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

Sunday, July 22, 2012

My decision, not yours

So, I assist a math class online. Essentially, I'm a TA in an online classroom. One of the awesome things about an online classroom is that no one can see me stim, though I suspect that my employers wouldn't care if I were flapping away while writing on a whiteboard, as long as it wasn't with the writing hand. This just means they don't even need to know. I was at someone else's home, though, and my laptop wouldn't connect to the internet on the Linux partition, and the classroom crashes on the Windows partition, so I was stuck. The person let me use their computer (YAY nice people thanks!) for this, and that was pretty awesome. Up through here, life is winful.
Then, during class, I was flapping, because hey, I stim. When I'm trying to help people with math at an hour when I'd normally be asleep, I don't have the spare energy to do that AND suppress stimming. She grabbed my hand. I gave her a ``What on earth are you doing?!" look. (I don't know if that registered, since my body language is a little odd. But that's at least what it was supposed to be.) And this led into a discussion of stimming. She spent a lot of time making sure I was aware that I have a choice, that I can choose to not stim, and trying to tell me that I don't usually come across as strange, but that people will find that strange. My responses, point by point:
  1. Yeah, I know I can choose not to flap. No, I can't really choose to supress all stimming for very long, but I could choose to stim in a less obvious way. But trying to redirect one form of stimming into another or suppress it completely both take non-zero energy. Maybe I'd rather put my energy into something else, like my JOB. 
  2. I am also aware that I can choose TO flap. And that's what I'm doing. Seriously, why is that not the obvious choice?
  3. You're flat out wrong about my not otherwise coming across as strange. In high school, there were precisely TWO non-complimentary words people used to describe me: crazy and weird. No one insulted my looks. No one insulted my intelligence. No one specifically called me unfeminine, even when I joined tenor bass choir, joined a team where I was the only girl, or auditioned for a bass solo in front of the entire chorus. No one made a big deal of any of the specifics. They just left it in the catch-all of weird/crazy, because there were just SO many things. Flapping might let people figure it out a little quicker, but that's it.
  4. And what's wrong with strange anyways? Oh yeah, just that we're obsessed with normal, no matter how much we harp on diversity and individuality and all those other buzzwords. Well, maybe I'm just too strange to care about that, and maybe I'm happy being strange.
  5. Go read Quiet Hands. Stop trying to suppress stimming. It shouldn't be shocking and strange for me to use my body the way it comes naturally to me to do.

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