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

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Choosing your questions: Don't ask how I FEEL.

Ask what I think. Ask if I think it went well or badly or so-so. Ask if I have anything I want to say about it. But do not ask me to tell you how I feel about something, and never ask for one feeling word to sum anything up. Just don't do it. If I try, I'm going to wind up melting down (probably at you, that's what I call it when a person actually does become the target of the screaming from a meltdown, which doesn't happen much.) I'm also not going to come up with a word. Remember how I talked about having a different set of abilities when I was talking about why I use the word DISABLED, not differently abled? Yeah, that whole feelings thing is one of the abilities I don't really have so well. Alexthymia: It's a thing.
This came up because at Autism Campus Inclusion (training run by ASAN for autistic college students who also do/want to do activism stuff, they pay for all the things including transit to them and a food stipend) we had a presentation about how to run meetings. That's useful. It really is. And the idea of doing an evaluation of the meeting afterwords is useful. It's just the "how this evaluation is run" that needs some changes in order to be accessible to the pretty large number of autistic people who are also alexthymic. Also alexthymic people in general, of course.
The presenter talked about how it's hard, but people have to "get out of their heads and into their guts." No, we don't need to do that, because some of us can't do that. And if you demand it at an autistic meeting, you're making the evaluation inaccessible to some of the people in your target audience. Bad idea.
Or "My answer is always "frustrated," because if you're asking me to name my emotion, I will be," as one participant said after the meeting. Not in the actual evaluation, because EMOTIONS. HOW DO WE? A lot of us also have delays on figuring out what emotion we are having, assuming we ever do figure it out. So.
Access need for a whole lot of autistic people, including me:
Don't put us on the spot to tell you how we feel. (Probably don't put us on the spot at all, make sure we know ahead of time what questions will be coming.) Don't demand that we figure out what our emotions are on your time frame (or at all, really, since it won't always be a thing.) If you want feedback on how something went, ask questions that we can actually answer, and take delayed feedback if that's what we need in order to give it. Let us type it. Let us write it. It's an access need.

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