A few weeks ago, Elizabeth Bartmess wrote the best post on autistic representation I have ever seen. In academia, we would call this a “survey paper”: it lists and categorizes all the most common problems with autistic characters in fiction (along with links to book reviews that show each of the problems in action), then links to non-fiction articles explaining why each one is a problem, what real-life problems and narratives it connects to, and what we would like to see instead. It’s geared towards writers of YA/MG fiction, so the examples are drawn from YA, but every single point is a thing that crops up in fiction for adults as well.
I am not joking when I say this is REQUIRED READING. From now on, whenever someone asks me how to write an autistic character without failing, I am linking them to this post FIRST.
Here are some other good posts on How To Do Activism:
- Ari Ne’eman on accidental discrimination and conflicting access needs
- Kit Mead on how we should talk about autistic people’s suicides [tw suicide]
- Amythest Schaber on why we need to celebrate autism [tw bullying, suicide]
There was a protest called #CrippingTheMighty recently against a site called The Mighty, which aggregates disability-related content in sometimes problematic ways (inspiration porn, “warrior moms”, etc). Here is an overview of #CrippingTheMighty (with more links!) by Savannah Lodgson-Breakstone.
- Dani Alexis Ryskamp on why The Mighty should also be paying its writers
- Although The Mighty has had issues for some time, a lot of the talk in #CrippingTheMighty was triggered by a specific problematic post. Shannon des Roches Rosa and others at the Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism have a very important point here about that post’s author, who is autistic herself and has apologized.