Note For Anyone Writing About Me

Guide to Writing About Me

I am an Autistic person,not a person with autism. I am also not Aspergers. The diagnosis isn't even in the DSM anymore, and yes, I agree with the consolidation of all autistic spectrum stuff under one umbrella. I have other issues with the DSM.

I don't like Autism Speaks. I'm Disabled, not differently abled, and I am an Autistic activist. Self-advocate is true, but incomplete.

Citing My Posts

MLA: Hillary, Alyssa. "Post Title." Yes, That Too. Day Month Year of post. Web. Day Month Year of retrieval.

APA: Hillary, A. (Year Month Day of post.) Post Title. [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://yesthattoo.blogspot.com/post-specific-URL.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Two Stories With One Different Detail/ Why I Don't Tell People I'm Autistic


Here are two stories.

On a field trip to the New York Chinatown, a girl notices a restaurant which looks like it will have proper 牛肉拉面 (beef lo mein), something she has not been able to find for nearly a year and which she has not yet been successful at making herself. She notes the location of the restaurant on her mental map. Later in the day, there is time for visiting a museum, gathering the information needed to complete an assignment, and exploring Chinatown. After visiting the museum, she sets off alone for the restaurant, since she already has all the information she needs for the assignment. The restaurant does have proper 牛肉拉面, just as she hoped. Once she finishes and pays her bill, she wanders Chinatown, briefly becoming lost after taking a wrong turn. She returns to the meet-up location approximately ten minutes early with a litchi ice cream in hand, finishes the ice cream, pulls out a book, and begins to read until her classmates return.

You might think this girl to be a bit weird, but as long as you know there wasn't a rule dictating a group size, you're probably OK with this. She's just a bit of a loner.

On a field trip to the New York Chinatown, an autistic girl notices a restaurant which looks like it will have proper 牛肉拉面 (beef lo mein), something she has not been able to find for nearly a year and which she has not yet been successful at making herself. She notes the location of the restaurant on her mental map. Later in the day, there is time for visiting a museum, gathering the information needed to complete an assignment, and exploring Chinatown. After visiting the museum, she sets off alone for the restaurant, since she already has all the information she needs for the assignment. The restaurant does have proper 牛肉拉面, just as she hoped. Once she finishes and pays her bill, she wanders Chinatown, briefly becoming lost after taking a wrong turn. She returns to the meet-up location approximately ten minutes early with a litchi ice cream in hand, finishes the ice cream, pulls out a book, and begins to read until her classmates return.

Slightly different reaction? Knowing the girl to be autistic, the words alone, lost, and wander might freak you out, and you might be wondering why she wasn't better supervised. I mean, clearly the girl is a wanderer!

Here's the thing. The second story is word-for-word the same as the first, except that ``a girl" is replaced with ``an autistic girl" in the first sentence. One detail, and everything changes. Also, this is a narration of a small part of what I did yesterday, on a field trip to New York's Chinatown with the Chinese Flagship Program. I did this to make a few points.

One: That's why I tend not to TELL people I know off-line that I'm autistic. They might proceed to have problems with my doing things like that or like spending a weekend alone in Beijing. There is an unfortunate tendency to suddenly presume incompetence as soon as you know someone is autistic, even if you presumed competence before. Irrelevance to being able to do a math proof or an engineering problem means a lack of impetus, but if this presumption of incompetence weren't an issue, I'd probably eventually get around to it.

Two: The difference between a loner and a wanderer is a diagnosis. As soon as you are autistic, leaving the group and going places alone makes you a wanderer, even when there wasn't an official rule saying you had to be with the group at the time.

Three: If you call someone a wanderer and go find them quickly before giving them a chance to show that they are, in fact, competent to be traveling unsupervised, you may be preventing perfectly competent, well, wandering. Because not all who wander are lost, and this applies to autistics too. (Also, not all who are lost lack the ability to get themselves un-lost.)

1 comment:

  1. Oh, so true! Love love love the last sentence.

    ReplyDelete

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