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

Friday, August 3, 2012

The way I pass

Because I do pass. I don't pass the same way that many people try to teach their kids to pass, by suppressing all stimming, forcing them to actually look people in the eye, and making them act neurotypical. I don't do that. I frankly don't think I could do a very good job at any of them. I can fake eye contact well enough that people can't tell the difference, and I can stim in less obvious ways. That's about it.
So here's what I actually do:

I get done what I need to get done, and I function, and I don't mention that I'm autistic. Interestingly enough, people tend not to put the pieces together, with the occasional exception when I say the words "sensory weirdness" or "sensory issues," or if the person has Autdar. But people who have good Autdar tend to be the ones where it's OK if they know.

This works because people don't know much about the autism spectrum. They often think that being on the spectrum means you can't really do anything, and that's not true. They often think that autistic people who are really good at something are only good at the one thing, and are usually savants. Also not true. People think of autism as applying to children (kids grow up!) and they think about autism as a boy thing. Between all those, no matter how many autistic traits I show, people tend not to figure it out.

Example: I am doing nanotechnology research. Stuff my adviser has seen:
  • Me not even faking eye contact.
  • Me flapping. A lot.
  • Me otherwise stimming.
  • Me completely missing sarcasm and jokes.
  • Me SAYING that I don't get sarcasm and can't tell when people are joking.
  • Me not understanding the concept of saving up hours from one week and applying them to the next as SOMETHING YOU COULD DO because that's not what we're supposed to do in the RULES.
  • Me showing all the classic signs of sensory overload when the department played soccer on the quad and I spent about a minute playing offense.
  • Me actually mentioning a sensory issue.
  • Me perseverating.
  • Me taking apart some of the purely mechanical things to see how they work.
  • Low-level echolalic tendencies (didn't interfere with communication or anything, but noticeable.)
Yet he has no clue. In fact, if I told him, he'd probably be surprised, because people don't just figure this stuff out, apparently. That's how I pass. I act as autistic as I want, and let people fail to put the pieces together.


  1. That is so fantastic... I pass, quite often in the same way - if anyone actually sat down and connected the dots, they'd know... instantly... but really, I hide in plain sight. It's easy to be invisible...

  2. Ha, me too. In particular, it's funny how people say "we miss girls because they present differently!" when actually.. uh.. sometimes we can be totally flaming autists, presenting exactly the same way as the dudes, without anyone noticing.. because they're stuck thinking in strict gender roles that don't exist outside their heads.


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