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

Friday, December 14, 2012

Talking About Autism In China

In my Economics class (Made In China) the final project was to write a 1500-2000 word paper about something related to China and to give a 5 minute presentation on that topic during the time that was reserved for the final exam. That was yesterday morning, and it went much better than I had been expecting. See, my topic was Autism in China, and I know what a hot button issue autism is for people who care about it. I went in prepared to be interrupted over one or all of the following:

  • I didn't say anything at all about causation, something lots of people think should be the only worry.
  • I said that I'm Autistic. 
  • I didn't call myself a person with autism, either. I called myself Autistic. I called the autistic people in China autistic people too.
  • I blatantly said that there is no cure for autism and that helping people function better is a thing but they are still autistic.
No one took issue with any of these things. I now really like talking about autism to people who are well aware that they are clueless and who don't currently have any skin in the game. It is refreshing to present to people who probably don't even know that there is an argument over language, who don't have a quack cure of choice, who aren't convinced that their child's regression is somehow both autism and a vaccine injury. It meant that I had five minutes to infodump unchallenged, and that is what I did.
I talked about the abuses that autistic children face in China. I talked about the fact that mainstream schools are not required to allow autistic students in, and when they do, their test scores are not counted in teacher performance. I talked about how the special schools for students with disabilities in China were generally designed for students with physical disabilities or for students with intellectual disabilities but were considered "trainable." (The "trainable" language and referring to ages two to six as the best time for "training" autistic students bothers me, of course. We are people, not dogs.) I talked about how many families in China still believe that family members with disabilities are either punishments for not respecting their ancestors enough or for things that their ancestors did, which only increases the stigma around disability. In fact, the understanding of autism is so poor and the stigma around it so bad among those who have actually heard of it that doctors will often diagnose people as "having autism symptoms" or "being an autistic-like case" instead of as autistic. Basically, autistic people in China have some difficulties right now, and the fact that autism wasn't even recognized officially as a disability there until 2006 really doesn't help with that. 


  1. Well done. It is great to hear that an audience of college students was so receptive. It bodes well for the future.

    1. The people in my Splash class were even better- they actively had questions and wanted to learn more about autism from Autistic people!
      I think the limited time was a big part of why they didn't get to ask so many questions.
      But yeah, this is why I say that Autism Speaks awareness is worse than none- people who have no clue what autism is and have never heard of it before are much more receptive to Autistic people than the folk who have had Autism Speaks brand of awareness.


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