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 20, 2013

That's Not What It's About

Trigger Warning: ableism, ABA, 

I saw some stuff (was directed to it, really) on Autistic Pride Day that I wish never was. Autistic Pride Day is Autistic pride, not passing pride or ABA pride or pretending to be normal pride. It's definitely not parental pride for a kid who is passing because ABA taught them to pretend to be normal at all costs. It's definitely not sibling pride for that.
That's not what Autistic Pride Day is about.
There probably is someone who would actually say this sort of analog, which is horrible, but for anyone who can actually see how misplaced it would be (please, tell me you can see it, please...) this would be similar. (I'm something non-binary for gender, bi/pan area for romantic attraction, presumably the same for sexual attraction but pretty close to asexual, just so you know: I'm not a cis-het person making an analogy to Queer issues.) So, the analog, written like it was a sibling writing this:
On Pride Day, I just wanted to talk about my sister. She's bi, and she's... androgyne? I think that's the word. But she's made so much progress! She's been working at it, and now you can barely tell that she's bi or androgyne. She'd have to tell you, or you'd never guess. She's been working hard her whole life to get to this point, and I am so proud of her.
Yeah. That sounds pretty horrible, right? (Yes, Lovaas, I know you'd find this totally appropriate too. I know because you tested out your behavioral stuff on feminine boys/possibly transwomen who you thought were "at risk for homosexuality" in addition to autistic people. Heck, I don't even know which group you thought of as your main group and which was the side project, if either. I really don't care, it's horrible for both regardless. I know most ABA people don't like to talk about that, but yeah. Same person, same methods, trying to make people not Queer and not autistic.)
That's what it sounds like, when you write about how proud you are of your kid for seeming less autistic or how if you look past their autism/don't think of them as autistic and that's why you can see the awesomeness on Autistic Pride Day.
Autistic Pride Day is about being proud of who we are as autistic people. It's not about being proud of who we are because we can pass. That's seriously not inclusive, not all of us even can pass. I can only pass when people are really clueless, and I suspect most of you reading this will think of me as the high-functioning goal for your kid or something. (If you want your kid to be like me, stop teaching them not to flap or rock or spin, stop demanding they sit still because guess what I can't do those things and that's OK. Functioning labels aren't great, and I'm not the "high functioning blogger" you might think of.)
It's about "I'm Autistic and awesome!" and "My autism helps my awesome this way!" and "I don't pass and that's fine" and "Ha ha ha stim ALL the stims because stimming is awesome and you should be jealous because I can experience the win of a good stim buahahahaha!" It's not about pretending not to be autistic, it's about celebrating who we are, blatantly and proudly and obviously autistic.


  1. Agreed!

    It's hard because, as I think you mentioned in another post, people conflate genuine progress such as acquiring better communication skills with "becoming less autistic." The issue is further confused because, of course, gaining skills leads to reduced frustration and anxiety, which leads to reduction in things like meltdowns.... and then people interpret "fewer meltdowns" as evidence of the person becoming "less severely autistic." [facepalm]

    Sometimes I have trouble, as an outside observer, knowing whether the "progress" reported to me (or even that I see) in an autistic kid is actually something they find useful/positive/desirable or not. Sometimes I'm not sure if anyone could tell. There are trade-offs in many cases. Learning to sit quietly for an hour or two may mean gaining access to concerts and movies. That shouldn't be a requirement, of course, but it often is. Some kids might consider it worth the struggle, while others wouldn't-- I suspect being given a choice in what skills to work on (or what overarching goals to work towards) would make a big difference for a lot of kids-- the way NT kids are often given the choice of whether or not to tackle a difficult skill like learning an instrument or taking dance lessons.


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