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, January 25, 2013

Do YOU Have a Child with Autism?

Probably never will.
I probably will have an Autistic child, though.
If you don't think there's a difference, I've got a page about not calling me a person with autism because I'm Autistic, and it links to a pile of posts on the subject. I think seven of them are mine? Yeah...
But that's not the point.
The point is, parents, I know many of you think that "Do YOU have a child with autism?" is a relevant question to ask in conversations about autism, and that an answer of no means that the person doesn't have anything relevant to say.
And I saw a thread in which a parent repeatedly asked an Autistic person (reasonably well known as an Autistic blogger and activist, has a chapter in a book about self-advocacy, it's NOT HARD to Google her and see that she is Autistic) if they had a child with autism in a conversation about vaccines.
And this parent ignored all the Autistic adults, including the Autistic parents of Autistic kids. Apparently mentioning that they were themselves Autistic, that they had Autistic kids with varying vaccination history, that yes, they do, in fact, know both what it is like to have an Autistic child and to be an Autistic child and that they still think it is time to quit it with blaming and fixing that which isn't broken doesn't go over well. Apparently it is just being divisive, but claiming that vaccines cause autism without sources on a site that is science-based isn't divisive or stirring up trouble at all?
Apparently it is all about the poor parents of the children with autism, and autism is something to be overcome, and these parents love their kids but hate autism. And apparently these parents are basing their identity around making martyrs of themselves, with the so-called enemy... their child's neurology, which is somehow separable from their child.
Autism is about the Autistic person, not about the parents or the siblings or the caretakers. If you claim that being the parent of a "child with autism" means you know more than the average layperson, I'm inclined to give that to you. You at least have some idea what your child needs, hopefully. (Or you know to to try to make your kid act "normal," which is knowledge but is also a really horrible thing to do.)
If you claim that it makes you know more than an Autistic person?
I will laugh you right out the door.
You want to know more about autism (in general) than an Autistic person? You're gonna need to do a lot of reading and a lot of talking to Autistic people, because strange as it might sound, we are the experts in living Autistic. And once you've done that? You'll still only know more about autism in general, not about any given Autistic person's own experience, and even that, you won't have over the Autistics who did the same.
If you claim that your suffering is in any way relevant to "who knows more about autism?" I will laugh you right out the door, because focusing on yourself and your suffering and your martyrdom is not how you learn about anything that isn't you. Guess what? Autism isn't you. It's a word for your childs brain meant to separate them from their neurology, since it's a noun and it's not a type of person.
Autistics Speak, time to listen?


  1. First, I love this post! Honestly, there are times that I can feel pity from people because my daughter is an Autistic and I kind of just want to punch them in the face. I try to read about autism almost solely written by Autistics, but sometimes things are lost in translation. I always see Autistics talking about how awful it is to try to make the child act normal, and I'm not sure I always know what that means? I want her to be herself, but I also want her to understand what others expect of her so that it doesn't all seem so random. Any advice? what's acting normal? What's acting autistic? To me, she's just her and the last thing I want to do is make her feel like that's not good enough. I will say I never try to stop her from stimming, but beyond that....?

    1. Think of it like teaching a child from a different culture. You're not saying the way her culture does things is wrong, but this culture does things this way, and it's useful to understand what they're doing and why.

      When I took Japanese classes, my prof told me a pile of stuff about Japanese culture. She never implied it was any better or worse than Western culture, just told us that if we went to Japan, we'd probably want to know things like the fact that a Koban (police box) is a good place to go if we need help and Kobans have a region-specific logo that is some sort of cutesy cartoon animal.

      In teaching myself about neurotypicals, I take the same approach - they're not better or worse, but they think differently, and to communicate effectively with them, I need to understand them. (I just wish more people would use the same approach with me.)


I reserve the right to delete comments for personal attacks, derailing, dangerous comparisons, bigotry, and generally not wanting my blog to be a platform for certain things.