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

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Survey and Answers Part 1

So, the survey can be found here and as far as I know she is still looking for more autistic people to answer. Be warned that it is very long (41 questions, and my answers will probably be in 3 parts)
And here are some of my answers:
Trigger Warning: suicide threats, possibly gaslighting/abuse
1) Age: 20

2) What country and state you are from: Somewhere in the USA

3) Gender: AFAB androgyne

4) Level of education: currently in college

5) What you were diagnosed with and age of diagnoses: 19, though 1st suggested by the school psychologist at 16 (and I recall asking my mother if I was autistic when I was 8 or so, though I don't think she remembers this.)

6) Please tell me about some of the best experiences you had in the educational setting: India trip and senior year of high school

7) And what made those experiences so good:
  • In India, I totally didn't tell the teacher that I'm autistic before we left, and then I started having sensory issues on the factory visits. Since I didn't tell him ahead of time and I never went to disability services for accommodations, he could have just done nothing and told me to suck it up, but that's not what happened. Instead, he got a face mask and ear plugs that I could use whenever I wanted, let me skip the second plant tour on days when we had two of them, and was understanding about it when I wasn't up for interacting with people after getting overloaded. He never started treating me differently after this, either, and he threatened to throw anyone who made a fuss about my accommodations into the pool fully clothed and not let them change. No one decided to find out if he was joking.
  • My senior year of high school was the year that all my teachers were OK with the fact that doing something with my hands that was fairly mindless and completely unrelated to class was the best thing for my ability to focus and just let me do that. Because of that, it was the only year that I ever got straight As.

8) Please tell me about some of the worst educational experiences:
  • 3rd grade: Math specialist states that the school will not be giving me advanced math because my parents shouldn't be pushing me. She ignores my statement that they are not pushing me and I actually just like math. (Math is my longest running autistic obsession.)
  • 5th grade: A girl who isn't really named Joanne but who I will call that attaches herself to me since I am the new kid. Since she "behaves better" around me, I get assigned to sit with her at lunch every day. No one asked me about this. 
  • 6th grade: Joanne says in the morning that she is going to kill herself. I tell a teacher, who asks me if I think Joanne is joking. My response is "How should I know?" Later in the day, during chorus, Joanne says again that she is going to kill herself, so I get up and tell the teacher. Joanne promptly runs out of the room. I follow. The nurse comes out of her office and sees me, but not Joanne, who has just rounded a corner. When I tell her what's going on, she has me follow her into the bathroom where we found Joanne (unharmed.) 
  • 9th grade: After being removed from an exchange program due to a shellfish allergy, I was told that I couldn't continue doing the extra Chinese work I had been doing.
9) What made those so negative?
  •   3rd grade: The school was totally ignoring me. I actually had one of my few loud meltdowns that day, half crying half screaming at the math specialist that my parents were not pushing me to do more math and that the school was apparently pushing me to do less math and that they were therefore failing at what education was supposed to be. That didn't go over well.
  • 5th grade: I got assigned as a friend for a rather toxic girl. She actually threatened suicide once that year too, during gym. My parents requested that we be separated for the next year,  but the special education department made sure we stayed together so they could keep using me that way.
  • 6th grade: Uh, asking a kid if they think something is a joke is totally not a good idea. If they thought it was a joke, they wouldn't tell you. Seriously. Also, having a minor follow you into a room where a person who just expressed a desire to kill themself ran into isn't exactly something a responsible school allows. 
  • 9th grade: Basically, I got discriminated against for an allergy that I knew how to handle since the adults didn't know how to handle it. I went to China alone about a year later than this program would have been and was totally fine. Oh, and once I wasn't in it they apparently didn't want me to be the star student of the Chinese program anymore. Schools really need to stop getting in the way of my education.
10) What can a teacher, educator, or provider for to make you feel calm, happy, or comfortable? 
No strobe lights. Give me some warning before I need to stand up to speak in front of the whole class. If they're going to play devil's advocate on something I say, let me know they're doing so first. Don't make fun of me for answering rhetorical questions or failing to get sarcasm.

11) How has being on the Autism spectrum impacted your friendships?
It means I've been friends with people who are a bit weird and who are OK being friends with another weird person, mostly. When I told them, they mostly reacted with "Well, yeah."

12) How has being on the Autism spectrum impacted you family relationships?
I don't understand a lot of my family, though the ones who I suspect to be also autistic make more sense. It makes family gatherings harder, since dealing with people is tiring and all.
13) What are some of your interests and hobbies?
I like math, singing, sewing, chainmail (armor, not letters), and making geometric designs. (Insert plug for Because PATTERNS here)
14) Please tell me about different triggers (lights, noise, fabrics).
Flashing lights, sudden loud noises, fluorescent lights once they start to flicker, and mint all bug me, sensory wise.
15) Please tell me what you do not like about your triggers:
Flashing lights and loud noises make me jump. Flashing/flickering lights can be disorienting and give me a headache. Mint is just overwhelming.
16) Please tell me how people can help you avoid those triggers:
Turn flash off, replace fluorescent bulbs before they start to flicker, don't give me mint?

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