As a writer, we’re sure you are aware that words are important. You can’t always substitute one for another because they all have their own depth of meaning and their own subtleties. So if you want to write an autistic character, you’ll have to refer to autism using the right words. This post will help you do just that!
Autistic person? Person who has autism? Which one should I use?
This is a highly debated question. You might have heard “You have to say “person with autism” because you’re talking about a person first; the person is not defined by their disability!”. While this is a nice thought, it is largely misguided, and this way of talking are mainly used by non-autistic persons while talking about us. The autistic community doesn’t like this “person-first” language very much for several reasons.
First of all, if you need to use specific language to remind yourself that we are people, you may have a problem that no amount of linguistic workarounds can solve. We say “a French person”, not “a person who is French” or “a person with Frenchness”, because we don’t need to remind ourselves that French people are people. Why should it be different with autistic people?
The second reason most of us don’t like saying we are “persons with autism” is that our autism is not something that we carry with us. We are not a human person + a terrible disorder. We are fundamentally different. Being autistic is an integral part of who we are as people, and touches every sphere of our lives. If someone somehow managed to take away our autism, they wouldn’t reveal the “real us” that was hidden behind it: they would create a whole different person. We can’t be separated from our autism, and this should be reflected in the language you use while talking about us.
So ideally, you’ll want to use “autistic”, as an adjective: Cat is autistic, they are an autistic person. Some of us sometimes use “autistic” as a noun as a shortcut, when we’re tired of repeating “people” all the time, but it’s best to avoid it when you can, especially if you’re allistic.
What you really need to avoid is “a person with autism”, or heaven forbid “a person who happens to have autism”, “a person who suffers from autism”, “a person who lives with autism”, or any variation thereof. I’ve also seen a few people write “an autist”, but I don’t get why they do that. Please don’t do it.
And please don’t refer to us as being “on the spectrum,” we don’t need a euphemism to soften the blow of the word “autistic.” We are autistic! Even those who don’t seem disabled. Please remember that, while it is all too often misused in an insulting or pejorative way, “autistic” is not a bad word. Don’t be afraid to use it! In fact, using it more and in a positive way is the best way to stop it from being misused as a pejorative.
You keep using these words I don’t understand…
Alright, let’s get a glossary going! We’ll update this post whenever we use a word that could be hard to understand (if we can remember to do it…). If there is any word on the blog that you can’t understand, check if we’ve explained it here. If we haven’t, shoot us an ask and we’ll do it ASAP. :) All of the titles are clickable and will take you to the corresponding tag so you can check out everything we’ve written about a subject.
AAC: Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Encompasses all means of communicating used by nonverbal people which are not spoken/sign language, such as using a text-to-speech device or a pictogram system to communicate.
ABA: Applied Behaviour Analysis, the most common type of “therapy” autistic children are subjected to. It can have lots of negative long-terms effects on the person’s life, such as PTSD or vulnerability to abuse.
Ableism: Treating disabled people (including autistic people) poorly because they are disabled.Treating someone differently because they behave in autistic ways, punishing autistic people for stimming, forcing nonverbal autistics to communicate verbally (and ignoring other types of communication), etc. are all examples of ableist behavior.
Alexithymia: Difficulty identifying one’s own emotions, very common in autistic people. They may not know how they feel at all, or simply unable to name their feelings. They are often unable to answer the question “How are you?” or “How are you feeling?” and may be aware only of whether they are feeling “good” or “bad” (and sometimes not even that).
Allistic: Someone who is not autistic. Used as an adjective and sometimes as a noun.
Asperger’s Syndrome: An outdated diagnostic term for an autistic person who is generally able to communicate verbally at a typical age and shows interest in social relationships. This is no longer considered to be a thing which exists. (See our masterpost on functioning labels.)
Autistic: Someone who is autistic (ie the subject of this whole blog) (I don’t know why we added that to the glossary)
Cure Culture / Curism: The attitude held by many allistic groups (most notably the hate group “Autism Speaks”) that autism is a disorder or disease which should be eliminated from the human race and place a priority on “curing” it. This is similar to the old belief that homosexuality is a disease that should be cured, and just as harmful to autistic people.
Disability: There are two main definitions to this word: 1- Not being able to do something that the majority of people are able to do. For example: hear (deaf), see (blind), smell (anosmic), walk (para/quadriplegic), etc. 2-Being impaired by a physical/mental difference in a way that restricts one’s professional, social, personal, or leisure activities. Depending on the definition and personal opinions, autistic people can be considered disabled or not disabled.
Dyspraxia: Difficulty with gross and/or fine motor skills, very common in autistic people. To a casual observer they may appear clumsy, often dropping things, walking into things, or tripping over their own feet (gross motor skills), or with poor handwriting, poor ability to hold a writing instrument, etc. (fine motor skills).
Echolalia: Use of verbal repetition to communicate, usually used by those who are not fully verbal. Words and phrases can be immediately repeated directly (“You OK?” “You OK.”), or with some changes (“Are you OK?” “I am okay.”). They can also come from memory (“Who gave you that?” [Darth Vader voice] “I am your father.” = my father).
Executive Dysfunction: Difficulty with executive functioning; skills used to make decisions and carry out tasks. Many autistic people have problems with this. They may be unable to make what appear to be simple decisions or figure out how to accomplish a simple goal. They may know exactly what they need to do but be unable to get their body to move to do it. It has been described via metaphors in a few ways: one is having all the ingredients to make a cake but no recipe, and being expected to make the cake, but having no idea how to do it. Another is that the body is like a horse and the brain is the rider, and the rider tries to get the horse to move, but it simply won’t budge.
Functioning Labels: Outdated and inaccurate (but sadly, still commonly used) labels for autistic people based on a narrow set of criteria. Those who don’t communicate verbally are normally considered “low-functioning”, for example, and those who can are “high-functioning”. See our masterpost for more information on why these labels are damaging and should not be used.
Hyperacusis: When a person is extremely sensitive to sound and the world sounds far louder to them than to others. It is often extremely painful, like having the volume on the world turned up way too high, and can be disabling. Many people with hyperacusis have or develop tinnitus (a constant sound, often ringing, usually caused by nerve damage in the ears).
Hyperempathy: Having far more affective empathy than a normal person. This can result in things like crying often, being unable to comfort upset people because their emotions are too overwhelming, etc. Some people feel hyperempathy all the time. Some have it only sometimes or for some people, or for inanimate objects.
Hypersensitivity: A blanket term which means “being more sensitive than most people to something”. When it comes to autism, it can refer to several things. Most of the time, it is used about sensory hypersensitivity, such as sensitivity to sounds or bright lights. There is also emotional hypersensitivity (easily getting hurt feelings/responding very strongly to positive feelings).
Hyposensitivity: The opposite of hypersensitivity, some autistic people feel a lack of sensory stimulation. They feel understimulated and may constantly feel the need to seek sensory stimulation. It’s important to note than an autistic person may be hypersensitive in some ways and hyposensitive in others, or at different times.
Infodumping: Sharing a large amount of information on a single topic all at once, often without pausing or allowing others to speak, due to overwhelming enthusiasm for the subject. It is usually done on subjects of special interest.
Low empathy: Some autistic people feel reduced or no affective empathy for other people (do not identify with their emotions or feel inspired to a certain emotion when they see others having that emotion). This does not necessarily mean that they do not care about the emotions of others - some may not care, some may care a great deal - only that they do not feel what others feel. Some people with low empathy for other people have hyperempathy for inanimate objects or fictional characters.
Meltdown: When the brain is too overloaded with sensory information or stress and can no longer function properly, an autistic individual may have a very violent reaction, called a meltdown. The person melting down is generally in a lot of pain. They might scream, throw things, yell curse words and insults, cry, hurt themselves or other, and try to hide themselves in absurd locations like under couch cushions or behind doors. This neurological event cannot be controlled or stopped once it begins. It can be made worse by interfering and adding more sensory input (by touching or talking to the person) and usually will not subside until the person is left alone to calm down.
Neurodivergent/Neuroatypical: Having a neurology which is different from the most common ones, such as being autistic or having ADHD. Some people include mental illnesses in this label, some do not.
Neurodiversity: The philosophy that in order to succeed, survive, and thrive, the human race needs many different types of neurology, and that neurodiverse people are an important and positive component of our species.
Neurotypical: A term which is defined as “having the most common type of neurology” (ie not autistic, without ADHD/dyslexia/tourette’s, etc.). Someone with a mental illness may or may not be considered neurotypical depending on people’s opinions.
Nonverbal: Someone who cannot or does not communicate verbally (using spoken language, often including sign language). Some autistic people are always nonverbal. Most are nonverbal under stress or overload. Some are always verbal.
Passing: Successfully behaving enough like an allistic person, particularly in social situations, that no one suspects you are autistic. Often important or even necessary for some people, especially when it comes to work situations.
PECS: One of the AAC methods which is most commonly used with autistic children (and sometimes adults). Stands for “Picture Exchange Communication System”. A pictogram-based system.
Proprioception: All of the sensory input which comes from inside your body. Includes your brain’s awareness of where the different parts of your body are. Autistic people often have very poor proprioception. As a result, they may have some type of dyspraxia, odd facial expressions, odd posture and walking gait, etc., all of which they may not be aware of until someone tells/shows them.
Sensory Processing Disorder: The clinical term for someone who has difficulty processing sensory information. Includes sensory hypersensitivity, hyposensitivity and differences. Too many details to process can lead to sensory overload, shutdowns, and meltdowns. Some autistic people don’t agree that it is a disorder, and prefer to talk of “sensory processing differences”.
Sensory Overload: When too much sensory information is being sent to the brain and the brain can no longer keep up. It becomes painful and the person can become incapable of accepting new sensory information until the brain has time to catch up (like a computer freezing when too many programs are open). This often leads to shutdowns and/or meltdowns.
Shutdown: A defense mechanism against sensory overload and stress. The brain attempts to shut out all sensory input by disconnecting from the environment. The person might no longer understand speech (or even fully hear it), be able to think in language (or to think in any way at all), move their body, or communicate in any way. Their eyes might unfocus and they may seem to be completely “out of it”. This state is usually a sign that the person needs to be left alone for their brain to calm down, but if pushed by those around them, they may switch to having a meltdown.
Special Interest: A subject which an autistic person is extremely interested in and will go to great lengths to learn everything possible about.
Spoons: A metaphor used to indicate the (limited) amount of energy a disabled or sick person has to devote to various tasks. There is a whole script blog devoted to this (@scriptspoonies). Many autistic people rely on this metaphor to describe their (lack of) energy.
Stimming: Repeated actions which are used to stimulate one’s own nervous system, done for various reasons including to soothe oneself/calm down, express emotions, communicate, or just because it feels nice. Common examples include rocking back and forth, flapping hands, clenching jaw, tapping a part of the body, making a repeated noise, etc.
Verbal: Able to communicate using spoken language.
REQUEST: Damon and reader. Where the reader is there for Damon throughout everything and he finally realized he’s in love with her!
Doppelgängers. The Originals. The race for the Cure. Heretics. Gemini Coven.
Damon Salvatore and his friends had seemed to have been through it all. Way more than what regular people would ever have to go through. But of course, they weren’t regular people. They were dead. Well, some of them.
The government is comparing mutants to weapons, trying to get them all to register, but the real villain of the movie is MAGNETO.
There is now a US general who used armed soldiers to seize a school building full of children and who has captured the X-Men's leader and is using his brain to wipe out the entire mutant race. The real villain is still MAGNETO.
There's been a "cure" discovered that deprives mutants of their mutation and has been weaponized. Also, Jean Grey, one of the X-Men's own, has come back from the dead as a terrible being of unfathomable power. Somehow, the real villain of the movie manages to be MAGNETO.
Sebastian Shaw has been torturing, abusing, and manipulating mutants for decades, and he and the Hellfire Club plan to start WWIII. The villain of the movie is MAGNETO.
The US government is sanctioning a program that will lead to a dark timeline in which mutants are hunted by robots and rounded up in concentration camps. The villain of this movie is not Bolivar Trask, who is building the Sentinels, or Mystique, whose actions inadvertently cause the timeline to come to pass, but MAGNETO.
Apocalypse is a big scary dude from ancient times who wants to see the whole world burn. But don't worry! Guess who's still a villain? MAGNETO.
I was talking to @shadyraisincookie and I thought this would be fun to do. I know @midnightnico is also familiar with the games, and much more familiar with the Japanese than I am so if you wanna chime in too feel free, since I only have knowledge of the songs and the only game I’ve played in the actual Japanese has been Vandead Carnival. Like in my other posts, reblogs are fine, but if you have something to add or say, then just send me an ask or message and don’t add to this post. Thanks :)
So I was listening to Gin no Bara recently and I realized I’d only ever heard Reiji’s and Kanato’s. So I went to give Laito’s a listen, and I almost flipped my shit because instead of ‘anata’ he used ‘omae’ and I thought I was crazy cuz I thought I’d heard Kanato’s and Reiji’s wrong all this time. But no! Kanato and Reiji are the only ones to refer to the heroine as ‘anata’ in their Gin no Bara versions. Everyone else uses ‘omae.’
And then I thought, oh this is interesting.
Especially when we consider the connotations these words hold in the actual Japanese. Because in translations everything always just becomes ‘you’ and loses the attached meanings. So I was like this begs to be talked about.
Anata, Kimi, and Omae
They’re basically listed in descending order according to…familiarity? I guess is what you could call it? That’s the best way I can describe it at least.
While anata can be a more formal kind of thing, which is why I think people assume it’s the go-to word for Kanato and Reiji, it’s more so associated with couples. Not quite ‘dear’ but I guess you can think of it like that. I don’t necessarily think Reiji or Kanato see her in this way, but I do think the way they see the heroine from the very beginning is different from the way the other brothers do. While the heroine will of course always be food, I feel that to Reiji and Kanato she also immediately becomes their ‘responsibility’ in a sense. She becomes their property in a way that is not quite like the other boys. Where I think the other boys feel she owes them everything, I find that to Kanato and Reiji, they also feel as though they need to provide her something as well. They look after her, even if its in their own fucked up way, even if its in a condescending way, but more than food she becomes something of theirs that they then have to take care of. Kanato also often refers to her using her own name, adding the -san honorific, which I think speaks volumes, considering he is acknowledging her for who she really is while simultaneously being respectful.
Ok so now we have ‘kimi.’ Which is like just sort of the default. I feel like most of the boys use it at one point or another. It’s the most natural way to call someone, so I won’t really say much about it, other than they’re comfortable enough to use ‘kimi’ with the heroine instead of like addressing her by name.
Which leaves ‘omae.’ This one puts the other person at a sort of arm’s length away in terms of familiarity I suppose. It can also come off as very rude if used the wrong way, and I feel like most of the time the boys probably are using it in that context. The one who stands out the most is Subaru just because he’s the one I’ve heard use it the most. So he clearly draws the line between the heroine, and himself. Like I said before, it’s what 4/6 boys use in the Gin no Bara, but that may or may not have more to do with the fact that it fits in the three syllables, and anata might be the wrong vibe (or even out of character) for anyone who isn’t Kanato or Reiji.
Anta and Kisama
I think it’s Shuu who often uses ‘anta’ which is the rude version of anata and I believe would basically be the equivalent of ‘omae’ but slightly sharper. Shin likes to use this one as well when referring to the heroine. Again, just another way to keep the distance between themselves, and her. They always place themselves as superior.
Carla we all know uses ‘kisama.’ And I think everyone gets the general idea that it’s not a nice thing to call someone. But I was surprised to learn the meaning as to why. “Kisama” is actually a very formal and respectful thing to call someone, but this person would have to be the emperor or have god-like status. So what “kisama” really is is just a super sarcastic and degrading comment because no one will ever really reach that level, and that’s what makes it so offensive. I don’t think there’s really an English equivalent to this, other than ironically calling someone “your highness” or something like that. But even then I don’t think it carries the same weight as ‘kisama’ does. I think this is particularly fitting for Carla to use, considering he is himself a king and one of the only founders left, so he already sees himself as above everyone else. And I think the fact that someone as simple as a human girl is the key to not only continuing the race but also the cure to his endzeit, no doubt that’s probably incredibly fucking irritating, not to mention frustrating, which is why I think he chooses this very harsh version of ‘you.’
Chichinashi, Bitch-chan, Kachiku, and M-Neko-chan
The following I can say with more confidence, because the analysis will remain the same across any language. All of these ‘nicknames’ I guess you could call them, are degrading in their own sense. I know Yuma also tends to call her “Sow” but I’m unaware of what it is he actually calls her in the Japanese so I’ll be omitting it for now. Regardless it’ll be the same sort of analysis as Ruki’s ‘kachiku.’
So Chichinashi, I’m sure most people know by now is literally ‘titless.’ Which is interesting in the context of Ayato. It’s no secret this is his preferred body part, so to define her as someone completely lacking of that feature is to put the heroine in a position that functions only to satisfy a sexual gaze. And with a name like Chichinashi, she doesn’t succeed in even that much. While obviously offensive, it becomes a constant reminder, not just to the Heroine, but to Ayato that because she lacks that which might make her sexually appealing, her only redeeming feature is the quality of her blood, and calling her chichinashi over and over seems to solidify this in Ayato’s head. In a way I feel like this is him convincing himself that he’ll never feel anything towards her, because no matter her personality she is lacking what he has determined to be an ideal feature. It’s his way of putting his walls up, to keep his emotions at an unreachable distance.
Bitch-chan and M-Neko-chan I find to be in the same category. First of all, they both include the ‘chan’ honorific, which can of course come off as flirty, but it’s also the honorific used for small children and women. What’s fucked up about it is that it functions to falsely neutralize the insult because it gives it the appearance as being ‘cute’ or ‘endearing’ when in reality calling someone a bitch or a masochistic cat aren’t really very nice. Both nicknames place the heroine in a position below themselves, arguable far below themselves, considering they’re on the animal spectrum, which already seems to ‘other’ her and again subject her to a single, male gaze. Neko gets a slight pass, considering a ‘cat’ doesn’t have the same negativity attached to it that ‘bitch’ does, but what drives Kou’s nickname home is the “M” he slaps in front of it. As I’m sure everyone knows, it stands for ‘masochist’ which like the ‘chan’ functions to neutralize the insults/abuse. Whatever he subjects to her will be fine, even if it’s painful, since he’s declaring her a masochist, and must therefore “enjoy it” when this is again not the case. To push it further, the masochist is always subject to the sadist, so again, by calling her as such, it reinforces the heroine’s position as beneath that of the boys.
Kachiku, while still an animal of sorts, is a bit different. Literally livestock, it is not roundabout in the way bitch-chan and m-neko-chan are. It makes it very clear that the heroine is food, that her only purpose is to function as food, and there is this ever-present looming feeling that she could be set up for slaughter, like any other kind of livestock. In her case, it’d probably be equivalent to being drained dry. Rather than placing her beneath him, what Ruki does is put her in a separate category altogether, and much like Ayato’s Chichinashi, it serves more as a reminder to Ruki himself that she will never be his equal. She is meant to be eaten, to be used for his own gain, so it creates a barrier that might stop him from developing feelings for her.
This is where I’m supposed to put some nice pretty sentence to tie everything all together, but honestly I don’t have that so I’ll just leave it at this haha. Just me doing some thinking. Hope I could give you all some food for thought~