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

Friday, February 21, 2014

If checking for boundary violations is crass...

I'll stay crass then.

Yes, this happened, pretty recently actually. I've been in groups that are supposed to be autistic-only before, and I'm well aware that parents will come in, feeling entitled to autistic space because they have an autistic kid. They also tend not to get that autistic adults exist and make our own spaces sometimes.

So there was someone (no names of people, no names of the group in question, etc but there was someone) who posted a pretty typical parent question about their kid, who's actually a legal adult himself. (Why parent is here and kid is not, when kid's in the typical Facebook generation and parent isn't, I am not sure.) Since every reaction of this person down the whole thread was very typical entitled paaaarent, I asked if they were themselves autistic.

No answer, but another group member told me it was a crass question. Which, um. The group description specifically says that members should be on the spectrum (not everyone there has the same language preferences.) In the ideal world, that means only autistic people would try to join. That's great. Problem is, we don't live in the ideal world, and for reasons that probably have a decent bit to do with the politics of parent-run groups and with the privileges abled parents get over disabled people, parents are constantly trying to join this sort of group. That's not unique to autistic-run groups, by the way.

At this point, I'm trying to check if this person who's acting like an entitled parent actually is one (or if they're just kind of a jerk, which is annoying but not a violation of the group boundaries.) If checking to see if a boundary is actually being violated is a crass thing to do, I'd like to know what the proper thing is.

Is it to check in a more indirect way? I don't actually know how to do that. Is it to give benefit of the doubt? We'll be overrun with parents pretty quickly that way, let's be realistic about the world we actually live in here. That looks a lot like "not defending boundaries." I really do think that "defending boundaries" is the thing that's being thought of as crass here, so can we think about what it means to declare it crass for a person to defend their boundaries? 


  1. I think it's totally valid to ask someone if they have firsthand experience of the thing they're discussing. If nothing else, it's easier to communicate with someone if you've got some idea of their background and their actual interest in the discussion.

    I think checking is better than either of the other options - say nothing and let the discussion get derailed, or assume they're not and ban/block/ignore/snark without checking. (I saw that a few times when I hung out on Tumblr - people would see a parent or sibling posting in the #actuallyautistic tag, assume they were NT and tell them off, and it'd turn out to be someone who was both Autistic AND a parent/sibling of another Autistic person.)

    1. Yep, I'm in that category, both autistic myself, and a parent of two aspie kids (one with a DX, the other suspected). The struggles of both roles are real but quite different. Those of us in both roles totally get both sets of struggles, but those who are NT will never fully grok being autistic.

      I think asking politely is totally appropriate. Asking impolitely, with hostility, is not. As with all boundary setting, there's a healthy way to do it and an unhealthy way. I'd hate to be in this intersectional group and get flamed for mentioning one of my kids. Ouch!

  2. What did the group member (the one who said your question was crass) suggest you do instead?

  3. I think your question is valid and appropriate and indicated. Boundaries are appropriate and needed. I admire and respect your goals and actions.


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