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

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Don't Ask Twice

Yesterday, I talked about one of the issues from this quote:
Assume the person with Aspergers is not intending to offend you. Intention to offend is actually a complicated line of reasoning that someone with Aspergers doesn’t have…People with Aspergers want to be nice. It’s very important to them even though you would never guess that by their actions. So if you tell the person what you want, and give specific direction, they will always try their best to do it, because they want to be nice. That said, them trying their best might look to you like not trying at all…Just because someone with Aspergers says no right now doesn’t mean it’s no later. No is a defense mechanism for “I don’t like change.” You can try asking again a second time later.-Petunia Trunk
Today, I am talking about the other huge problem.
Have you ever been taught that no means no? Apparently if the person has Aspergers, it now means "try again later." That's wrong. That's taking a person who has already been taught not to have boundaries, already been taught to always comply and that no is not an acceptable answer, and making them say it again in order to do what they want to do.
This quote is just chock-full of consent issues. Autistic people who have the Aspergers label have been taught to comply with everything, same as other Autistic people. That's what our therapies teach. Social skills classes teach us to engage, but not to disengage. We are taught not to refuse invitations. We are taught, often, that we have to be nice all the time, that even if we don't get it right, we have to at least try to be nice all the time, or else we really are horrible people. People often say to us "You don't have Aspergers, you're just a jerk." We're taught that we can never just be a jerk, and that's not a safe way to live. Sometimes the only way to get a person to leave you alone is to be a bit of a jerk, and we need access to that tool just like everyone else does, even if it is only for dire situations. (We wind up in those more often than most, I suspect, so maybe we need it even more.)
So: If you tell an Autistic person what you want and give specific directions, they might do it because they want to be nice. They also might do it because they have been taught that they should always do what they are told to do and that compliance is key. If they ever had ABA, the second is even more likely to be what's going on, but it can happen even from things like social skills therapy or continuously getting in trouble for being weird.
And "No is a defense mechanism for "I don't like change." This is so full of consent issues and thinly veiled coercion that it's not even funny.
Part of being autonomous and in charge of your own life is that you are allowed to make illogical choices, and you are allowed to make mistakes, and you are allowed to make decisions that other people don't agree with. That means that even if "no" really is just a defense mechanism for not liking change, if you respect that an Autistic person is a full person who can make decisions (if you don't respect this, you should not be interacting with Autistic people anyways because that is a huge problem,) you still have to accept the answer of "No."
We're taught never to say "No." We said it once, and that was hard. It must have been important, because we're taught not to say it, ever.We get taught that questions are orders in disguise, and asking again means that we must have given the wrong answer the first time. No means no, and it does not mean "Ask again later." It means no, and that's it. Just because someone with Aspergers says no now, that means they said no and you need to respect that and leave it be. Do not ask again later. Do not press the issue.
If you want to leave it open to them changing their mind, depending on the specific Autistic person, you might be able to get away with letting them know while you are asking that they can change their mind at any time and that that's fine. The reason for doing it while you're asking? It's so that they can change their yes to a no if they get uncomfortable, even more than it is to let them decide that they really do want to try.
Knowing that I can change my yes to a no later if I need to makes me much more willing to give that initial yes, in case anyone was wondering. That only works if my decision gets respected when I make that change, every time. As soon as I start getting pressured about it upon deciding that something really isn't what I want,  I'm not willing to do the "I'll give it a shot" thing on what you ask about anymore, and you will get far more no's than you would before. It's not because I don't like change in general. It's because I want to be able to go back if I want or need to.
Remember that Autistic people are taught to comply. Respect our "No" for what it is-"No."

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I Am No Angel.

Every so often, I see quotes running around. Sometimes they are good. Sometimes... not so much. This one is sufficiently poor that it gets two posts dedicated to explaining what is wrong, as there are two huge problems with it. When I say huge, I mean huge. Take a look, and get ready for the first:
Assume the person with Aspergers is not intending to offend you. Intention to offend is actually a complicated line of reasoning that someone with Aspergers doesn’t have…People with Aspergers want to be nice. It’s very important to them even though you would never guess that by their actions. So if you tell the person what you want, and give specific direction, they will always try their best to do it, because they want to be nice. That said, them trying their best might look to you like not trying at all…Just because someone with Aspergers says no right now doesn’t mean it’s no later. No is a defense mechanism for “I don’t like change.” You can try asking again a second time later.-Petunia Trunk
I'm not even getting into the fact that this is supposedly just about Aspergers. Aspergers and classic autism aren't as different as many people think, and the differences in criteria are not the same as the differences in how they actually get diagnosed, and it's basically a mess. Speech delay is a pretty arbitrary line anyways, especially with the fact that people can gain and lose speech and how people can learn to use AAC instead of speaking and do just fine that way. (I have an AAC app on my iPad and a text-to-speech on my laptop. I have needed the text to speech.) It's an issue, but I just gave a reasonable explanation of why in a paragraph. This next one? It's big.
It's this: Autistic people can insult and offend on purpose. Sometimes we are jerks because we don't know better, and sometimes we are jerks because we really are jerks.
Claiming that "Intention to offend is actually a complicated line of reasoning that someone with Aspergers doesn't have" is wrong. Complicated lines of reasoning are totally fine. The social rules that will tell us what will and won't offend can be difficult (I don't always get them, to be honest,) but that has little to do with the intent to offend. It goes both ways, really. Autistic people can offend without intent, and we can fail to offend when we were trying to. We can even attempt to offend and then have it turn out that we did so in a completely different way than the one we intended. The issue is not with comprehending and having the intent to offend, but with knowing what words will satisfy the intent or lack thereof.
Claiming that people with Aspergers always want to be nice is false, it's silencing (Oh, they don't know what they're saying!) and it's reinforcing the Autistic Angel stereotype. You know, the one where the cute little children with autism are perfect angels who would never do anything wrong on purpose, they just don't know any better? It's one that comes from compliance being a high goal in all our therapies, from everyone just trying to make Autistic people do as we are told and not be mean to anyone ever.
And we do know what we are saying.
We might not always be aware of the exact emotional effects that what we are saying will have on a reader or listener. No one does- no one is actually a mind reader, no matter what some people might think. I could believe that I am worse at guessing the effect my words will have on a neurotypical reader than the typical neurotypical writer. I really could.
Guess what that is an extremely different statement from?
It's got nothing to do with my knowing the content of my words. I know exactly what I am telling you. Really, I do. We do. And people keep conflating "can't predict the emotional effect that words will have" with "doesn't know what they're saying." That's a huge problem.
I'm not usually trying to offend you, I'll admit that (Sometimes, offence is the only way I think I can get your attention, and I will try. So... yeah, I can intentionally offend as well.) But I am trying to make you think, and I am trying to point out problems that I see in the world. If I offend you in the process? I really don't care. If I make you uncomfortable in the process? I really don't care. If my words have that effect, it's because there are things in you that you need to be looking at.
In your rush to defend my intentions, don't deny me tools of communication. I have the same right to offend when I so choose that you do, and I have the same ability to do so, both intentionally and not. I know people like to think of Autistic people as being angels, but we only seem so when you deny every action and intention that is not in line with your idea of us as such, either by teaching further compliance or by questioning if we are really Autistic. We have the same range of temperaments that you do, and I am no angel. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I Don't See You As Autistic.

I legitimately saw a person write to an Autistic friend of mine that she didn't think this friend was autistic, that this friend was intelligent and beautiful and that she thought of this friend as just having autism. This person thought that a they were complimenting my friend. Anyone who has ever read anything my friend wrote on the topic would know that this was not going to be taken as a compliment, and yet she was surprised. She insisted that everyone who was explaining why this was actually insulting and offensive was just over thinking it, and called them all kids. (All were over 18.) There is so much wrong with this exchange that I'm not even sure where to begin. I will try to sort through this.
Compliments may be given by the giver, but if they are not received as such by the receiver, it doesn't somehow stay a compliment. The idea is to make the person you are complimenting feel good, and if it doesn't have that effect, the correct response is not to insist that it's a compliment. It's to not try to use it as a compliment for that person. If they are so good as to explain why it is not a compliment, they are not over thinking it. They are doing you a favor.
Separating a person and their positive traits from their neurology is suggesting that the positive traits are somehow incompatible with the neurology, intended or not. If you think that "I don't think of you as autistic, I think of you as having autism," is a compliment, you are saying that being autistic is not good. That's not over thinking, that's looking at the words that were actually said.
Referring to a person in a way that they have asked not to be referred to on several occasions is not a compliment. It is a denial of their ability to decide how they want to identify. In the case of identifying as Autistic, it is also refusing to acknowledge a cultural identity. What would you say to someone who told you that they don't see you as a Jewish person, but as a person who had Jewishness, and they thought that it was a compliment? (I'm Jewish, by the way, and I would be very upset.) This is a denial of a cultural identity in addition to a denial of self-identification, and it was somehow a surprise when it was taken badly? I do not understand people, sometimes.
I told this person that it was not actually a compliment, and I asked her to please listen to the explanations that I was sure she was about to hear of why it's not a compliment. Others began to explain. I pasted in the paragraph that was on the front page of my friends blog addressing this exact issue. She called us kids, insisted we were over thinking things.
There is so much wrong there.
First, this is the part where I actually get to the calling us kids thing. None of us were kids. Infantilization of Autistic adults and other adults with developmental disabilities is a thing. It's a big thing. If you are familiar with disability politics at all, you know that you should never refer to a disabled adult as a kid or a child. We are adults, and we demand to be treated as such, spoken to as such. Infantilization is a method of keeping us quiet, of reinforcing the oppression of people with disabilities as being less, as not being able to decide for ourselves what is and is not in our best interests.
Second, if it is over thinking when we decide that one side of the distinction is preferable (A/autistic), then it is over thinking when she does the same. If it was over thinking when we continued the distinction,then it was already over thinking when she started looking at the distinction. She had an opinion on which was better, and anyone who disagreed was just over thinking. That's not how it works. Either the distinction matters, or it doesn't. By claiming that having autism as opposed to being autistic is a compliment, the distinction has already been stated to matter. We didn't start this, but by golly, we will be the ones to end it.
Third, telling someone that they are overthinking things or that they are too sensitive is a classic silencing tactic. Not a note of this is new, and we won't be silenced, even when you pull out several methods at once. We've read Derailing For Dummies. We have been playing this game far longer than you have, and we will be playing this game long past when you give up, deciding that we are just too mean.
For a final trick, this person deleted the thread rather than take the time to read even the single paragraph that could be found by simply going to my friends blog. This wasn't a complicated issue. It was a "look at the front page of my website, here's what I think!" issue. People would seriously rather cut off contact, pretend things never happened, act as if there were no issue, than deal with even basic issues of calling people what they want to be called. If that's not an attempt at silencing Autistic people, I don't know what is. If you want to help a person, you have to help them in ways that they say are helpful, not by insulting them and calling it a compliment.

Monday, January 28, 2013

I'm Overloaded.

Posts are queued, moderation is on. You won't actually see me for a few days, though.

Taking it BACK

BTW, this post is also on Taking Back the Puzzle, which is what it's supposed to be introducing.

Reclaiming slurs is a thing that movements do, sometimes, taking back words that have been used against us as weapons and making them our own again.
Autism Speaks does not own puzzles and puzzle pieces. Generation Rescue, Autism Rights Watch, Autism Society of America, autism awareness groups in general, parents of children with autism, Autism Parents... none of them own puzzles or puzzle pieces. Many of them did trademark the individual piece designs they use, but do you know how many more piece designs there are?
We can use completed puzzles, that aren't missing any pieces. We can use logic puzzles. We can use those puzzles where there is one simple thought trick that is key. With it, the solution seems obvious, but without it, the puzzle seems impossible. We can use corner pieces, which are integral to holding the whole puzzle together. We can use that one last center piece where it takes a long time to figure out where it goes, but it's actually really important- not as a "figuring out how to fix autistic people" is that last center piece, but that we are that piece, that it takes longer to figure out where we fit in life, that it takes more work to figure out where we fit in life, but that we are important, we are needed.
When words or images have been made weapons against us, we can attempt to delete the words, we can attempt to delete the images, we can attempt to delete the associations between us and the words or images. Sometimes it is a word or image we never wanted, one where there is no way to give it a positive meaning. Sometimes it is one we would never have chosen, but where there is nonetheless a good interpretation of the image, one is positive and makes sense.
We might never have chosen puzzles, but there are good ways to look them, and so we are Taking Back the Puzzle. Changing an association is much easier than deleting one completely, so let's make puzzles our tools, not the tools of those who wish for our non-existence.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Variations on a Theme

Every step familiar,
As if I have danced it before.
As if I have heard this music play before.
I know every note, each rise and fall.
Variations on the same theme.

I know this dance, I've seen it danced before.
It's been danced since before I was born.
I had hoped these steps were done,
Hoped to hear the last notes falling,
As the musicians struck new chords,
Not variations on this same theme
Of songs I know too well.

But the music picks up once more.
It is the same.
Once more and once more and once more and once more,
Around this same merry-go-round.

Once more to shout my existence,
Once more to shout my humanity,
Once more to shout "We are here!"
And once more to dance attendance on those
Who say they hear but never listen,
The song begins again.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Do YOU Have a Child with Autism?

Probably never will.
I probably will have an Autistic child, though.
If you don't think there's a difference, I've got a page about not calling me a person with autism because I'm Autistic, and it links to a pile of posts on the subject. I think seven of them are mine? Yeah...
But that's not the point.
The point is, parents, I know many of you think that "Do YOU have a child with autism?" is a relevant question to ask in conversations about autism, and that an answer of no means that the person doesn't have anything relevant to say.
And I saw a thread in which a parent repeatedly asked an Autistic person (reasonably well known as an Autistic blogger and activist, has a chapter in a book about self-advocacy, it's NOT HARD to Google her and see that she is Autistic) if they had a child with autism in a conversation about vaccines.
And this parent ignored all the Autistic adults, including the Autistic parents of Autistic kids. Apparently mentioning that they were themselves Autistic, that they had Autistic kids with varying vaccination history, that yes, they do, in fact, know both what it is like to have an Autistic child and to be an Autistic child and that they still think it is time to quit it with blaming and fixing that which isn't broken doesn't go over well. Apparently it is just being divisive, but claiming that vaccines cause autism without sources on a site that is science-based isn't divisive or stirring up trouble at all?
Apparently it is all about the poor parents of the children with autism, and autism is something to be overcome, and these parents love their kids but hate autism. And apparently these parents are basing their identity around making martyrs of themselves, with the so-called enemy... their child's neurology, which is somehow separable from their child.
Autism is about the Autistic person, not about the parents or the siblings or the caretakers. If you claim that being the parent of a "child with autism" means you know more than the average layperson, I'm inclined to give that to you. You at least have some idea what your child needs, hopefully. (Or you know to to try to make your kid act "normal," which is knowledge but is also a really horrible thing to do.)
If you claim that it makes you know more than an Autistic person?
I will laugh you right out the door.
You want to know more about autism (in general) than an Autistic person? You're gonna need to do a lot of reading and a lot of talking to Autistic people, because strange as it might sound, we are the experts in living Autistic. And once you've done that? You'll still only know more about autism in general, not about any given Autistic person's own experience, and even that, you won't have over the Autistics who did the same.
If you claim that your suffering is in any way relevant to "who knows more about autism?" I will laugh you right out the door, because focusing on yourself and your suffering and your martyrdom is not how you learn about anything that isn't you. Guess what? Autism isn't you. It's a word for your childs brain meant to separate them from their neurology, since it's a noun and it's not a type of person.
Autistics Speak, time to listen?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

There is a Difference

Trigger Warning: Ableism, "cure" talk, reversing symptoms of autism/recovery
We should be aiming to empower both individuals with autism with the skills to cope in the world and non-autistic individuals to accommodate autistic differences, not to reverse the symptoms of autism.
That was the final sentence in ASAN's response to the study about some children seeming to "recover" from autism. (I presume they are quoting it from one of their referenced papers, since it's using person-first language and ASAN doesn't usually do that, but I'm honestly not checking that right now.)
Someone asked if there was any difference from outside besides just "semantics."
I could get into how semantics is word choices and word choices matter, but I've talked about words mattering. I've talked seven times about Autistic versus With Autism, and I've got another you haven't seen about capitalizing the A in Autistic. Words mean things. Semantics actually matter.
But that's not the point.

The point is that there are huge concrete differences between empowering Autistic people with coping skills and trying to reverse symptoms or traits of autism.

When you are trying to reverse the symptoms, oral speech at all times is key, and confiscating AAC devices in an attempt to elicit speech is acceptable on the off chance that it might work. (It won't. In fact, AAC devices seem to help people learn oral speech.)
When you are trying to provide coping strategies, any sort of AAC is a huge gain, and oral speech, while certainly a useful skill, does not have to be the be-all end-all of communication. Typing is fine. PECS is fine. A Dynavox is fine. Proloquo2Go is fine. An Autistic adult who can usually speak typing when under stress is a coping mechanism, not a behavior to eliminate.

When you are trying to reverse the symptoms of autism, preventing stimming is a goal. The events of "Quiet Hands" may seem acceptable. (They aren't, and they never were.)
When you are trying to help a person learn coping strategies, you suggest fidget toys they may be able to use in class. You might even let them sew in class (that's what some teachers did for me.)

When you are trying to reverse the symptoms of autism, forcing a person to make eye contact is a good idea.
When you are trying to help a person learn coping mechanisms, you mention tricks for "faking" eye contact (nose, forehead) if eye contact even comes up. It might not, because if eye contact is something that we need to think about in order to do it, it's pretty much a thing that's done for other people's benefit, not ours.

When you are trying to reverse the symptoms, bullying about Autistic traits is just another motivator to "fix" this person.
When you are trying to provide coping strategies, it is sign that something is wrong... in how the bullies are acting. Bullying is something to be stopped, and the harm is can and does cause is recognized.

When you are trying to reverse the symptoms, you might care about the cause. The cause might tell you the cure.
When you are trying to provide coping mechanisms? Why an Autistic person is Autistic really doesn't matter. It's not going to help us cope, so why do we care? [Besides curiosity, I mean. Which as a sciency person... yeah curiosity does seem pretty legit to me, but I can get that it's not relevant to this.]

When you are trying to reverse the symptoms, social skills courses that teach us to be silent, that teach us to engage but not to disengage, are considered OK because it makes us act more normal.
When you are trying to help us learn to cope, a social skills course would look vastly different, in ways that could get posts all to themselves. Suffice it to say that engaging and disengaging, following and setting boundaries, accepting and rejecting invitations all need to be covered. And that a lot of it would actually be teaching the abled kids how to be decent, not teaching us how to pass.

There is a difference. From inside, it is between learning to work with your brain as opposed to working to defeat your brain and pretend it is not wired the way that it is. From outside, it is between trying to make a person appear more neurotypical and trying to help a person work with the skills they have and the skills they can learn as well as they can. If you don't get that difference, if you think it is simply semantics, you may well be doing the first and mistaking it for the second. The first, trying to reverse the symptoms? It's kind of the default expectation of most treatment/therapy/education right now.

Be careful, because there is a difference. It is, at a very real and visceral level, the difference between holding a person's hands down in tacky glue as they cry and helping them find a way to stim and do other things at the same time. Or even realizing that we can stim and learn at the same time, that "table-ready" and "ready to learn" are not the same, that neither is prerequisite to the other.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Red Flags

Trigger warning: Discussions of silencing, presumptions of incompetence

Many autism organizations claim to be doing good. Many of them even think they are.
Unfortunately, many of them have some really harmful ideas about autism at the core of what they are advocating for, and that is a huge problem. It's those harmful basic ideas that lead to things like silencing of Autistic people on the basis of them being able to communicate, pushing compliance as the highest goal for Autistic people, presumptions of incompetence, and those sorts of things. It's a problem.
And it can be sneaky, very sneaky. Sometimes you go in thinking you can change them and instead they change you. Sometimes you don't realize what's at the bottom of it and therefore don't even know that an organization is problematic until you have absorbed many of their problematic ideas and now find yourself faced with the challenge of purging those ideas in order to help you or your child navigate the world without having to pretend to be something they aren't.
To help you avoid the second of these, here is a list of red flags for organizations. If you see these, be very wary of whatever organization is putting them out because they probably have more problematic stuff going on.
  • Puzzle pieces, especially the same piece Autism Speaks uses. It reinforces the idea that autism is mysterious and puzzling, which tends to go with presumptions of incompetence. 
  • Puzzles with missing pieces- the autistic person is the missing piece? Understanding of autism is the missing piece? I dunno, something is missing a piece and it's usually us, so it falls in with the Autistic people are somehow broken.
  • No Autistic writers on their blogs. Even if it's writers with autism who are not self-loathing people with autism, there is a chance that they are OK. But if no one writing for them is Autistic, you need to think about why. Either they are so problematic that no one Autistic will go near them or they don't want to hear from Autistics. Very few Autistic writers for their articles/blogs is a similar issue.
  • Person-first crusading. If they refer to specific Autistics who have expressed a desire to be referred to as Autistics or Autistic people as people with autism, run. They have no respect for self-determination if they can't even get that one right. (Calling folks "people with autism" if they do not have a preference is OK, and you should respect the preference of those who prefer to call themselves "people with autism.)
  • Mental age. It's creepy, it's nearly useless, it's used as a tool to deny self-determination and presume incompetence, and if you've got a kid who doesn't speak, this one is "run for it" level bad because you of all people need to not go there. It's toxic for anyone, but if you are directly responsible for someone who does not speak, you really need to stay away from mental age.
  • Any reference to fighting/beating autism. Even if they recognize that autism can't be cured, if they're talking about beating/overcoming it, that means they see autism as something that is damaged and needs fixing. Problem, much?
  • Cure/recovery as a goal- autism as broken, medical model.
  • Cure/recovery as something possible- BIOMED ALERT. This group almost certainly thinks that abusing a kid in order to make them not be autistic anymore is acceptable. Run for it, seriously.
  • Association with Autism Speaks- they are problematic, big time, and they are very good at corrupting others with their problematicness. Even pro-neurodiversity Autistics: take a look at what kinds of things Alex Plank used to write, then at what he writes now.
  • Association with Generation Rescue- um, yeah. Biomed/MMS/chelation/inviting Andrew Wakefield to present at their conferences. Not good. AutismOne is the Generation Rescue conference, where they promoted an autism treatment that, scientifically speaking, is bleach up the butt. (That's what MMS is, by the way.)
  • Prominently featuring individual testimonials, particularly those of parents who think their kids are now recovered from autism, is not a good sign. It is a sign that people don't understand how autism or science works. They probably also don't understand statistics. If they do understand any of the above, then they are counting on you not understanding them.
  • This requires a bit more work, but if all the research they have is written by their own doctors and/or not peer reviewed, citing things that only tangentially fail to refute what they say it supports, it's probably quackery. 
  • "Proven to work" is also a quackery sign. Science works with "Does better than placebo to X degree of certainty," not with absolutes. Placebo is needed because placebo effect and because autistic people develop with time. Funny how that works.
There are, of course, going to be other red flags, but these are some of the big ones. Some of them are sufficiently bad that my advice is to run for it when you see them. Some of them you might be able to engage with, but be careful. My personal policy? If your Facebook page likes Autism Speaks, Generation Rescue, or obvious close affiliates, Yes, That Too isn't going to like your page. Most of these red flags are enough that Yes, That Too won't like your page.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Refusing to Pay

I'm not sure if this needs a trigger warning or not...

What is the price of success?

For you, it is merely the work and the time involved, with the loss of whatever else you might have done with that time. If you can find the time and the starting resources (these will come back many times over, so while they are required, they are not truly part of the price, not one of the things that you will spend and not see return in order to get your success,) you can have have it.
For me?
When I succeed, there are many who will say I have no right to claim my own neurology.
When I succeed, I will either have to hide away the brain that got me there, accept the "no excuses!" inspiration that will be made of it if anyone knows, or be told that I am an exception no one with my sort of brain could hope to match. Maybe I will get all three at once.
And if I refuse to pay?
If I'm lucky, I can keep my success anyways, but the other costs will get steeper and steeper the more I refuse to pay the price of disavowing my own neurology.
Hate letters?
I'm expecting it.
Being told that I can't understand what it's really like to live in my brain because I can do things?
I've already gotten that one. I've already had people telling me how excited they are that Asperger's is not a thing anymore, forgetting many important details.
Like the fact that, I'm not actually Aspergers. Nice try, still here.
Like the fact that you who told me I would no longer exist doesn't know nearly as much about autism as you think you do, and I know far more than you realize. You think Asperger's isn't a thing, with your justification being the (likely mistaken) belief that you meet the criteria for it. You think that it is simply being smart and awkward, ignoring the echolalia and the obvious sensory issues that are sitting in front of you to make that claim.
Like the fact that you don't know what difficulties, what disabilities I might have, no matter how much you want to believe you know me better than I know myself.
I know what it is to live in my brain.
I know what it is to be Autistic, and I won't be forgetting just because my label now includes the word "Autistic." That doesn't even make sense.
Being told that I am not like their child?
Already happens, sometimes with people whose children are, in fact, almost exactly how I was at their age. I am more like their child than they are.
Articles that attack neurodiversity questioning my diagnosis and my character both?
If they manage to do that to non-speaking Autistics, I'm sure they'll do it to me if I won't disavow my neurology or claim exceptionhood first.
And I won't.
The only way I am truly an exception is that my abilities were presumed and built upon instead of ignored to work on deficits and differences. The rest, while perhaps not the median (can we have a median on a nearly infinite-dimensional spectrum?) or mode (does anyone know what that one would mean either?) is not unusual, is not a shocking outlier no one can hope to match. It's the right person in the right place at the right time, that's all.
And part of "right person" is the right person's brain, you know, that Autistic brain?
Hiding my brain might be the price they will try to make me pay, that they will try to deduct from my account if I will not pay it on my own, but they will find me a difficult one to push into hiding.
My brain is mine, my brain is Autistic, and that means that I am Autistic.
You're just going to have to deal with it.

Monday, January 21, 2013


Gifted students are inconvenient. They get bored, sometimes hyper because of their boredom. They want to know why things work, not just what you do. Or they are gifted in one specific area that isn't covered much, and they drag that area into everything.
Disabled students are inconvenient.
How varies by disability.
The student who uses a wheelchair takes up more space in the hall.
The student who is blind needs braille textbooks, a screen reader, maybe both.
Because these disabilities are visible, are obvious, something is done (not necessarily something good- exclusion is often the thing.)
They get their wheelchair, or they get their braille, or they get sent to a special school where everyone is blind and everyone uses braille and it's not even a special accommodation.
You can't pretend it doesn't exist simply because it is inconvenient to deal with.
You decide to do nothing about it, but you can't pretend it's not there.
Autistic? Depressed? OCD?
They don't want to deal with that.
So it just doesn't exist.
We don't have those problems here.
They do, of course, but they pretend it's not there.
With no obvious difference, nothing you can see that says there is something different, they can pretend.
They can pretend that we are making things up.
They can pretend that we are just being difficult.
They can pretend that we are simply lazy.
They can pretend that our inconvenient behaviors are there for any reason at all.
So it is for a reason which makes it purely our fault.
So it is for a reason that does not require accommodation or education, but shame and punishment.
It exists, but they can pretend it doesn't.
And then we pretend it doesn't exist either, not wanting to face what they dish out when we try to make them see what is in front of their eyes.
Disability becomes an inconvenient part of ourselves that we would simply rather ignore, and then they have won. I refuse.
I will be inconvenient, and they will just have to deal with it.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

This Thing Called a Liebster

I dunno. It's one of those chain blog awards. I got tagged by PDDWorld, which has the honor of being a parent blog I like. That's saying a lot, so go pay attention to them, OK? Cool.
So this one has an image. It looks like this:

Actually a decent image, huh?
I give 11 random facts about myself. I answer the 11 questions that PDDWorld set me. (If I tag you, you answer the ones that I set you- answer from the person who tags you!) I make 11 new questions for the people I tag. I tag 11 blogs that are either new or have less than 200 followers. So, let's get started:
11 Facts About Me
  1. I just graduated from college with a bachelors in math, and am now working on a masters in math while continuing with the bachelors in engineering and Chinese.
  2. One of my favorite stims is running something silky between my fingers, hence destroying the satin binding on all my blankets.
  3. When allowed a dictionary to look up topic-specific words, I can write at a professional or near-professional level in Chinese on a couple of topics, one of which is neurodiversity.
  4. I start/join in on way too many side projects. These include: 
    1. Encyclopedia Autistica
    2. Allistic/Neurotypical Privilege
    3. Disability Reviews
    4. F*** Yeah, Stimming
    5. Compiling a book of essays, working title With a Capital A.
  5. I am well aware that it is not my job to educate anyone (unless it's literally my job, like at Art of Problem Solving...), but I'm a teacher at heart and therefore have this tendency to educate anyways.
  6. I really like BBC Sherlock and Eureka.
  7. I occasionally write fiction, though I don't think it's very good. I'm currently working on a bit of an Autistic!Sherlock one.
  8. I really, really like tea.
  9. My sense of smell isn't useless, but it's close to it.
  10. I'm face-blind. 
  11. The music on my iPod is a kinda weird combination. I've got Disney musicals, Chinese pop, alt rock, old rock... yeah....

Answering 11 Questions From PDDWorld

  1. What are three things you CAN NOT live without? 
    1. Food.
    2. Water.
    3. Shelter.
  2. When was the last time you cried?                                                                                                     I think the last time I cried was also my most recent mini-meltdown. I was in Chinese tutoring, and my tutor was trying to help me. Apparently I was pronouncing something in the back of my mouth instead of the front of my mouth? It's the reverse of the issue that I had/still have with the "R" sound. It brought up old memories of people trying to help me with my "R" sound but refusing to believe that I couldn't hear the difference in my own speaking between a correct "R" and an incorrect "R" or that I couldn't feel the difference between speaking in the front and back of my mouth. I never did figure out either of those two things. The "R" issue resolved itself because the way they taught us to make it in Chinese I could actually do, but my tutor had trouble with the fact that I couldn't hear the difference in myself or tell the difference between speaking in the front and back of my mouth. She believed me when I couldn't get it each individual way, but the frustration added up with each method she tried and in the end... mini-meltdown, crying and shortness of breath included.
  3. Do you secretly have a favorite kid? Uh... I'm 20, and I haven't got any kids. Not applicable.
  4. Bath or shower? I'm at college. There are no bathtubs here.
  5. If you saw somebody shoplifting, would you say something or pretend you didn't see anything? Say something. Exactly what I say has some level of situation dependence, but say something to someone.
  6. Do you have a favorite picture of yourself? When and where was it taken? I really like my 10th grade school picture.
  7. Do you have any pets? Nope. 
  8. What song is stuck in your head right now? Basically the entire soundtrack of Les Mis is stuck in my head, along with some Dispatch music.
  9. Have you ever been arrested? Nope. Have some funny stories involving the police, but none of them involve me being in trouble.
  10. Do you think you're a good judge of a person's character? Kind of? I get vibes from people sometimes, and of course, I can get a very good idea very quickly by making sure they know I'm Autistic and AFAB , then disagreeing with them and seeing how they react. If it's because of the autism or the being AFAB and therefore invalid, they are not a good person.
  11. When was the last time you laughed until your face hurt? I'm not sure.
Asking 11 Questions
  1. How old are you?
  2. Why did you start blogging?
  3. What is the most frustrating song you have ever had stuck in your head?
  4. Do you have a useless talent? (If so, what?)
  5. What is something that happened to you where people responded with "Only you could..."
  6. Have you read Loud Hands yet? (And if you haven't, WHY NOT?)
  7. Do you take things literally?
  8. What is the most hilarious rumor that has been spread about you (that you know of and are willing to share?)
  9. Do you know any other languages? (Which ones? How proficient?)
  10. If money were no object, where would you travel?
  11. If money were no object (and hence you could hire people/lobby/etc) what change would you try to make in the world?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Echo, echo, echo

I can speak in my own words, or close enough to them that people do not notice.
Echo, echo, echo.
Somewhere in there, there is an echo.
You can see it, if you listen.
When you ask, "Would you like some ice cream?" and I answer "ICE CREAM!" you can see it.
Even if I say "冰淇淋!" instead, it's just an echo across languages.
Echo, echo, echo.
I pull your words and make them my own.
I am the echo of your words, rearranging them to suit my needs.

You think nothing of my echo.
It's there, just not an issue, unless and until you know.
Then, and only then, does it become a symptom to eliminate,
Something that prevents the ultimate goal:
Indistinguishable From One's Peers.
Not my goal, one forced upon me.
I echo their terms in their tones, then add a "except not."
I echo their terms in their tones, then add a battle cry.
I echo their terms in their tones, and that is, in itself, a rebellion.
My echo, you see, is something they wish to squash.
It's mere use becomes a radical act.
So I echo, I echo, I echo.
In one language.
Across two languages.
Echo, echo, echo.

Friday, January 18, 2013

I Wish They Had Done

Trigger Warning: Shaming for disability

I wish they had understood the idea that a person could be both gifted and disabled.
I wish they had understood that I was not just being lazy, that I really did not understand what to do or how to do it.
I wish they had understood that there was no way to make my handwriting better.
I wish they had understood that social interactions really didn't make sense, that I wasn't trying to be rude.
I wish they had understood that when someone is, in fact, gifted and disabled, the answer is to accommodate both, not to make them choose one to take care of (still fairly poorly,) and the other to ignore.

I wish they had not tried to force cursive on me.
I wish they had not shamed my disorganization, not called me lazy when the ways they thought were universal could not work for me.
I wish they had thought to try to find a method that I could use, rather than shame me for not being able to organize their way.
I wish my teachers had cared, had done something, when they noticed I was being bullied.
I wish that when they taught me social skills (or tried to,) they had taught me social skills the way they are actually done.
I wish they had known that sitting still is not a prerequisite for learning.
I wish they had not taken my fidget toys.
I wish they had realized sooner that keeping me from skipping ahead would never teach me organization.

Mostly, I wish that people as a whole understood that Autistic does not mean broken, so that I would not have had to hide, so that I could have gotten actual help had people known instead of attempts to break the person I am to fix the person I never was.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Unless more thAutcast questions get asked where I want to answer them long-form, this is it for those. Last such question is here.
Learning how to communicate effectively is difficult for most autistic people. Please tell how you learned one important lesson about communication. Explain what you learned, how you learned it, and what difference that has made in your life.
I learned to talk early, with basic but grammatically correct sentences at six months. I'm hyperlexic, just a bit. By just a bit, I mean that I was shocked to find out that most people edit their papers heavily before they turn them in? I've not edited any of my posts here except for vocab fixes on the Chinese language ones, adding relevant links to a few, and adding more examples to my Functioning Labels post at one point.
The thing is, those are all typed.
I do have communication issues, they just aren't the ones you might assume.
Sarcasm is a problem. I can use it. I am, in fact, very good at using sarcasm, satire, irony, and all the rest. I am not so good at detecting, well, any of them. I need sarcasm tags in face to face conversations.
Body language is a problem. I can't read most people's, and they can't read mine.
Euphemisms and white lies are problems. I don't know how or when to use them, nor do I really understand why we use them. I don't always pick up on them when other people use them.
The hardest thing, the thing that took the longest to figure out, though, wasn't sarcasm or body language or tone or euphemisms or white lies. There are ways to accommodate all of them, mostly by way of giving people warning that I don't get them. I also give people warning that I am kind of face-blind. By kind of, I mean I didn't realize how face-blind I really am until I took one of the quizzes. I got to keep skin tone and eye color, but just losing hair and height was enough that I only recognized about ONE celebrity where I know who they are and thought I knew what they looked like in EIGHT.
The hardest one to figure out was the times that I would find myself with many things I wanted to say tumbling around in my head, unable to get any of them out. None.
I had things I wanted to say, and I couldn't say them.
It took until a few months ago to figure out what was going on.
Apparently I lose speech under stress.
I can still type fine, though.
Realizing that I lose speech sometimes and finding a way around it was my biggest challenge in communication, and it's not one that people would expect me to have. I match up so well with the idea people have in their heads of the "high functioning blogger" in terms of how much I get done, and then they find out things like "I melt down on a regular basis" and "I lose speech at least temporarily on a regular basis" and "I have pretty significant sensory processing issues" and "I actually stim basically all the time and not worrying about it is how I can get all the stuff done that I do." It's actually pretty funny to watch someone realize just how like their kids I really am, or just how like them I really am, or just how much I really am Autistic and I really am Disabled. The fact that I have found ways to accommodate myself and manage don't make me any less either of those things, nor does the fact that I am also gifted. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


More thAutcast questions. This one can be found here, and it reads:
Anxiety can make learning difficult for many autistic people. Tell about a time when you had a difficult time learning something because you were worried or nervous. You might include what made you anxious and how the anxiety affected you.
Anxiety has mostly been a problem with social stuff, for me.
Academically, my parents have always believed that I am capable, and the ways in which teachers occasionally disagreed were sufficiently ridiculous that I could ignore and laugh at them. (Sorry, I'm not going to listen to a complaint about my "not understanding" my math homework when I didn't do it because I was reading a calculus text. No, wait, I'm not sorry. At all.)
Since it was always assumed that I could, in fact, learn the academic stuff, that was never an anxiety source. It helped, of course, that I always could learn my academic stuff well enough that I didn't get into too much trouble about it. The whole states and capitals thing was the only time I ever couldn't, and I'm not actually sure how they didn't make a big deal out of it? I dunno. They didn't, though.
Socially, though, it has been a mess.
In fifth grade, a girl attached herself to me, and it was actually a problem. The special education department helped her do so, since she apparently behaved herself better around me. Unfortunately, she was also all kinds of manipulative and abusive and it was bad.
In sixth grade, I took avoiding her into my own hands.
First, I sat at the peanut free table.
She started bringing peanut free lunches.
So I listened to what she said.
She was terrified of boys.
I wasn't.
I was just terrified of people in general.
Boys were actually slightly better- they at least made sense to me.
I sat at a table where I was the only girl.
I ate in silence for a month because of social anxiety.
Yes, a month.
Eventually I started talking to them.
They wound up being my friends all through middle and high school.
One of them is at the same university of me, doing mechanical engineering. We have a lot of classes together, and we both fence. It's actually pretty cool.
Others I am still friends with too, mostly.
About half of us are studying some form of engineering.
Eventually, I did become friends with them, all of them, and I still am. But it took a month sitting there in silence before I could work up the nerve to speak.
That's anxiety for you.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hard To Learn

I'm answering thAutcast questions again! This time, it's this one:
Tell the story of a time when something was so hard that you thought you might never be able to learn it, but you did anyway. How did you do it? What made it possible?
Some things are hard. Others come easily.
Long division is one where I felt like it was hard, but that was more in relation to other math. Math is kind of my thing, just a bit, so what I meant by "Long division took a while" was that I actually had to sit through the whole explanation of it twice, though the first one was apparently a five-minute one?
Yeah, that doesn't really count. At all.
In third grade, we had to learn our multiplication tables.
Despite being the top of the class in all things theoretical (My record of being the only person to win math challenge champion by default and the only person to get it three times in a year still stands, as far as I know, getting these two things both by independently coming up with the formula for the nth triangular number the same year as the incident I am about to describe,) I was the last person to learn them in the whole grade.
We had to have the teacher quiz us, table by table. Ones, twos, threes, I remember being fine. Tens and elevens and fives were fine. Everything else took forever.
It didn't help that the whole class could see me take the quiz, that it was done orally, that I jumped and flapped as I gave each answer, and that I got bullied about the jumping and flapping.
It was the same jump and flap that I do when answering questions in Around the World.
Or did.
I'm not sure. I haven't played Around the World in class since tenth grade, and I still did it then. I assume I still would. (Yeah, I'm actually pretty obvious if you know what to look for...)
In fourth grade, we were supposed to learn all the states, all the capitals, and be able to write the states into a map, the capitals of the states into the correct state. These were to be done separately on a blank map. You got your name on the board for states when you got all 50 states right in the same test. Capitals worked the same way. You got a sticker next to your name on the relevant board if you spelled every one correctly.
By January, I was the only one whose name wasn't up with a sticker on both boards.
In June, I had still yet to get more than 20 states right on any given test, and I hadn't even attempted capitals.
In 7th grade, they tried to have us learn the states on a map again.
I couldn't do it then either. I still don't know all 50 states.
Some things that are hard to learn are worth the effort, and those ones I keep trying for.
Others really aren't.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Speaking, Reading, Writing

Landon of thAutcast is asking questions on thAutcast, gathering information. Some of them, I am answering here.
This is the first one being answered here:
 Learning to read or write or speak can be very hard for some autistic people and very easy for others. What was it like for you? You can talk in general terms or tell the story of learning one thing.
 (If you're not Autistic, you can answer about an Autistic person you know. I am Autistic, so I can answer for me.)

I had no problems learning to talk. In fact, I was an early talker. Reading took a little longer- I could read at least some from an early age, but it was slow and I wasn't great at it and I didn't like it for a long time. Eventually, I did start liking to read. That happened as I got better at it.

Writing, though.
Writing was the bad one.

I started using computers for the first time around the same age that I was learning to speak, and I loved them from the beginning. I have always been good with computers. There was just one problem.
I was expected to learn to write by hand.

In kindergarden, they gave us pencils and taught us to spell. My handwriting was the large, clumsy handwriting that you would expect of someone just learning. I was fairly good at spelling, and I was writing slowly enough, big enough, that it could be read. No one demanded more than I could do.

In third grade, they taught us cursive, and then expected us to write everything in cursive. It was even slower than print, though no messier.
I was frustrated.
I couldn't read other people's cursive.
I couldn't write fast enough to keep up with my brain, even more so than usual.
They said cursive was faster.
They were wrong.

In fourth grade, they let me print again.
I haven't done an assignment in cursive since.

In fifth grade, teachers started to care that my handwriting remained horrible.
It had shrunk to a normal size, but no one could read it.
They said I was lazy.

In middle school, we could type our homework.
Typing took practice, but my teachers could read my work.
I could read my work, even weeks later.
It took most of middle school for typing to be as fast as handwriting, but it was more than worth it.
My writing could be understood.
In-class essays stayed painful, but I could do my homework.

In high school, in-class essays were even fewer.
Creative writing was a class.
I took it.
We met in the computer lab.
Everything was typed.
That's when I learned I love to write.
Not when I had to write by hand, but when I could get the stories out in a way I could read again later.
The computer taught me to love writing.

In college, I was banned from handwriting my math homework.
My handwriting was that bad.
It still is.
That's what computers are for.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Whole Foods and Autism. Not Going Well.

Trigger Warning: Mistreatment/demonization of people with disabilities. (Specifically autism.)

If you haven't signed the petition about Whole Foods needing to not treat autistic adults like animals, go sign it now. It's not over, not by a long shot. There has been a media crisis, but the media crisis isn't really picking up on the fact that it's not actually over.
So, here's what happened:
We know that a woman went to Whole Foods with her autistic brother, who does not speak. He apparently took some food from the hot bar (there are often free samples, and it seems like there weren't that day, and either that confused him or he mixed up something with shopping etiquette?)
Security guards escorted him to the exit, and she talked to them. She says they had never spoken to their parents before, and that this was their first response. Whole Foods claims that this has been an issue before.
Whole Foods also claims that the security guard did not say her brother had to be on a leash, as she has said they had told her (That he needed to get out of the store and could not come back unless he was on a leash, to be exact.) Considering that the word leash was definitely mentioned (no one is arguing with that one,) I'm guessing that Whole Foods is just trying to get out of a tight spot. No one says, "He doesn't need to be on a leash, but you need to keep an eye on him." If you don't need a leash, they don't bring one up. There is no reason to bring one up.
An assistant manager was contacted, who disagreed with the use of the word leash, but seems not to have wanted the autistic brother to be in the store.
Training about autism was suggested, and eventually agreed to, but then canceled. Most news organizations only know about or are only reporting about the part where it was agreed to on the local level, and that there was apparently some in-house training done without an autism specialist.
Oh, and the comments are even worse!
No, really. Lets's just say that a comment in which a parent brings up the mental age argument is one of the better comments on the Fox article, and that there was a commenter who said that this person could be dangerous because of what other "messed up" people do. Think about that. We're talking about a disabled person making a mistake, a security guard reacting poorly, and this somehow turning into a discussion of how dangerous we can be instead of how to fix this so that he can go to the store without being treated like an animal.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Politics of Parent-Run Autism Groups

Even when all the parents running an autism group are good parents of autistic children, are good allies, there is still a very different feel to the group and a very different political structure when it is run by parents than when it is run by Autistic people. Autistic-run groups with parents in them run as Autistic groups, usually (sometimes the parents drag it more towards parent groups,) and parent-run groups with Autistic people in them run as parent groups (the Autistic people tend to get bullied, derailed, and silenced on the few threads they try to run Autistically.)
In an Autistic group, questions are more likely directed as "What worked for you?" as opposed to "What works?" or "What works for your child?" People seem more likely to be talking about stim toys. The focus is more on issues that Autistic adults face, since Autistic-run groups have mostly adults and some teens. Autistic-run groups also tend to have much lower opinions of, well, almost every autism therapy ever invented. Sometimes, the lowered opinion is the awareness that it can be done badly, depending on the goals of the therapy and who is choosing the goals. Sometimes, it is based in knowledge that the whole idea is fundamentally flawed, like for therapies that aim to teach communication or life skills but measure success by compliance.
In a parent-run group, no matter how many people in the group actually are Autistic, questions are usually directed at parents. When Autistic people speak up about their experience, while there are exceptions  there are four main categories of reaction:
  1. We are Universal Translators - they assume that what we think might be going on is now exactly what is going on, even if it really isn't. This falls under "walking zoo exhibit", which is the one where people think our sole purpose is explaining our strangeness to the world, often to help translate their children's strangeness. We do have lives, and we are not the same people as your children. We have similar problems (often more similar than you realize, which leads into the next reaction.)
  2. Not Like My Child. Basically, the fact that all they are seeing is our typing and the effects of having a much longer life in which to grow up and come up with coping mechanisms (and also the fact that some of us did not get put through the therapies that teach learned helplessness, meaning we are much more able to actually communicate what is going on and what is OK and what is not) comes through and hides the ways in which we are very much like their autistic children, or at least that we were. Autistic people grow up, and we're different as adults than we were as kids. The same holds true for all people, but it often needs to be restated with disabled people.
  3. Don't Really Understand Autism because Autism Impairs Judgement. Autism experts do that one on a fairly regular basis. The autism expert from Ibby's Loud Hands Project essay (you should get the anthology if you can, by the way) did that. I thankfully haven't gotten much of this one, but it's a hard one to deal with. It's a catch-22, in many ways, in that people who do this one put every Autistic into either 2 or 3.
  4. As If We Didn't Speak. Basically, they keep talking or chatting as if we never said anything. The reason can be 2 or 3, usually, but it's a method of ignoring what we say, of silencing us, and it is one of the hardest to get through to because they often won't even read what we write, simply skipping over it. 
All of these are forms of silencing, though the Universal Translator has usually struck me as the one where you have the most hope of getting education through and helping the kid. It might not do the parents much good, but I am often willing to settle for helping the kids, which I can sometimes do when seen as a Universal Translator. It still silences many of the things that need to be said, though.
It ignores the diversity among Autistic people, and it ignores the fact that we grow up to be more than just translators for the next generation. It ignores our outside lives. It is a form of silencing, and it is one of the more insidious, partially because of the fact that it it harder to see that it is silencing and partially because it is a half loaf that many of us will take in order to help the autistic kids who we are theoretically the translators for.
Those things don't happen so much when Autistic people are in charge. Parents may not be quite as comfortable, but this really isn't about the comfort of allies. Spaces where Autistic people are in charge are important, and spaces where parents are in charge can't be as safe for us. They can't teach parents as much either, but that's not entirely the point. (It's still important, though, because helping the parents understand better often means they can help their kids better.)

I updated this post a bit on January 24, 2014 (may vary by your time zone) and added it to the Down Wit Dat January T-21 Blog Hop. I'm not familiar with the way politics go in groups for other disabilities, but will entirely fail to be surprised if this applies to other disabilities as well.

Friday, January 11, 2013



《大声手:自闭人,谈话》(Loud Hands: autistic people, speaking)是自闭症自我提倡网络提出的第二本书,世界第一次有自闭的人一起写书谈神经多样性,自我提倡,及我们被别人做的事。在这本书,你能看到二十九个自闭的人,都写他们自己的看法,他们自己的故事,他们自己的诗等。在290叶的书,每一词都是自闭的人自己说的,写的,或打的。作者包括大学生,教授,自闭的自我提倡网络的主席, 索引,自闭儿自闭的父母,及不能说话,必须靠别人住自闭的人。我们面临的问题有时候完全不一样,有时候没有什么差别。在这本书里有一篇文章:我看了,不知道这篇的作者能不能说话。看了后,我还不清除-作者是什么样的人?他肯定是自闭的,但是我不知道:能不能说话?能不能一个人住?能不能工作?
《大声手:自闭人,谈话》分为几部分:最上面是一篇介绍,然后几篇谈神经多样性,自闭症权利,及自闭症自我提倡的历史。历史后,另外一些自闭人谈这方面现时的情况,然后自闭人被别人做的事情。这一部分包括Julia Bascom的《静手》(Quiet Hands)。《静手》的题目是应用行为分析-她的治疗师让她别皮瓣手,别躁动。
Julia说:“不对”。E, Jim, Amanda, April, Ari, 我,等, 我们都说:“不对!”Amy说功能标签没用,及April说尊重自闭人重要而让自闭人跟正常人就是害得自闭的人。Jim说自闭人还在,自闭人的父母不应该悼他们。如果他们想要悼没来的正常孩子,不是跟我们在一起的时候要做。无论你做什么,找我们里面的“正常”人就找不到。我们没有“正常”的自己,只有自闭的自己。


《大聲手:自閉人,談話》(Loud Hands: autistic people, speaking)是自閉症自我提倡網絡提出的第二本書,世界第一次有自閉的人一起寫書談神經多樣性,自我提倡,及我們被別人做的事。在這本書,你能看到二十九個自閉的人,都寫他們自己的看法,他們自己的故事,他們自己的詩等。在290葉的書,每一詞都是自閉的人自己說的,寫的,或打的。作者包括大學生,教授,自閉的自我提倡網絡的主席, 索引,自閉兒自閉的父母,及不能說話,必須靠別人住自閉的人。我們面臨的問題有時候完全不一樣,有時候沒有什麼差別。在這本書裡有一篇文章:我看了,不知道這篇的作者能不能說話。看了後,我還不清除-作者是什麼樣的人?他肯定是自閉的,但是我不知道:能不能說話?能不能一個人住?能不能工作?
《大聲手:自閉人,談話》分為幾部分:最上面是一篇介紹,然後幾篇談神經多樣性,自閉症權利,及自閉症自我提倡的歷史。歷史後,另外一些自閉人談這方面現時的情況,然後自閉人被別人做的事情。這一部分包括Julia Bascom的《靜手》(Quiet Hands)。 《靜手》的題目是應用行為分析-她的治療師讓她別皮瓣手,別躁動。
他寫:“在語言障學生的教室,最常用的短語是一個比喻:“靜手! ””治療師做他們做的,說“靜手!”就是因為他們(很多人)認為自閉症肯定是壞的。因為自閉人自然用我們自己的身體就是自閉症,所以這是不行的。他們認為看像正常人一樣是最重要的。如果自閉症是自閉人最大的問題,那麼讓他們看像正常人,做正常人做的就好了,對嗎?
Julia說:“不對”。 E, Jim, Amanda, April, Ari, 我,等, 我們都說:“不對!”Amy說功能標籤沒用,及April說尊重自閉人重要而讓自閉人跟正常人就是害得自閉的人。 Jim說自閉人還在,自閉人的父母不應該悼他們。如果他們想要悼沒來的正常孩子,不是跟我們在一起的時候要做。無論你做什麼,找我們裡面的“正常”人就找不到。我們沒有“正常”的自己,只有自閉的自己。

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Recycling Plant in Delhi

I'm tired. Have a thing I wrote for my Intro Manufacturing Course I took in India.

We visited a factory in Delhi, a recycling facility located on land given to them by the train station. The facility makes enough to pay its workers, and it serves two main purposes. The first is to create jobs which are better than trash-picking, which is at the bottom of the industrial chain, is a dangerous profession, and is a job where we see a lot of child labor. The other goal is to bring recycling into India.
One of the first things I noticed was the lack of machines- everything seems to be done by hand. Since I did not yet know that one of the purposes of this company was providing employment, I thought this was rather inefficient. Machines are much quicker than people, make fewer errors, and are usually cheaper to maintain than the people they replace. Of course, that logic is part of why an organization with providing employment as a goal becomes needed. (Not hiring people to perform jobs that are absolutely necessary but would be nice to get done because hiring those people would cut into profits is another part.) So, knowing about all the problems with unemployment that we've had in the US as people get replaced by machines and knowing that India has a much larger population than the US, it makes sense that this sort of organization exists.
Our first and only stop at the facility was a place where people sorted the trash into different bags, some of which were for bottles, some for cardboard, and some for newsprint. This sorting was done by hand. I'm sure a machine would be faster, but we run into the providing employment goal of the organization if we try to replace these people with machines- we're using people for a reason, here! Each day, this facility sorts the garbage from 18 trains coming into the Delhi station and hopes to expand to sorting the garbage from more trains. They also aim to put out collection locations for plastic bottles around Delhi as well, along with providing assistance to trash-pickers who want to organize on their own.
As far as the processing of the garbage goes, the first step is collecting the garbage from the trains. After a train which the garbage will be processed from arrives, workers from the facility board the train, collect all the garbage bags, and sweep the garbage from the train floors. Once all the garbage is collected, it is transported manually (more work being done by people means more person-hours means more people!) to the place where they sort out the different types of waste: the newsprint, the cardboard, and the plastic bottles to recycle, everything else as actual garbage. (They do not recycle aluminum, which is not widely used in India.)  

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Writing About Neurodiversity in Chinese

I haven't really said anything about it here, but I've been talking about it on Facebook for a couple days now:
I have to write a 4000-5000 character research paper in Chinese. I decided to write it about the Neurodiversity movement. There is just one small problem. According to Google Scholar, there are only two articles that reference it, one of which is in traditional characters.
But this is me.
I'm not going to switch topics over something small like that!
Ok, my teacher really, really wishes I would.
That's at least partially because Neurodiversity has nothing to do with any of my majors.
It's also partially because of this resources issue.
So she suggested that I switch my topic to autism in general.
Nope. I'm not going to talk about autism like most of the research people do about it is acceptable and useful when it's often neither. Autism is home of way too much bad science. I would know. I have the whole Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders on a flash drive, remember?
I am supposed to stick to resources that are in Chinese or that have already extant translations in Chinese. However, there is one way I can get around this- my teacher has told me that I can use a resource that is written in English is I either translate it or write a one page summary in Chinese. (Hmm... I can think of some posts from my "Translating YOUR Posts" page that I might be able to use for that...)
And that is basically going to take over my life. If you don't have your own blog but have something you want to say, now's a great time to hand me a guest post (assuming that it's something I'd actually publish and all, of course.)
These are some papers I am looking for, if anyone knows where to find them, btw, and this list may be updating with time. If you have a version that is in simplified characters instead of traditional, that is even better. (Or a paper on a similar topic that is in simplified characters.)




That's really what I've got, for now.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

USA Today. Doing it WRONG.

Trigger Warning: Forced institutionalization

USA Today?
We need to have Words.
See, there is this article about how it's just so hard to institutionalize a mentally ill adult without their consent that you published today, that got Tweeted out (I replied. I think others should too.)
That's not even true
It's hard for people who don't know how to go about it, sure, but for people who do?
Well, Aspie Rhetor, can tell you all about that.
I say so because it happened to her.
You talked about it like protecting society and protecting the patients were somehow at odds with each other.
You implied advocates think it's too hard to institutionalize us against our wills.
Advocates for what?
Why were none of these advocates people who have mental illnesses?
Why were none of these advocates people who have been institutionalized, maybe unwillingly?
Why, once again, do we only hear about how people are afraid now, not about how they got there?
I can tell you of people who are afraid, get this, because the person they spent their time abusing has grown big enough to fight back, and this self-defense is the aggression that is then used to try to have them locked up to be abused more, to be abused again.
The fact that talking about the idea of people being "hospitalized against their will," also known as forced institutionalization, is something I need to trigger warn for? That should tell you something. It should tell you a lot. It should tell you that it's something that gives people PTSD. You know, one of those pesky mental illnesses that you're trying to fix with all this talk of hospitalizing people against their wills? Yeah. It gives people mental illnesses when you do that.
Before worrying about how hard or easy it is to stick someone in there against their will (and it needs to be harder, not easier,) let's worry about making sure that what happens doesn't hurt more than it helps, shall we?
And for pete's sake, STOP acting like immediate violent outbursts are linked to planned violence like the "recent heinous acts." They aren't, and that's just going to make stigma worse. You know, that thing where when it gets worse people won't choose to get the help that they know would help them because they're scared? Yeah. Counterproductive, much? 
The whole article get's filed under doing it WRONG.

Now for the slightly side-note-ish stuff:
Can we also mention the fact that the parents trying to do the institutionalization that got quoted were parents of minors, not parents of adults? Seriously. If you want to talk about adults, get quotes about adults. It's just good reporting.
Oh, and Liz?
Yeah, I remember you from #autismchat and after.
You still follow me on Twitter as I write this. I'll be disappointed, but not surprised, if you unfollowed me after this.
I sent you that direct message, several months ago.
No reply. 
Looks like we get to keep blogging at each other, doesn't it?
It's been better than six months since you said you wanted more time, that you were learning.
You haven't.
Remember "Nothing about us, without us"? It applies to all groups. You don't get to talk about mental illness without getting meaningful input from people who have them. Relatives don't count.
I wasn't really expecting anything different anymore, though, honestly.
Self-advocacy groups are used to empty promises, you know.