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

Saturday, February 16, 2013

How to Get an Official Diagnosis

Trigger warning: brief mention of ABA and similar "therapies"

The third article I'm commenting on is, predictably, the third article of the issue. It's "How to get an official diagnosis."
That's an important topic, and for all this magazine is called Autism Parenting, this article is potentially useful to Autistic adults who are seeking an official diagnosis, either for the confirmation or in order to get needed accommodations.
The article provided a list of resources, including links to directories where a diagnostic service might be found and a link to GRASP. It also mentions the reality that many general practitioners are not aware of autistic spectrum disorders and what an Autistic adult would be like, acknowledging that many doctors are either unwilling or unable to diagnose adults.
There are, however, some problems. Like most parent-focused materials, this piece overemphasizes the importance of ABA and early interventions. While there are therapies that can help, ABA has some serious issues. Remember, the events described in Quiet Hands are fairly standard, and the cost of compliance is unreasonable. (No, I am never going to get tired of linking either of those two pieces. They are important.) I would have thought that adults who think they might be autistic would realize that therapy is not needed to survive, though I suppose that if they can be convinced that they must have "just Aspergers" and their kids are full-blown autistic, then they would once again believe the experts who hold these therapies in such high regard. That wouldn't explain the parents whose kids are diagnosed as having Aspergers, though.
Additionally, many of the online tests for autistic traits linked are problematic. The Autism Quotient, designed by Simon Baron-Cohen, is based on sexist stereotypes and the extreme male brain theory of autism, which is not an accurate theory. It also misses many Autistic people who actually have too much empathy and withdraw due to overload. This is a much more common issue than many people realize. The Aspie Quiz is largely based on the idea that autism comes from Neanderthal genes, also a false assumption, and should also be taken with a grain of salt. The Mind in the Eyes test is not an autism test, but it does not claim to be. It is, however, relevant in that recognition of facial expressions is something many Autistic people have difficulty with.
Finally, the article refers to Temple Grandin as having "overcome" autism, as opposed to having grown, matured, and learned coping skills as people in general are wont to do, along with mentioning Einstein as having the traits specifically of Asperger's. He had a speech delay. If he was autistic, it was classic autism, not Asperger's. Don't try to pretend that all Autistic achievements were made by Aspies. They weren't. (I suspect there is a reason that Chinese people have a proverb about people who are late to speak being smart. My suspicion is that they are talking about hyperlexic classic Autistics.)

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