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

Thursday, August 25, 2016

#Pokémon Go and #Autism

Like most games that get super popular, Pokémon Go has a lot of autistic people interested and playing. We play games, you know. And enjoy having fun.

Like most activities that have autistic participants, Pokémon is getting attention from autism "experts" and professionals. They want to know why we play (uh, it's fun... why do neurotypical people play?) They want to know what it "helps with", since apparently everything autistic people do (everything we're allowed to do by our all-knowing and compassionate caretakers?) must "help with" (reduce) some aspect of our autism.

I am, of course, less than thrilled about the assumptions involved here. There are plenty of things I do for reasons that differ from why neurotypical people do them, but that's not so much in the area of games. It's more in the area of "I said words because I meant those words, but apparently neurotypical people say those words as code for something else and what do I do if what I actually mean is those words, why do you neurotypical folk need to ruin useful statements with your codes???"

So, why do I play Pokémon Go?

Well, it's fun.

Also, it gets neurotypical people socializing in more autistic ways, which makes it a heck of a lot easier for me to understand them and interact with them. Let's turn the usual social skills paradigm where we assume it's the autistic person socializing "wrong" on its head and make a super popular game that encourages people to socialize autistically, thanks.

Here's what I mean when I say that it encourages autistic socialization:

  1. This isn't random small talk. "Hi, there's an Eevee over here!" makes a perfectly acceptable introduction to a fellow Pokémon Go player. Or when you meet one at a gym, "What team?" Straight to the point.
    1. It's centered around a single shared interest. That interest is Pokémon (Go).
  2. Eye contact is not an expected thing on any side. This is centered around a game played on our phones or tablets, so it's completely expected and accepted that we are looking at our phones or tablets, not at the people we're talking too. Great!
  3. Pokémon was created by an autistic guy. He likes bugs. Why did you think "bug" was a type in Pokémon?
So let's turn that question around: Why do neurotypical people play Pokémon Go? What does it help them with? I welcome input from parents, professionals, and of course, those with neurotypicality themselves. But only when they are self-narrating zoo exhibits. I don't really think those with neurotypicality can speak to the general neurotypical experience :p

(And yes, that's what you sound like when you add a note about autistic contributors at the end of your calls for contributions.)


  1. Then again, perhaps it really is a good thing that neurotypicals might socialize more autistically as a result of Pokémin Go. Not because neurotypical socialization is bad, but because it might make it easier for neurotypicals to understand why autistics socialize the way they do; you can explain that for us, socializing with or without smartphone games is similar to the way they socialize via Pokémon Go; after all, how many autistics will stop in the middle of the sidewalk because they saw an interesting detail out of the corner of their eye? In a way, looking for Pokémon does the same kind of thing to neurotypicals; it doesn't make them autistic, but it does encourage them to view the world in a way similar to what autistics have been doing for millennia, possibly longer.

    1. I'm definitely in favor, it's one of the few times I interact with neurotypical folks where everyone is making sense to each other.
      I'm still gonna turn the questions around when they need turning around, though. And here they totally do ;)

    2. I get it. I know that this post was satire, but I also see a ring of truth to it. And I definitely appreciate seeing the questions turned around. I just wish that neurotypicals really made an effort to really think about how it would feel if they were talked about the way people talked about autistics. Then maybe they'd begin to understand why we are so easily gaslit (I mean, come on, the way autism is often described, even and perhaps especially in generally trusted sources, is gaslighty as hell when it is applied to your own identity) and why many of us hate ourselves and have low self-esteem. And that's before you factor in things like ABA therapy, Autism Speaks, and cure rhetoric.


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