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, June 17, 2016

Alyssa Reads Uniquely Human: Part 12

Still reading Uniquely Human. The most recent post in the series is here, and I start here.

I'm glad Dr. Prizant points out that there isn't some single professional or plan or anything that will have all the answers, that there isn't something out there that will magically make an autistic person "normal." Also the nod to questioning the disirability of "recovery" from autism is nice. (I litearally wrote a piece for publication about throwing myself repeatedly into a wall hard enough to shake the stage as an act of protest against that sort of optimal outcome nonsense. That's not out yet, but I blogged a questioning of optimal outcomes too.)

I'm also super glad he's pointing out that lots of adults really resent the idea/emphasis on recovery, though I will point out that this is one of the times where "with autism" is really not cool. The adults who are "viewing autism as an inseparable, integral part of who [we] are" (210) 1) tend to be the same ones who at least accept being called autistic and 2) overlap really heavily with the ones who go "Uh, no, I do not have autism." This is the place to at least move to "on the spectrum" as middle-euphemism if you can't cope with "autistic adult," but realize that we know it's still a euphemism.

Also good pointing out that it's super unethical to present this "recovery" thing as likely when research (even medical model pathology research that seems to think replacing autism with anxiety and depression counts as recovery!) shows that it's really, really not.

The emphasis on parents stress and parents priorities does concern me. (To be fair, the entire way people tend to treat children, disabled or not, as extensions of what their parents want concerns me. It's even more obvious with disabled kids and when goals are being explicitly defined by parents and professionals and not-the-kid as in IEP meetings, though.)

Good point re: human development being a lifelong process, as in, it doesn't end. We're not stagnant. I also like the reference to communicating with a tablet computer for a person who doesn't speak. (What about folks who can speak but speech doesn't do everything we might want it to do? I'm a part time AAC user.)

I don't get why happiness and sense of self vs. academic success are being portrayed as (even vaguely) opposed to each other. Not only does he go on to point out that folks learn better when happy (aka that these are complimentary goals anyways,) but plenty of folks will have their happiness suffer if they are excluded from academics or other activities "for their own good." That is, the problem he's pointing out isn't entirely about one vs. the other. It's also about trying to push for academic success and doing it badly, in counterproductive ways, because we think of the two as being separate.

I like the given day-to-day, smaller seeming examples of self-determination getting acted out. I'd like to see some examples of "bigger" stuff too, of us getting to determine what the goals even are (especially since we do have an adult making a decision in one example!) On the whole I liked this chapter better than most of the prior ones, though I'm going to echo some issues with the idea of empowerment: it assumes we are not already powerful, that we only have power when someone is kind enough to give it to us. (Beware the Choice! Beware refusing it!)

Part 13 here!


  1. That is a nod - or a nudge - that lots of people need. Recovery - desirable? And desirability seems to be the thing that is thought least about because it is so very difficult to estimate long term and on behalf of a future self.

    Glad you pointed out learning and happiness go together. And the consequences of pushing or restricting. That approach seems to be more of a behavioural addiction or an eating disorder - if it is good and easy to point out the extremes here I will do so.

    Sense of self seems to be the joker in the pack in this instance. It is spooking Prizant and the parents and families who are his primary audience.

    I would love to see bigger stuff. Chantal Sicile-Kira's book about Autism Life Skills has a lot of this.

    Can't wait to see your counter-optimal outcomes publication. Is it free or open source?

  2. Hi there! I'm Andrew Pulrang and I run the Disability Blogger Linkup. Could you please email me because I have a question about your posts to the Linkup and I'm not sure how else to contact you. Thanks! My email is:

    1. Hello Andrew:

      I'm open - if it's me you're talking to.

      [I was the one who posted the UNIQUELY HUMAN series to the LinkUp this 18 June].

      Will e-mail you.

      [I did try to e-mail you this past March about the #CriptheVote survey on the 16th March].


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