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, July 22, 2016

Dear Neurotypicals: What if you use your words?

If we don't use our words, we won't be indistinguishable. (What's wrong with saying, "use your words"? Many, many things, including the part where it's ignoring communication that you actually did understand because you didn't like how it was phrased. Thanks, Neurodivergent K.)

But it's not just about words, is it? Once we're using words, you want them to be the "nice," polite words that don't challenge your ideas of how the world works. You want them to be your words, not our words. You want them to be in the right tone, which is, again, polite, and definitely not angry or demanding. (Why is it only called demanding when we're demanding to be treated as human, not when you're demanding we do things like make eye contact or stop flapping?) 

And then you want us to understand all sorts of things from your communication that weren't actually conveyed in words. So how about this: USE YOUR WORDS. Not your tone, not your social codes about connotations and extra layers, not your body language. If we don't get to use ours (the different ways of flapping mean things, didn't you know) because you won't understand, or you'll pretend not to, because you want us to use our words, then guess what? You can use your words. 

Your tone of voice is not inherently easier to read than mine. Your body language, with shifts in how you stand, is not inherently easier to read than my flapping. Your facial expressions are not inherently easier to read than mine. Your layers and layers of meaning behind your words conveyed in all those things are not inherently easier to understand than my flapping and grunting, and in fact they are a heck of a lot more complicated than my statements that mean exactly the words I said. 

And yet. You get to tell us to use our words, and this is somehow completely sensible. It doesn't matter that we've got a disability that literally makes it harder for us to use our words. We have to use them anyways, and it's not even our words we're really supposed to be using. We, on the other hand, don't get to give you the same demand: most of you all don't have any disabilities that make language use harder, and those of you who are demanding we use are words are usually doing so in a language you're fluent in too. That doesn't matter. Some huge percentage of your communication is happening through not the words, so have you considered using your words? 


  1. Hello, oddly I was much thinking about this on the way home from the post office today. There was plenty of reason for me to be thinking about this. When dealing with a system which is *supposed* to be helping me deal with my disability issues, it seems reasonable to say something like "I have communications issues," as a start to actually getting those addressed. When I say "your communication involves this behaviour which is making it impossible for me to understand you," should either get me transferred to someone capable of refraining from it, or their modifying their behaviour. I am *not* saying that they need to modify their behaviour 100%. All I am saying is that, "if you want me to understand me, please do not do this thing which turns your language into gobbledygook, or provide me with someone who can communicate in a way which actually facilitates communication."

    I know that people will say "but you're not trying hard enough." The question I have there is "are you actually trying to accommodate me at all?" the main reason is, because this whole conversation involves great effort on my part to accommodate those people who I am having such issues communicating with.

  2. Wonderful... Eye opening for NTS. Thank you for sharing your point of view!!


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