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

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

I'm apparently an #AAC talk example.

I took a class on augmentative and alternative communication in fall 2017. It was a tiny class, with only three students, which made it practically an independent study. Pretty early on in the class, I watched this video.

This quote stuck out, just a few minutes in. “Sometimes we find ourselves on the floor or under a desk because that's where somebody wants to be.” The context? The speaker is talking about how there aren't any prerequisites for AAC use, including behavioral prerequisites. 

I laughed, and then I got worried.

I laughed because I spend quite a bit of time on the floor, possibly under a desk. I hung out under my cloak, under the table, before my measure theory (graduate math class) final exam. I tend to sit on the floor when given the choice. People in the wearable biosensing lab (the lab my major professor runs) don't just know to look for me under a table if I'm in the lab. They know which table I'll be under with my laptop and whatever I'm reading, or with whatever object I'm doing emergency sewing on. My advisor is quite used to the fact that I sit on the floor during my meetings with him. 

Essentially, I represent this statement. I am the student who is often on the floor or under a desk. I'm also studying for my PhD in neuroscience and passed my comprehensive exams last week, so I'm generally not in too much danger of being denied access to communication based on behavioral prerequisites. (I am at risk of being denied access to communication based on the fact that I can usually speak well, so people could assume I'm faking when I need AAC. That's a problem, but it's a different one.)

My worry is for the people who are in danger of being denied access to communication based on ideas about prerequisites. I understand what it means that a kid hanging out under a desk is the example given here. I have to assume people have been denied access to communication systems for "behavioral" reasons including a tendency to sit on the floor or under desks. I even have to assume this is common. Otherwise, there would be no need to explain: yes, you can get on the floor or under a desk while working on communication supports, if that's where someone wants to be.

That's scary. I know my making it through school has a lot to do with my being passed off with the idea that "gifted kids are weird." I know how easily it could have gone differently. I've written before about one way it could have gone wrong: failing special education kindergarten

What about all the people where it did go differently? What about all the people for whom it's still going differently?