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

Monday, July 1, 2013

I Know I Don't Need To. I Choose To.

I'm talking about ablesplaining here, in depth on one specific thing they say a lot.

“With the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, mostly. I'm Autistic.”
“You don't need to label yourself.”

Can I just take a moment and go through the wrong there?
It was another one from the elementary school gym teacher. I tried to redirect from how much of a “superstar” I am (not) to inclusion being a thing for everyone, and I mentioned that I do a decent bit of disability stuff. She wanted to know where, so I said where. At this point, I also said I'm Autistic- that excerpt is two lines from our actual conversation.

You don't need to label yourself.”
Should I not be the one giving the label? I mean, I hope I've made it clear that I think self-diagnosis (researched, reasoned, confirmed by other Autistic people self-diagnosis,) is totally valid. But in this case, I actually do have a professional piece of paper that says I'm autistic. (The capital A is a cultural identity as well, no doctor can diagnose you as Autistic, only autistic.)
Or should I not be using the label? Should I not be disclosing that I have it? It's hard to be part of a community based around an identity without using that identity as a sort of a label and being willing to admit to it. (Why shouldn't I admit to it? It's not like being autistic is shameful or anything. I know some people think it is, but too bad for them. It's just how my brain is wired, that's really it. It's not inherently good or inherently bad or inherently much of anything besides the way my brain is put together and works.) Should I not be the one disclosing? I'm an adult, I'm the only one who really can disclose, so that doesn't make sense either. If I can't say it, no one can.

“You don't need to label yourself.”
My high school coach was the one she had been telling I was such a superstar. He was still there when I said this. He looked surprised enough that I could see it, not hard to tell that my being Autistic was news to him. So clearly, I know that I don't need to label myself, if my being Autistic is news to someone whose team I played on for two years. She's not telling me anything I don't know, and she should be able to figure out that I know it. That's one thing- stating that which it's not hard to realize is already known. Why?

You don't need to label yourself.”
I'm a human being. I classify stuff. It's kind of a thing that a lot of us do, and that's not one of the ways I'm different. (I am different from typical in a lot of ways, that's why I've got the label I've got. This liking of classification isn't one of them.) Labels can be great, horrible, or anywhere in between, I'm well aware of this. It all depends on how you use them, and the way I use mine is quite firmly in “useful” territory. Even on the occasions when it might not be the best thing for me personally to be out as Autistic, if I'm out there's someone it's going to help.

You don't need to label yourself.”
Why not? Does it bother you that a competent adult who is teaching your students something could have a disability label? I'm Autistic, it's just a fact. Why shouldn't I be Autistic? Specifically me? Why not?

I think that “You don't need to label yourself” is the statement of someone who wishes I didn't choose to use the label I have because it makes them uncomfortable. People don't always like difference, though we're taught to value certain kinds of it under certain circumstances (and then by example of authority figures to hate and ridicule difference in all other circumstances.) It's not about giving me the information that no, I don't have to call myself Autistic, it's about being uncomfortable with the fact that I call myself Autistic and make you look at the ways I am not like you. Maybe it even makes you look at your ideas of what it means to be autistic, and that must be really uncomfortable. I'm not five years old, I'm not a boy, I'm competent and have had the chances to show it. I flap and rock and don't look at people, and I “pass” through the cluelessness of others, but I am there and I am Autistic and I'm not the picture people expect to see. “You don't need to label yourself” is an expression of your discomfort, and it's one that reminds me of one of the reasons I choose to label myself.

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