their youth, note  while all three demonstrate short tempers and struggle with depression. All of them tick off many boxes for ADHD, albeit interestingly not all the same boxes, making ADHD headcanons so commonplace that it can be surprising to learn it's not officially confirmed.
  • Gaston Lagaffe: Gaston is sometimes perceived by readers as autistic, due to his lack of social skills (only Jeanne, Jules and Bertrand seems to like him), his passion for music and animals, and his genius when it comes to inventions. Also, he is speculated to be narcoleptic due to the fact that he is capable to fall asleep while standing.
  • Though Spider-Man is canonically (as far as anyone can tell), neurotypical, the Thought Slime video "Spider-Man and neurodivergence!" makes the case that the secret identity trope, particularly in how it's applied to Spider-Man, is itself an analogy for neurodivergence, and Peter's attempts to hide his inner struggles to appear "normal" can be compared to disorders like ADHD, anxiety, autism, and a number of others.
  • Superman: Lois Lane's constant tendency to make spelling errors had fans theorizing that she has dyslexia or dysgraphia.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes: Calvin having ADHD has long been a popular fan theory thanks to his general obliviousness to the world around him and his short attention span, to the point where one notorious fan comic depicts Calvin being unable to talk with Hobbes anymore after being prescribed Adderall. Calvin being autistic is another commonly held theory thanks to his inability to comprehend the motivations of other people, his intricate and vivid fantasies, and the fact that his Book Dumb nature belies his immense knowledge about subjects that truly interest him, such as dinosaurs and gross things (which are consequently easy to read as special interests); after the DSM and ICD started allowing dual diagnoses of autism and ADHD, many neurodivergent fans started interpreting Calvin as having both.

    Films — Animation 
  • How to Train Your Dragon:
    • Hiccup isn't very good at following orders or staying in one place for too long, easily loses focus on subjects and activities he doesn't find interesting, becomes hyperfixated on his interests to the point that it sometimes distracts him from danger, is very observant, creative, and inventive when it comes to the things that fascinate him, is noted by his father to have been "different" ever since he was a small child, and has trouble fitting in with his peers and his society in general because of his different way of thinking. This has led many fans to speculate that Hiccup has ADHD and/or is autistic.
    • Fishlegs is incredibly knowledgeable about dragons, has read the Dragon Manual seven times, and frequently excitedly infodumps excessively about dragons to his peers, often to the point of annoyance, and seems to have a poor ability to understand social cues in general. Because of this, a large number of fans believe him to be autistic.
  • Among neurodivergent fans of Lilo & Stitch, Lilo herself is frequently interpreted as being autistic, due to her difficulties with socializing, her niche and unusually strong interests (e.g. Elvis Presley and photographing fat people), and her character arc of seeking acceptance among peers and family members who don't fully understand how she thinks and acts. This interpretation is so popular that Lilo has ended up becoming a makeshift mascot for various "autistic headcanon" blogs.
  • Smurfs: The Lost Village: Smurfblossom is commonly interpreted as being autistic due to her difficulty with socializing (she doesn't think before she speaks, with one character reminding her to "work on her filter"), repetition of new words in a way that resembles echolalia, and repetitive movements when she's excited that are commonly interpreted as stimming. Her jittery nature and inability to concentrate are often interpreted as ADHD, as well.
  • Steven Universe: The Movie:
    • Many fans have speculated that Spinel has Borderline Personality Disorder, with features of all the subtypes: a fear of abandonment that persisted even after her memories were erased, intense anger at those around her, including those who personally did her no wrong, and wildly shifting moods and opinions. Most tellingly is by her own admission at the end of the movie that she has no real idea why she wants to hurt Steven as bad as she does.
    • Many neurodivergent viewers see rejuvenated Amethyst's Baby See, Baby Do moments as being reminiscent of echolalia.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Baby Driver: Baby's intense focus, sensory issues, and tendency to repeat film dialogue in conversations have led to it being near-unanimously accepted by viewers that he's autistic, despite it not being explicitly stated in the movie.
  • Being There: A large contingency of audiences in the 21st century interpret Chance as autistic, in large part thanks to his flat affect, lack of social awareness, manchild characterization, and strong fixation on gardening and television, which define nearly every aspect of his lifestyle. At least one autistic reviewer additionally described the scene where Chance wanders the city streets alone and confused, looking for a garden to tend, as paralleling autistic difficulties with interacting with neurotypical society. This interpretation even made its way to the liner notes of The Criterion Collection's DVD release of the film.
  • The Blues Brothers: A number of viewers interpret Elwood Blues as autistic. This interpretation mainly stems from his predilection for sunglasses and relatively tasteless foods (which parallel autistic hypersensitivity and, in the case of the former, avoidance of direct eye contact) and from his long, convoluted speeches (which resemble infodumping). The fact that Dan Aykroyd, who played Elwood and cowrote the script, is autistic further ties into this interpretation.
  • Do the Right Thing: A number of fans speculate that Radio Raheem may be autistic, in large part thanks to the attachment he has to his boombox, which is easy to read as a special interest (music) or a comfort item (the boombox itself). The fact that he gets killed by the police in the film's climax also factors into this interpretation, as Black autistic people are at a much higher risk of facing Police Brutality than neurotypical Black people and white autistic people.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves: Xenk is often read as autistic, with fans citing his being Literal-Minded, seriousness at odds with the rest of the party, and strong morals as evidence for this interpretation.
  • Edward Scissorhands: Edward has been speculated as being a metaphor for autism and related disorders. One particularly notable thing is the way the film portrays people's reactions to him. While one might see the fascination most of the neighborhood has with him as being parodic of the stereotype of 1970s suburbanites being closed-minded, it's also perfectly apt for the post-Rain Man world of the late '80s and early '90s when there was widespread interest in the savant abilities possessed by some autistic people.
  • Fatal Attraction: Mental health professionals have a field day trying to figure out precisely what's wrong with Alex, but many agree on Borderline Personality Disorder, as evidenced by the way she declares herself in love with Dan after one weekend and tries to kill herself when he leaves. Some have also speculated that she was a victim of sexual abuse, again stemming from her attachment issues.
  • Fifty Shades of Grey: A large chunk of readers speculate that Christian has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, as he displays many of its symptoms, including but not limited to; being arrogant, aloof, and entitled, disregarding the feelings and wants of others, manipulating people to get what he wants, and having a deep-seated desire for attention and admiration from those around him.
  • The Fly (1986): A number of viewers interpret Seth Brundle as being autistic. Much of this stems from his desire for repetition and familiarity in his life, the contrast between his difficulties with small talk and his eloquent enthusiasm in his interests and work, which virtually defines his life (and thus is easy to read as a special interest), his talent for logical thinking, his extravagant gestures, his stuttering, and his straightforwardness (to the point of being a Bad Liar). Critic Drew McWeeny noted that the film is hugely popular with autistic viewers for this reason.
  • Forrest Gump: The titular character, Forrest, is very frequently read as autistic by viewers, being breathtakingly straightforward (and unfailingly polite) in his interactions with others, highly focused in extremely niche circumstances, and mostly either confused by or completely unaware of the nuances of the social situations he finds himself in.
  • Full Metal Jacket: Pvt. Pyle is commonly speculated to have some kind of developmental disability, as he struggles to grasp even simple tasks and directions.
  • Jurassic Park: Many viewers interpret Ian and Alan as having PTSD in The Lost World and Jurassic Park III, respectively. Ian has a near complete personality change between the first two films, being much more serious and solemn in general, wanting nothing to do with Site B, and freezing up whenever he comes across the rexes. Alan also shows signs that his experiences on Isla Nublar were so traumatic that it changed his view of dinosaurs, and he doesn't even want to acknowledge it. He also has a nightmare about a Velociraptor on the way to Isla Sorna.
  • The Master of Disguise: Many people interpret the main character, Pistachio Disguisey, as autistic for multiple reasons: he impersonates people who are right in front of him and doesn't seem capable of seeing how rude they find it, he has only one facial expression when he's not actively disguising himself, he has an atypical hobby of dressing up in weird costumes by using unusual things like shaving cream, he mutters incessantly to himself, he has poor posture, and he has an accent inconsistent with both where the film is set and where he grew up (America).
  • Napoleon Dynamite: A substantial chunk of viewers interpret the title character as autistic. Much of this rests on his odd posture, his stilted speaking style, his idiosyncratic gestures (such as squinting whenever he talks) that are easy to read as stims, his apparent difficulty to understand and express emotions, his love of drawing, which is easy to read as a special interest, and his struggles with socialization, which results in him befriending other "weird" students.
  • Nope:
    • OJ seems to struggle in social settings, prefers being around his horses over people, is stubbornly set in his ways, and struggles to make eye contact in general. All of these traits have led to fans believing him to be on the autism spectrum.
    • His sister Em is often regarded as having ADHD on account of her hyperactive personality, her inability to focus very long on a given subject, and her tendency to talk more than intended.
  • Numerous psychiatrists have speculated about the mental health of Anakin Skywalker based on the symptoms he shows in the Star Wars prequels, with the most popular theory being that he has Borderline Personality Disorder. The speculation even made its way into the Expanded Universe: in the Coruscant Nights series, Jax Pavan recalls Anakin being prone to sudden mood swings and suspects he may have had some kind of mental illness. Likewise, in The Force Awakens, his successor and grandson Kylo Ren shows a similar collection of huge mood swings, extreme outbursts of anger, lack of empathy, difficulties with interpersonal relationships, emotional disturbances, and odd obsessions and anxieties. It doesn't help matters that in Star Wars Legends, and to some extent in canon, it's shown that being Drunk on the Dark Side has similar effects to hard drugs on brain chemistry, which greatly impacts the mentally ill.
  • Taxi Driver: Psychologists frequently interpret Travis Bickle as having schizotypal personality disorder. These readings cite his difficulties with socialization (for instance, trying to look charming but instead coming off as creepy), his stilted speech (both in dialogue and his inner monologues), his tendency to see others in black and white terms, and especially his apparent paranoia which morphs into a belief that he's on a mission to cleanse the world of filth.

  • American Girls Collection: In canon, McKenna is only said to have issues with reading comprehension—a common hurdle for fourth graders once reading is less about the skill of reading and more about understanding what's being read and getting meaning from it. Many people in the fandom have interpreted this as dyslexia.
  • Animorphs: Ax's mannerisms (Spock Speak, being Literal-Minded, his obsession with human food and television, his use of random facts for "making conversation") are already heavily autistic-coded, but this may just be how Andalites react to having a human body and all these new experiences. Except no other Andalite acts like Ax does (the closest would be Estrid, but for her, it was just the Sense Freak obsession with a particular food, and she got it under control fairly quickly), and he still acts like this after living on Earth for three years. Because of this, some fans have decided that he has whatever the Andalite equivalent of autism is.
  • Book of Genesis:
    • There are some scholars and Biblical historians who believe that Joseph might have had autism (albeit impossible to state due to not being classified at the time of writing). This stems from being seen as childish due to being on his own and spending time with the sheep, and not picking up social cues such as telling his brothers about a dream where they bowed to him. His fascination with dreams (always asking God about their meanings) can also be seen as a special interest.
    • Some scholars have posited that Isaac may have had autism or some other developmental disability. This could explain why his role is so passive compared to his active father, sons, and grandsons, why his father so easily accepted God's order to sacrifice him, and why he was so easily tricked by his wife and son in his old age.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: A large number of readers and viewers interpret Wonka as autistic or otherwise neurodivergent. His life-defining passion for candy-making is often read as a special interest, his various idiosyncratic movements and gestures (e.g. skipping and twirling while he walks) are interpreted as stims, his rapid, long-winded speeches are interpreted as infodumping, and his image as an oddball is widely noted as paralleling how neurotypical people often view autistic folks. His portrayal in the 2005 film ramps this up, with his fidgeting, his difficulties socializing (to the point where he needs cue cards to carry conversations), his childish image, and his preference for heavy clothing also being cited as relatable to autistic viewers. His conflict with his father in the film is also noted as paralleling how many autistic people are abused by their parents, especially when their special interests are seen as undesirable.
  • Fifty Shades of Grey: A large chunk of readers speculate that Christian has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, as he displays many of its symptoms, including but not limited to: being arrogant, aloof, and entitled, disregarding the feelings and wants of others, manipulating people to get what he wants, being easily angered or upset if things don't go his way and having a deep-seated desire for attention and admiration from those around him. He is seeing a therapist throughout the series due to childhood trauma and while his therapist never mentions Christian having any specific disorders, he does tell Ana that Christian is emotionally stunted; Ana herself eventually observes that Christian often reacts to and deals with conflict the way a petulant, overwhelmed teenager would despite being in his late 20s - emotional and social immaturity can also be a symptom of NPD.
  • Goblin Slayer: The titular character displays a lack of interest in sex, an obsessive fixation with killing goblins, and is rather blunt even when attempting to socialize. As a result, many 4chan users refer to him as being on the autism spectrum.
  • The mental stability of Achilles in The Iliad has been speculated on by readers, literary critics, licensed therapists, and psychologists. The biggest theories are that he either has Narcissistic Personality Disorder (grandiosity, easily enraged by slights, self-centeredness, and Lack of Empathy) or Borderline Personality Disorder (impulsivity, extreme emotions, attachment issues, and almost dissociative rages), or a combination of the two.
  • Lessons in Chemistry's heroine Elizabeth is frequently interpreted as being on the autism spectrum due to her candidness, frustrations with social conventions, fixation on chemistry and dislike when her routines are thrown out of order.
  • Little Women: Beth March is sometimes viewed by modern readers as being on the Autism Spectrum. She's extremely shy and socially anxious, to the point that she needs to be homeschooled because she couldn't bear going to regular school; she has set routines of housework and special interests in piano playing, dolls, and cats; in her special interest of piano playing, she's very proficient at a young age, even composing her own music; yet she tends to be more childlike than her sisters, still having imaginary friends and treating her dolls like living people in her early teens; she tends to live in her head more than the others do; and she neither wants nor is able to "leave the nest" when she grows up, but spends her entire short life in the familiar, "safe" surroundings of her parents' house.
  • The Moomins:
    • Although Snufkin cares a lot for his friends, he still needs to spend lots of time alone, often leaving for months to wander the wilderness on his own. In Moominvalley, he even abandons Moomin at a party because it becomes too stressful for him. Fans may interpret this as some form of social anxiety.
      Snufkin: Its not that I don't like people. I just feel caged in sometimes.
    • Snork is commonly headcanoned as autistic. He is described as "particular" in Comet in Moominland, and enjoys jotting down details and keeping things organised. In the '90s anime, he often forgets to do basic tasks like eat when he becomes engrossed in his work, and in the 2019 series, he's extremely Literal-Minded and is hinted to suffer from sensory overload if things get too chaotic.
  • Mr. Mercedes: Eventual deuteragonist and later protagonist of The Outsider (2018) and If It Bleeds Holly Gibney is neat, fussy, painfully socially awkward at the best of times, and engages in self-soothing behaviors (like smoking and self-hugging) which are explicitly termed as stimming in the text. Holly is almost universally accepted by the Stephen King fanbase as autistic, and seemingly by King himself, who gave Justine Lupe and Cynthia Erivo express permission to portray Holly as autistic in the respective TV adaptations of this book and The Outsider.
  • November 9: Some readers have pointed out that Ben displays sociopathic traits. While he's shown to be capable of empathy to some extent, he tends to put his own feelings and desires above other people's, or focus on how others' suffering affects him first and foremost. He repeatedly uses charm, emotional manipulation and deception to get what he wants from others or to avoid taking responsibility for his actions. He displays recklessly impulsive behaviour, especially when he's distressed and angry, with little thought given to the consequences. He also engages in anti-social and occasionally criminally dangerous behaviour (for which he doesn't show much remorse or willingness to make amends save for feeling sorry for himself), ranging from pressuring Fallon to undress herself and grabbing her car keys out of her hand to stop her leaving, up to violating a restraining order and committing arson.
  • Sherlock Holmes: The titular detective is popularly interpreted as autistic and/or having ADHD by a number of fans and psychologists, owed to his highly specialized knowledge in specific subjects, his prodigious logical reasoning, his noticeable mood swings, his hyperfocused multi-tasking, his tendency to jump between topics in conversations, and his difficulties with social interactions. At one point, he takes a cocaine solution that nearly renders him catatonic; stimulants often act as depressants for neurodivergent people. The autism interpretation has long been controversial for relying on stereotypes of autistic people, but a number of autistic fans embraced the theory to the extent of commonly applying it to later takes on the mythos. Furthermore, the headcanon of a neurodivergent Holmes had a run-on effect of creating an entire archetype revolving around detectives who implicitly or explicitly have various mental conditions that inform their skills.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Big Bang Theory: While Sheldon's actor, Jim Parsons, confirmed that he portrayed Sheldon as an autistic character, no confirmation exists for his Distaff Counterpart and girlfriend, Amy. Despite this, Amy is often described by audiences as an autistic-coded character, thanks to her carrying over Sheldon's lack of social skills, niche interests, and idiosyncratic lines of thought that allow her to get along with Sheldon to a greater degree than the rest of his peer group. Her social anxiety and its roots in her lifelong inability to "click" with most other people are also noted as resonating strongly with real-world autistic experiences.
  • Black Mirror: In "USS Callister", it is quite possible to view Robert Daly as autistic or at least socially anxious. Despite being highly intelligent, he is introverted to the point of having trouble exerting authority over even his own real-life subordinates, and seems to otherwise lack a social life, spending most of his off-the-clock time in Infinity.
  • Gordon Brittas of The Brittas Empire acts in a way that has led some of the audience to theorize that he's on the Autism Spectrum, having a severe deficit of social skills, being absolutely confused at the concept of subtext (something which Laura attempts to, but fails to explain to him) let alone sarcasm, and having a very rule-bound and routine-heavy attitude towards his job, to the point that people have been driven insane because he wouldn't accommodate their desired changes. He also has a lack of regard for privacy, at one point spying on his staff without it ever occurring to him that this may not be socially acceptable, and has a tendency to make exaggerated arm gestures and shake his head when he speaks. One of the co-creators (Andrew Norriss) reposted a blog post from a watcher theorizing this on his website, suggesting possible Diagnosis of God, but there is no concrete evidence otherwise and certainly not within the show itself.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: At first, viewers are led to believe Anya's complete lack of social skills is a result of having been a demon for centuries, but eventually it's revealed that she acted this way before she ever became one. This strongly suggests she could be on the Autism Spectrum, and many autistic fans identify with her as a result.
  • Dexter: While Dexter is said to be sociopathic, he is far too restrained and can calculate too well into the future to be one. Some fans consider him to be a blend of a "covert" or "secret" schizoid and a really malignant case of obsessive-compulsive disorder, due to his loner tendencies and the unusually obsessive nature of his homicidal impulses.
  • Don't Hug Me I'm Scared:
    • Red Guy is mostly headcanoned as autistic thanks to his monotone voice, inability to express his feelings (alexithymia is a common symptom of autism) or understand the feelings of others, and tendency to say whatever is on his mind, even if it might be hurtful.
    • Yellow Guy, thanks to being the Manchild Cloud Cuckoo Lander, is often headcanoned as someone who is autistic, has ADHD or both. Worth noting that "Electricity" shows that his ditzy behavior is a result of bad batteries in him. That said, even after getting better batteries, he still shows traits of neurodivergence, like hyperfocusing on certain topics.
    • Warren the "eagle" is also thought by some people to be autistic because of his lack of social tact and other behaviors, like laughing when he's offended.
  • The incarnation of Morse in Endeavour is interpreted by many in the fanbase to be neurodivergent in some capacity, as he displays a propensity to addiction, a history of suicide attempts, depressive moods, savant qualities with regards to literature and opera, and particularly in early seasons a lack of social skills and seemingly unconscious recklessness.
  • Everybody Loves Raymond: A large number of viewers interpret Marie Barone as having narcissistic personality disorder, owed to her constant intrusions into her children's lives, her manipulative nature, her self-centeredness, and her tendency to throw fits whenever things don't go her way. The fact that she dotes on Raymond while scapegoating and belittling Robert and Debra is also cited by survivors of narcissistic parents as a hallmark of the kind of abuse they went through growing up.
  • Game of Thrones: Many viewers and actual therapists have noted that certain characters show strong signs of having certain mental disorders.
    • Cersei is widely believed to have Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and possibly co-morbidity with Antisocial Personality Disorder.
    • Joffrey is widely interpreted as a sadistic sociopath (someone with Antisocial Personality Disorder and Sadistic Personality Disorder) by the vast majority of analysts.
    • Sandor and Theon are both strong contenders for having Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, according to multiple registered therapists. Notably, analysis often draws attention to how the show accurately depicts how PTSD affects people in different ways, with Sandor showing more signs of avoidance (having suffered disfiguring burns as a child, he finds fire triggering), and Theon going into states of passivity. Sandor also shows signs of having depression, which often coincides with PTSD.
    • More or less evoked by Tywin's admission to Arya that Jaime has dyslexia, though obviously without using the actual word. The scene essentially invited viewers familiar with dyslexia to engage in this trope.
    • Viewers have noticed that the change in character Tyrion experiences after he gets sentenced to death, barely escapes and kills his former lover on the way out, as well as his diminished political prowess (which is just as frequently cited as a complaint of the change in writing once the series ran out of source material) correlate well with symptoms of PTSD, depression and burnout.
  • House:
    • Many appear, but Wilson tends to stands out. He has trouble with relationships and is drawn to help anyone with a problem, yet is highly manipulative and seems to impose himself on his patients' lives even though they don't seem to want it; said patients usually don't object because they don't want to be rude to their doctor. Many fans speculate that he has some kind of attachment disorder.
    • House. It's never stated what exactly his issue is, but it's made very clear he has some sort of mental disorder. He has narcissistic tendencies, acts impulsively, has to constantly keep his mind active, has an addictive personality, and appears to be perpetually depressed. Then there's his social difficulties. The strongest theories point to some kind of depressive disorder, most likely PDD (Persistent-Depressive Disorder), combined with adult ADHD.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia:
    • Charlie is very brash, hotheaded, childish, has No Social Skills, and is very Book Dumb, though he's also quite cunning when he puts his mind to it, to the point where he's often described as a savant. Consequently, a number of audiences interpret him as being autistic or otherwise neurodivergent.
    • Multiple real-life therapists describe Mac as showing symptoms of Histrionic Personality Disorder; his rapidly shifting (and incredibly passionate) mood-swings, his tendency to attract everyone's attention, his gullibility, his lack of impulse control, his obsession with his appearance (maintaining his glamour muscles and false action-hero persona) and pathological lust for the approval of others (from Dennis and his dad especially).
  • Detective Robert Goren from Law & Order: Criminal Intent seems to have trouble connecting with others, has a hard time accepting changes in routine (most notably displayed any time Eames is absent), gets obsessive about things easily, latches on to small details, fidgets quite a bit... a lot of signs of someone being autistic. The episode "Probability" implies this could be why he gets along so well with Wally Stevens, an autistic man. Eames points out their similarities multiple times, and Goren is the one who realizes both that Wally is neurodivergent, and that he subconsiously creates groupings of five in a specific configuration.note 
    Eames: You two looked like you were having so much fun.
  • The Mandalorian:
    • Din Djarin's meticulousness, straightforward dialogue, and difficulties interacting with others have resulted in some viewers speculating that he's autistic and/or has social anxiety.
    • Miggs Mayfeld's reaction to meeting his former commanding officer has led many fans to claim he is suffering from PTSD.
  • Northern Exposure: Ed's shyness, odd bouts of tunnel vision, and reluctance to make eye contact indicate he may be on the autism spectrum.
  • NUMB3RS: Charlie is a highly sensitive individual who responds to trauma by going into a Heroic B So D, has some very quirky mannerisms (such as his Charlie vision), and is clearly a savant whose character is at least partially inspired by Rain Man. This has convinced much of the fandom that he is on the autism spectrum.
  • Parks and Recreation: Leslie Knope's tendency to hyperfocus on certain topics, social awkwardness and fondness for detailed organization have caused many to read her as on the autism spectrum. Some also see her hyperactive personality as indicative of ADHD.
  • Sex Education: A large amount of viewers interpret Lily Iglehart as autistic, thanks to her strong interest in aliens, role-playing, and erotica (which are often read as special interests), her blunt nature, her difficulties with socialization, her flat affect, and her repetitive behaviors. The scene where everyone around her, including her friends, make fun of her for her interest in sci-fi erotica is also widely noted as paralleling ableist bullying in school settings and how damaging it is to autistic people.
  • Star Trek: Discovery: Tilly is often viewed as autistic, as she tends to speak at a rapid pace driven by anxiety, info dumps, and has sensory issues that require "special accommodations" by Starfleet. In one episode, Burnham tells her about an imperfection in the captain's chair armrest that she can use to calm herself down, which can be interpreted as directing her to a good stimming spot. The writers have left it up in the air.
  • Stranger Things:
    • Many fans think Robin is autistic. Though she does not claim to be autistic (which makes sense, since it would be fairly unlikely for a girl in the '80s to be diagnosed) and it hasn’t been canonically confirmed, the sheer number of autistic traits she exhibits and explicitly claims to have make it seem intentional. Among other things, she has “no filter,” struggles to understand social cues, strongly dislikes uncomfortable clothing, covers her ears when she hears loud noises, and took longer to walk than most babies.
    • Eddie is fidgety, very kinetic, a bit of a showman, a self-admittedly terrible student, and describes himself as constantly feeling like he's going out of his mind. To say that ADHD fans took notice with great haste would be a massive understatement.
  • Succession: Kendall is heavily suspected by the fanbase to suffer from bipolar disorder, with his behavior in Season 3 especially following a textbook manic phase (the season premiere) and depressive phase (the ending of "Too Much Birthday" and the subsequent episodes).
  • The Suite Life of Zack & Cody: Cody can be read as autistic due to him not recognising social cues and having a range of special interests that class him as 'weird' and 'strange' to his peers. He also shows signs of OCD, planning things so that they go perfectly and cleans obsessively, especially in On Deck.
  • Ted Lasso: Jamie Tartt is considered by a good number of fans to have C-PTSD due to his abusive father. He flinches at physical contact, has a noticeable reaction to yelling or loud noises, and displays clear trust issues with older, male authority figures. When his father confronts him after a loss, his posture and demeanor are clearly hesitant to engage.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): Charley Parkes, the lead protagonist of "Miniature", is widely interpreted as autistic by 21st century audiences. This reading stems from the dichotomy between his excellence at work and his social ineptitude. Among other things, he's bad with eye contact and repeatedly fails to connect with others, who regard him as weird and constantly try to make him more "normal," to his chagrin. His fixation with the living miniatures in his dollhouse is also easy to read as allegorical for a special interest.
  • Wednesday: Wednesday's lack of social skills, dislike of being touched by people she's not comfortable around, blunt and direct way of speaking, unusual interests (even for an academy designed for outcasts), strong sense of justice, and skill at pattern recognition have led to autistic fans labelling her as one of them.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Perturabo's brooding demeanor, mercurial behavior, inability to recognize social cues and hyperfixation on siege warfare has led some fans to come to the conclusion that he is on the autism spectrum.
    • Though He intends the very best for humanity, the Emperor of Mankind's cold demeanor, morally-questionable decisions and inability to connect with others on an emotional level has led to the controversial fan theory that He is a high-functioning psychopath.

  • Pygmalion and My Fair Lady: There is speculation, including articles in academic literary and mental health journals, that Henry Higgins is on the Autism Spectrum, due to his lack of social awareness, repetitive patterns of behavior and interests (e.g. his study of linguistics), and difficulty with reading others' emotions and expressing empathy.

    Video Games 
  • AFK Arena: It's made explicit that Pippa has some kind of disorder, but exactly what disorder isn't specified. However, her mannerisms, bizarre fixations, and experiences at the Astral Academy have made players on the Autism spectrum specifically sympathize with her.
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons: Flick's intense interest in bugs, apparent trouble speaking to people other than C.J and eventually the player, and tendency to say his rather unusual thoughts about insects out loud are all traits commonly found in autistic or otherwise neurodivergent people, leading many fans to see him as autistic.
  • Apex Legends: Many Legends show signs of having at least one disorder, to the point that it's almost universally accepted among fans that certain legends have disorders.
    • Mirage's personality does a complete 180 if he's the last person on his team — from jovial to self-depreciating as well as riddled with anxiety — and combined with his desire to be around people it's likely he suffers from generalized anxiety disorder and/or has depression stemming from his fear of being alone. Some of his other traits, such as being socially awkward; bouncing from one idea to the next; frequent distraction even mid-sentence; hyperfixation on certain words/ideas, and increased focus on subjects that interest him (e.g. holographic engineering) to the point of neglecting others aspects of his life (e.g. not knowing how to use a phone's recording feature) suggests he's autistic and/or had ADHD.
    • Octane has never been stated to suffer from any disorder, but his lack of patience and constant need for sensation are symptoms of ADHD. Due to his hyperactive nature when pursuing a death-defying stunt that excites him, a number of fans specifically peg him as having hyperactive-impulsive type ADHD. The waters are further muddied by an interview from Tom Casiello, a former head writer for Apex, which states that Octane's neglectful parents could also be a cause of his need for stimulation and attention — and also suggests that Octane could be addicted to the stims, which might be having other effects on his personality.
    • Until Voidwalker gave her more backstory, Wraith was this too. Her bio stated she had spent some time in an IMC detention facility for the mentally ill. Her disorder has never been specified, but her blunted emotions can be indicative of depression and/or PTSD due to the trauma she suffered, which in turn may have played a part in her development of amnesia.
  • Blue Reflection: Fumio's intense obsession with music, as well as her literal understanding of wordplays and puns, has led many fans to believe she's autistic.
  • Cookie Run Kingdom: Eclair Cookie's narrow interests, tendency to overshare and infodump, and Innocently Insensitive moments all lead to neurodivergent fans commonly headcanoning him as autistic.
  • Crash Bandicoot is sometimes theorized to be autistic as, while he can't hold a conversation and is often shown to be spaced out, is also an extremely talented athlete and puzzle solver which is a lot like how autistic people can be extremely talented in some areas while utterly clueless in others.
  • Deltarune: A sizable chunk of fans headcanon Kris as autistic. This interpretation focuses on a large number of traits, but the most prominent ones are their aloofness and disconnect from their peers as the only human in a town of monsters, which is easy to read as an allegory for being neurodivergent in an otherwise neurotypical social environment, their Heroic Mime status, which resonates well with nonverbal and semi-verbal autistic fans, and their surprisingly in-depth enthusiasm for odd, niche subjects, which parallel autistic special interests. Other commonly-cited parallels include their dislike of big, sudden hugs, their unusual and sensory-centric taste in food, and the Easter Egg where the player can repeatedly flush a toilet, which autistic audiences cite as resembling a stim.
  • Fear & Hunger: Termina: Samarie displays a lack of social awareness, is averse towards openly interacting with people, can potentially infodump her early life and how it affected her to complete strangers, and has an obsessive fixation with Marina much akin to a special interest. As such, quite a few fans have headcanoned her as autistic.
  • Like a Dragon: A large number of fans headcanon Kazuma Kiryu as autistic. This interpretation stems from a number of quirks he displays throughout the series, such as his awkwardness in day-to-day interactions, his tendency to fixate on and get very passionate about esoteric things like Pocket Circuit racing and arcade games (which parallel hyperfixations and special interests), and his strong sense of empathy, which can occasionally leave him vulnerable to manipulation.
  • Nancy Drew:
    • Rentaro from "Shadow at the Water's Edge" is often diagnosed as being potentially on the Autism Spectrum. Specifically citing him spelling out how he finds machines much more relatable, the passion he shows for his machines as well as the sudoku puzzles, and how he has a hard time communicating how he truly feels.
    • Minette from "Danger by Design" has had a lot of people suggesting she may have had untreated Borderline Personality Disorder (Citing her violent and sudden mood swings), and perhaps bipolar disorder (Citing her impulsive behaviour and periods of productive work suggesting she may have been manic.)
    • Mason in "The Deadly Device" has been diagnosed by the fandom as having Obsessive Compulsive Disorder showcasing a lot of his quirks surrounding organisation.
    • Colton in "Ghost of Thornton Hall" has been diagnosed as having Depression and an anxiety disorder by the fans.
    • Joy in "The Haunted Carousel" was diagnosed by the fans as having depression and possibly a mild form of post-traumatic stress disorder regarding the deaths of her parents.
  • Octopath Traveler: A number of fans interpret Olberic, Primrose, and Therion as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Olberic and Primrose both have frequent nightmares of Hornburg's ruin and murder of Geoffrey Azelhart, respectively. While Olberic was accepted into Cobbleston and treated kindly by its people, Primrose crossed the Despair Event Horizon and says several times that murdering the three men who murdered her father is her only reason for living, voluntarily subjecting herself to Helgenish's mistreatment for years for the mere chance at revenge. Therion, meanwhile, has several flashbacks of his partnership with Darius and has severe trust issues after being cruelly betrayed and nearly murdered by him.
  • Pico: In fanworks, Pico is often depicted as suffering from PTSD following the events of Pico's School, sometimes extended to include his other troubling childhood misadventures. The only disorder he "canonically" has is schizophrenia, though even that is up in the air due to coming from a long-defunct site and Pico's own status as an Interpretative Character.
  • Pikmin: Louie doesn't connect well with others, is largely nonverbal, has very simple and almost childlike pleasures and motivations (apart from his love of food, Pikmin 4 has Louie express the desire to ride various objects and creatures), and is an overall unmotivated employee for Hocotate Freight, but is very skilled and verbose concerning a specific subject he loves (cooking). Olimar has trouble fully understanding Louie and his motives, but believes that he still has his own personal reasons for doing what he does. This combination of traits lead some fans to consider Louie to be somewhere on the autism spectrum.
  • Pizza Tower: A substantial number of fans interpret Peppino as having generalized anxiety disorder and/or PTSD thanks to his jittery nature, his constant freakouts at the bizarre situations he finds himself in, and in the case of the latter interpretation, the incredibly stressful nature of "WAR" (the title card for which depicts Peppino on a battlefield). While McPig openly denied the theory of Peppino being a Shell-Shocked Veteran, characterizing him as a Phony Veteran at best, it hasn't stopped fans from interpreting him as being plagued by war trauma.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire: Some fans have theorized that Courtney might be on the autism spectrum, as she is highly intelligent, rarely speaks, and is disinterested in most people and things except for a few specific interests (which are consequently easy to read as special interests).
    • Pokémon Diamond and Pearl: A large portion of the fandom sees Barry as having ADHD, due him being impulsive, easily distracted, incredibly impatient, and hyperactive, among other things.
    • Pokémon Scarlet and Violet:
      • Penny being autistic became a popular headcanon almost as soon as she was announced, due to her being shy, not attending classes often, and her attachment to her fluffy Eevee backpack, hinting at it being a comfort item of some sort. Once the game came out, she would show other characteristics like social awkwardness and poor social reading skills. Furthering this, she founded Team Star to fight back against bullies — autistic kids are unfortunately an extremely common target for bullying.
      • Nemona also began receiving fan diagnosis of ADHD, as her personality of being completely hyperfixated on battling reminded more than a few fans of similar behavior.
      • Larry quickly became referred to as "depressed", which wasn't surprising given his entire character is a stereotype of a beaten-down and exhausted office worker, not to mention his signature move is Facade, which he uses with the preface that "real life isn't all about just being true to yourself" as if he's got personal experience with it and which is specifically power-boosted when the user is suffering from a negative status effect. How much of his persona is performative for the position and how much of it is legitimate isn't clear, but most fans assume it is legitimate. It's presumable as well that the perception of depression may also be attributed to his cynical attitude.
  • Red Dead Redemption II:
    • The cause of Dutch's declining mental state throughout the game (and into the first game) is up for intense debate among fans, and there is no hiding his paranoia, impulsiveness, narcissism, and delusions of grandeur. You can see it early on when he out of the blue tells Arthur that he knows he will betray him in early Chapter 2, long before he really loses control. Many fans believe he is a Malignant Narcissist, and likely exacerbated by a brain injury he suffers during the game.
    • Arthur's self-deprecating nature, grumpy personality, pessimist attitude, and occasional bursts of anger indicated to many fans that he has Depression (then known as Melancholia) but it's never said outright. And this is before he gets TB.
    • Micah is widely seen as a sociopath: He lacks empathy, is manipulative, and back stabs anyone without a second thought. The player can learn in Chapter 6 that he once tried to lure Jack, a little boy, away from camp, implying that he might also be a pedophile.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Many fans interpret the title character as having ADHD, as he quickly gets annoyed if he stands still for some seconds, actively seeks out danger, and usually tends to improvise his strategies on the spot rather than plan them out in advance, with some official depictions of him even portraying the latter as something that he struggles with.
    • Miles "Tails" Prower is widely interpreted by fans as autistic thanks to his savant-like knowledge of and skills with technology and engineering (which is consequently easy to read as a special interest), his habit of twirling his tails around when idle (which is commonly read as a stim), and the fact that he was originally a socially awkward kid who couldn't connect with others before meeting Sonic. His habit of spouting technobabble is also commonly interpreted as infodumping in the context of reading his tech skills as a special interest.
  • Splatoon 3: Many fans interpret Harmony as being autistic and/or having ADHD. This interpretation rests on a number of her odd, awkward mannerisms, including her stilted speech, her struggles with tactfulness, her repeated use of an Ultra Hand (which resembles a stim), and her obliviousness towards her clownfish companion (which is often cited as a sign of executive dysfunction). Supplemental material additionally notes how she "moves peculiarly while singing and talks in a loose way between songs," which are further cited as indications of neurodivergence.
  • Stardew Valley: Fans widely headcanon Demetrius as autistic thanks to his Literal-Minded and highly logical approach to things in addition to his social awkwardness. At one point, he states that he doesn't always understand the assumptions in what other people say, but will try his best to do so, which autistic fans particularly cite as paralleling their own experiences.
  • Touhou Project: Neurodivergent fans frequently interpret Reimu Hakurei as autistic. This stems from a combination of her portrayals in the games and officially-sanctioned spinoff manga. Among other things, she displays idiosyncratic thought patterns and assumes that other people think and act the way she does, she rigidly sticks to her routines and openly desires predictability in life, she's honest to a fault and is a Bad Liar, and she's capable of losing her good mood at the slightest setback, with the results paralleling meltdowns and/or shutdowns. In addition, her habit of stretching and bending her arms behind her head is typically interpreted as a stim, her love of reading and alcohol are often viewed as special interests, and her tendency to go on long-winded lectures about things she likes come off to neurodivergent fans as infodumping.
  • Undertale:
    • A sizable contingency of fans headcanon Papyrus as autistic. Much of this stems from his Socially Awkward Hero status (to the point where he needs a guidebook to know how to act during a date), his tendency to interpret insults towards him as compliments or self-insults, his occasional "childish" behaviors, and especially his deep interests in cooking spaghetti and making puzzles, the latter of which defines a good chunk of his life (and consequently is easy to read as a special interest).
    • While it's never openly stated in-game, Sans' laziness and apathy to almost everything around him other than Papyrus led to a huge portion of the game's fanbase interpreting him as chronically depressed. This is especially true when considering his dialogue during the final battles of both the Pacifist and Genocide routes, which characterize him as having given up in life a long time ago. The latter fight in particular resulted in no shortage of fanfics that emphasized the interpretation of him as depressed.
    • There's a popular headcanon of Frisk being selectively mute, due to them staying silent for most of the game and only speaking when they initiate the conversation or are directly asked a question.

    Visual Novels 
  • CLANNAD: Kotomi is often speculated to be somewhere on the high-functioning end of the Autism spectrum, given that her precocious intelligence and difficulty relating to her peers since childhood are common symptoms of the disorder.
  • Danganronpa:
    • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc features Kiyotaka Ishimaru, whose status as a fervent stickler for rules and good behavior earned him his Ultimate title for his efficacy as a school prefect - but also sadly hindered him socially. His focused black-and-white commitment to what he views as correct and his general unfiltered but earnest intensity makes him a popular candidate for interpretations of being on the autism spectrum.
    • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair:
      • Gundham Tanaka is a theatrical Chuunibyou archetype complete with speaking in fantastical metaphors and Antiquated Linguistics, an occult enthusiast, and an animal expert who strongly believes his charges are easier and more trustworthy to connect with than people. He's very commonly interpreted as autistic due to his passionate immersion in his interests and his themes of social isolation, including an aversion to touch.
      • Ibuki Mioda's also often read as on the autism spectrum, having ADHD, or both, on account of her difficulty for others to follow with her high energy and her habit of operating on and speaking according to her own logic. She's also a distractible type who mentions she often gets lost, she tends to exhibit unconventional emotional responses like amusement or excitement or have fairly casual reactions in dark situations, and she alludes to loneliness as a result of her quirks and unusual tastes, connecting to others via her musicianship.
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney has Manfred Von Karma. He shows many signs of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. His occupation is his life and it comes before even his own family. He desires perfection and turns violent if he is accused of being anything less than flawless. He's a Control Freak who seeks to impose his views on those around him (such as demanding no prosecutors wear their badges while in court,) and he's obsessed with structure and punctuality, having a hissy fit when the trial goes on longer than he wanted it to. Everything he does is overly meticulous and his inability to change course when the unexpected happens bites him in the ass when things start spiraling out of control.
    • The Great Ace Attorney: Many fans interpret Herlock Sholmes' eccentric behavior as being a result of ADHD, much like the original Sherlock Holmes. He switches from constantly changing topics to hyper-focusing on specific things (i.e., reading the mountain of books in Soseki's apartment when he was investigating, or spending months working on an analytical machine before suddenly realizing it was useless to him), and forgets about things, even entire cases, as soon as they aren't important to him at that moment.note  Some of his comments about constantly being "assailed" with unwanted information also imply that he is easily over-stimulated by his surroundings, while his deductions run on a train of logic pulled from minimal information that is similar to that of someone with the disorder. Even when he gets dangerous, the only change to that is that his deductions are genuinely accurate.
  • Umineko: When They Cry: Maria Ushiromiya's behavior makes many fans interpret her as autistic: she acts much younger than her nine years of age (which is lampshaded more than once during the first four arcs), she never seems to realize when the constant use of her Verbal Tic is irritating other people, and she obsessively studies the occult but has little to no interest in anything else. In EP7, Willard also points out that Maria tends to recognize people by their actions, not their appearances (which is a big hint towards how "Beatrice" can suddenly appear in front of her); this implies that she has some degree of prosopegnosia/face blindness, which is often comorbid with autism.

    Web Animation 
  • Epithet Erased: Molly shows many signs of autism, such as social awkwardness, sensitivity to noise, and an intense interest in specific topics (bears, in her case). Word of God says that she wasn't intentionally written as such, but despite this, many fans treat it as next-to-canon that Molly is autistic.
  • Mystery Skulls Animated: Arthur is commonly headcanoned as having depression and PTSD following the cave incident due to his fear of Mystery (who ripped off his arm to save him) and complete neglect of his own wellbeing during his search for Lewis, going days without eating or sleeping at a time according to Losing My Mind.
  • Salad Fingers: A large number of viewers interpret Salad Fingers as having schizophrenia, owed to his patterns of self-harm, his tendency to hear voices, and the fact that he lives in a state of near-constant delusions and hallucinations. Other viewers, meanwhile, theorize that he is autistic due to his stilted speech, frequent use of neologisms, and pronounced sensory issues.
  • Spooky Month:
    • Fans commonly headcanon Skid and Pump as having ADHD and/or autism, from their hyperactive personalities and easily trusting nature even towards Obviously Evil people. Their obsession with Spooky Month, to the point they constantly wear Halloween costumes months away from October, is also easily readable as a special interest.
    • Pump having mild pyromania is very common in fanworks, due to his comment about wanting to burn the Happy Fella "to see it if it screams".
    • Robert is often interpreted as neurodivergent, due to him stimming while talking about the Happy Fella in "Unwanted Guest".
    • While never addressed in the show outside of quick gags, fans unanimously believe Rick suffers from severe depression, from his apathetic personality, dull way of speaking, and his remark about selling kids beer because he was "tired of breathing" outright sounding like suicidal ideation.
    • Following the release of "Tender Treats", Jack being autistic became a frequent headcanon; in addition to his childish tendencies shown in previous episodes, "Tender Treats" shows him having trouble with blatant sarcasm and making light of a dark situation via an incredibly off-color prank, then not understanding why Patty and John are so mad at him for it, something common in actual autistic people.
    • Liv's appearance in "Streber's Rehearsal" has caused fans to interpret her being a Genki Girl as indicative of her having autism or ADHD. Signs that point to the former are her bouncing up and down, which can be seen as stimming, and her joke to Streber at the end being rather brutally honest, whereas a sign that points to the latter is her being fascinated and easily distracted by Streber's Chroma Keying mirror.

  • Dumbing of Age: Many readers have speculated if Dina was autistic given her obsessive interest in dinosaurs, social problems, frequent lack of expression, and various other traits. David Willis shrugged this off for a long time before admitting Dina was based on his own undiagnosed social deficiencies, and therefore probably has autism. It's later confirmed in-continuity that Dina and her parents believe she's autistic, but she hasn't got an official diagnosis due to racism.
  • The Far Side Of Utopia: Fan speculation is that Peter is autistic, as he is quite brilliant when it comes to technical matters (e.g. Artificial Intelligence) or political affairs, but has little to no interest in or understanding of social interactions, to the point that he built an AI, Query, with the sole purpose of advising him on how to interact with people.
  • Mob Psycho 100: Mob is popularly interpreted as autistic by the series' neurodivergent fanbase. He tries to fit in with his peers, but has No Social Skills and needs to prevent Power Incontinence by suppressing his emotions, traits that autistic fans cite as paralleling their own experiences with socializing, masking, and avoiding the risk of meltdowns. His Sarcasm-Blind nature, flat affect, and difficulties with expressing emotions are also commonly cited as traits that make it easy to headcanon him as autistic.
  • In one of the audience Q&A El Goonish Shive strips, Amanda says that they're frequently asked if a given character is on the autistic spectrum. The answer is that every time someone raises this, it's based on something Dan wrote that's autobiographical, and since he doesn't know the answer for himself, he also doesn't know it about them.

    Web Video 
  • Critical Role: Campaign Two: Considering how easy it is for him to become distracted and/or fall behind in conversation, many fans would argue that Caduceus has ADHD.
  • Critical Role: Exandria Unlimited: Viewers with ADHD and autism identified with Laerryn's intense focus on her love of magic, her impatience with social niceties, and her tendency to fidget with her jewelry. Aabria even describes her entering the party and fiddling with something similar to a fidget toy.
  • Dimension 20: Liam Wilhelmina's lack of social skills, obsessive interest in seeds, and difficulty with emotional regulation have led some fans to speculate that he is on the autism spectrum.
  • Dream SMP:
    • While very few of the characters have canonically confirmed neurodivergent conditions and/or psychiatric disorders, content creators with diagnosed disorders often play their characters in ways that are impacted by those disorders, hence rousing fan speculation that their characters may also have these disorders and inverting Disabled Character, Disabled Actor:
      • Dream has shown several symptoms of ADHD like his content creator counterpart, such as hyperfixation, emotional impulsivity, struggling to articulate words, and fidgeting.
      • Techno claims to have a bad attention span when listing his flaws during the Manburg Festival. Considering that the man who plays the character had ADHD in real life, this may point to his character having the disorder as well.
    • Aside from his allegedly canonical PTSD from his Dark and Troubled Past, as of Season 3, several more of character-Quackity's traits can point towards him having borderline personality disorder (BPD), which has a strong link to childhood trauma and is sometimes comorbid with PTSD.
    • Aside from C-PTSD, according to various Twitter-based fans, character-Tommy also shows some symptoms that could indicate ADHD, such as a very short attention span, a non-existent brain-mouth filter, extreme emotional responses for both positive and negative emotions, and difficulty articulating himself, especially in stressful situations.
    • Wilbur's content creator counterpart has stated in a Reddit comment that his character "was suffering from intense paranoia and delusions". Based on this piece of Word of God, some fans have suggested that character-Wilbur has some form of psychosis alongside semi-canonical depression.
    • Many fans describe Slimecicle's character as being autistic-coded, due to his unawareness of social cues and norms, apparent stimming (particularly vocal stimming), and literal-mindedness. While it's explained in-universe by him being a slime, this doesn't stop autistic fans from relating to him. Additionally, some fans read his attempts at passing for human as analogous to autistic masking, a phenomenon in which autistic people suppress their symptoms in order to pass for an allistic person.
  • The Spoony Experiment: Back in the Turn of the Millennium, it wasn't uncommon for people suggesting that Spoony's character might have been Bipolar or had Borderline Personality Disorder due to his sudden mood swings, long passionate tirades, rapid fire shouting, and some of his behaviour coming off as rather manic.

    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia: Sprig having ADHD is one headcanon that's somewhat popular. Signs of this include his short attention span, a compulsion to touch or do certain things at times, and experiencing Sensory Overload at one point.
  • Arcane: Jinx suffers from multiple delusions, is immensely traumatized by what she went through as a child, and has extreme attachments to both Vi when she was young and Silco in the present, among various other things. There is immense discussion from fans and actual psychologists alike over Jinx's issues, with many pegging her as having schizophrenia, PTSD, and Borderline Personality Disorder from what she displays over the course of the series.
  • Baby Looney Tunes: Many people on websites like Tumblr have pointed out that this incarnation of Marvin is very similar to an autistic person: he fidgets when uncomfortable, he has trouble communicating with the other characters, he's very intelligent for his age, and he's nonverbal for most of the episode; it's pretty easy for some to see him as autistic, especially actual autistic people. Helping this assumption is that a common way of explaining autism to small children is comparing it to being an outsider from another planet, which Marvin literally is.
  • Tina Belcher from Bob's Burgers is frequently interpreted by fans as autistic. Such readings emphasize how she has No Social Skills and displays prolonged groaning when under pressure, her habit of hiding under tables, her naivete, her muted emotional expression, her Creepy Monotone voice, her very small range of interests, and her Literal-Minded nature. Even In-Universe her own siblings think she is, while their father Bob (who frequently allows his pride to cloud his judgement) refuses to entertain the idea, leaving it ambiguous.
  • BoJack Horseman: Judah has a hard time understanding sarcasm and reading emotional cues, and admits himself that he often finds it difficult to engage in narratives. This has led many fans to theorize he may be on the autism spectrum.
  • Castlevania (2017): Despite Hector's overall brilliance and the horror show that was his upbringing, his worldview is oddly naive, and he has significant difficulty relating to other people or interacting with members of the court. On top of that, he's very easy to manipulate, as noted by both Carmilla and Dracula. At least one theory pegs him as autistic.
  • Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers: The fanbase has unanimously agreed that due to her struggles with social cues and tendency to have high knowledge in some areas while being utterly clueless in others, Gadget is somewhere on the autism spectrum.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: Given that Numbuh 4 is shown to be borderline illiterate at times, yet the finale reveals that he grows up to become a doctor of all things, some fans have wondered if he actually suffers from an undiagnosed learning disability, with dyslexia being a fairly popular guess due to his horrible spelling.
  • Futurama: While canon implies that Fry's ditziness and social awkwardness are side effects of Fry lacking a delta brainwave, it's common for fans to read him as having ADHD and/or autism, taking into consideration his impulsivity, his poor motor skills, his self-esteem issues, and how he's skilled in very specific areas (i.e. video games, the arts, and certain pop culture knowledge) but struggles to pay attention to most anything else. It's worth noting that his voice actor opened up about having ADHD and autism in 2019, and has drawn parallels between Fry and his own younger self.
  • Gravity Falls: Almost all of the Pines family are frequently interpreted by the audience as being on the autism spectrum, thanks to various traits:
    • Dipper's considered the most obvious of the the family along with the author, given his complete inability to take a casual interest in something without becoming obsessively consumed by it (to the point where he wondered if he should 'go back to obsessing over Wendy', when he couldn't find anyone to play his favourite boardgame with him). Dipper is also shown to be uncomfortable in social situations, writing a whole multi-step list to help him talk to a girl at a party. He also wears the same clothes every day (lampshaded in the show, not just cartoon logic), suggesting that he's very set in his ways and routine-based. In addition to all this, Dipper is frequently described to be unusually focused and intelligent for his age.
    • Mabel also has a tendency to obsess over things (such as her crush of the week or her pet pig), and clearly enjoys the sensory stimulation of lots of bright colours and patterns, and strong, sweet flavours. Her social skills are a couple steps above her brother's and she's quick to form bonds with people, but she seems to struggle with long-term communication (that is, focusing on time and being able to work around difficult rules set in place, such as the conflicting placement of her and Dipper's birthday party with Candy and Grenda not just coming at a rescheduled date) note  and daydreams about being with like-minded people, usually in bizarrely unfolding, almost self-effacing ways that only she seems to understand (Xyler and Craz, a funny looking pelican, etc). Often very forward, quite loud and overly enthusiastic, Mabel generally expects everyone to be fine with her doing her own thing, leading her to be quite change averse, well as averse to the idea of having to 'grow up' and act more mature, which becomes a running theme throughout the show as she tries to hold onto her childhood.
    • Mabel is often headcanoned to have ADHD, given her Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny! tendencies most of the time...except for when she becomes hyperfocused on whatever she's working on (to the point where she devoted a week to putting together an elaborate puppet show). She's also highly energetic, almost all of the time.
    • The Author Of The Journal exhibits a number of autistic traits, such as a single-minded obsessive focus on things, a lack of interest in socialising, and somewhat questionable social skills.
  • Kaeloo: Stumpy is commonly headcanoned to have ADHD by fans, due to his short attention span and hyperactivity.
  • Hank Hill from King of the Hill has been interpreted as being on the autism spectrum. This is due to his lack of emotional display, his love of rules and structure, his obsession with propane, and his discomfort with physical touch or other displays of affection towards him.
  • Lu & the Bally Bunch: Gus is commonly interpreted as autistic by neurodivergent viewers. Among other things, he hates loud noises, is more serious than the other bugs, can be overly blunt at times, enjoys building towers (a repetitive movement), and will sometimes isolate himself from the others, all common traits of autistic children. To add fuel to the fire, one of the show's consultants is Respect Ability.
  • Molly of Denali: Oscar is interpreted by a number of fans as autistic. He has a heavy fixation on playing the fiddle, and also makes random references to his favorite stuff, such as The Butler of Finicky Manor. He also doesn't seem to understand social cues very well, as shown when he failed to give Molly a fistbump in "Fiddlesticks".
  • Moral Orel: Many fans headcanon Orel as someone on the autism spectrum. He is way too trusting, takes whatever people say to him very literally, and despite his good intentions he doesn’t realize that what he’s doing is prejudicing against others. Even his grandfather remarks in Beforel Orel that he is not dumb but rather he just learns in different ways.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • A large number of fans headcanon Twilight Sparkle as being autistic and/or having OCD. Such interpretations point to her obsessive nature, workaholic attitude, anxiety attacks, love for schedules and checklists as a way to structure her life, her poor social skills, and her tendency to not pay attention to what's going on around her when absorbed in something.
    • Fluttershy is socially anxious, ultra-sensitive, and often second-guesses her actions (an example being in "Swarm of the Century" when she second-guesses herself entering Rarity's open shop after Rarity reacts with exasperation). Consequently, a number of fans interpret her as being autistic and/or having C-PTSD; the latter interpretation is particularly bolstered by the fact that her issues are partly the result of lifelong bullying.
    • Fans frequently interpret Maud Pie as autistic thanks to many traits that people tend to associate with being on the autism spectrum. These include her slight pauses before speaking with others, her rather Literal-Minded responses to others' statements, her rare display of emotion, and her almost narrow-minded obsession with rocks. She even describes herself as "different" from other ponies in "Rock Solid Friendship". What's more, there's heavy implications that it's not so much she doesn't feel anything, as she simply can't express her emotions that well.
  • The Owl House: Hunter is commonly interpreted as having PTSD as a result of the abuse he received from Belos. He regularly displays hypervigilance and anxiety, has occasional panic attacks triggered by reminders of Belos, and frantically cuts his hair after growing it out causes him to resemble his former guardian.
  • Pocoyo: There's a large portion of viewers that interpret Pocoyo as an autistic child due to traits such as rarely speaking in sentences longer than one or two words,note  having trouble with social cues, and occasionally experiencing motor issues. He also hyperfixates on horses in "Horse!" and his sudden tumbling around and hat flap wiggles resemble stimming.
  • Ready Jet Go!:
    • Fans commonly interpret Sean as having high anxiety disorder due to being afraid of going to space and acting paranoid whenever someone touches his birthday telescope.
    • A number of fans headcanon Mitchell as showing early signs of BPD due to his Rejection Projection tendencies.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Many neurodivergent viewers view Bart Simpson as having hyperactive-impulsive type ADHD. This reading primarily focuses on his impulsive nature and his struggles in academia, which are shown to be independent of traditional laziness and actively impede his attempts to do better even when he tries his hardest (as shown in "Bart Gets an F").
    • A sizable portion of audiences interpret Lisa Simpson as being autistic. Much of this reading stems from her prodigious levels of knowledge (which among other things includes surprisingly eloquent language) and constant desire to both learn new information and repeat what she knows to others, often to the chagrin of her peers, her strong sense of justice that manifests in constant social activism, her heavy interest in playing the saxophone (which many interpret as both an outlet for stimming and a sign that music is a special interest of hers), and her struggle to fit in with her peers.
    • Principal Skinner is commonly interpreted as autistic by fans, due to his fixation on education and all of its mediocrities (right down to the school's hearing tests), his love of routine, his difficulty understanding innuendos, his stilted and formal way of speaking, and the fact that his mother Agnes smothers him and treats him like he's still a little kid, which is implied in some gags to have caused lasting issues for him (which is sadly Truth in Television for many autistic people).
  • The Smurfs (1981):
    • Brainy Smurf is interpreted by some fans as being autistic due to love of routine, lack of social skills, sensitivity to sound, and use of repetitive phrases.
    • Clumsy Smurf is commonly interpreted by fans to either be autistic or have a developmental intellectual disability due to his low intelligence, childish behavior, and inability to understand metaphors. His strong interest in collecting rocks and tendency to make repetitive movements when stressed or excited are often interpreted by autistic fans to be a special interest and stimming, respectively.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: All three members of the show's main trio are commonly headcanoned as autistic:
    • The title character SpongeBob in particular is seen as the most obvious, as he’s a Manchild who is utterly obsessed with working at the Krusty Krab (one episode has him going crazy when he's forced to take a vacation) and has encyclopedic interests in other niche fields such as jellyfishing and bubble-blowing, he goes above and beyond when trying to help others, which, combined with his self-admitted naivety, makes it easy for others to manipulate him, and despite having the knowledge necessary to drive, he can't do it because he gets too nervous when he's behind the wheel, a fear that many autistic people can relate to.
    • Patrick shares SpongeBob's youthful personality and interests in jellyfishing and bubble-blowing, in addition to being not too bright with occasional moments of genius and clarity, and a creative spark at times.
    • Squidward expresses a deep interest in fine art, makes particular gestures in particular emotional settings that autistic fans commonly interpret as stims, and personality-wise stands in the opposite extreme from SpongeBob and Patrick's more goofy and jovial demeanor, exemplifying the "professorial" archetype of autism.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: Star Butterfly is prone to "stimming" behaviors like bouncing up and down or chewing on her wand, tends to be easily distracted, is frequently Literal-Minded, and has poor social skills (like having No Sense of Personal Space). She gets a bit better on all these points along with Character Development, though the behaviors don't entirely go away. As a result, many fans headcanon her as autistic and/or having ADHD.
  • Teen Titans (2003): A sizable number of fans interpret Beast Boy as having ADHD. He gets distracted easily, he's impulsive, hyperactive, a little socially awkward, and he appears to have memory issues at times. At the same time, he often shows creativity and ingenuity with his shapeshifting, a vivid imagination, and surprising competence when he is focused on a singular goal. Although they could also be attributed to his youth and lack of education, these traits resulted in many neurodivergent fans adopting Beast Boy as an ADHD icon.
  • Total Drama:
    • Due to her all-consuming obsession with Total Drama and lack of social skills, many fans believe that Sierra is autistic.
    • Harold is commonly thought to be autistic due to his odd behavior, tendency to be blunt, and the amount of random knowledge he knows.
    • Although he already has a mental disorder, some fans like to believe that Mike also has PTSD due to MPD/DID often being the result of severe childhood trauma. It doesn't help that getting hit is a common Trauma Button for PTSD sufferers in Real Life.
    • Because of his odd behavior and lack of social skills, some fans like to believe that Leonard is on the autism spectrum.
    • Fans have speculated Millie to be autistic due to her low social skills, her tendency to study other contestants and write down everything about their personal lives, being a picky eater, and being overly anxious over everything.
    • Many fans like to headcanon Dave as having OCD or some form of hypochondria due to the way he reacts whenever he gets dirty. His moody and petulant personality has also led some people to believe that he may be Bipolar as well.
    • Quite a few people have speculated that Chase, due to his overinflated self-importance and inability to understand how his actions have harmed others, has Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
  • Wallace & Gromit: A large number of neurodivergent viewers interpret Wallace as autistic. Such readings stem from his love of cheese and engineering (which are easy to read as special interests), his lack of social skills with other humans (including verbalization problems when around love interests), his highly consistent daily routine that Gromit is able to predict, his tendency to repeat words and phrases, especially when stressed, and his tendency to shake his fists at chest level when excited or otherwise emotional (which is easy to read as stimming).
  • Work It Out Wombats!:
    • Some theories suggest that Zadie has ADHD, due to impulsivity and not being able to sit still.
    • Mr. E is speculated to have OCD due to his perfection issues. There are also some fans who believe that he has a Cluster B personality disorder like BPD or HPD. He changes emotions on a whim, acts grumpy towards others, is overdramatic at times, and his favorite person appears to be Ellie.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Anime And Manga, Literature, Ambiguous Disorder


The Angry Video Game Nerd

MatPat speculates that the Angry Video Game Nerd has schizophrenia. Drawing from various gags and plot points in the series, he pinpoints the Nerd's clashes with video game villains as delusions that others are conspiring to harm him, speculates that the Glitch Gremlin and his effects are audiovisual hallucinations, notes his violent impulses in his brawls with Bugs Bunny, and describes his alliance with Super Mecha Death Christ and belief that only he can defend the world from bad games as delusions of grandeur.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / DiagnosedByTheAudience

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