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

Friday, September 27, 2013

Neurodiversity Michigan Begins

Warning: These are my responses to things with problematic elements. There may be references to ableism, bigotry by ignoring differences, and disease models of autism.

So there is a class about autism, culture, and representation going on at the University of Michigan. They made a website with student posts, which can be commented on publicly. You can find the whole thing here.
I am commenting. Not on everything, there's a whole class worth of stuff and I'm in China studying abroad and I have my own stuff to deal with like finishing editing my Neurodiversity in Tamora Pierce essay for FYT Writes a Book and figuring out where my paper on the erasure of Queer Autistic people can get published and actually doing my study abroad stuff. But some. I'm putting my comments here, too, so that my readers can see them. 
I think that the way language works is really important to think about here: if you don't have access to the words to describe something, you're not going to be able to do so using language, and lacking the words to describe power dynamics between various neurominorities and the majority who are close enough to the mythical norm to get privilege from it doesn't make the dynamic go away. I think that's why the word "neurotypical" is important. Because "Autistic people and normal people" has implications to it that "Autistic people and allistic people" or "neurodivergent people and neurotypical people" doesn't have, even if neurotypical does literally mean neurologically typical.
[Think sociology and how people don't seem to think of heterosexual as a sexual orientation, but it is one- neurotypical is a neurology, even if folks tend not to think of it.]
On Perspective, I said:
Hi Aaron, 
I'm also an engineer- I'm in mechanical engineering, math, and Chinese, though I did research in a chemical engineering lab for a while. I think it's super-important to have more people in STEM fields who know at least some about disability, especially since we kind of design the world the next generation is going to live in.
I think the point you make about how recovery has a lot of important stuff tied up in it is good. I've never had anyone suggest that I've recovered from my gender when I do something where I'm the only girl, but my doing things where I'm the only Autistic person sometimes leads to people thinking or saying I must have "recovered" from autism. Which is silly! How would I recover from my neurology?
And yeah, Autism Speaks being seen as grassroots. It's got some support that could be called that, but they did not start off as anything like grassroots and I think it'd be a lie to call them grassroots. They're pretty top-down in everything except perhaps fundraising, where having at least some grassroots-looking stuff will get them more money and they know it.
On Learning to Live, I said:
Your point about people being too focused on changing their loved ones and not thinking about learning to live as they are is important. I do want to point out that autism is a neurotype, not a disease- diseases are generally things like malaria, cancer, etc- dangerous by nature, something that you try to cure, something that is not a natural part of the person.
Also, I'm not sure what you mean by "the disease aspect." Do you mean the difficult parts of being autistic? We can't ignore those when trying to find ways of making Autistic life easier, since making life easier means looking at the hard parts and trying to help with those. Do you mean the stigma part? Ignoring stigma unfortunately doesn't make it go away. So I'm not sure what that aspect is.
So there's that. I'm sure I'll say more, and I'll probably put that more up here.  

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