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: Hillary, Alyssa. "Post Title." Yes, That Too. Day Month Year of post. Web. Day Month Year of retrieval.

APA: Hillary, A. (Year Month Day of post.) Post Title. [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Monday, February 6, 2017

In which I flip through my textbook and react to something

I'm taking a course on motor speech disorders this semester. (Was this a good life choice? We'll find out! Were my other classes this semester good life choices? Again, we'll find out!)

The text, for anyone wondering, is Motor Speech Disorders: Substrates, Differential Diagnosis, and Management, 3rd edition by Joseph R. Duffy.
"The decision to use AAC strategies is based on careful assessment of speech and communication abilities and needs, the prognosis, and the individual's potential to benefit from them." (387)
I guess?? I mean, I have to assume that's the way it's professionally done. In my experience, the decision to use an AAC strategy is made in the moment when speech isn't working right now and I need to do something. My first several decisions, the first several times I used it, were certainly immediate and uncareful need something now choices.

I'm in a Chinese language classroom in Tianjin, the teacher just asked me to speak, and I can't. I need to do something. I pull out my iPad (good thing I have it today!), open Notes, switch the keyboard to Simplified Chinese input, type something quickly, and hand it over to the student next to me, who reads it aloud.

I'm in measure theory on Yom Kippur (I fasted, but still went to class) and the professor asked me a question. (I don't remember now what the question was.) I can't speak. I don't have my computer or iPad with me. If I write in my notebook, it'll probably be mistaken for ignoring the question/continuing to take notes, because I was taking notes before and he doesn't know speech goes out on me yet. In any case, that's not likely to meet my immediate need. So I reach for a whiteboard marker and start writing on the side board.

I'm not waiting for someone to evaluate how much I can benefit from an AAC solution while I can't speak. I'm just ... not. That's not a thing. I'm getting into situations where I need something now, and I may or may not be grabbing the best solution. It hasn't carefully evaluated by an expert. I'm grabbing the first solution I can think of given my environment. My decision to acquire dedicated applications for AAC on my iPad and laptop was a bit slower and more considered. I didn't look into those options until I realized that speech giving out on me was going to be a regular thing (honestly had been a regular thing for some time, I'd just not communicated with language while speech was out before.) I asked around. There wasn't any sort of formal evaluation. (Though one might have been handy.) Has anyone expert looked at, well, any of my set-ups? Nope. That hasn't happened. Could they come up with something better as long as they recognized that I really do AAC? Probably.

I'm not certain if this is a commentary on how usually verbal and fluent-seeming autistic adults don't get the assessments for communication supports we could use, or if this is a commentary on gatekeeping where someone other than the disabled person is deciding whether or not to implement AAC. Maybe it's both.

1 comment:

  1. I suspect this is a case where the reader is assumed to be a professional learning how to evaluate (or better evaluate) other people for AAC. That means 1) they have the time and capacity to carefully consider what would be most appropriate for the person; 2) they can do it ahead of time, not on the fly. Of course, when it's just regular people doing this for ourselves in the moment, those sorts of professional standards don't work--"Satisficing" instead of "optimizing."


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