An autistic fantasy describes when an individual deals with external and environmental stressors by daydreaming and retreating into an inner fantasy world. Although daydreaming is a normal and healthy occurrence in almost everyone, autistic fantasy substitutes daydreaming for social relationships to an extreme degree and can result in difficulties in dealing with problems and everyday life.
Autistic fantasy is a defense mechanism that uses daydreaming and fantastical thinking as a method for coping with stress. It may replace real social interactions and behaviors with fantasies and daydreams which is not healthy.
For example, a student who is repeatedly bullied at school may retreat into a fantasy world based on their favorite movie. They spend their time in this fantasy world and may begin to suffer social problems (due to not spending time with friends) and their school work may begin to suffer as well.