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

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

"Speaking" to academia #ASDay

I wear many metaphorical hats. I'm a teacher. I'm a published poet. I'm a disability studies scholar, affiliated with a university but not for disability studies. I'm a graduate student in neuroscience. I'm an Autistic advocate, and not only a self-advocate (advocating for myself is often harder than the general stuff.) I'm a blogger.

Always, I am all of these things (and a bunch of other things). Sometimes, I get the opportunity to combine them. I've been blogging for GradHacker, part of Inside Higher Ed, since the start of the calendar year. That's for writing that's relevant to graduate students, or about graduate school.

Even though I know disabled graduate students exist, and disabled professors exist, and anyone teaching will eventually have disabled students, I've worried before every disability-related pitch I've made to them. Is it a topic that anyone outside disability communities would care about? Do they have enough background to understand the issue even if they care? Will the editors go for it, even if the audience would find the post useful?

It's far easier to talk about something like my discussions with my union, where my example "just happens" to be about disability. I know graduate assistants unions and contracts are widely relevant. I know "read your contract!" is good advice for any graduate assistant. One of the reasons I give is about knowing where I go for my accommodations, but it's not the only one I give. There were all of three disability posts on GradHacker before I started blogging for them, so far as I can tell. Breaking that pattern was a bit nerve-wracking. (Three of the posts I have up for them are explicitly about disability, and all but one at least references it. Seems like a lot, but I said I could bring a disability perspective when I applied and they took me so they kind of asked for it? That's what I tell myself, anyways.)

The disability series I'm writing for GradHacker now didn't start out as a series at all. It started with a post I'd had the idea for, and then suddenly couldn't not write. That's how a lot of my writing happens, actually. The disability stories I'd heard over the course of my time at university, either from professors or from other students, scare me. A way of explaining the pattern came to me, and I had a post. I was about to post it here, and then I realized that the GradHacker audience was the one that really needed to see it. They're reasonably likely to be teaching college later, and they might be doing so now! That became of the most commented-on pieces on GradHacker, because I "spoke" up. (Maybe the most commented on. Definitely the most commented on since I started blogging for GradHacker, almost by a factor of three.)

Now it's going to be at least four posts: one about disability stories, one about using AAC as a student, an upcoming one about the accommodation talk as a student (written, but not scheduled to post until late this month), and one an editor suggested to me about disclosure as a disabled teacher.

I'm talking to academia, or the future of academia, about things that directly affect me as an Autistic graduate student. Some people might even be listening. I hope so.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for doing this work. I am so encouraged.


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