So, I wrote a post last week about happy endings for Autistic characters.
Basically, they don’t usually exist.
And, when they do (or, at least, when the author thinks it’s a happy ending) it’s often a cure ending. Though, because autism can’t be cured irl, this is usually kept to sci-fi and fantasy stories.
The Autistic character has reached the end of their quest and, as a reward, they are cured of their autism.
Except that’s not a good thing! It’s actually pretty horrifying to think about.
Like, do you understand just how much rewiring of the brain that would take? You wouldn’t be the same person. You couldn’t be.
Autism colours all of my interactions with the world. It influences the way I react to situations as well as how I interpret sensory information.
It’s not a chemical imbalance to be reset.
It’s not a disease to be cut out.
It’s a fundamental part of who I am.
Even if it wasn’t, cure plot lines are still damaging because cures don’t exist.
Cure endings say “you are only acceptable without your disability” but, in a world where the disability cannot be cured, that is a horrific message to hear.
So, don’t write them.
2 replies on “Writing Autistic – Cure Endings”
Okay, I wrote a Doctor Who fanfic where the Doctor dies of old age in the future, then Clara dies (completing her moment with the raven in Face the Raven) and meets him in the place that comes next. Guess what? He still talked and gesticulated like he did while alive because I headcanon him as autistic. I hint that his sensory issues are gone, but he still *thinks* and talks like an autistic person. He was infodumping and waving his hands around and just so so SO excited to tell Clara all about what all they can do now that they’re not tied to flesh and bones bodies. Once autistic, always autistic IMHO.
Great post! Loved this!
Thanks! And, yeah, curing autism is just such a bizarre concept because it’s just how we think. In sci-fi stuff, I’m mostly a fan of using cybernetics to regulate sensory processing stuff or having a thought-to-speech device for non-verbal characters, but I always keep the autistic thought processes the same.