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

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

神经多样性及跨文化交际 (Neurodiversity and Cross-Cultural Communication)

Written in April 2014 and then not published because ??? I think I wanted to work on this more but it's been sitting so here it is.

So I found out that on Wednesday a professor from Beijing's Foreign Language University is coming to talk to us about cross-cultural communication. And I just finished reading Thomas Orwen's thesis which suggests cross-cultural communication as a good approach for interactions between autistic people and allistic people (non-autistic people, though he uses "neurotypicals" for this meaning.) So I wrote a thing. Poke me and maybe I'll even remember to translate it into English.

人们一听到跨文化交际就会想到不同民族的跨文化交际,而不是只有民族才有文化区别。残疾人有残疾人文化()。个别残疾也会有自己的文化,即聋文化(; Ladd),盲文化(French),聋盲文化(Saeed et al,及自闭症者文化(Davidson; RobertsonNe'eman)。每一种残疾人文化都有自己的特点:聋哑人有自己的语言,从语言对思想的深刻影响可以意识到手语在聋哑人文化的核心性。盲目人在沟通中注重非可视的信息。聋盲文化把聋文化及盲文化的一些特点混在一起,也有自己的特色。

自闭症者文化呢?自闭症者使用语言的方式跟神经正常的人使用语言的方式有区。我们的感觉统合及风格也跟神经正常的人有区别(Baggs)。这样的特征感知也不是自闭症者特有的区别:自闭症成年人提出的神经多样性(Singer)表明:公众对世界、自己的环境的感知不同,学习风格(思想风格)有很多种()。自闭症者之间的沟通及特有的神经共同当自闭症者文化的来源,从文化的来源可以开始理解文化的特征(奚)。具体地谈,自闭症者的文化比神经正常支配性社会愿意接受重复行为,即扑棱手;也更愿意接受沟通的不同方式,即打字、选图片、和打说手语。而且,自闭症文化更注重认知通达性,为了提高通达性愿意把要求介绍的过具体和少用比喻或者介绍所有用上的比喻。面对面交流的时候,自闭症者注意:如果认识一个人,千万不应该把“肢体语言”的信息放在话的上面。这样的思路跟神经正常社会的思路差不多是反响的:人们说自己从别人的肢体语言意识到了谎话是平常发现的情况,而自闭症者没有说谎话的时候容易被这样认为。另外,在自闭症者文化里,话不一定有别的意思:“我现在不想跟你说话”没有“我不喜欢你”的意思。我们明白:对自闭症者来说,交流需要华很多能力,有时候不想跟别人说话。用目光接触没有的问题也不表明尊重情况:只有必着别人用目光接触才算是不尊重别人(Orwen; Davidson; RobertsonNe'eman)


奚从清, 林清和, 沈赓方.残疾人社会学. 华夏出版社, 1993.
沈玉林. "论聋文化与聋教育."现代特殊教育1 (2002): 1-9.
胡壮麟. "从多元符号学到多元智能." 外语与翻译 14.4 (2008): 1-8.
Davidson, Joyce. "Autistic culture online: virtual communication and cultural expression on the spectrum." Social & Cultural Geography 9.7 (2008): 791-806.
French, Sally. "The wind gets in my way." Disability discourse (1999): 21-27.
Ladd, Paddy. Understanding deaf culture: In search of deafhood. Multilingual Matters, 2003.
Orwen, Thomas. "Autreat and Autscape: Informing and Challenging the Neurotypical Will and Ability to Include." Thesis. Bergen University College, 2013.
Robertson, Scott M.,Ari D. Ne'eman. "Autistic Acceptance, the College Campus, and Technology: Growth of Neurodiversity in Society and Academia."Disability Studies Quarterly 28.4 (2008).
Saeed, Shakeel R., Richard T. Ramsden, and Patrick R. Axon. "Cochlear implantation in the deaf-blind." Otology & Neurotology 19.6 (1998): 774-777.
Singer, Judy. Odd People In: The Birth of Community Amongst People On the "Autism Spectrum" Diss. University of Technology, 1998.



Monday, May 30, 2016

Representation, Freedom of Speech, and Patterns

Warning: suicide (mostly in fiction but with discussion of real life effects)

The example of the moment is Me Before You. It's yet another example of a movie where the disabled person is cured, dies, or is sent away (often institutionalized, see Rain Man) and this is part of a "happy" ending. In this case, we've got suicide because the quadriplegic guy doesn't want to be a burden on his girlfriend, and this is noble of him somehow.

(Seriously why is it noble for a disabled person to kill themself, but nondisabled people have so much to live for?)

I say example of the moment because there are a lot of movies where the disabled person dies and this is apparently a good thing, because they aren't suffering anymore. And the people around them? Despite any insistence they may have given at the time that the disabled person wasn't a burden... they are now free to do all kinds of things they would never have done before and apparently the person totally is being shown as having been a burden.

As in, story arcs of this type are a pattern.

When we point this out, we get told how this is "just a movie." (False, by the way: it's one movie in a pattern of fiction killing off its disabled characters. Not isolated.) We get told that the directors are free to make movies about whatever they want. (True. By the same token, we're free to tell the world that this type of arc is overdone, and that it reveals some problems when suicide is a happy ending...)

These are also patterns.

The free speech pattern applies to a whole lot of things. A person says something that is punching down. It gets pointed out. "But freedom of speech!" Yes. Freedom of speech. As Randall Munroe shared (but did not come up with -- he's not sure who did,) citing free speech is conceding that your best defense of what you just said is that it's not literally illegal to say it. Plus freedom of speech also means we can share our opinion that your speech was pretty bad.

People generally don't like having it pointed out that criticism is an expression of free speech. Again, patterns.

And here's the thing: the prevalence of fictional arcs of this type, where the disabled character dies (and ones where the character is cured, and the ones where the character is sent away) are super common. If disabled activists were actually censoring this sort of story, don't you think there'd be fewer of them around?

And yes, folks responding to "so this really common trope is pretty terrible" with cries of censorship, even though the prevalence of the trope suggests that it is clearly not being censored, is also a pattern.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Between the Lines/Communication Theory and Practice

I think it's fairly common that people read "between the lines" as part of communication. Understanding that this is a thing which happens is definitely part of my skill set. Knowing what information people are pulling from words left unsaid . . .  not so much.

(Similarly, I don't usually get what folks are hoping I'll understand from between their lines.)

I'm not always sure how to handle this, because there are a few dimensions to this problem.

Piece the first: My communication style generally involves giving lots of information. If I know that a thing I want to do (even, and perhaps especially, if I'm excited about the thing, because then I'll have thought about it more) has some tricky bits, and you ask me about the thing, I am going to tell you lots. This includes telling you where I think the tricky bits are going to be. This does not mean I don't want to do the thing.

This is one of my communication quirks where I have some idea who is going to be confused, and how they are going to be confused: anyone from a culture where pointing out how something is "inconvenient" or similar is an (unspoken) no is going to think I'm saying no, I don't want to do the thing, when actually I'm probably working through how to do the thing. (Yes, this caused a lot of problems when I was in China.)

Dealing with the mismatch is a bit trickier than understanding it exists, though. I can give overall less information under some circumstances, but it's not going to work when I'm looking for advice (because then whoever I'm asking needs to have enough information to give helpful advice), when I'm tired (because then I tend to revert to my natural communication patterns), or when it's literally my job to provide information. Other people can learn how my communication actually works, but this is really only practical for people who interact with me frequently. (Ex: Most of the professors I've had for smaller classes have a good idea how my communication works, as do my teammates for frisbee an most of my classmates. However, the other instructors for the class I taught this semester, who I really only interacted with at instructors meetings, don't.)

Piece the second: Silence, or not responding, is taken as having meaning in face-to-face conversations, generally beyond "I'm still thinking about what you just said" or "I'm not actually capable of speech right now." What extra meanings there are depends a bit on the context, but even among people who know my ability to speak can give out, very few will guess that as a reason for silence. (One professor who I've had for five classes does. I think he's it, though.)

I'm not entirely sure how to deal with this one, either. The ways people react to me definitely change with the order that they get information in: as far as being considered competent goes, it's in my best interest to keep the fact that I lose speech sometimes private until it's relevant (meaning until speech actually gives out on me.) I don't always do that, because that's not my only concern and because there are other ways I can signal competence (plus when you're a graduate student it tends to be assumed.) So I can tell people that speech giving out is a thing that happens, and that it's not a big deal, and that if I'm not answering them verbally that's quite possibly what's going on. There are some risks involved in doing so, but I can do it. That doesn't mean it avoids the communication issues: plenty of people know I can't always speak. Most of them still attach the context-typical meanings to my silence, which means my disclosure isn't very effective.

Those are the pieces that are at the tips of my fingers right now, but there's definitely more. I still remember (and laugh about) the time that a friend of mine took "I'd love to but I'm not sure I can because I've got a presentation that afternoon" to mean "I don't want to join you for lunch [that afternoon when you're on campus]" and was therefore really confused when 1) the presentation got cancelled and 2) I still wanted to join him for lunch. Oops.