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, June 25, 2013

That Wasn't Being a Superstar. No, Really.

I went to my old elementary school with some other alum from my high school ultimate team for this clinic. Basically, go into the gym class and teach some fourth graders. That's why I was there. We were showing people how to throw. One kid had what I'm pretty sure was a broken leg. The cast was in the right spot, of the right size, to be a broken leg, and the crutches looked like injury crutches, not chronic illness crutches. He was pretty bummed out about the whole thing where a bunch of high school and college kids were teaching a thing and he couldn't participate. (Well, actually, he could. And did. That's how I wound up being called a superstar. No, I didn't deserve it.)
I told him that I couldn't really teach him to throw backhand sitting, but I could teach him how to throw forehand sitting. The gym teacher told me that he couldn't put weight on his right leg. (Not an issue, he's going to be sitting on the bleachers because you can totally throw forehand like that. It doesn't take too much thought to teach that one sitting down. I'm sure backhand can be done too, but it would take longer and we only had a short time with these kids.) So that's basically what I did. I taught a kid how to throw a frisbee forehand sitting down, and he got pretty good at it.
The kid was happy. The gym teacher was happy. (Dealing with an upset nine/ten year old isn't fun, I think she has reason to be happy.) I was happy because more people playing ultimate is win. Also, it gave me an excuse to be off to the side in less chaosy areas. Nope, can't go into the middle of the gym with 50+ kids all throwing things, I'm teaching this kid. Busy. And of course, right thing to do. It didn't look like anyone else had a way for him to participate, so I figured one out. It's not super-star, it's just what should be done and I did it. I... actually do know why they called it a super-star thing to do, I just wish that weren't a thing.
See, it's the idea that figuring out how to make anything accessible to a person with an impairment is above and beyond. It's not. It's what you're supposed to do. I don't think it's legally mandated in a case like this, since he's not permanently disabled, he's just got a broken leg, but it's the right thing. It's also not that hard to do. If I'd been going for a couple weeks instead of a one-off, I'd have figured out how to throw backhand sitting down too. Figure out those two things, and you could set up a wheelie league for Ultimate. Not even joking, it could be a thing. (Not sure how well it would work mixing wheelchair users and non-users on the field, since jumping is a pretty big thing on the "typical" Ultimate field, but that's not an issue on a "field" (probably not actually grass) where no one is jumping. Maybe more thoughts on that if I talk to actual wheelchair users and it turns out they're interested and it doesn't exist yet, I'm bringing my disc to Society for Disability Studies.)
It bothers me when people think of including people as above and beyond because if it's above and beyond, it's not expected. It needs to be expected. Not just for the kid I taught to throw forehand siting down today: his leg will heal. For everyone. Disability is part of the human experience, and the way we live needs to reflect that. People with disabilities need to be able to participate, and the question shouldn't be "Can this person participate?" but "How can this person participate?"
Edit: Wheelchair ultimate is a thing. UNH has it.


  1. It feels great to figure something out for someone - it's just strange when it seems obvious and no one else gets it. Most people don't think out of the box. Or are stuck in "never did it that way" land. You weren't. That's why you had a superstar moment. Though I'd rather call it McGuyverizing :)

  2. I remember I saw the word "diversity paradigm" somewhere at some point - instead of ‘accommodation’, which is ‘you need special things to be in my space’, this is about making a space that actually works for everyone, and doesn’t take one person as a default.

    I still think 'accommodation' is useful, but like here its the "It needs to be expected, not special" idea I find super important.

    Relevantly, I hate it when I really want to *call* someone a superstar or something similar with things like this. Because simultaneously, this is basic decency and shouldn't be special. And yet it *is* and I want people to know how much I appreciate it.

    1. Perhaps instead of "being a superstar," frame it as "setting a higher standard."

      Plus, I know that as a System with major insecurities and self esteem problems, we rather appreciate the notion of seemingly-mundane things being acknowledged.


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