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, July 28, 2014

On Knowing

There are parents, apparently, who don't tell their autistic children about the diagnosis because they are afraid their children will be bullied. That's not going to work, and depriving people of useful knowledge about themselves in a failed attempt to protect them from something else is just a really bad idea.

I understand the fear of being bullied. I really do. I was bullied, as a kid. A lot. Not as continuously or as obviously or as physically as, say, Neurodivergent K, but I was bullied. All through third grade, there was a pair of kids who would spend the entirety of chorus meetings using my literalism and dislike for errors against me and then call me ret*rded. They would step on my feet when they had the chance, too.
A teacher actually hit me with a book that year, too, because I was clumsy and hit my head on the slanted ceiling every day.

Everyone made fun of me for my really, really bad hiccups too. They'd insist that my hiccups making my jump was a purposeful thing "for attention" as opposed to something that... well, hiccups still sometimes make me jump. Part of that is my startle reflex, also a target for the bullies, and part of that is that the diaphragm is a strong muscle! Also my medical history does include a rare thing where the other people with it got really bad hiccups. Like, this is not me trying to get attention. There are better methods, like doing algebra at you while being nine. Hiccups just suck.

Here's the thing: this wasn't the result of me knowing I'm autistic. It wasn't the result of my parents knowing I'm autistic. It wasn't the result of my teachers knowing I'm autistic. It wasn't the result of my classmates knowing I'm autistic. I know this for a very simple reason: No one knew I was autistic. No one. Didn't stop the bullies.

Things actually got better once people knew, particularly once I knew but really it was people in general. My classmates this year were supportive and told me things like "My presentation has a video in it, bring headphones to class just in case" ahead of time. My teachers were supportive and told me things like "Email what you wrote to me after class" when speech goes kaput and I start typing instead, but don't actually ask a classmate to read it aloud for me.

Not everyone will be that good (they should be, but they won't) when there is a label. But the fact is, autistic people get bullied in ridiculously high numbers because people can tell we're different and decide that's an acceptable thing to prey on. That happens with or without an official label for the way that we're different. The label and the lack of a label can both be used as excuses for the bullying and the general terribleness, but neither is the actual problem. Telling us that we're autistic isn't going to make the bullying worse. (If our teachers are sufficiently terrible, telling them might make it worse, but telling us? No. That won't make it worse.)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Back, I hope.

So it's been a month. I think that's the longest time I've gone without posting since I made this blog. And this isn't super-duper much of a post, either, really. I made a word of the day for a language exchange I'm in- in the absence of actual Chinese people in the group, I'm the best Chinese speaker/writer they've got for the time being, and that means I'm in the rotation for making words of the day and helping other folks learn.

Which feels weird. But the Chinese government is trying really hard to get more people learning Chinese, and when I meet folks whose first language is Mandarin Chinese and they realize I speak, they tend to be excited (iffy on happening, because I'm not going to go up to someone and randomly start speaking Chinese outside China, but if I hear folks sounding lost and speaking Mandarin, I'll help in Chinese assuming I'm not lost too.)

Anyways, without further ado, here's the word of the day I prepared. Maybe it'll even get me back in the habit of posting here.

Chinese Word of the Day- Day 15.
Image description: The five elements are in a circle, clockwise from the top are wood in blue, fire in red, earth in yellow, metal in white, and water in black. Each element has a relationship arrow pointing towards the next element clockwise and the second element clockwise, which isn't labeled in the picture. The one position clockwise relationship is a creation relation, while two positions is a destruction one, eg, water quenches fire.

Chinese- 五 (wǔ)
English- Five

The exact origins of this character aren't entirely certain: some scholars wonder if it may have originated as horizontal bars and then changed over time much as other characters did, while others think it began as two horizontal bars with an X between them. (Considering how long it was before characters were standardized, they may both be correct.)

五, sometimes written as 伍 in more formal contexts, such as on the 5-dime (五毛 wǔ máo) coin, is a culturally relevant number, as there were traditionally five elements: wood (木 mù), fire (火 huǒ), earth (土 tǔ), metal (金 jīn), and water (水 shuǐ).

When tallying to five (五, wǔ) Chinese people typically use the character 正 (zhèng.)

五块 - wǔ kuài, five bucks, five dollars. It's less formal than 五元 - wǔ yuán, which has the same essential meaning.
五毛 - wǔmáo, five dimes, fifty cents.
五分钟 - wǔ fēnzhōng, five minutes
五行 - wŭ xíng, the Five Elements
你家有几个人? Nǐ jiā yǒu jǐ gèrén? How many people are in your family?
我家有五个人。Wǒjiā yǒu wǔ gèrén. My family has five people.