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, November 7, 2013

Flagship Orientation Reactions

So I just found the notes I took during Orientation in Washington DC for my Chinese study abroad program that I'm on now. Heads up that a lot of it is me being right on the edge of meltdown because a lot of the things they were suggesting as methods were things where, um, if I could do the thing up to neurotypical standards I'd not have been getting into trouble because of “poor social skills” as a kid ever. Which is a thing that happened. When it wasn't that, it tended to be things like me not even getting into the conversation enough to show off my funky social skills because of same social issues.

So there were a lot of “if I could do that, we wouldn't be having this problem” kind of reactions, and there were a lot of “well, that's not going to be accessible to me...” kind of reactions.

By the time I was typing the bottom stuff, I was actually visibly crying. I know this because our Residence Director asked if I needed to leave and if I wanted to talk and then when I followed her outside she handed me a tissue. And I was also incapable of speaking. English, anyways. If the cause of my losing speech happens in a completely English-speaking environment and it's because of a thing that was languaged at me, I can apparently still speak Chinese fine. Unfortunately, those requirements tend to mean the ability to speak Chinese doesn't help much, but in this case it was a useful skill to retain.

Anyways, here's the notes. And it turned out putting things on walls is not allowed, and so I am sad.

Yeah looks like a lot of this is going to be “how do you need to change the expectations so I can function as an Autistic adult.”

phone on? Selective mutism. TEXT ME.

Inappropriate offensive or risky behavior- OK, this is super-vague and therefore scary because inappropriate is the word that people like to use for freaking HAND-FLAPPING. And because “offensive” goes right next to “inappropriate” as words that are used as the key words behind “Don't be Autistic.” I need a real description.

Ok, “communicate with people so that unintentional rudeness is less of a thing” is decent advice. Vague and all, but it's a good thing to do. [Though, um, unintentional is kind of a key word here, in that it's an accident by definition? Hi words. But I get the meaning, and it's a good goal.]

Example LUR is totally cognitively inaccessible to me, I understand wanting to know how I'm using the language but asking me to answer that sort of question set is going to take up all the energy I have and mess with my ability to do the actual work because those questions mostly give me “What is this even asking for?” reactions. The rest give me “My brain has just gone completely blank” reactions, which isn't much better.

[Oh god oh god are they going to expect that I can make small talk in Chinese? Nooooo I can't even do that properly in English. Culture references? HELP I CAN'T CULTURE REFERENCE.]

Mid-program and end-of-program OPI are going to be the real-people ones, not the computer ones, right? [Also, I'm going to need to take it in a space large enough for me to pace, on a speaker phone.]

Reactions to foreigner speaking Chinese. We want to get past “honored foreigner” and be a friend, classmate, etc.

OK, proper decorum is likely to get me into even more trouble in China than I do here. “American's are more tolerant of idiosyncrasy” means “I'm DOOMED” considering that I'm too far out there for freaking America.

Certain things” and what you do and don't express gratitude for. So what's the thing? Same with apology. Specifics please? OK also body language. UH-OH. “Was it sincere or not?” NO. INSERT INTERNAL CURSING HERE. BAD. “elementary you're supposed to know these things already”? NO TRY BODY LANGUAGE IS EVIL AND HORRIBLE THAT'S NOT A THING I CAN DO INTENTIONALLY. I'M NOT GOING TO HAVE THE ABILITY TO MAKE IT THROUGH THE DAY IF I SPEND MY ENERGY ON THAT.

I can take notes at least a little bit typing [Yeah you can tell because these are notes] but I can't do it by handwriting really at all.

WOOT words. I like knowing more words. [Wait, people don't usually have words as their big things through the intermediate language level?]

Talking about how each discourse has its rules and which words you use and you stay in that discourse frame. I mean, I'm actually writing for academia about how calls for submissions that claim to be including people outside of academia need to be written in ways that laypeople can understand, which is relevant to that question. [And part of my thing is that dagnabbit my chapter will be accessible.]

Ooh double standards! Professors may toss in a random English word and that's OK but we foreigners aren't supposed to. I can kind of understand it though. It's kind of like if English is your first language you can get away with a lot more messing with syntax than a student of English can.

Yay for taking charge. If I get to be taking charge than I can maybe drag people along the lines I can actually use.

Oh god “didn't communicate the right set of emotions.” Yeah this is actually really triggery.

NOOOOOOO. BAD. Key to executive function? Oh wait that's one of my big issues. Well, at least Kassiane's Autistifying Habitats thing can help me as long as I'm allowed to put stuff on walls. Otherwise... I might be about to be sad.

The small c cultural elements in stuff are important. Even proficient non-native speakers can interpret stuff differently from native speakers because of that.

Ah crud they national security thing does a “putting the pieces together” graphic. Yeah this isn't a day filled with autism-ick images and words coming back in other contexts at allllll /sarcasm

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