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, March 31, 2014

Flapping and Spinning: Not Your Code

Apparently some folks are now using flapping and spinning as their code for... I guess for obviously autistic-acting which is then code for severe? And yes, flapping and spinning are kind of obvious, easy to see autistic things to be doing (though non-autistic people will sometimes do the same, I've seen this.)

But it is absolutely not your code for "more severe than thou." Stop that.

First off, flapping is part of how a lot of us naturally move. Considering that "seem less severe" is a pretty common goal for parents and educators (not a goal I'm a fan of for multiple reasons, but not really the point because it is a common goal) making natural movement one of the things to get rid of is the next logical step. That's really not going to go well. Julia Bascom's Quiet Hands makes a really good reminder of this. (Huge trigger warning on that post, btw.)

Remember: energy and attention are limited. This is true of everyone. Energy spent on changing how we naturally move (Stop flapping! Stop spinning! Don't play with your hair! Stop rocking! Sit still!) is energy that we can't spend on something else. Maybe the something else is paying attention to whatever we're supposed to be learning. That's pretty counterproductive, making us look like we're paying attention and then we can't actually pay attention so we don't get the lesson. Maybe the something else is saving the upcoming meltdown until we're alone and won't get punished for it. (Yes, this is a thing. A lot of us do learn to delay meltdowns a bit, at least some of the time, though the cost is generally high. For me, I'll often be shut down for hours longer if I try to delay, but since someone getting in my face while I'm melting down will do the same thing and maybe be even worse...)

So here's a reality check: For a lot of us, flapping, spinning, rocking, and other visible stimming? That's how we're able to do the other stuff we do.

Another reality check: How much a person visibly stims isn't actually negatively correlated with other skills.

And the final reality check: Deciding to act like their is a correlation and a causation? Acting on that decision will have a negative effect on other skills.

Face it: It's not the flapping or the rocking or the spinning that's a sign there will be issues. It's the decision by parents and teachers and other authority figures that those things need to be stopped. Get your codes right (or just stop making things code for concepts that don't make sense. That's a better idea.)

1 comment:

  1. yea, these are not damage gauges....Now I tell people: trying to make those "behaviors" stop will have a butterfly affect later elsewhere, and it will be bad. Better to just not be around me if I bother you so very much. Or learn to be kinder.


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