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

Saturday, November 10, 2018

"But that won't fly in [high school/college/the working world/etc...]!"

When people have somewhat unusual methods of ... doing anything, really, there are often authority figures who will try to stop it with the excuse that it won't fly in some other context, so it needs to be stopped in this one, too.

It's bullshit.

First, different contexts are different. A K-12 classroom is not a university classroom is not a construction site is not a factory floor is not an online chatroom is not a floor full of cubicles is not a ballroom. Just because I shouldn't waltz on a construction site, that doesn't mean you should tell me not to waltz in a ballroom because it wouldn't fly on a construction site. Just because some people will (incorrectly) assume my iso headphones (noise reduction, but not cancelling or music) mean I'm not paying attention, that doesn't mean I shouldn't wear them on a factory floor or at a construction site. It doesn't actually mean I should skip them at school or in an office, either. It's an assistive tool for sensory processing issues, and willful continued misinterpretations once I explain that to you once are not my problem.

Second, the context you cite may well consider the unusual method a non-issue. Some people like to tell me that being nonbinary might sound cool on the internet, but at work no one would tolerate that. They're just wrong. I use "they/them" pronouns and either "Mx." or no honorific at all as a teacher. I do the same as a graduate student. I get asked about it on occasion, but it's a non-issue. Your statement that it won't fly in [insert other context here] may well just be wrong. Others would like to tell me that sitting on the floor or under tables won't be tolerated later, so kids with disabilities need to be table-ready as a first priority, ahead of things like getting communication supports. I sit under an actual literal table when I have to go into the lab in graduate school. No one cares.

Third, even if the people in this other context have an issue, have you considered the possibility that they're wrong to do so? The administrators at a university where I studied abroad were of the opinion that I shouldn't come, because "people like that shouldn't be in college." (People like that meant autistic people, in this case.) I feel OK assuming just about any specific autistic trait they took issue with was a cover for them not wanting autistic students at all. Or a rock climbing instructor takes an issue with flapping (without letting go of the person on the wall!) and being left-handed. They're just wrong. Why are you backing up their wrong-ness?

Different environments have different expectations for actual reasons, they might not have the expectations you'd think they have, and other people are just as capable of having bullshit expectations as we are. "That wouldn't fly at work, so I'm not letting it fly in my classroom" is not a good argument. 

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