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

Saturday, September 1, 2012

So, I heard from Neurodivergent K that people are finally figuring out that autistic adults can be role models for autistic kids. That much is good. (She happens to be awesome. Sometimes triggering because she's honest about what she goes through and she has been through too much, so be warned. But still made of win. Read her stuff.)
Anyways, I am so glad that people are figuring this out, finally. It's kind of important. Julia Bascom (ALSO AWESOME) talks about how awesome it was to have someone in media who was visible and like her, and that is similar to how role models who are like you are a good thing to have.
It really is.
But there are still problems. Major ones, even. Because who gets to be a role model?
Apparently, autistic role models are adults who have college degrees and full-time jobs in a field related to their degree. Funny, I thought that was "autistic people who are acting like the standard neurotypical," which is different. The two are not mutually exclusive by any stretch, but I think we're assuming a default of gross incompetence to call that sufficient to be a role model and  being unnecessarily restrictive by calling it needed to be a role model. Things that are neither necessary nor sufficient can be on criteria lists (think the criteria for autism- no one thing is necessary, nor is any one thing sufficient,) but trying to use a single thing that is neither necessary nor sufficient as if it were both just doesn't work.
  • Amy Sequenzia. Non-speaking, requires substantial support, writes awesome poetry. She's one of MY role models.
  • Autistic Hoya. Still in school... she probably will meet those criteria some day, but not yet. And yes, I fangirl at her sometimes. She finds it awkward when I do that, so I try not to too much.
  • Julia. You know, the person who writes Just Stimming? Most people her age don't have college degrees last I checked, and as far as I know she doesn't?
  • Me. I am being a wee bit conceited here, but I like to think that I would be a decent role model. I mean, I am a triple major, and I do nanotechnology research, and a assist math classes, and I'm starting grad school. But wait! I have multiple part-time jobs and no degree yet!
And some neurotypical people who don't meet those criteria but were decent role models in some sense last I checked:
  • All those millionaires who dropped out of college and started businesses? Unless they aren't actually neurotypical, since some of them are suspected autistic and might belong above.
And autistic people who meet the criteria but I wouldn't use:
  • Temple Grandin. She is kinda Aspie elitist. 
And neurotypical people who meet the criteria but I wouldn't use:
  • Most CEOs. 
  • Most middle management. 
  • Most of my elementary school teachers.
So... with all four categories (has a degree and relevant job vs not, is a good role model vs not and combinations) being non-empty, I find those to be cruddy criteria, and will ignore them. I will take whatever role models I want, thanks. And not all of them will have full time jobs in the area of their possibly non-existent college degree. You can deal with that, I hope, even if some of them are autistic.

1 comment:

  1. Not to mention that the whole way we test candidates for jobs kinda excludes a lot of autistic people by default?


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