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, September 17, 2012

I don't need to call it a blessing.

Considering something a blessing and accepting it are two different things.
Why do I feel the need to state this? Well, in this Daily Beast article, author Hannah Brown writes:
And while the high-functioning bloggers may disagree, it’s hard to find the blessing in a condition that prevents so many who have it from making any long-term, meaningful decisions about the direction of their adult lives.
And there are just so many things wrong with that. So here's a (presumably incomplete) list.
  1. High functioning and low functioning are not well-defined terms, and they are not particularly useful. I've talked about the fact that they are problematic before, actually. And there are a bunch of people who've gotten both of these cruddy and potentially harmful labels at various points.
  2. The assumption that the bloggers are high functioning is also problematic. Partly because the labels are problematic, partly because the stereotype of what people think "high functioning bloggers" are doesn't even match up with who gets those labels, partly because very few of the bloggers meet the stereotype regardless of which (if any) labels people have slapped on them, and partly because blogging does not require anything beyond some method of typing or access to someone who will type what you communicate in some other method (transcribing ASL?), which is pretty irrelevant to which label other people decide you get. Remember how I, too, Stand With Henry? He blogs, and he's 13 and non-speaking. He does all kinds of cool stuff like playing sports, and he doesn't need to fit a near-impossible stereotype to do it. (Do any of us actually fit what she thinks we're like? Because the HF blogger stereotype goes way beyond the high functioning label from psych people or educators. I don't think I even meet it, and I'm a triple major.) Plus we've got Amy Sequenzia, Larry Bissonnette, Amanda Baggs, Tracy Thresher, Hope Block, Sue Rubin, and Carly Fleischmann. None of them speak. They all blog, they all make decisions about their own lives, and they're all awesome. Larry helped make a documentary. Hope presents at conferences. Everyone's heard me fanperson at Amy by now. So no, blogging and meeting the stereotype Hanna Brown has of us are not the same.
  3. Even so, using the supposedly "low functioning" (who really do speak for themselves and have the ability to make decisions given half a chance) to silence the assumed "high functioning" is not an OK move. Shocking as it may sound, the autistic people society calls "high functioning" understand the lives of those society calls "low functioning" much better than the neurotypical generally do by way of also being autistic. So yes, we do understand their position reasonably well, and probably better than you do, even if you are the parent of one.Oh, and calling someone too low functioning to understand is even worse because they risk losing autonomy over their own lives if the wrong people hear you say that.
  4. Who said anything about calling it a blessing? I'm just finding the awesome parts of what, well, is. No matter what anyone's opinion on a cure may be (I think society can cover all the problem parts just fine if it really wants to, and I don't trust people anywhere near a cure until we're at a point where it would be truly voluntary, so I fall under DO NOT WANT,) none currently exists. Which means autistic people are staying autistic, and accepting what is and finding the good parts of what is is, well, part of having hope and a positive outlook and staying mentally healthy. So accepting something and calling it a blessing are two different things.  
  5. Might I point out that the same blogging non-speaking autistic people are making plenty of long-term meaningful decisions about their own lives? It's not the autism that prevents it. It's the presumption of incompetence that people like Hannah Brown make when they say such things.  

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