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

Monday, August 27, 2012

Don't make me repeat a year over social skills.

Do you think that social skills are a good reason to hold a child back? I don't. And here's the thing. It happens. As far as I can tell (getting good information on what really happened to me in the kindergarden through 4th grade range can be tough because it was a while ago and what I remember, what my dad remembers, and what my mom remembers are three different things that sometimes contradict) my school wanted to do this to me either for repeating kindergarden or for repeating first grade. I know they wanted me to do nursery over when I arrived because I only made the cut-off by five days and had iffy social skills. My parents were pretty good about advocating to get my academic needs met until I could do it myself and then about being willing to be the cavalry to call in when the school didn't listen to me, so this didn't ever actually happen, but I know the school wanted something like it at least once. And the time in first grade? If the part about wanting to hold me back is accurate, they wanted to do it partially because I did not have the social awareness to realize that the cube root of 125 was not an acceptable answer for "what equals five?" in a first grade setting. Chances are, I really didn't have that awareness. Even if I did, I know I was sufficiently bored that I wouldn't really have cared. That's not the level of math ability that belongs in first grade math, no matter how old or young the kid is physically, socially, and emotionally. But... the answer isn't to hold the kid back to get that social awareness. It's to put the kid into academic environments where that kind of thing is hopefully expected, or at the least acceptable.
I'd say this kind of thing fits in with the refusing to skip people grades because it will be harder for them to make friends thing, which isn't true in most cases, and which isn't something the kid actually cares about even more often. Making friends off of shared academic interests isn't that hard to do as long as the people invoved are at similar academic levels. Study groups can turn into groups of friends. Comments that reference academic material in passing are more likely to be understood. And some people don't want to have huge numbers of friends. They think one or two is enough. And finding one or two at the geek table just isn't that hard for a grade skipped kid. Especially if grade skipping is common enough that most years have more than one- they are fairly likely to bond over this if they're the types where common experiences help them bond. That's most people last time I checked.
At the end of the day, the problem is our obsession with normalcy. Being normal is not necessary to success or to survival unless people decide that oppressing people (yes, when it goes to the point of parents killing their autistic children and society expressing pity for the parents, not the dead children, it is oppression) for being not normal is OK. If not-normal is OK (like "just weird" sometimes is) then things can get done. The point of school is at least supposed to be to get an education, and denying someone that education because their social skills are off is not going to magically fix their social skills. It's going to piss them off, which may well make the social skills even worse.


  1. I *was* held back in preschool - I missed the cut off by just under 2 weeks, and while I was academically reading at a 2nd-3rd grade level, and doing factorization, etc. they kept me back in preschool because of bad social skills. This led to extreme boredom in early elementary school, which lead to worse social skills - when you don't relate to your peers, you don't learn their social skills. I read lord of the rings in 2nd grade because I was so bored, and that was the year I finished all the math the school had (up to 6th grade level). And yet, I couldn't read aloud in book group, was extremely bullied (yes, I *did* fit into the tiny lockers at school), and had no social skills. They wouldn't skip me, even though my only friend was a year above me. *sigh* Case in point about why to let kids skip if they're academically ready. I didn't really get social skills until I had peers who could keep up academically.

    1. Ugh. That is sucky. And my social skills are improving *some* now that I am dealing with people at my academic level, same as happened for you. Or maybe they're more willing to ignore the suckyness of my social skills because I know cool stuff?


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