In romance novels especially it seems we're so bundled into the idea that our characters have to be so perfectly built that to see even someone with an average body is somehow a new and different concept. People read for an escape, and I get that, but at the same time I want to see some reality thrown in there and, when an autistic character is involved, I don't want them to just be some side character or a half mention somewhere as some side character's little brother that gets maybe two sentences of page time. Because that's not okay.
Autistic people, and really any character that isn't your typical classy hunk, should get more attention than that. I say that if you're going to use something, then use it well. I would love to see an autistic person fall in love in a book somewhere. Autism is a spectrum and for some characters this may not be possible, but being different should never make a character unworthy of love.
I've had enough of the token plus-size friend that the popular girl has while she's getting the guy of her dreams. Yay for them including a girl that's not a size two but for once can't she find a good guy too? The same thing goes here. Have different characters in your romances. Seek out the characters that stretch your idea of what a romantic lead can be. Loving someone that is different sometimes takes a lot of patience and it doesn't end with the first real kiss or the first time they say I Love You.
I have an autistic cousin and we were talking the other day about how kids like him are shown in movies and TV. He doesn't have super powers like some of the autistic kids you see in shows but he does love car engines and he can tell you everything about them and how they work. Talking to him isn't like talking to other people sometimes but that's what makes him unique and beautiful. He has a different way of looking at the world and he finds beauty in something I take for granted every time I get into my car. Engines have rules and meaning for him in a life that is often overwhelming.
There's beauty in being different and its the same kind of beauty that exists in a character that is the perfect stereotypical hunk. Sometimes you just have to dig a little deeper to find it.