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, April 11, 2014

Tools and Jobs

So as an engineer, I know that different tools are good for different jobs. MATLAB is great for running calculations and making graphs. I'm not about to typeset a paper in it, not sure if that's even a thing it does. LaTeX is great for typesetting though, because it's a markup language. And if I want to design a new part? Yes, I can run calculations related to it in MATLAB, but I'm making my blueprints in a different program (there are several good options for this.) So different tools for different jobs.

I know it as an artist too- if I only need a given stamp once and then never again, a potato stamp is quicker to make and will do the job, but if I'll want it repeatedly, I should make it out of something that, you know, doesn't rot. Linoleum blocks are my material of choice for that.

This applies with activism stuff too. Not gonna lie: a lot of systems in the USA are really broken. Education of disabled students is a mess, mathematics education is a mess, colleges are a mess in terms of actually paying their faculty and in terms of students being able to afford to go, jobs are a mess in a bunch of ways, housing is a mess in a bunch of ways, a lot of things are just an utter mess.

I kind of divide the fixing it stuff in my head into a few categories: Completely overhauling a system is one thing. Trying to make a current system slightly less broken/make changes within the system is another thing. Trying to help the people who've been messed up by the current system is a third.

I actually think that all three can (and often should!) be going on at the same time for messed up systems. If it's broken beyond fixing, or if the problems are with the core ideas of the system, you need the complete overhaul. BUT complete overhauls take time. So another group might be trying to chip away at the current one because that's possibly going to get at least some progress sooner. Yet another might be providing services to folks who've been messed up by the current system.

Within all these categories, there's also the question of how the group is going to work. Do they work on policies going through "proper" channels or do they go outside the people in charge but still semi-within the rules or do they actively break the rules of the system?

ASAN (Autistic Self Advocacy Network) is pretty firmly a user of proper channels. ADAPT is pretty firmly willing to break the rules, what with occupying places. They win different kinds of victories. ASAN is more likely to tell you what accommodations you can expect and what to do within the system if those accommodations are refused. ASAN helps folks who aren't in a position to break the rules. [Remember: ADAPT folks often get arrested, which makes survival way harder, and not everyone is in a position where they can do that and not die.]

ADAPT is the one that did the protests and got the ADA signed, got Section 504 signed.

Autism Network International (ANI) never really lobbied, but they also didn't do things that got them arrested. They're not specifically working from within, but they also don't go out and break stuff. They did community stuff.

If I'm looking for advice on what to put in an IEP (taking kids out of school isn't always feasible,) I'd probably go to ASAN, ANI, AWN (Autism Women's Network), one of the groups that isn't out getting arrested.
If I need to get school to actually do what they're legally required to do, ASAN does have decent advice on that.
If I'm looking for a lawyer because someone got arrested at a protest, I'd probably go to ADAPT.
If I'm looking for a lawyer because I need to file an ADA lawsuit, I'm probably back to ASAN asking if they know anyone.
If I'm looking for advice on helping an Autistic kid learn a skill while respecting their autonomy, I'm looking at AWN and Parenting Autistic Children With Love and Acceptance.
If I'm looking for a social media crisis, I'm probably asking all those groups to signal boost, plus my friends. The Parenting page and AWN are the groups I think would be more likely to do it, and a lot of my friends have shown that they will.

It's really a case of different tools for different jobs. The systems need changed, and someone has to keep people above water during the changes. That's generally going to be different groups, with potentially some overlap between them. 


  1. I really find a nice post! I positively see your helping information about Tools and Jobs. Now I am a regular visitor of this site. Thanks. special education strategies If you want to ensure your child future for better educational life. We are provide special education that gives you knowledge and power to make right decision in the best interest of your child life from step by step guidelines within of our system.

  2. Upon reaching the first two of your few categories, "completely overhauling a system" and "trying to make a current system slightly less broken," my first thought was "dual power strategy." Upon finding out you have a third, it seems a new paradigm is born, which can be called "triple power."


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