Dungeons & Dragons Online

Helping an autistic player adapt?

Hello! I'm sorry if this is the wrong community for this, since the system we use is actually Storyteller, but I wanted a place more dedicated to experienced DMs that could maybe have an idea how to do this.

I'm trying to help an inexperienced autistic player adapt to gaming over Discord. This player has lots of anxiety, and they go non-verbal when it strikes – it's very clear that they're struggling to try and play anyway, but just can't do it. It's heartbreaking to watch. They had some previous roleplaying related trauma, and we managed to get them pretty far last year, they were interacting with NPCs and other players, it worked out really well for a while. But then our game had a hiatus, entirely my fault. It seemed like all of our progress ended up being entirely undone, and even worse so, it seems like the extra anxiety of having been able to do it and now struggling again is making them be even harder on themself. They say it's a problem of having forgotten the character, and that their brain just blanks out on what the character would do. I tried breaking down the situation: "You could do X, or Y, or Z", in the hopes that giving them a starting point would help, as it seemed to last time, but they say it makes them feel like they're not the one playing, so that's out. I've recently thought of trying to make them a sort of mini solo adventure with just the two of us, so that we can maybe break the block again before adding other people to the equation, which I'll have to work into the story.

Read more:  The time my Dragonborn Monk gruesomely murdered a guard who was innocently trying to help.

They want to keep brute forcing it until they can do it, but it's pretty hard not just on them, but on me, as well as the other player. We really love them and want them to play and have fun, and seeing them hurt is painful for all of us. Does anyone here have experience helping a disabled player break through these kinds of blocks?

(Also, if anyone knows any other subs where I could collect advice, I'd be thankful. I'm very new to reddit.)

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