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

Monday, December 31, 2012

Teaching us to be Silent.

Trigger Warning: Abuse

They teach us how to ask nicely, but not when it's time to demand.
They teach us how to engage, but not how, when, or why to disengage.
They teach us how they wished social interaction worked, but not how it really does.
They teach us how to accept, but not to decline.
They teach us how not to offend, but not when we need to offend.
They teach us how to act the same, but not that we shouldn't need to.
They teach us how to fit in, but not how to stand apart.
They teach us to be kind, but not how to respond when others aren't.
They teach us to accept, but not when to reject.
They teach us the rules, but not when to break them.

That's how they teach us to be silent. That's how they teach us to accept whatever abuse they may give. That's how we learn we are broken and wrong, because we are expected to engage all the time, more than even they are, and we simply can not do it.
That's what's wrong with our therapy; that's what's wrong with social skills training.
They are not teaching us the way people really act, but how to be invisible. 

That's not to say that all social skills classes have to be bad. It's a great idea when done right. It's just that almost no one does it right. Teach us when to swear. Teach us what white lies are for and when to use them. Teach us about euphemisms. Teach us how to politely decline invitations. Teach us how to say no. Teach us when to demand, and how to ask questions that aren't really questions. If you're going to do it to us, teach us how to do it back, and teach us to know when you are doing it. 

But they don't really want to do that. They want us to be easy to handle, easy to manage. If we can not be normal, they want us to be invisible. They teach us to be silent, turning a wonderful idea for helping us navigate the world into a tool to help them manage us.


  1. I was never given formal social skills training, but I did have several of these messages forced on me. I was so heavily pressured to engage with people that I have had several "friendships" in my life where the other person wanted to be friends with me, but I did not want to be friends with them. I remained "friends" with them because I'd been shamed so long for not socializing enough. So I'd internalized the message that I was not allowed to say "no" if someone wanted to engage in some kind of social activity with me. By always agreeing to do stuff with people, they started thinking I was their friend when I really wasn't. It was awful. I felt so bad, like I was deceiving them, and I couldn't end it because I didn't know how, and I didn't want to hurt their feelings.

  2. I want to teach my kids BOTH! I want to do it RIGHT! It is so hard to know where the line is! Thanks for your page and for sharing your insight to this mama who just wants to do the best for her NT and ASD kiddos!


  3. This was the training that I received because I was a girl starting 56 years ago. I never could manage to do it right. I think I was 16 or so when I decided it was all bullshit and I didn't want to follow the role. So much of parenting (the way the social rules go) seems to be pushing the kid to fit into society--the "real world". Screw that. The cost is too high and it's utter bullshit. I don't know how it will turn out with my daughter, but I'm doing my best to teach her not to blindly fit in.

  4. I was taught to be silent and forced to be right-handed. (You can read about the latter on my blog.)


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