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

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Down Wit Dat's T-21 Blog Hop: December

Wooo blog hops! I should maybe make a blog hop tag. *makes tag.* Now I need to write something don't I?

I crashed pretty hard after my class trip to Jingdezhen (景德镇) back in November. I've been pretty iffy on writing since. I haven't done much of any leadership type stuff or even fully knowing what's going on in advocacy stuff since. I've been aware enough of Boycott Autism Speaks to signal boost them some, at least.

But you know what? It's OK that I can't always do more than just manage my own existence. It really is. Also, at the moment, I'm in a position where just being there and existing and making it to class every day... apparently does have some potentially important activist effect. The university that I'm at in China has apparently been worried about having an autistic student studying abroad at their school for the entire time I've been around. OK, make that ever since I disclosed, which was sometime over the summer. 

Right now, my advocacy is being the autistic student who goes out and is a student and makes at least some of the administrators and teachers think. My advocacy is being there and being visible and saying "Yes, an autistic student can go to college. Yes, an autistic student can study abroad. Yes, an autistic student can reach a high enough level of Chinese proficiency to take major classes conducted in Chinese. Yes, an autistic student can do all of these things, albeit not in the exact same way, still needing supports, still looking rather clearly different." And no, not every autistic student will follow in my exact path. Most won't. [Neither will most neurotypical students, let's be honest here, if you don't live in a multilingual household or in a household where the dominant language isn't the same as the one used in school getting that kind of proficiency in a second language is hard.]

It's still important to open those paths. It's important to make "college" and "study abroad" and "education while still acting obviously autistic" things that people think of as possibilities. I didn't go into the year intending to prove stuff to Tianjin. I figured I'd be spending some amount of time reminding the USA program people that yes, the ADA exists, not that they'd be proactively protecting me from Tianjin so I get the chance to prove competence to them. I might actually be the first openly autistic student this school has had. I'm not 100% sure, but given a lot of the reactions and questions I'm hearing about... it really sounds like I might be. 

So advocacy: Someone has to be that first person to openly go out and say "I'm Autistic and doing the thing." Or "I use a wheelchair and I'm doing the thing." Or "I have Down's and I'm doing the thing." It looks like I may have (predominantly unwittingly) wound up being that person for the university where I'm studying abroad. And I'm kind of being a Lady Knight Keladry about it. This is already interesting and I'm sure it will get more so.

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Some Things

(Some cheese, one pound, I'll get the knife, this bread, it's stale, madam's mistaken THERE MUST BE MORE THAN THIS PROVINCIAL LIFE! Hi I like musicals and I was in a production of Beauty and the Beast in 8th grade so that's a thing.)


There's a fairly small number of hours left to vote on Project for Awesome. There was a video made for ASAN, and you can vote here. You don't need to register or anything, just click the link and click vote. It's that simple. Voting closes at 12pm Eastern Standard, 9am Pacific Standard December 19 2013, 1am on the 20th China time. If that time hasn't come yet when you're reading this, please go vote. This is actually kind of a big deal, especially for an organization like ASAN- they run on a pretty low budget. I actually looked at the numbers when I was comparing their financial situation to that of Autism Speaks- I think ASAN was working with under 1% of the funds Autism Speaks worked with, something like that. Anyways, the money would make a big difference to ASAN, and ASAN does good things, so you should please go vote.

Below you can watch the video you're voting for :) If anyone knows about a transcript, please let me know because that is a thing which should exist.

Now that that's taken care of:

I swear, We Are Like Your Child isn't completely kaput. There will be a new post up on it for Saturday, sticking a submission up. We still exist.

Tomorrow is a virtual march type thing for Boycott Autism Speaks. That's another cool thing going on.

Finals are starting to happen and I've got to get ready to present on quantum dot sensitized solar cells on Tuesday. Also write a 2000 character paper on them. I say character because this is happening in Chinese. Yup. Sciencing in Chinese, that's cool. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

A question and a twitter event

Reminder that today is the twitter-bomb, go tweet and retweet about boycotting Autism Speaks stuff! If you're not sure why we're boycotting Autism Speaks, well, I've got a tag called Problem With Autism Speaks and the boycott has a website. Feel free to read up. Why now is that Autism Speaks recently made an editorial that led to a bunch of parents who used to defend them and a bunch of organizations deciding enough was enough and realizing just how awful Autism Speaks really is.

An anonymous commenter asked me a question over on my This is Autism post.. It's a good question. My reply was long for a comment (I still answered in the comments) and I've been in a total writing-slump (note the lack of updates) so now it's a post too.
Here's the question.
Alyssa, I'm just wondering if there are any non-profit or government based agencies in China that resembles agencies such as the "Regional Center" in the U.S. I understand the social welfare in China is still developing. I also want to find out if China has laws and regulations enforcing equal treatment of autistic students in classrooms. Are there laws that mandates the enrollment of autistic students?

Hi Anon!
I don't know as much as I'd like to about autism-specific stuff. I know that for disability in general, there's the 中国残疾人联合会 (Chinese Disabled Persons Federation is the English translation) and that disability doesn't exclude you from being required to go to school for the same years as everyone else.
Unfortunately, that doesn't always mean people actually go to school. There've been reports of autistic kids getting kicked out of mainstream classes and such, and there's definitely a sense that having an autistic student in the class will hurt the education of the other kids, meaning there have also been parents trying to get their kids autistic classmates kicked out.
There are also special private schools for autistic kids, which are super-expensive (and seem to be taking their advice from Autism Speaks, so that's a bad sign). The government has special schools for disabled students as well (not sure what the stats are for how many disabled kids are in regular classes and how many are at these schools or how it varies by disability type,) but these are apparently not that well suited for autistic needs.
Since autism is recognized as a disability, anything that applies to disability in general will apply to autism. As far as I know, there aren't any laws specifically about autism, but the disability laws are actually pretty good. [China was one of the first countries to ratify the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, and 残疾人权 (disabled person rights) is a specialization you can apparently go into here as a lawyer.] It's enforcement that has issues. [You know, like folks in the USA violate the ADA left right and center?]