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Abstract/Statement

The Autistic Representation Database (ARD) indexes nearly 1,000 works of fiction, auto-biographical non-fiction, film, and television that feature autistic representations. Robert Rozema and I created the ARD with the purpose of compiling all works of art with autistic representation in one place. In my work on the ARD, I recognized a key pattern: a higher ratio of autistic authors are self-published in comparison to neurotypical authors writing about autism. Autistic authors may self-publish because of barriers in the traditional publishing industry; however, I assert it is because self-publishing allows them to portray autism how they desire. In this way, autistic self-publishing is a form of advocacy which manifests itself in two ways: first, implicit advocacy, which seeks to normalize autism; and second, explicit advocacy, which aims to confront and correct stereotypes. This article examines three representative self-published novels by autistic authors. Drawing on these works and the personal interviews I conducted, I analyze the implicit and explicit advocacy in the novels.

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