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

APA: Zisk, A. H. (Year Month Day of post.) Post Title. [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

To ``Why do I flap my hands"

I see you found my blog as your result when you searched for ``why do i flap my hands," and I hope you left feeling better than you came. I'm guessing you found the post Why Yes, I DO Flap My Hands. Deal With It.  I hope so, anyways, since that's probably the best post here for you to have found with that question. Because it's OK. It really is. If you flap your hands when you're excited, or when you're upset, or for any one of a million reasons, it might be because you're autistic. And that's OK. I don't know if you'll see this, but if you do, here are some things to think about, preferably without freaking out:
1) As far as I know, that most likely means you're autistic (somewhere on the spectrum. Don't worry; it's still OK.) It's not the DSM, which you can find if you want, but a pretty good checklist of what an autistic person thinks can tell autistic from not is here. I happen to like it because it includes strengths and weaknesses, instead of focusing on the weaknesses like the DSM does. (Yes, the comment from June 2 is me.)
2) Getting evaluated may or may not be helpful to you, depending on a variety of factors. Assuming that you are autistic here, but... just because YOU know you're autistic doesn't necessarily mean it's in your best interest to let anyone else know that you're autistic. Some people are good about it, some aren't. Choosing to seek a diagnosis or not is a choice only you can make. (If you're under 18, you can choose ``not" by way of not telling anyone that you're suspicious. Choosing ``yes" could be a little harder, though, because of the part where you're a minor and your parents are in charge still.)
3) You're not alone, whichever choice you make. I put the pieces together a good bit before I got evaluated because in my specific high school situation, a diagnosis wouldn't have been helpful. I wasn't the only one who put the pieces together at that point, but the other people who did were good about not pushing the issue of getting an eval vs. not. Others get diagnosed as young children. Others know and choose never to seek diagnosis. It's OK, whichever way you go.
4) Whatever you may have been told, autistic adults exist, and autism is not uniformly tragic/strictly bad. There are parts that are pretty awesome and parts that really stink. Awesome: I will take you all down at math unless you have WAY more experience with me, and all your four leaf clovers are belong to me. Stinky: LOUD. LOUD IS BAD. Also, the tendency to not pick up on it when someone is joking or asking a rhetorical question is pretty annoying. And of course, the whole range of disability that you probably think when you hear ``autism," since the self-harming stims do exist and all. Not for everyone autistic, and not for me, but it exists.
5) Breathe. You'll be fine. You can choose to talk to autistics about your concerns or not, conclude that you probably are autistic or not, seek diagnosis or not, and it's all fine. Just do me a favor and don't tell me that I identify myself wrong or that I'm not really autistic if I don't want a ``cure," and we're probably good.


  1. Hey! You probably won't see this, but whatever. I doubt I'm autistic, but I've been trying to figure out why I have these "habits". I flap my hands when nervous, anxious (which is often) or really excited about something, and I unconsciously rock back and forth often when thinking. I also bite my hands, and occasionaly hit my head or thigh when frustrated. While these do help me, if I accidentally do them in public I get weird looks or I'm told to stop. I also get overwhelmed by sound and touch very easily, and if in a social setting thats too stressful or if a place is too loud or crowded I often have to leave, and for a while ill hode and curl up either plugging my ears and/or flapping my hands as I try to get my mind and breathing under control again. I was wondering if you had any tips for this, or had any idea what it could be? I've never talked to someone who experiences something similar. Thank you!

  2. Hi Alyssa! Thanks so much for this, I have worked with kids on the spectrum for a couple of years now, originally because I felt I could understand what they were going through due to having an open mind. Recently I have come to realize it may not be only my open mind, but that I may be autistic myself. A lot of the symptoms that have lead me to this have mostly been associated with my ADHD diagnosis as a child. But as time went on and I was in highschool, I found myself getting over stimulated often and not even realizing until I now look back on it what it actually was. I actually searched this question because I know people with ASD flap their hands, but I wanted to know if there was any other reason. Any time I get upset or have a panic attack my mother tells me to “stop flaring your arms all crazy and calm down” which is obviously not helpful. But I never quiet knew why I felt the need to do it other than the fact it makes me feel better and calm down faster. Now it’s a daily practice if I get upset it grounds me. I also happen to do it when I get excited, it doesn’t mind my friends or my boyfriend and I am very comfortable around them so It happens regularly. But the other day at work someone surprised me with a small gift in which I reacted by standing on my toes and flapping my hands for a couple of seconds until it had caught one of my coworkers eye. She pointed at me and whispered to another coworker standing near her, and that was the moment I felt looked at differently. I have had my fair share of moments of feeling different due to my ADHD, It’s just a fact I function differently, but this time felt different from any other time and that’s when I wanted to start seeking answers. I took the Aspie quiz and got 167/200 for my AT score, which your score has to be 30 points higher than your NT score to be considered autistic, and my NT was only 54. Thats a much larger difference than i had been expecting. Since the whole idea is so new to me I’m not sure that I want to go out and get a diagnosis right away or any time soon, but part of me wants the assurance of whether or not its true or if it just happens to be a coincidence. Either way I love myself and I have no problem whether or not i’m on the spectrum, just part of me believes if I know for sure, then I am better equipped to deal with overstimulation and anxiety.


I reserve the right to delete comments for personal attacks, derailing, dangerous comparisons, bigotry, and generally not wanting my blog to be a platform for certain things.