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

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Speech Complicated

I am usually verbal. I am usually highly articulate. I am more articulate typing than I ever am speaking, but I can still speak very well, usually. I mean I can usually speak well enough to do zero preparation for a debate, then show up, have no sources to cite, but manage to win my debate anyways by explaining why every single source the other person brought actually supported my position. Yes, I did that on the fly, no warning. That huge vocabulary thing is a thing. I have it. Hyperlexia and hypergraphia may be Pathology Words Meant To Make Me Seem More Broken, but they really do apply to me.
Then there are times when speech is highly unnatural, and every word requires thought and is forced. My speech becomes stilted, my grammar gets worse, my sentences become shorter.


I've gotten in trouble on a few occasions for that. It's frustrating, certainly, knowing what meaning I want to say and then having that happen when I try to speak it.

And then there are times when the words just will not come. I am, apparently, unvoiced.
It's not quite that simple, though. There are times when I can sing but not speak. There are times where I can't come up with words and speak them, but I can read aloud. My two languages don't drop at the same time. If it's physical exhaustion or sensory overload, Chinese goes first, English lasts a little longer. English is pretty stilted by the time Chinese is gone, but it's still reachable, sort of.

If I've been triggered emotionally, whichever language that happened in is the one to give out on me first. That usually means English goes. I can argue autism things in Chinese, but no one argues back much. No one comes to try to silence me in Chinese. (Perhaps they are too busy being surprised by the fact that I can actually use the language? That or I have very few readers who read Chinese. Maybe both.) I tend not to read my news in Chinese, at least, not the kind of news that triggers me. So in effect, that means it's English that goes first.

Simple lack of spoons seems to make English give out on me first too, that or there really was a root cause for my current lack of speech that I'm missing. Right now, English isn't happening, not even reading aloud, but I can cover the basics in Chinese just fine. Without needing to type and read it, I could still get food and get directions in Chinese, and I read well enough to cover most of the rest on my own. I scored Advanced Low on a Chinese speaking exam while completely unvoiced in English.

It's not so simple as speaking/not speaking. There are ways and ways of being semi-speaking, and then there are two languages where I can function in those different ways, fairly independently of each other. 


  1. Great post! It's good to be reminded that like all things in life, losing speech falls on a spectrum and is variable from one moment to the next.

  2. I lose my native language all the time but it takes a lot more for me to lose my English. I haven't figured out why, I think it might have something to do with the way I learned them.

    1. English is my native language and I lose it way more often than I lose Chinese. So I have it work like that too.

  3. Love this post! I don't lose my native language, but one thing that tends to happen is that I will default to generic pronouns, nouns and phrases to indicate that I'm still there and listening. These include, "thing," "I know," "uhm" and "I see." Worse, the other person or persons I'm talking to speak at a pace that's too fast for me to gather my thoughts (unless it's about a topic that happens to be one of my obsessions), and by the time I have something, another person chimes in! Huh. Maybe I'm being quiet because they're actually interrupting my train of thought! Never thought of it like that at all!


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.