Ramona Quimby – Kidlit’s Most Famous Asperger’s Kid?

This post is going to lack the sort of exhaustive research that would really convince folks that Ramona has Asperger’s, but off the top of my head I’m going to offer some hopefully compelling evidence.

Whether Beverly Cleary would be convinced, I have no idea.

Right off the top, we have Ramona’s frequent isolation and estrangement from her peers. Perhaps that’s what attracted me so strongly to her books, as opposed to the neurotypical Henry Huggins.

Then there’s her ability to turn the simplest thing into a disaster. Remember the Duck, Duck, Goose game?

Remember when Beezus comes home humiliated because Ramona lectured the big kids for saying “Jesus Beezus?”
That’s total Asperger’s…
The trigger was a word. Specifically a word which it is against “the rules” to use in vain.
Ramona’s response is to deliver her own little sermon — a common Aspie thing to do. And the fact that she does it to kids older than herself is another clue. Some little kids would be intimidated by those big, teasing bullies, but not an Aspie!

How about when Ramona “sits here for the present.”
She has misunderstood a social situation and taken a statement way too literally.
This also involves her desperate need for teacher approval — as opposed to peer approval.

Other Aspie clues: The Brick Factory game in the driveway. The need to touch that girl’s curly hair. The effort to make her dad stop smoking.

Maybe if I ever go back for a degree in kidlit, I’ll make this a master’s thesis and dig up some hard evidence.
Right now, it’s just a wistful exercise. Even if Ramona didn’t have Asperger’s, she’s certainly a great character for an Aspie kid, like me, to identify with.


One Response

  1. I just finished listening to 3 Ramona books on CD with my 6-year old girl who has Asperger’s. I Was struck by some of these same things but also the number if times meltdowns are mentioned. I was doing a google search to see if the Aspie content was intentional – couldn’t find anything. Ironically, my kiddo was just suspended from kindergarten just like Ramona – reading this book helped me deal with it as well as her!

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