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: Hillary, Alyssa. "Post Title." Yes, That Too. Day Month Year of post. Web. Day Month Year of retrieval.

APA: Hillary, A. (Year Month Day of post.) Post Title. [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Artificial Social Expectations (and Lack Thereof!)

Lynne Soraya tweeted, asking for links to posts about the effects of artificial socialization requirements. That was meant for the workplace stuff, I think, and I've been lucky. My work at the Art of Problem Solving (my bosses do know I'm Autistic, though it's yet to be relevant to actual work stuff, just side conversation stuff) doesn't have that. I said I could talk about how the lack of that helped me, and she said she'd like to see it, so now I'm writing it.
I've met one of my bosses in person, once, before he was my boss. That's Richard Rusczyk, who talked at a math meet I was at, and then got recruitment emails sent to all the seniors who were at it. (I mean high school seniors.) I haven't met any of the other administrators in person, and I doubt I ever will. It's one of those much-worried-about online jobs, but it's legit. I would know: I've been working for them for 3 years now, and I get paid exactly what they said I'd get paid. Which is a reasonable amount for the hours, unlike the scams that offer unreasonably high pay to lure you in.
The main reason it's so awesome for me? I don't have to talk to people. I need to type to answer the questions the students ask or to grade their homework, but that's not talking. It takes up very little, if any, of my social energy. I can talk to the teacher (I'm a classroom assistant) if I want to and they want to and we both have time, but I don't need to do that to keep my job or anything. There are no repercussions for just logging in, answering student questions, and not interacting with anyone else. Unless there are actual questions (that I need to ask, I mean,) I might not even need to talk to the teacher. I usually do chat with them, but I don't need to. There's no artificial social requirement. None.
That is so important. Because sometimes, yes, I can be social. I really can. I've gone out for dinner and frozen yogurt (I prefer ice cream, but frozen yogurt is what I can get on campus) with friends while non-speaking, because my social desires and my ability to make spoken language work don't always coincide. I've also gone home when I'm just done, no matter how much I and my friends were looking forward to the thing. Like some other Autistic people, that's a kind of flexibility that I need.
It's the kind of flexibility that you don't get when it's expected that you'll go play golf with the boys, which is the example that Lynne gave, or when going out and drinking with your coworkers is basically expected (Hi, China, this part is going to suck, isn't it?)
When it's expected that I'm going to have the energy for a certain kind of social at a certain time, things can go wrong. When it's expected that I will be social at some point in some way that I can do, it goes fine. Those are very different expectations, and keeping it to the second one? Yeah, that should be considered a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. Not that it would help me in China, since ADA is American's with Disabilities Act, but it should be.

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