autistic child

It’s quite sad how it seems like there’s absolutely no children’s books about autism, adressed to autistic kids. This morning, i had a false hope, because i’ve seen a collection of books about disabled kids, in which every kid is the narrator of its own story (like “My name is Marie, i’m epileptic, here’s how it affects my daily life”).

The books were well written and could be useful for disabled kids and able-bodied/neurotypical kids. So, hopeful, i open the book about the autistic kid and…

“Hi, my name is Marc, i have a friend, Lolo, who has autism. This is his story.”

[gif of Troy from the tv show Community, proclaiming an exasperated and angered “WHY ?”]

Yes, why ? Why can’t we have our own story ? Why are they treating us like these “mysterious beings” who can’t tell who they are, how they feel, what they like, what they want ? I had the same regret about the autistic girl, Julia, introduced in a Sesame Street book. 

Again, we’re witnessing everything from the outside. Again, the autistic kid doesn’t tell its own story. Again, it’s a book shaped for Neurotypical kids/parents. 

I don’t get it. All of the other books are written from the child’s POV. It would have been so nice to get to know Lolo, what he’s thinking, what makes him laugh, what makes him afraid… And yet, we’re stuck with Marc, the neurotypical kid. 

There are plenty of books about kids like Marc, who get to be the heros of their own stories. Not much about Lolo, who’s just “something” to witness and observe, i guess…

Also, the book ends on a very pessimistic note, because Marc asks Santa Claus to “cure” his friend and to make him able to talk. Because, obviously, it’s so sad that Lolo can’t be neurotypical, am i right ? And Marc is soooo nice to wish for him to “get better”, right ?

UPDATE: if u wanna talk about this personal vent that blew up send me a message, i’m not answering the anons lol. i know there are autistic people that disagree but this is directed specifically at allistic people that participate in ableism and yet do the whole meme thing and that it made me and yes, many others uncomfortable. particularly as many of the joke posts start with someone not understanding why the joke is funny, etc. if you’re not autistic however literally you can like not even interact with this post like i really do not care.


like i get the Joke or whatever but i’m here to be that annoying reminder that autism exists and all of you are complicit in ableism re: the babadook 

the movie is… pretty…clearly about ableism? her son is autistic- that’s why he’s bullied, that’s why he has meltdowns and sensory issues and doesn’t pick up on social cues, that’s why he’s ‘annoying’, that’s why her sister just Hates him- and she’s your typical autism mom. she takes it all out on her son, she hates that she gave birth to a child that was fucked up and Wrong and lost her husband in the process, she doesn’t have enough ‘support’, nobody understands, etc. he’s annoying and loud and complicated and she hates him the way some of you in the audience did. 

the babadook is her hatred of him, her inability to accept his autism, etc. that’s why she tries to kill him(the way so many autism moms do, the way autism speaks tries defend), that’s why she tries to physically abuse it out of him, that’s why she has to ‘feed the monster’ every so often (the way autism moms™ have their ‘mom days’ to complain about how much they can’t stand their kid, how sometimes they wish they’d never been born, how they consider drowning them in kiddie pools bc it’d be ‘kinder’, the way that famous anti-vaxxers report having to go stand in rooms and throw shit at walls to avoid hitting their kid)

it’s…really apparent to me as an autistic person and it is so many others, too? sam has to protect his mother from the babadook. he’s terrified of it (her)- the movie even makes clear that she was the one that wrote the book. she tries to kill both herself and sam (glass in the food). she becomes more and more unstable, aggressive, and violent, and sam’s response as an autistic child is to mirror what he sees. his meltdowns increase, he has less support, he spends all his time latching on to the remnants of the only person he has. 

like it’s…idk, really uncomfortable for me to see all these allistic people first making fun of how annoying the (autistic) kid was, and misinterpreting the movie to a frankly astounding degree, and then the Joke is that straight people don’t get how he’s a ~gay icon~ (which… many of the people in the first few posts from which the meme comes were autistic…. )

idk. it’s really weird for me to see allistics carry on with this elaborate lgbt icon joke by laughing in the faces of people that don’t understand why, when half of us are autistic… being mocked for not understanding a movie…about ableism…by allistic people. the mind boggles. 

i mean whatever its a joke gay babadook etc but y’all didn’t even get it the first time and you’re joyfully, self-assuredly ableist all the time so it’s really weird that this is just kind of drowning out all of the #actuallyautistic posts i was enjoying reading in the tag but i mean, allistics will be allistics, i guess 

Whenever someone portrays mentally ill people as violent and evil and malicious I’m just like
??have you?even???MET?a neurotypical????

(Abuse, ableism tw) Yesterday I visited a preschool Portia’s therapists and the public education system want to put her in. Portia receives services because of her developmental disabilities. It’s a program that’s a part of public education and even infants can qualify. Before yesterday, it seemed her therapists only concern was making sure she was developmentally up to date physically, and educationally (think fine and gross motor skills, speech etc).

The preschool was-my realization. The preschool was full of kids that had various disabilities all on the “socially disabled” spectrum. Children were given directions in a “fun” manner around a circle and were literally forced to participle. Even if you didn’t want to. Physical redirection was used. That means children not looking at the teacher would had their heads physically turned towards them. Children who weren’t doing the arm movements for the dance correctly had their wrists grabbed and were forced to do the movements. Forced high fives. Forced everything. Absolutely no child had a choice for participation. It was do it or someone will grab your body and do it for you.

One child, a nonverbal autistic child, at the table where they were given instructions to glue hearts on a valentines box, had a stick of glue held in front of him by a therapist. She had a hold of his wrists as he kept reaching for it. “What is it. No. What is it.” She repeated over and over as he whimpered and reached for the glue to participate. This went on for about 15 minutes.

He also endured one on one ABA from the teacher using a reward only method (praise) for following instructions and making eye contact.

A child had a tantrum and was held down. I asked how a child having a melt down was usually handled. They said that it depended on the child. She seemed to avoid my question but told me that she had “lotion” that she would have them rub on their hands in front of the class and called it “calming lotion.”

I saw a child being held tightly in a therapists legs for not crossing his legs and bouncing them.

I asked what the purpose of the class was, my therapist explained this class was meant for “social therapy”, by forced participation.

This program is paid for and supported by the education district.

Never mind that restraining a child, forcing a child to do something, allowing an adult access to a children’s body with no choice for the child, and forced socialization and physical contact (forced high fives as an example) are all inappropriate and I would personally define that as abuse. But what’s important is all of this therapy is not scientifically to be successful. It’s…non effective, it does nothing but create children who believe they must follow orders (for participation, social activity etc) by an adult, allow anyone to touch their body with no ability to say no, and allow to be physically redirected by that adult for not meeting the demand.

In what way is this educating children socially? How come in a regular classroom this is abuse but in a class with a bunch of disabled kids it’s therapeutic? I’m just…I’m really irritated and disappointed that stuff like this is funded by the education system.

Im not sure if I should even mention this. But when you are an abused child initially you fight back. Sometimes that fighting back lasts a week, sometimes months, sometimes years. Eventually you reach this point where you stop fighting and your brain shuts down and you go blank, almost like you separate from your body and don’t reject it. Sometimes something twitches inside from time to time to fight back, but you actually end up fighting the urge to defend yourself rather than stopping the abuse. That’s the look I saw on the kids faces. They were made to hold up dolls with happy faces “I’m happy today” because they are being conditioned to just ACCEPT what is happening to them.

I am planning on pulling Portia completely from the entire program. She’s never been to that classroom and never will, but the moment they believe she isn’t socially “fit” and needs to be in some sort of conditioning class to make her appear normal, is the moment it doesn’t benefit her. Let’s be real for a minute: the autistic brain cannot be hard wired, it cannot be cured. This is because we still don’t fully understand what autism is. You can certainly force and autistic person to look and seem like an autistic person, and autistic adults who have experienced this sort of “conditioning” all have PTSD and more.

I literally do not ever care if Portia doesn’t act “normal” socially. I don’t care if she doesn’t look people in the eyes and I DEFINITELY do not care that she doesn’t want to touch anyone or let anyone touch her. I don’t care if she doesn’t want friends or if she likes people. I don’t care if she lines up her toys when she plays with them. I don’t expect a man without legs to run a marathon and I don’t expect Portia to be this social butterfly or become a politician or something. She’s content with who she is and society has the obligation to accept her the way they except a deaf person and sign language.

I’m just feeling very irritated. It’s 2017 and there was a whole room full of children enduring therapy that doesn’t actually work and scientifically has absolutely ZERO grounds to be used in an education system. I feel like it’s 1940 and they want to treat some house wife’s depression with electroshock therapy or some gay mans sexual attraction by giving him female hormones.

If I don’t speak out against it then 10, 20, 30 years later it will still be there. It will still happen.

Can you just pray for me, the work that’s required to pull her out…it isn’t going to be easy. I’m going to look like the crazy paranoid mother. In a lot of ways because of her disability she’s basically forced to be state educated. As crazy as this sounds I’m so scared of her being forced to go to public school I’ve thought about leaving the country. Ive personally witnessed so so much abuse in the schools towards autistic children…I just can’t accept it.

Different types of allistics

The Autism Mom™: constantly talks about how hard it is to have an autistic kid, highkey abusive but gets away with it because her child is autistic, is fueled by people telling her how BRAVE she is to deal with an autistic child

The Openly Ableist™: doesn’t try to hide their hatred of autistic people, used the R slur every other sentence, posts videos of autistic people having meltdowns to reddit for the Lolz

The Know It All™: has a friend who’s cousin is autistic nd somehow thinks this makes them an expert on autism/autistic issues

The Autism Savior™: helps out at one “special needs” program and suddenly believes they’re the best person in the world, that they are the most humble and selfless person to exist because they were in a room with an autistic person and weren’t actively abusive

The “Ally"™: says the support autistic people, actually just supports Autism $peaks, uses person first language, uses functioning labels, speaks over actually autistic people, gets angry when an autistic person asks them to make accommodations for them (usually also The Autism Savior™)

An Actual Ally: tries to listen to what autistic people are saying and not speak over them, happily helps autistics with sensory things and gets them what they need, haha lets be real this type doesnt exist lmaooo

(allistics don’t go anywhere near this post)

anonymous asked:

a note on the 'writing autistic children' thing!! just worth mentioning, many autistic children have autistitic siblings/family members!! it often goes together in families -- it's more realistic to have more autistic characters than it is to have less

Thanks for your addition!

If you have one autistic child, the probability of your next child being autistic is certainly higher than in the general population. I don’t know that it being “more realistic to have more autistic characters” is strictly speaking accurate when talking about families - I suppose that it depends on how broadly you define “family” and on how many family members the character has. There is a lot of variation in the research, but this study looking at sibling recurrence of autism found that 10.9% of families with one autistic child had at least one other autistic child. When they widened the criteria, they also found that 21.7% of the families had more than one child with either a history of language delay (with autistic speech) or an autism spectrum disorder.

So while it’s not statistically MORE likely to have multiple autistic family members than not, there are definitely lots of families with several autistic family members.

Some families also find that although they did not previously know that the parents or other members of the family were autistic, having an autistic child who is non-verbal or who otherwise has greater support needs can lead to adults or older siblings also getting a diagnosis.

-Mod Snail

please be aware of all the ways autistic people are actively dehumanized, including

-acting like it would be better off for everyone if we didn’t exist

-being trained to obey, and punished for saying no

-using ‘worked with children with autism’ in a similar way to ‘worked with dogs’

-assuming we don’t have meaningful friendships that aren’t born of a neurotypical pitying us

-assuming we don’t have romantic relationships

-assuming we don’t have sex drives

-debating if it is ethical to allow autistic kids to be born

-denying the existence of autistic adults

-debating whether it is better to have an autistic child, or risk your child dying of a life-threatening disease

-silencing our voices in conversations about us

-treating us like a science experiment

-comparing autistic people to animals

-using terms like ‘put out of their misery’ when describing our murders

-justifying our abuse and torture

-etc, etc

at first i was honestly very pleased that the crewniverse was willing to handle a character who is autistic- or well- autistic coded. but then when the new episodes started to come out, it really made it clear they honestly don’t care about autistic kids at all.

every single one of her comfort items are taken away from her- often for comedy relief. its supposedly funny the way amethyst tosses her limb enhancers away, or how she was so desperate to have the comfort of them again she wore paint cans on her feet, or how ridiculous she looks with a ipad strapped to her arm. its not funny.

when she first is on earth, they literally put her in a child leash, and tie her to a pole. even though all gems are adults, you’re supposed to find it funny they’re treating her like a child- which autistic adults and teenagers often face which is humiliating and traumatizing. the deleted scene where shes strapped in a baby chair is even fucking worse and terrible to think of especially since shes supposed to be autistic. its disgusting.

we’re supposed to laugh at the odd way she words things, like autistic ppl including myself are often shamed and laughed at for. instead of having them explain to her the proper way to say things, amethyst and steven laugh at her.

even in the scene where a silly tv show becomes her special interest the way she obsessed over it and proceeds to explain it to steven is shown as weird and comedic. we’re supposed to laugh at how ridiculously obsessed she is and see her special interest as something odd.

so short version: the crewniverse shouldve never tried to make peridot autistic and treat her like a stupid little gremlin

K but consider: autistic nico

•his special interest is mythomagic. he’s embarrassed by it cause its ‘childish’ but secretly spends all his time thinking about it and runs at least 2 blogs

•communication difficulties. sometimes words just. dont happen??? will, hazel and The Squad™ do their best to give him space and make him comfy

•nico who has eating problems because of ~sensory issues~ like he cant stand the texture of some food or it smells too strong. Will helps hims find foods he can Tolerate 

•The Boi stims with his ring!!! hazel gets him one o those fancy spinner rings as a gift and nico loves her so much……….. he puts it on the finger next 2 his skull ring and it makes him Happy

•Nico never really knowin how the people around him feel and worrying that he upsets them and they just dont say anything

•nico with executive dysfunction!!! i Yell

•nico w a Very Specific Schedule. he wakes at 6:00 every morning to get coffee and bring it back to his cabin before everyone else gets up. if someone else is in the dining pavilion everything is Fukt™.one time chiron gets a new brand of coffee and Hoooo Boi Nico is ready to Stab A Bitch for a full 24 hrs

i could go on tbh. autistic nico brings me Life

Dear parent afraid of getting the assessment:
Nothing bad has ever come from a diagnosis. A diagnosis just means you can seek treatment. No one says discovering cancer early is bad. Early intervention saves lives. It’s the same for autism. Get the assessment.

Dear parent mourning their child’s diagnosis:
Realize nothing has changed. Your child is the same as they were yesterday and all of the days before that. They’re the same kid that they have always been, that you have always loved. Now you’ve got answers. It’s a way forward.

Dear parent in denial about their child’s autism:
It does neither of you any favors to pretend their autism doesn’t exist. Denying your child’s autism only hurts them and disconnects them from a community of peers who can help them find themselves and thrive.

Dear parent of an autistic child:
Do not fear what it means for them now. They would have faced the same challenges with or without a label for it. They were autistic before their evaluation, now you just have a name for it and a access to resources.

anonymous asked:

Not a writing question but I was wondering what your opinions on the organization Autism Speaks were.

Ah, thank you for offering us an opportunity to share something very important to us. For those who aren’t aware, there is an organization in the US called “Autism Speaks” which claims to be a charity working to help autistic people. They are not a charity. They are a hate group.

Autism Speaks is not run with the help of any autistic people. It’s run by allistic people who think of autism as a horrible disease that needs to be eradicated. They run propaganda ads talking about autism like a plague which is destroying lives. They compare it to cancer. One of their propaganda videos famously shows a member of their board talking about contemplating killing her autistic child - while the child is in the room listening to her. Their goal is to “cure” autism - to wipe it off the face of the planet. They don’t see autistic people as people, but as tragic burdens to those around them. They want to take care of all the poor moms and dads whose lives were so tragically ruined when they found out their child was autistic. And they support organizations that torture autistic people and call it “therapy”, like the Judge Rotenberg Center.

This is not a charity. They think of us as broken, inhuman monsters who should be expunged from society. They are not helping us - they’re trying to exterminate us.

Their propaganda is a big part of why there is so much misinformation out there about autism and autistic people. The average person is likely to believe their claims that autism is a horrible disease, that the best way to help the people who have it is to cure them and make them “normal”. Especially the parents of autistic children might like the idea of “fixing” their kid.

News flash: We’re not sick. Autism is not a disease. At worst, it can be considered a disorder or disability, depending on your definition of such, but the vast majority of autistic people are perfectly happy being who we are. Our biggest hurdle isn’t some terrible defect in ourselves - it’s the negative attitudes and lack of understanding in those around us, and the expectation that our primary goal in life should be to act less like ourselves and more like the “normal” people who make up the majority (pro tip: there’s really no such thing as normal). Autism cannot be cured, because it’s not an illness. Our brains are hardwired differently than others, and that is a fundamental part of who we are. If you asked me if I would like a cure, I would look at you the same way as if you asked me if I would like to remove the color from my pizza, because it makes the same amount of logical sense.

Imagine if someone asked you if you would like to stop being (insert your nationality here). Like, just completely remove it from yourself. What would that even mean? Removing all your memories and experiences from that country? Erasing your native language and replacing it with another one? How would that even work? That’s the kind of thing that’s being proposed here.

What autistic people need is awareness, education, and sometimes assistance, depending on our individual needs. We dream of a world where seeing a person rocking back and forth gently and not making much eye contact isn’t met with indignation, disgust, or pity, and where our strengths are valued (and we have many!).

It should be noted that recently, Autism Speaks has changed their official platform slightly, supposedly focusing less on a “cure”, but I’m afraid I don’t buy it for a second. Anyone whose goal includes a “cure” at all is not advocating for our rights, and even if they did have a different mission now, the damage is long since done. Many of us may struggle, and many of us may wish there were certain problems we could do away with, but a “cure” is not possible and our goal should not be to eliminate autistic people from the world, especially given how much we contribute to society. Very few autistic people would actually desire a “cure”, even if one were possible.

So what does this have to do with writing? If you’re writing an autistic character who gets help from a charitable organization, do NOT make it Autism Speaks. That’s not what they do. If your character has any interactions with Autism Speaks, it will be more along the lines of being told they are broken and must be fixed, having the people in their lives treat them as less than human (or as deformed or defective) because they have believed the propaganda, being told they have no right to speak for themselves, and possibly suffering abuse and even torture at the hands of those who think they are “helping”.

There are plenty of good charitable organizations to help autistic people with what we actually need. If you want your character to support an organization in your story (or support the organization yourself by giving them positive exposure in your story), try one of these (and a little Google-fu can help you find a local one for you if you don’t live in the US or UK - search terms like “autism advocacy” and make sure it’s run by actual autistic people). We strongly recommend contacting them, letting them know what you’re writing, and asking how you can include them in your story and represent their work accurately:

Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN)

Autism Women’s Network

Autistic Rights Movement UK 

-Mod Aira

sharkie-heart  asked:

Hi there! I'm not sure if you've answered something similar to this, but I'm wanting to write an autistic character. She's very severe, and has trouble communicating (slurred speech), her personality is also very spacey and oblivious. Any tips, or things to learn about writing an autistic character when I myself am not autistic? Thank you! Take your time!

Thanks for your question, love!  I apologize for the wait, but I’m happy to finally get to answer this :)

So first, I’ve got a a note on what you’ve described about your character.  For one thing, it’s preferred among most autistic people that there be no “sliding scale” of severity – because there are so many different symptoms and combinations of symptoms, and “severity” seems to only relate to symptoms that bother allistic people most.  Here’s a masterpost on how to handle this topic.

So now that this is out of the way, here are my official tips for writing autistic characters!

How to Write Autistic Characters

So it took me some time to prepare for this question, primarily because I saw so little information out there for writing about autism!  And that’s understandable, since it’s such a complex topic – after all, no two autistic people have exactly the same symptoms and coping mechanisms.  Plus, since autism is basically a top-to-bottom different living experience, it’s difficult for allistics to identify with.

But I’m going to discuss this in a few different parts: symptoms, coping mechanisms, positive qualities, and stereotypes to avoid.  I’ll try to keep it as brief as possible without sparing any information :)

Symptoms of Autism

There are many different symptoms of autism, although the mental/emotional aspects of the disorder is most often overlooked by the general public.  It’s important to recognize that every autistic person’s experience and symptoms are different.  Some people have few social problems but they can’t handle the sensory experience of a restaurant; some have few physical problems, but they struggle with OCD and can’t maintain a conversation.  The only difference between symptoms is that some are talked about and some are not, which makes them seem “uncommon.”

Physical Symptoms

  • Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) – SPD is defined as the struggle to process different sensory input – visual, auditory, tactile, taste, olfactory, proprioception, vestibular and interoception.  SPD causes hyper- or hyposentitivities to certain sensory stimuli (e.g. certain clothing textures, food textures, scents, and lighting – especially fluorescent lighting.  Ugh.)
  • Dyspraxia – A result of SPD, dyspraxia makes it difficult to control one’s physical movement.  It creates problems with planning and executing actions, as well as speaking or judging spacial proximity.
  • Sleep Disorder – Many autistic people struggle with sleeping for various reasons – hypersensitivity seems to be the greatest cause.  Offensive sheet fabric, noises, or lighting can cause sleep problems, as well as racing thoughts or anxiety.
  • Lack of Energy (or Spoons) – Often caused by sleep problems or SPD, a lack of energy intensifies normal symptoms.  Understand that when an autistic person engages in a stressful or energy-consuming experience (prolonged socialization, insomnia, bad sensory environments, anxiety, etc.)
  • Nonverbal Communication – This type of communication is used by nearly one-third of autistic people, either because they aren’t able to use language in a meaningful way, because it requires an excessive amount of mental/social energy, or because they suffer from a learning disability.  Some people go temporarily nonverbal in times of stress to conserve energy.  Most nonverbal autistic people learn other means of communication, like writing, sign language, or scripting/echolalia.

Mental Symptoms

  • Executive Dysfunction – This dysfunction makes it difficult for some autistic people to start, finish, and quit tasks; to make decisions and switch activities; and/or create, organize, and follow through with plans.  This should not be confused with procrastination, as it is not a decision – it’s a result of low energy.
  • Alexithymia – Alexithymia can cause autistic people to struggle to identify their own emotions, or separate physical feelings from emotional feelings.  It’s closely tied with lowered interoception, which is defined as the struggle (or inability) to define and assess physical sensations like hunger, thirst, tension, etc.
  • Meltdowns – Meltdowns are an emotional response to overstimulation and stress, causing some autistic people to “lose control” of visceral emotional responses (e.g. shaking, kicking, crying, shouting, etc.).  There is another type of meltdown called a shutdown, which causes an opposite reaction: dissociation and lack of external response.  It’s a flight reaction rather than a fight reaction.
  • Increased Likelihood for Other Mental Disorders – Since the world isn’t exactly built for autistic people, there are plenty of everyday challenges and stressors (as well as difficulty maintaining supportive relationships) that can cause other comorbid disorders, such as OCD, anxiety, and depression.
  • Learning Disability and Late Childhood Development – While autism itself is not classified as a learning disability, it’s often comorbid with different types of learning disabilities.  Autism can also cause late development of speech and motor skills, among other things.

Social Symptoms

  • Hyperempathy or Low Empathy – On two ends of the spectrum, autistic people often struggle with the “right balance” of empathy – being either unable to identify, express, and empathize with emotions, or unable to shut off or control their own emotions as well as to separate themselves from other people’s emotions.
  • Impulsive Behavior – Because of a (sometimes) weak understanding of social rules and/or imbalanced empathy, an autistic person may struggle to stop and think before they say or do something impulsively.  This can cause interpersonal issues, as impulsive speech may offend or hurt others, while impulsive actions may feel too “out-of-control” or “hard to manage” for loved ones.
  • Difficulty Interpreting or Expressing Social Cues – Autistic people often struggle to understand facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, sarcasm, flirting, or figures of speech – and because of this, they can often come off as “oblivious” or “simple” (although this is inaccurate and contributes to a lot of misrepresentation).  It can also be difficult to express social cues, which is why some autistic people can appear to be awkward, clingy, aloof, or uninterested in friendship/romance.
  • Social Anxiety – Social situations can be especially stressful for autistic people, due to the amount of thinking it requires – to interpret cues, to “pass” as allistic, to express themselves clearly, to curb impulses, to handle sensory challenges – and this leads to social anxiety.
  • Social Isolation – As a result of social anxiety, some autistic people experience isolation, as they may feel more comfortable in their own environment, alone.  This is an unfortunate result of ableist culture, and may be worsened by executive dysfunction which can make it difficult to reach out to others.
  • Struggle with Change – Whether in routine, environment, appearance, or the natural changes of life (such as graduation, moving, marriage, death in the family, new job, etc.), change can cause great stress for some autistic people.  This is why many autistic people enjoy comfort objects, old music, childhood memories/interests, or specific, consistent colors, styles, or textures for their belongings.

Coping Mechanisms for Autistic People

There are many methods of coping with the negative aspects of autism, but there are a few that are most popular:

  • Behavioral & Occupational Therapy – Therapy (often combined with medication) is a continuous process of reducing symptoms, coping with stressors, and learning how to function in an allistic world.  (The most common method of behavioral therapy, ABA, has reports of being abusive, so be mindful of this if you’re researching/writing about therapy!)
  • Stimming – “Stimming” or self-stimulating is a physical coping mechanism for sensory overload and similar stress.  Stimming can be healthy or unhealthy depending on the action involved (some unhealthy stims include skin-peeling or hitting one’s head), and it can be conscious or subconscious.  It’s often seen as “weird” or “bad” by allistics (especially parents), so some autistic people train themselves out of the habit from a young age.
  • Special Interests – Special interests are half a coping mechanism and half a natural part of autistic people’s lifestyles.  It’s defined as a devoted interest to one or two subjects or activities – special interests can reduce stress, help focus, and provide motivation against executive dysfunction. 

Positive Qualities of Autism

Now that we’ve gotten all the bad stuff out of the way, I’m gonna list a few common positive qualities of autistic people.  Remember that these do not apply to all autistic people, but may be a natural consequence of autistic traits:

  • Determination
  • Dedication
  • Divergence (from trends and social expectations)
  • Passion
  • Honesty
  • Uncritical nature
  • Attention to detail
  • Good memory
  • Logical reasoning
  • Active imagination
  • Integrity
  • Understanding of what it’s like to be judged or left out
  • Skilled with children

Autistic people, of course, have many other great qualities, and may struggle with many of the above.  Creating a character with all these qualities will yield you a stereotype, so be mindful!


Stereotypes of Autistic People

Finally, there are a few popular stereotypes of autistic characters, which should be avoided at all costs:

  • Autistic People are Psychic – We get this courtesy of shows like Touch, where the (usually nonverbal) autistic child suddenly starts speaking because they see ghosts or are somehow connected to “another world”.  Autistic people joke about themselves being “aliens”… but allistic people really shouldn’t.
  • Autistic People Need Caretakers – While some autistic people do struggle to manage their lives alone, it’s a pretty harmful stereotype in media considering the lack of positive representation autistic people get.  Plenty of autistic people (whether you consider them high- or low-functioning) lead successful lives on their own, and they deserve representation.
  • Autistic People are Burdens – The most stereotypical portrayal of autistic people is that they are the weight pulling on their parents’ ankles – that they destroy parents’ sex lives and make teachers crazy and their friends need a “night off” from their autistic friends.
  • Autistic People are Childlike – While many autistic people enjoy activities geared toward children, and while meltdowns can resemble an allistic child’s temper tantrum, autistic people are not childish or unintelligent.  Autistic adults are adults, no matter their struggles.
  • Autistic People Look Different – Autistic people don’t all look a certain way from birth – this is a myth that has been debunked time and time again, the same way that the Vaccines Cause Autism myth has been debunked, time and time again.  Don’t perpetuate these myths in your writing.
  • Autistic People are Like Robots – Autistic people may not express their feelings well, but they have feelings.  Being nonverbal, being dissociative, being aloof or awkward – none of these things make an autistic person unfeeling or non-human.  Be mindful to show the emotional side of your autistic character, even if they struggle to express it to others.

Resources for Researching Autism

A lot of these are courtesy of @anonymusauthorin, whom I thank very much for her information and deep connection to the autistic community!

  • Ballastexistenz’s blog (on her personal experience with multiple disabilities and autism). [NSFW language]
  • Yes, That Too (blog on the personal experience of an autistic person with other neurodivergencies).
  • Aspects of Aspergers (specifically about Asperger’s, which is now called Autism Spectrum Disorder).
  • Disability in Kid Lit (discussions of disability representation in children’s/YA literature).
  • @scriptautistic is an active advice blog for writing about autism.
  • @autism-asks is an active blog that takes questions about autism.
  • @undiagnosedautismfeels is an active blog that receives submitted anecdotes about autistic struggles, some specific to being undiagnosed/self-diagnosed.
  • @autisticheadcanons is an active blog that receives submissions of characters that actual autistic people headcanon as autistic.  You can find some common submissions (e.g. Lilo Pelekai, Newt Scamander, Sherlock Holmes) and check them out for examples!

Final Note: You may notice that none of these links are affiliated with Autism Speaks, which is for a purpose.  Autism Speaks has a long history of promoting eugenics, abusing autistic children and adolescents, silencing the voice of actual autistics, and promoting a “find a cure” narrative that’s harmful to the minds of both autistic people and potential parents of autistic children.  When doing research, I’d advise you to refrain from using their resources.


Anyway, this was hugely long but I wanted to really go into it, since I didn’t see many other extensive guides on writing about autism.  Note that while I, myself, am autistic, this is only the perspective of one autistic person.  Either way, I hope this helps you with your character!  If you have any further questions, my inbox is open and waiting :)

Good luck!


If you need advice on general writing or fanfiction, you should maybe ask me!