OKAY RULE1 for writing autistic characters:
The labels of “High-functioning” and “low-functioning” are. Well to put it plainly, they are actively and absolutely harmful. They are used to silence autistic people. If you are deemed low-functioning, you are therefore unable to make any decisions for yourself, thus, you are put in the control of others. If you are deemed high-functioning, it is also used to silence you, because you aren’t “really” autistic. Do not use these labels unless it is specifically the bad guys using them, or if the characters are very obviously uninformed and ignorant of what they are contributing to by using these labels.
Aspergers is the same thing as autism. Aspergers is usually just applied to “”High-functioning”” autistics because it sounds nicer than autism. They are the exact same thing.
This should be obvious. But autistic people do not “suffer” from autism. And we are not people with autism. We are autistic people. Believe it or not there is a difference, and it is important. If I hadn’t been born autistic, I would not be me. You can’t separate the brain from the mind. You can’t separate autism from the soul.
Being diagnosed with autism doesn’t suddenly make you an entirely new person. Someone you know being diagnosed doesn’t mean that they are an entirely new person. Autism is like gravity—even before we gave it a name, even before we acknowledged it and realizing that “hey, this is a thing!” It was still there. Still making apples fall out of trees. Just because you find out that someone is autistic doesn’t mean your entire perception of them needs to change. They’re still the same person you’ve always known. Just like you know that gravity exists before you’re taught about it in school. Just because you don’t have a word for something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
We are not sick. Autism is not an illness. I don’t care if you have a kid that’s autistic and you’re sad that they’ll never say to you “I love you” or hold your hand. There are more ways to express affection than hand-holding and verbal declarations. We are not sick. We do not need to be cured. I don’t care if you think we’re sad miserable things that will never meet arbitrary life goals. We are people. We just happen to be different.
Rule 6: Do not write an autistic character just because you want a gold star. Do not write an autistic character because you want to be able to say your story is diverse. Do not write an autistic character so that you can get some imaginary trophy. If you’re going to write an autistic character, it should be because you really care about the subject. It should be because you want to learn as much as you want to teach. Do not write autistic characters so that you can pat yourself on the back and give yourself brownie points. Write an autistic character because you really, genuinely, care.
Rule 7: Don’t tag something as involving autism if it’s literally just a background character that shows up for 0.2 seconds and doesn’t even have a major impact on the story or any real role at all. Not only is that obnoxious for people trying to find fics about autistic characters, it’s insulting. We are not objects you take off a shelf to show off, and then stick back when you don’t want us anymore. Either go all the way or don’t do anything at all.
Rule 8: We are not children. We do not “have the mind of an X year old”. If an autistic person is twelve, they do not “have the mind of a three year old.” They have the mind of an autistic twelve year old. Do not infantize us. Do not treat us like children.
Rule 9: DO. NOT. USE. THE. R-WORD. AS. A. DESCRIPTOR. DO NOT DO IT. IT IS A SLUR. DO NOT USE IT IN CASUAL CONTEXT UNLESS SOMEONE IS GOING TO REACT TO IT LIKE THE SLUR IT IS.
Rule 10: Do not make “high-functioning” autistics look down on “low-functioning” autistics unless this behavior is explicitly shown to be in the wrong and completely misguided.
Rule 11: I don’t know what it’s called but that thing? Where people “teach” autistic people to be more normal? Where they force autistic people to make eye contact and not stim or walk on their toes and stuff? Yeah. That’s not a good thing. At all. Do not make it out to be a good thing unless this is later proven absolutely and disastrously damaging and wrong.
If you are autistic and have something to add, PLEASE FEEL FREE.
Allistics, please feel free to reblog. No, having an autistic family member does not give you free reign to add your own rules. This is meant to be a list of rules written BY AUTISTIC PEOPLE for the benefit of allistic writers so that we can read things without wanting to die of brain implosion.