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 5, 2012

The Comment I Sent To The House

Discrimination and accommodations are two of the biggest issues Autistic adults are facing. No matter what the laws might say, discrimination against autistic adults is A Thing, and it is a big problem. And guess where it comes from? It comes from the attitudes about autism that are currently mainstream, that are spoken nearly every time autism is discussed. No one wants to hire a public health crisis, even if the health crisis can do the job. No one wants to hire a tragedy, even if the tragedy can do the job. No one wants to hire a situation or an epidemic, even if the situation or epidemic can do the job. And no one wants to hire a burden, which makes calling autistic people burdens a self-fulfilling prophecy. Illegal discrimination is a thing, and ADA lawsuits are not an efficient way to handle that- not every Autistic person has the resources to file and go through one, especially with the lack of employment that comes from this discrimination.
Even in healthcare, where the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act BOTH state that this sort of discrimination based on disability is not legal, it happens. The petition on the White House site about organ transplant denial to "people with autism," ( or Autistic people as many of us prefer to be called, is not there purposelessly. It is there because doctors are breaking the law by discriminating against Autistic people and because someone who needs an organ transplant is not likely to be capable of dealing with an ADA lawsuit.
Or there is the issue of accommodation. The simple solution for a business would be not to hire an Autistic person, but that is yet again, discrimination. Assume, then, that this person has gotten hired or has gotten accepted into school. In either case, getting any accommodations requires disclosing Autistic status, which opens them up to discrimination. Even post disclosure, clearly reasonable accommodations such as "I am allowed to bring in my own noise-cancelling headphones and use them to reduce the noise level," or "I am allowed a quiet, non-distracting fidget toy for times when my hands are not actively required" are not given. In many cases, those basic things would be sufficient. In others, "Text-based and face-to-face communication are to be used whenever possible to communicate with me and phones to be avoided" is the needed statement, and that, too, is not given. These are accommodations which do not cost anything to provide, and yet they are not given. This sort of basic accommodation would allow so many Autistic adults into the workforce, but is rarely discussed as a needed policy change. It's needed. It may be the most efficient method of making Autistic people more self-sufficient, and that is a goal I expect those worried about the costs of autism to have.

Additionally, more Autistic voices are needed in any conversation about autism. I strongly suggest reading the entirety of that which is written for Autistics Speaking Day, of course, but here is one.
 Autistics Speaking EVERY Day.
This post can also be found at the Autistics Speaking Day blog here.

Today is Autistics Speaking Day. (Unless I messed up my queue or I messed up which day it is or blogger is broken. But I'm assuming that none of this happened.) Today is a day when we all (or as many of us as can executive function in time to write/submit something by today, which is why I am actually writing this all the way back on September 21st) write something about our lives, our experiences, whatever as far as I can tell.
And what I have to say is that we speak EVERY day. Not all of us do it by talking, and even those of us who do aren't always consistent about it. Not all of us do it by typing either, though that is how I am speaking today
Having a day when we all get together and speak is great as a community thing. It's great for flooding people with reminders that we speak all at once. It's great for reminding us that we can speak out.
And I want to use that one BIG day to make sure we all remember something important: We all speak every day. When I stim in public, I say that I am not embarrassed of how my brain is wired. When I get done what I want to get done, I say that I am NOT inherently broken. When I smile, I say that I am not purely tragic, that I can be happy. When I decide that I do want kids of my own, I say that no, being autistic is not a horrible thing that I wouldn't risk passing on. It's something I feel perfectly OK with. I say that I am OK with bringing more autistic people into the world. When I melt down, I am saying that something is wrong. Whenever I do anything at all, even just sit there and not really do much, I am saying something about who I am and what I think. We all get to say things like that.
And sure, educating people isn't our job. I know that. I probably do more educating than I really need to because I like to teach, but I am aware that specifically educating is not my job unless I'm getting paid for it (only in math. sigh.) So rather than spending lots of time explaining everything over and over again, I ask: Do I act like I find my life and the lives of those like me tragic? Does Henry act like his life is inherently tragic? How about Kassiane? How about Ari? How about Amy? How about... and I continue. We don't act like we think ourselves tragedies because we don't think ourselves tragedies. We act like we matter because we do, whatever some other people might think. When we act, we speak. Today, what we say is that we do speak. Today we remind the world that we are people with our own ideas and our own opinions, and that we can and do communicate them. All they need to do is listen.

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