hi! could i request some platonic la squadra with a team member who's autistic and mainly stims by repeating short phrases (echolalia but idk how to phrase it) and has/had a hard time unmasking around them? feel free to take as many liberties as you need to, your writing is so fun to read! <33
La Squadra Says Autism Rights
La Squadra x Reader (GN), Platonic, SFW
(A/N: I just wanted to say a particular thank you to this requester because I've been itching to write autistic reader headcanons for months and this finally gave me the right prompt to do it. I definitely want to write more in the future.)
Formaggio- He might be neurotypical, but autism runs in his family (and his social circle as an adult) so he's learned a fair bit how best to interact with you people. He knows his loudness and teasing can be an issue for autistic people with sensory issues or trouble with sarcasm, so he'll drop it around you if that's the case. As far as he's concerned your vocal stim is a non-issue because 'some people just do that, it doesn't hurt anyone' and he doesn't comment on it unless you're using it to show happiness, in which case he always acts chuffed. He behaves sympathetically to your troubles with masking, and makes a point of acting laid-back so it's easy for you to turn down the pressure on yourself. To Formaggio, not being able to be yourself would be one of the worst fates imaginable, so he wants to do what he can to make it easier for you to let loose.
Illuso- You might expect Illuso's understanding to be low, but at this point with so much of the team being neurodivergent themselves Illuso doesn't bat an eyelid. Repeating short phrases is certainly a new one, but nothing he can't put up with. Sometimes, he might ask you what your murmurings mean, but he doesn't mean it in a judgy way. Now, as for your masking, you would be surprised how much he can relate. Illuso's self esteem is secretly down the gutter, and he often feels like the confident persona he puts on is secretly an act. When you tell him you feel like you're putting a show every day of your life, he feels you. The two of you have a lot of heartfelt conversations when you're alone, confessing how you really feel about yourselves away from the act you're performing. It's not something Illuso does often, be this honest even with a friend. But he can't help but find that it's... therapeutic.
Prosciutto- Like with anything a friend of his may be insecure about, Prosciutto very much looks at autism through the lens of identifying positives. This by no means says that he ignores your difficulties or tries to creative positives that aren't there, only that he takes note of your strengths no matter how much you try to deny them and makes sure you remember you have them. He doesn't try to 'fix' your echolalia because he knows it's better to work with an autistic person's traits than erase them, but he does teach you mental diversion techniques to help you tone the stim down when you need to (e.g. when you're trying to be stealthy). Regarding your masking, he can somewhat admire it as a useful skill to have- it's possible you could turn it into the skills of an excellent actor while under cover, but he also appreciates the impact this must be having on your self-esteem to have to hide yourself 24/7, so he wants to help you learn to cut it down. This, of course, is done through plenty of praise and reminding of your strengths. You are a wonderful addition to the team, even without your mask, and he won't let you think any less.
Pesci- When Pesci gets stressed it affects him a lot too. Sometimes he does things like fiddle with random items in his hands until they break or bounce his leg so hard the table shakes, which always get him strange looks. He appreciates the rationale of your stimming and would never judge you for it. If you're in a situation where you absolutely need to stop stimming, for instance if a team is visiting who isn't on good terms with La Squadra, he is a good bet for subtly and respectfully helping you be aware of when you're starting to do it so you can quickly stop. Just a gentle nudge to your arm when you start to whisper is all it takes. He also has a lot of empathy for the fact you has to mask, since he imagines it to be like a more extreme version of how he had to invent this whole 'tough guy' personality after he got involved in the gang. He found that really hard too, so he can imagine what it must be life to do that sort of thing your whole life. At least with him, you feel less of a pressure to put on an act.
Melone- There's a certain intellectual curiosity in Melone towards the various neurodivergent conditions, compounded by a strong personal empathy now he has so many friends who have them. He is saddened by the failure of the common consensus to understand such individuals, and wants to do what he can to help them appreciate their full, unique potentials. Melone is quick to recognise your behaviour as stimming, and hence understands that the stress of being called out on it would only make it worse. He is sympathetic to your plight with masking, and has a few ideas you could try if you want to start reducing it in safe circumstances. He has heard that one barrier to unmasking can be trouble identifying the 'true self' you have to go back to, so to remedy this he asks non-critical questions that help you explore your real, unmasked personality and be comfortable in it. Whenever you go off-script and talk to him as your true-self, he praises you for it and assures you that you are just as wonderful a person to him like this.
Ghiaccio- We arrive at the first member on the list who (in my headcanon) is autistic himself. Although the mangling of verbal speech is typically annoying to him, Ghiaccio would never become angry at someone who did it because of their neurodivergence. After all, if he didn't respect the effects of your autism, what reason do you have to return the favour? Ghiaccio makes a point of not hurrying you along when you start to repeat yourself as a stimming technique, and it goes a long way with helping you be calm around him. The masking however, is a different matter. He's not going to be angry at you per say, since he knows from experience the pressure you must be facing to put on an act this way, but he very much prefers it when people are their authentic selves around him. After all, he has enough issues knowing their true intentions as it is. He won't get angry, but he will gently encourage you to open up about him, even if it's something as little as stating what you really want point-blank when you're nervous too. He is very understanding about how hard this is, however.
Risotto- Another autistic individual himself, Risotto is also perfectly empathetic to your behaviour. As an adult, he doesn't really stim, rather just faze out entirely, but at the end of the day that still gets him a lot of strange looks so he can appreciate the range of feelings you may have about your own stim. What's really great about Risotto is that he learns pretty quickly how to differentiate between your happy-stims and your stress-stims, to an extent nobody else on the team is able to. He always seems very content to see you happy-stim, warmed by the knowledge that you are feeling good right now. As for your stress-stims, he is quick to help you escape from the situation if at all possible, and hold your hand comfortingly if not. And the whole masking thing? He understands painfully well. Risotto's masking game on-point, but it irks him greatly to keep it up, not to mention that he hates the paralysing anxiety that hits him whenever he tries to unmask. Even when he wants to, he can't always be himself in front of the team. He may not have a solution for you, but he at least has his full empathy.
Sorbet and Gelato- While Sorbet is, as far as he's aware, neurotypical, Gelato is very much autistic as well. He's also got ADHD to boot, so he's well versed in the neurodivergent experience. His stim is quite similar to yours, in that he makes quiet, high-pitched, almost chirp-like noises, so he sees your echolalia as something he has in common with you. Gelato doesn't really bother with masking any more, the only exception being people who could quite literally kill him if he offended them. Though he encourages you to let go and be yourself, consequences be damned, he of course completely understands the pressure to keep masking. Sorbet, despite being neurotypical, is at this point more surrounded by autistics than not. He's been married to Gelato for the best part of the decade, his closest friend is Risotto, and he's practically Ghiaccio's dad at this point. Adding one more neurodivergent to the mix is hardly a big step, and he is very well-versed in your behaviours and how to interact with them.
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