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, September 23, 2013

Autism: Not very specific

I have just seen someone claim that certain characters sometimes read as autistic (often by autistic people) are bad because "autism isn't an accessory" (well, yes, I know that, having lived my entire life Autistic, funny how that works.) The other thing was about how autism is really specific, which I guess was implying that only some small segment of autistic-read characters actually could be? Yeah, "specific." That's hilarious. So I did some math.

There are 616 ways to choose the minimal requirements for "classic" autism under DSM-IV-TR. That is at least 2 from A.1, 1 each from A.2 and A.3, and a total of at least 6. That can be done in 616 ways, before we even get into the possibility of someone doing more than MINIMALLY meeting criteria, qualifying instead for an Asperger's diagnosis, or any known autistic traits that are not listed in the DSM. Not all of those ways include a speech delay, by the way. If you are under the (mistaken) impression that you must have the speech delay or lack of speech for it to be "classic" autism, you are reduced to 280 of the 616 minimally classically autistic options- that's a little under half. But you'd be wrong, because the DSM-IV-TR doesn't say that. It just says that Asperger's can't have the speech delay, not that classic autism must. So there's 616 ways to minimally meet criteria.
For total ways to meet DSM-IV criteria for "classic" autism, I went for complimentary counting. [Math teaching assistant, this is a thing I can do.] There are 2361 different combinations of DSM-IV-TR traits which meet criteria. That's a lot. 
Now there's the possibility of Asperger's. Asperger's has 24 minimal possibilities, 320 total using just the criteria for Asperger's itself rather than using combinations of classic autism criteria that will meet Asperger's but not classic autism. There are another 300 ways to have at least one trait from A.2 of classic autism but still meet criteria for Asperger's instead.
Oh, and there's PDD-NOS! The 148 combinations that would meet criteria for Asperger's except that they had a speech delay go here. That means either 4 or 5 of the traits from the classic autism criteria with at least 2 from A.1 and 1 each from A.2 and A.3, where one of them is the speech delay. I don't know exactly what else fits under PDD-NOS, so I won't get into that, but there's going to be other things. Use 148 as the lower bound.
So from the DSM-IV-TR criteria, we can choose things to check off in 3129 different ways which will all count as some sort of autistic.
That's a lot, right?
We're not done.
There are known autistic traits which are not in the DSM. (Sensory processing issues are really common, and so is alexthymia.) There are criteria which can be met in multiple different ways. (Differences in body language/eye contact can be extra eye contact, no eye contact, flat affect, expressions completely different from those neurotypicals would use to convey a given emotion, or differences in posture for various situations.) There are personality traits that people don't think of as being related to autism. All of those affect how an autistic person or character will present. 
Still think autism is specific?

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