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, December 26, 2012

Autonomous beings

Not sure why, but I feel like this could be triggering. Read with caution?

Did you know that I am an autonomous being, with my own thoughts, my own feelings, my own wants, my own needs? I have my own goals, too, and they might not be what you expect them to be.
I know, I know. You think that being able to go to a crowded party and socialize with everyone is important. You MUST think so, or else you would not be so bothered by the fact that I seem to be unable to do this. Even this inability, however, is not necessarily what you think it is. Sometimes it really is that I CAN'T do it, no matter what else I may sacrifice from my day to manage. Sometimes, I have too many other things I need my energy for, and this goal is the one that I sacrifice. Other times, it might not have even been one of my goals, but one that you (wrongly) expected I would have. Whatever the case, it doesn't happen.
I know, I know. You think that being able to sit still without flapping all the time is important. You MUST think this whole "Quiet Hands!" business is important, or else you wouldn't be so bothered by my consistent failure to have quiet hands. But... this failure isn't because I can't do it. It's because I simply do not care about having quiet hands... at all. I have other things I would rather spend my time and energy on. You can disagree on the value of my other things, but I am an autonomous being, and what I think is important for my own life is what matters. What you think my goals should be... not so much.
Did you know that ALL Autistic people are autonomous beings? Some of us are children, in which case our parents get a bit more say, but if they are good parents, they do take their kids goals into account. (That's true of good parents regardless of the kids neurology, just in case you were wondering.) Good parents take into account the fact that their kids have wants, have needs, have goals, and that what the kid wants to do with their life might not have the same prerequisite skills as what the parent may have expected their kid would want. (Did you know that a freelance writer doesn't need quiet hands? Did you know that a teacher doesn't actually need quiet hands either? Did you know that most professions don't actually need quiet hands in order to get the job done? The only ones I can think of that even might are soldiers in combat and surgeons in the operating room.)
And some of us are not children. We might need some extra help in day-to-day living, but the fact remains that we are autonomous beings. We still have our own wants, our own needs. Making the job of helping us as easy as possible is fine, as long as the definition of "possible" states that interfering with what we want to do with our own lives is impossible. The problem comes when people forget that part of the definition. We're not dolls to be dressed up and trotted out, any more than children are. We're people. Not wanting to do what you wanted us to do isn't a sign of rebellion (seriously- when you're helping a person and there is the idea that they might somehow be rebelling, this is a sign that you are doing it WRONG. You should be helping them do what THEY want to do, at which point they are the ones in charge anyways, like they should be.) It's a sign that either you are pushing towards the wrong goal, the person is tired, or the person disagrees with you on how best to reach the goal. Pushing harder for compliance isn't the answer. Figuring out which of these possibilities it is (not assuming it's the second!) is the answer. We're autonomous beings, remember?
Yes, so is your Autistic kid. And yes, "I'm in sensory overload in this location" is a reason that demanding to leave is appropriate. Yes, I meant demanding, not asking. Autonomous beings, own needs, remember?
And they say WE are the ones lacking in Theory of Mind.

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