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, October 2, 2015


Apparently my presentation at Autcom is the part that I'm able to write about. For the ways things were done wrong (and were they ever done very, very wrong) you can read Neurodivergent K's post, Turtle is a Verb's post, Mitchell's post on a blog I think he might have created just to be able to write this mess up, Beth Ryan's post, Expectedly's post, or the ASAN New York statement.

Let's just say that Neurodivergent K was my roommate and one of my co-presenters, and that Beth Ryan was our other co-presenter. And by "our other co-presenter" I might mean the one who got the panel organized? I'm not sure beyond "it wasn't me."

Because of what happened the Friday afternoon and early Saturday morning of the conference (see the posts I linked at the start,) my ability to speak was cutting in and out most of Saturday morning. I know from experience as a math teacher at my university that so long as I have speech when I go "onstage," I will retain speech until I go "offstage." I put the onstage/offstage in quotes because it's not exactly about a stage, at least not a literal one, though it is about a sort of performance.

However, what I did not know was what would happen if speech was already gone when I went "onstage." Since I put in some effort towards making sure speech is still around when I start teaching math classes at my university, and since that effort had always worked (it's not that hard to avoid things that'd cause speech to go kaput on me for the first 3 hours of the day when I have a single room and am just working on lesson plans and/or grading,) I had no reason to know.

Now I know. Thanks Autcom. (That's sarcasm, by the way. I am not actually grateful for this knowledge.)

If speech is already gone when I go "onstage," it doesn't necessarily come back. It didn't for my presentation.

I had brought my laptop with me for the slides, so I'd already been planning to hook my laptop up to the projector. This was good, since I was then able to open up Open Office on my laptop, make the font bigger, and present by typing into a text document. I switched the screen back and forth between the text document I used to write to the audience and the slides my co-presenters and I were using, as relevant. If I had something to say, I had the document up, and if my co-presenters were talking about something to match a slide, I had the slides up.

Before presenting, but after I had hooked up the laptop, I was working on a piece for The Autistic Exchange, which is a fanfiction exchange by and for Autistic people. I won't claim it was my best work, but the people who were in the audience waiting for my panel got a bit of a preview. If you want to read it, the authors for the collection have been revealed so I can tell you which one it was. Here it is!

The presentation went well, and we tied some examples from the Autcom mess into what we were talking about on the panel, which was how partnerships between parents of autistic people (who may be autistic themselves) and autistic adults (who may also be parents) can work. The Autcom examples were not the positive ones.

I also cracked jokes while presenting. I told people about how I got a teacher to tell me to "be quiet!" when I wasn't actually able to talk. Without context, this seems like it'd likely be bad, but with context, I was amused and I think the teacher was too, considering that he was laughing while telling me to be quiet. I was correcting every single board typo and that the teacher would have been treating my writing to communicate differently from other student's speech had he not told me to shush. He was just imprecise with his terminology, in a math class where he talks about how important precision is. Therefore, I found him telling me to be quiet most amusing.

Post panel, Neurodivergent K and I were kind of cornered together by this Sandi person. I wound up typing to her about stuff that would have been an OK conversation if it weren't for the part that she was totally trying to pretend everything was cool without actually doing things to fix the things. That made it a very stressful conversation instead.

After the panel and cornering were both over, I found out that I "inspired" someone. Before you do the spit-take and wonder who is about to get verbally eviscerated, the answer is no-one. This was one of the few examples of "inspired" where I totally agree with the word choice. I apparently inspired another Autistic adult who would benefit from using augmentative and alternative communication part time to do so, and more openly. I'm cool with serving as that sort of inspiration.

1 comment:

  1. I know how stressful the situation must have been by having to go to your AAC to use. AAC is very useful especially during stressful times. As an Autistic myself as I have been realizing this for the past few months or so. Thank you for being you and I really appreciate everything you do.

    Thank you!


I reserve the right to delete comments for personal attacks, derailing, dangerous comparisons, bigotry, and generally not wanting my blog to be a platform for certain things.