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 6, 2013

Like A Person

Trigger Warning: Abuse [including sexual], infantilization

I have younger siblings. I don't know how many of you know this, since I don't really talk about them much (I know that a person reading this blog could figure out who I really am if they wanted to, which is a decision I am willing to make for myself. But that means I won't say anything about my siblings that they wouldn't want shared publicly on the internet with their names, because someone could figure it out if they tried hard enough.)
This post comes from a conversation with one of my younger sisters.
She was talking about how kids like her. And why.
So I asked: "Do I treat you like a little kid?"
She said no.
And I asked: "So what do I treat you like?"
"You treat me like a person."

Yes, "like a little kid" and "like a person" are different. People can decide they don't like someone and not interact with them (depending on environment, there may be consequences, but people can make informed decisions about it being worth it or not, knowing what the consequences could be and the consequences are actually logical results of the decision, like refusal to interact with a supervisor at work can lead to losing a job.) Little kids are expected to interact with anyone their parents or teachers expect them to interact with, and the consequences for refusal are not just logical consequences. Things like having desert or games taken away for not wanting to hug a family member are a thing. Not desert from/games with that family member, either, which would be semi-logical. Desert at home after. Games at home after. Spankings are a thing too. [You don't want to hug this person who makes you uncomfortable so I'm going to hit you instead.] Things with no logical relation.
Note: If you're going to tell me about how this is for the kids own good, look again at which example I went with. There are some examples of parental/adult authority that actually are for kids own good, but that isn't it. That one? That's the one that gets people told they must hug their [sexual] abuser.  That's the one where a parent can tell her kid that she doesn't want to hear a word against someone unless he's "stark naked about to rape you." That's the one where kids learn that reporting their abusers doesn't work.
And the fact remains: As a society, we don't treat young kids like people. We treat them more like props. Or we talk like they can't understand. We assume they can't understand things that... well, they do understand. They wouldn't understand bullying? Um, yeah, they do. Because they get bullied, or they are the bullies, or both. They wouldn't understand power structures? Um, yeah, they do. They understand the adults>kids one just fine, and they know which kids they can get away with bullying and why. And so on.
I think that's part of why the idea of people with disabilities being seen as like children is so scary. It wouldn't get any more accurate if we treated kids like autonomous people who are still learning and do need some guidance, but it might be less terrifying to be seen as a child if children were treated like people. Still wrong, still bad, but a different kind of bad. 


  1. Yes, there are some scary overlaps between ableism and childism. The "eternal children" trope would still be insulting, but not so downright dangerous, if children were seen as actual people. But they're not.

    Any teacher, or adult from my past, who I still respect or admire, were the ones who treated me like a person and not like a child, when I was a child.

    1. Yeah... still bad, just maybe not so terrifying.
      I had a lot of teachers who acted like because I was gifted (in K-12, my teachers typically knew about gifted, but were only aware of autistic if they figured it out for themelves,) I should also have the emotional maturity of an adult (I didn't because I was TEN, NOT AN ADULT HERE,) which got awkward sometimes. It wasn't "treats me exactly like an adult" that I was looking for, it was "realize that I am an autonomous person."
      Which are also not the same thing.


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.