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

Thursday, October 31, 2013

My autism and period

Trigger warning: Menstruation

Also have a major TMI warning, because I'm talking about periods and handling them. It's going to involve lots of menstruation talk and lots of blood talk. Sensory issues come up too, but not as much.

Anyways, I've noticed that a lot of people have this thing about autism and puberty and assuming that their kids will handle it (or fail to handle it) in certain ways. Since I'm Autistic and I've been through puberty and I have a period, I'm actually going to give the TMI talk and explain what I do and why I do it. Having discovered that the thing I use is pretty much not a thing here in China might also be relevant. Maybe. [Yes, it very much is. The frustration of not finding tampons at the market and my roommate telling me everyone just uses pads here is exactly what caused this post to come out of my fingers.]

First off: I have heavier flow than most people who menstruate. It's obnoxious for me to deal with. People also worried that it might be even heavier than it is until we found a working solution. It is heavy. I think it's something like “technically hemorrhaging for the first two days every month” kind of heavy. So some of the stuff I say will hopefully be not applying by way of there being less blood to deal with. If you deal with as much blood as I do, you have my sympathies.

On the bright side, I don't cramp much. Either that or my issues detecting pain mean that I'm not realizing it. That happens sometimes, where I am in pain and everyone except me knows because I'm acting like I'm in pain. I'm not actually sure which of these is usually going on, though on the occasion that I do cramp, I can say for sure that it takes me a while to realize it.

Now for the “what do I do and why” bit.

I don't take any painkillers. They mess with my ability to think clearly worse than pain does, and I live in my brain. Over the counter pain killers are actually why I'm super-wary of anything that could possibly affect my cognition- see also, lack of interest in alcohol. I hate the effects that much. Also I don't tend to realize that I'm in pain until I'm well past the level of pain that the over the counter stuff is useful for- that's something I found out talking to a friend of mine in nursing school. Whoops.

I use tampons. Learning how to use them was painful. I wound up crying several times in the attempt, and my memory of it is a little iffy because I was twelve, but yeah. Pads are not particularly useful for me. Because I sit weird and move a lot, even winged pads don't stay where they belong. Even if they did stay, the weird way I sit means that I'd bleed around them. Which is exactly what happens if I fill the tampon and I bleed onto the pad that I'm supposed to have just in case. That's why I often don't have said pad. They don't work.

Pads are also a sensory issue for me, because blood and ick and wet, plus once they start moving around the adhesive starts trying to adhere to my legs. Ick. Bad.

For whatever reason, my cramps are less with tampons than with pads.

If I can't get ahold of tampons, like happened briefly in China (Solved problem, but there were a few days of sad,) pads aren't going to solve the problem. Adult diapers work better than pads do, and that's what I wound up using. They're absorbent, like pads are, but they don't move around as much and the whole thing is absorbent. I can't really bleed around them and there isn't the risk of the sticky part trying to stick to my leg. I'll also wind up using them when I really do need a backup for the tampon, because pads and I don't get along. Of course, the absorbent stuff can still move around within the diaper bit, which can be uncomfortable. It's not as bad as with a pad, but it is still a thing.

So there you have it. I use tampons because of my combination of sensory issues and the weird ways I move/sit. Other autistic people can't use tampons because of their combinations of sensory issues and they ways they move/sit. It's really individual, same as it is for neurotypical able-bodied folk who menstruate. There's not just one thing that's going to be right “for autism” because seriously there's a ton of different ways to be autistic and good luck with that.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Have some more essays!

Woo, have 4 more things I wrote for Chinese class.
This one is about environmental stuff and subway construction in Nanjing.
This one is about global warming.
全球变暖是非常严重的一个问题。虽然有一些人说“谈气候变暖的科学家都是危言耸听,”但是气候变暖已经会殃及。(对于科学来说“气候变暖”绝非 完全对的名字,而是给气候变化的一部分表明。世界变暖只是冰山一角。除了变暖以外,也有龙卷风变多,暴风雪变多,海平升高等。) 无止境排放尾气会引发一系列连锁反应:温室气体让气氛有更多水汽。水汽是一种温室气体,就是一种周而复始。而且,冰帽反影太阳光。如果冰帽融化的话,冰帽反映的太阳光减少,由不得世界变得更暖。这个问题已经会过昂贵!但是,我们还有能力解决(或者帮助)世界变暖的问题。如果个人都少开车,政府提供环保的政策,公司来少排放尾气,这样做会有帮助。而且,多种树会让气氛里的二氧化碳减少。总的来说,快来做环保的事情对气候变暖问题有帮助。
Education by the family/at home between China and the USA.
中美家庭教育虽然表面上是截然不同的,而实际上中美父母做家庭教育为的是孩子的成功。中国父母注重成绩是因为在中国成功历来都是从教育来的(找好工作,这样的事情)。美国父母注重孩子快乐是因为我们认为快乐是一种成功。而且,中美两国的教育情况不一样。在美国申请大学比在中国申请大学容易多了。在美国,大学看成绩,考试,和课外活动。中国大学绝非放松,而是只看重一次残酷性的考试。 归根结底,问题在于教育情况,而不是中美父母完全不一样。中美父母都要希望孩子会有成功,区别是“成功”的结构和得到成功的方式。
Actually kind of the same as the last one lol.
中美两国的教育有一样的,也有很大的区别。在美国,孩子上小学的时候,父母不注重考试。(有一些学生,第一次考试是小学三年级。)而且,美国的小学生晚一点学好怎么静坐。 按说,中国学生从幼儿园要静坐。在课后的事情,中美两国也不太一样。条件充许的话,美国小孩儿尽是运动都参加。什么活动都做的不太好,但是什么都不惜参加是美国孩子的做法。中国孩子选少一点活动,直到做的非常好为止。中国教育注重做的非常好,美国教育注重学好很多事。

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


So on Saturday morning my time (I didn't change my blog's time zone when I changed my time zone, so I'm 12 hours ahead of it) I had an abortedattempt at a language utilization report, then moved my tuchus because I wasn't sure exactly how complicated/time consuming getting onto a high speed train to Beijing for the NaNoWriMo kick-off meeting would be. An hour later, I was rambling in a way that might have sounded coherent, but it was pretty irrelevant to any issues I was actually having. (I read through later and didn't change anything. It wasn't coherent. I'm not sure this is either, frankly.) Those posts were written from 9:20-34 and 10:20-45am, respectively. Not edited or anything. Almost nothing on this blog has been edited: I think Functioning Labels, which I've added a few things to, and Autism and Being Trans*, which I fixed some language issues in, are pretty much the only exceptions.

Anyways, this one got started at 7:25pm, just about 10 hours after I had my issue with the report. Two main things going on here: I feel like talking about my day, and I think that showing what my written language looks like at a few time intervals from semi-major issues is possibly useful.

Security for the subway and the train is a thing in Beijing, but it's very much security theater. It's also very quick. Stick your bag through an X-ray and that's basically it. I was able to get from outside security to on my train in three minutes this evening, and it was important that I did it about that fast because I was running for my train this evening. I mean, it wouldn't have been that big a deal considering that the Beijing South->Tianjin high speed train runs every 10-20 minutes pretty much all day, but it would have been annoying because I'd have had to stand in line and buy a new ticket. Buying tickets is more time-consuming than security is, significantly.

Anyways. I thought I had lots of extra time, since I was getting into Beijing South Station at 11:33 and the kickoff started at 3. If I'd known where I was going and/or Google Chome had not decided to try to reload all my tabs when I wasn't connected to the internet, causing me to lose my copy of the directions, I might have. As it was, I got into Beijing South Station, ate food, checked the directions which had not yet crashed out on me, saw what subway station I needed to get off at, and got on the subway. It was a bit of a long subway ride (~25 minutes on the actual subway line) but the Beijing station and the one where I needed to get off were both on line 4, so that was convenient. This is the part where the plans fell apart a bit.

See, I had the directions on skydrive, courtesy of the person who organized the party, but I didn't have them on my hard drive because what is being organized like that? So I got there and looked at the directions, but sometime between the Beijing station and then, Chrome decided to reload the page and so I lost access to the file. That was fail. I wandered around for a bit until I found an internet bar, where I was able to get online for half an hour for only 3 kuai. That's about 50 cents US. Not bad, really. It was the public computers with slow internet and only Internet Explorer, so that made it a little bit frustrating, and only the first page of the document would load, so I was working with incomplete information. That might be why still I got lost on the way there. Eventually I found it, though. At 2:55pm, to be exact.

Kickoff party was good. Small, which might have made it a bit boring for some of the other people there, but I like small. Small is good. Then we got pizza. Pizza is also good. The other thing I got was milk tea. Oh, and the volunteer who set this stuff up is an American who barely speaks Chinese. He teaches English in China, and yeah, I'm impressed with the people who aren't from China and don't read Chinese but manage to live here. I have enough fun figuring stuff out, and I actually speak this language. And read it. Reading it is kind of important, since a lot of the translations aren't much better than Google Translate. [I sometimes correct Google Translate when doing Chinese to English and submit the edits, which I think is how the edits are supposed to get a little bit better with time. It requires having enough understanding of the source language that you can figure out where exactly Google is going wrong, though.]

And then I ran for the train. Which I am now on, because I made the train. Pizza place to subway station was 20 minutes walking, then 27 minutes to Beijing South Station and a total of 10 minutes from getting off the subway to being on my train. I've done quicker subway to commuter rail runs at home, but the station at home is smaller and there isn't security. Also, the first and only time I did it in four minutes, I wasn't carrying anything and got on the wrong train. Oops. So I like to allow a bit more time than that. For a train station that I'd only been in for the first time that morning and which has security, ten minutes was cutting it pretty close. Good to know it's possible, don't really want to do it again. So there is how my day went (it was a good day) and my current level of languaging. I think I'm still going off on more tangents than usual, and if I had a major problem I'd have trouble communicating it, but I'm definitely more able to tell people stuff than I was this morning at 10:20.

And I think that's the sound of the train slowing down to get into Tianjin station. Home. Or close to it. 5 subway stops away, and then I can sleep. Sleep will be good. Gnight, all.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Asexuality and Disability for the Carnival of Aces

Like the title suggests, this is for the Carnival of Aces. Specifically, it's for the October edition, which I am hosting about disability and asexuality.

I'm Disabled. Specifically, I'm Autistic. I'm also somewhere asexual spectrum. As of right now, my best guess is that I'm biromantic and asexual. Sex drive? Not a thing. Wanting to have sex with someone? Not a thing. It's just not.

That said, no, not all disabled people are asexual. Not all autistic people are asexual. Not all asexual people are disabled. Things get ugly when people make any of those assumptions, often related to folks deciding that one of these identities causes the other and the one supposedly being caused is therefore not valid. I actually talked about something like that with autism and gender identity once, the point was pretty much that even if autism was causing autistic trans* people to be trans*, they're still trans* and people shouldn't be invalidating the trans* identity based on the person being autistic.

Well, the same thing goes with asexuality. Even if I were only asexual because of sensory issues (no, that's not the case, I'm just not interested. Really,) I'd still be asexual. Even if a person were only asexual because their hormones were a bit off what's "expected," if they're not experiencing sexual attraction and choosing to identify as asexual, they're still asexual. [My surprise level would be exactly zero if I found out my hormone levels were a bit weird. Seriously, I'm DFAB and a natural tenor second/baritone. But the thing that weird hormone levels can actually cause isn't the same thing as asexuality. It's decreased sex drive, which is different from lack of sexual attraction. I don't seem to have either of these things, but if I'm not going to have sexual attraction, I feel no particular need to get a sex drive, even if hormones could get me one.]

I think a lot (not all, but a lot) of the harm done by people assuming that asexuality is because of a disability is that people decide it's therefore somehow not valid or needs "fixing." Of course, disability is a natural part of the human experience and the assumption that it being related to a disability is why it needs fixing is an ableism thing. Being a sign of a disability shouldn't be why something needs fixing. Causing distress to the person who has it and them deciding they want to fix it should be why something needs fixing. Which, um, if you're identifying as asexual, the lack of sexual attraction is probably not the thing that's causing distress? Other people's reactions to it might be. That would make sense.

Other parts of the badness cause interference with self-understanding. It's hard to reach self-understanding when people are chucking lots of bad information at you and insisting it's good information. That's a problem that some autistic people have with therapists, actually. Sparrow talked about that in her book, where therapists would tell her how she was feeling based on her body language and she wouldn't be sure what she was actually feeling but their statement was wrong. They were working with the assumption of neurotypical body language appropriate to the part of the USA she was in at the time. Other cultural assumptions can get bad information passed about our asexuality, and all of the bad information makes self-understanding harder.

So there you have it. I have dumped thoughts about disability and asexuality into a post, and now it is a post. Cool.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

An Hour Later

I'm sitting down and typing this almost exactly an hour from when I was frantically trying to process why on earth I was crying and shaking from my (aborted) attempt at the language utilization report. I added tags and a “heck if I know but be WARNED” trigger warning, scheduled it for midnight, and hitpublish. Then I looked at the clock and started moving, because it was just about 9:30 am my time. Also known as the time I had been aiming to leave for the train station, because today there is a NaNoWriMo kick-off in Beijing. It took me longer to get from my dorm room to the Tianjin train station (~40 minutes) than the ride from Tianjin to Beijing on the high speed train (33 minutes) will take. Which I find amusing. Also a story about transportation inside and between cities. Seriously.

I think it says a lot that I am much better at handling crowded subways, crowded train stations, and navigating unfamiliar environments (my first time in the Tianjin train station was yesterday when I bought my tickets, and I didn't do any scouting beyond what I needed to do to get the tickets) than I am at answering a few “simple” questions about my use of Chinese. Yes, there are some English subtitles at the train station, but most of the translations are sufficiently laughable that I wind up using the Chinese anyways or asking people “If I want to do thing X, where do I go?” The asking is done in Chinese, and the answers I get are generally in Chinese. Sometimes they try English. Sometimes that works, and sometimes I get sufficiently confused-looking that people think I must have the problem with English. Which, yes, I do, but not the one they're probably thinking it is.

And now I'm sitting in the Tianjin train station, waiting for them to start collecting tickets for the train I'm going to be on. C2026 from Tianjin to Beijing South, 33 minute ride, cheaper ticket than the public transit between my mom's house and my dad's, no, really, it is, though that depends on the currency conversion. It's also a difference of a few dimes, but yes, a high speed train from Tianjin to Beijing is cheaper. Runs more often, too. It looks to be every 10-15 minutes that there's a train, and I think it's not quite as often but still a thing between either Tianjin South and Beijing South or between Tianjin West and Beijing South. I don't actually remember, but the point is there. China is way better at public transit than the USA is.

I think I got onto this line of thinking because I'm a little bit numb after my reaction to the language utilization report. I think that illustrating this numbness and how much I can dump words onto a page even when totally numb and also how little they have to do with my current emotional state when that happens and maybe something else I don't know might be useful to someone. Not sure how. Maybe with the idea that being able to put words onto a page or say words or whatever is very different from the ability to use those words to tell people what's wrong or what I need. Or to ask people for things. Though really my current state is a reaction to having asked for a thing. So I don't know. I think I'm going to tune out the world and stick to creative writing and NaNoWriMo prep and kick-off party things as much as I can for the rest of the day and hope my brain is working better tomorrow so I can study properly for Monday's Chinese test. Lining up the reports and the tests this way is kind of icky for me because the reports on how I've been using the language drain my brain and I wasn't even able to get it done properly so it's going to have to break my brain again unless they can fix it. Sad.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

But I can't DO the thing

Trigger Warning: Heck if I know but it's the product of me being triggered so... school stuff, generally?

My study abroad program has language utilization reports they want us to do. I can tell from the descriptions they've given that they think these are supposed to be easy. Like, 5 minutes of a multi-day orientation was given to this and I said then that I didn't think the questions were accessible to me. It got brushed off, because I don't know. Maybe because they can't understand how such a thing would be brain-breaking. But it is.

No, asking me what a language interaction I had trouble with in the last two weeks and what resources I think I need to solve it isn't going to get you anywhere. It's just not. There is an assumption that I'll remember an interaction like that. I actually probably would, if I got reminded of the interaction, but... the question they asked is one that brain-blanks me, not one that brings up information. So I'm not going to have an interaction. If we're lucky, I'll come up with a vague general thing that I remember a teacher told me I had a problem with. In this case, what I could come up with was a teacher telling me that the language I was using is too informal. Which, um. Yeah.

That's something people have been complaining about in my English essays since at least the seventh grade. I got marked down on my MCAS essay that year for overly simplistic language. I remember that. No, I don't know what linguistic resources will let me fix it. Frankly, I've got a wee bit of a moral issue with the idea that it needs fixed, since the point of language is to say stuff and people writing the way they want me to be able to tend to break my brain too. I'm actually OK with technical terms as long as they are technical terms as opposed to wide-broad-not-actually-meaning-anything buzzwords. I'm OK with complex ideas. I'm OK with complex sentences for complex ideas, generally, but when people start making stuff more complicated in the name of formal it tends to make my brain hurt.

And of course, I think a good teacher is someone who can make complicated stuff understandable, not make complicated stuff sound more complicated. So yeah. Just a wee bit of a moral issue with that. Also the fact that I prefer to be able to understand my own writing, and yes, when I give in and write in the extra-complicated-formal-academic voice that people like to praise I can find myself not understanding my own writing later. Not worth it. Really not.

So that's the issue that I can remember, and it's not one that I'm even comfortable with the idea of solving.

Plus the other questions don't get along any better with my brain than that one does.

And I just sent them an email saying this stuff doesn't work well with my brain. That's scary because this is a heavy-duty smart-people impressive-people-doing-impressive-things program and I'm going in and saying that yeah, the thing that you wrote to be a simple easy data collection thing is actually one of the hardest things you're asking me to do because it is breaking my brain. That's scary to admit. It's risking becoming Not A Really Real Person in their eyes and that is scary. It is a lot of scary. And yeah. Help. Except don't, because I can't deal with people right now. No, really. If we are friends on Facebook: DO NOT MESSAGE ME ABOUT THIS. IF I WANT TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT IT, I WILL START THE CONVERSATION. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Chinese Class and Tangents

In Chinese class, we're talking some about environmental protection stuff. It's actually nice, because I can hit a lot of the questions with science (yay science!) and no one's doing the whole “climate change deniers” thing. I've got to wonder if that's a primarily USA thing, because we seem to really like conspiracy theories and we're kind of anti-intellectual as a culture. Seriously, when “he went to Harvard Law!” is getting used as a reason a person shouldn't be president, we have some anti-intellectualism problems. And the people talking about climate change as a big issue have a tendency to be scientists because science is used to test a lot of this stuff.

Oh, and yes, I do remember 2008's presidential election. I was a junior in high school, taking Honors US History and then decided I was going to take the AP exam in US History anyways because why would I limit myself to things that make sense to do? My teacher was really excited about the presidential campaign, and since students in the Honors class are primarily not taking the AP exam, he could go a bit off-syllabus when current events got interesting. We actually talked about American anti-intellectualism in class, when people started using the fact that Barack Obama went to Harvard Law and did really well there as a reason he “wouldn't be able to connect with the American people” or some other nonsense. That's... not exactly what his job is? Like, yes, there are figurehead type things that a President will do, and it's nice when they can connect to “the people,” but “the people” aren't as uniform as a lot of people like to claim and a President also needs to be able to handle complicated political and legal issues. Yes, they get advisers, but they still need enough basic understanding that the adviser's information is helpful in getting to a good decision. That doesn't require Harvard Law, certainly- people can be good Presidents by way of “common sense,” but saying that Harvard Law is bad for being the President is a sign of something not quite right here.

Point is, we've got some anti-intellectual stuff going on, and I've got to wonder if a lot of the climate change deniers are coming from there. If so, you'd probably see fewer of them in cultures that have valued intellectualism and education for a long time.

Now, have my notes about an article I read in Chinese for class. I had to figure out what a few paragraphs were doing: use Beijing as an example. (Reduced rainfall, specifically.) Explain how that relates to climate change and why it's bad. Talk about a way to make it less of a problem. Give a few examples from Europe.


Oh, and as usual, have the most recent list of words where I had to either look up the word or check how to write it by typing it.

Yes, I feel silly for always needing to look up how to write 开始. I learned this word in middle school and it gets used a lot, and yet I constantly need to look it up. Whoops.



Thursday, October 24, 2013

One Week More

Autistics Speaking Day. This is going to be my second one (wow when did this happen?) It's also my second one being involved with helping run stuff, because this is me and apparently helping all the blogs be things is what I do (really what is this?) Not even joking. AutisticsSpeaking Day. Autism Positivity. Pile of one-shot flash blogs. Autistic Alligator. Allistic/NT Privilege. We Are Like Your Child.

The thing in common between all of those? It's about Disabled people making ourselves heard (usually specifically Autistic people, though Allistic/NT Privilege is all neurodivergences with a focus on autism because I'm autistic and We Are Like Your Child is any disability with some autism focus because of who the mods are.)
And looking at the history of Autistics Speaking Day, it looks like what I'm doing on those other blogs, what I'm doing on my personal blog? Are pretty well in line with the idea behind Autistics Speaking Day. I can work with that.
So there it is. Autistics Speaking Day is coming. I've been doing stuff that's in line with Autistics Speaking Day. That doesn't mean I know what I'm writing for it. Last year I talked about Autistics Speaking Every Day. I want to do something different this year. Not sure what. I should get thinking, because it's only a week away, and I don't want to be writing my post on the day of because then it won't be my November 1 post. Also because November 1 is the start of NaNoWriMo. I'm more than happy giving some of my non-writing time on Day One to helping run ASDay, but no, I am not writing anything other than novel on November 1 outside of class time. That is not a thing that is happening. Not if I'm making my Day One Ridiculous Goal of 10k words and my Weekend One Ridiculous Goal of 50k words at the end of the first weekend. Yes, that is “winning” NaNoWriMo in three days. At my typical/low-ish typing speed, it's about 20 hours of writing over the course of Friday-Sunday. I can get faster, but I'm calculating off the low end because it's a lot of words and a lot of time.
ASDay and NaNoWriMo Day One are the same day. That's gonna be fun. One week more....

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Life Stuff

At this point, I pretty much have a routine in my life and stuff is working out reasonably well. Sure, my desk is a mess, but that's not exactly a new problem. That's a problem I've had since, oh, forever. Or at least since I've had a desk of my own to be messy or not. It's better than my desk at school in the USA was, actually. There, I couldn't do anything on the desk. Nothing. I couldn't put my computer on it or anything. It was just a piling place for papers. Here, since the internet in my room is wired only and the wire isn't long enough for my laptop to be connected to the internet anywhere except the desk, there's an empty space the size of my laptop on the desk unless the laptop itself is there. So that's something.

If my teachers knew my routine as it actually stands, they'd probably say I wasn't spending as much time studying Chinese as I should. But I'm OK with that, really. I've never spent as much time on studying and homework as I “should” and I'm still managing. It would be good if I changed it, but I'm not going to spend time worrying about it. I've tried in the past and it doesn't work.

So here's what my routine looks like right now:

I get up in the morning. If the internet isn't working, I have a major case of The Sads, because this is when I download my homework assignment and get it done for my first class, Chinese 390, which is from 8:30-10:20 (times not exact because everything is random and one or two minutes and the teachers sometimes run a bit over.) I spend about an hour on preview sheets and about half an hour on homeworks. (We spend 2 days on each lesson, so every other day is a preview sheet and every other day is a homework.) Of course, the official estimate is 2 hours per day of homework for that class. Anyone who knows me knows that's never going to happen. It's just not. Then the class splits into two, and thank goodness for the fact that I'm in the second half. The first half has Chinese 370 and I go do my homework for Chinese 370, then my half of the class has Chinese 370. Right around noon, I'm done with Chinese classes, and that's where the reliable part of my routine ends. The rest depends on days of the week. Three days a week, I have tutoring from 2-3, once a week I report on the materials science book I'm reading in Chinese from 3-4, Tuesday and Wednesday I have major classes, and Friday is the only day that I'm really done when I get out of the Chinese class at noon. If there's to be a day when I'm done at noon, I'm quite happy having it be Friday. Then weekends. Woot. I like weekends.

Right now, I'm preparing for NaNoWriMo, which means a couple things. One, I'm getting into the habit of writing 1500+ words of fiction every day. A lot of that is fanfiction, since I'm catching up on BINGO for a Tamora Pierce fanfiction thing and started a piece following an original autistic character in the Young Wizards universe. I'm also doing a retelling of a folk tale to submit to an anothology and hopefully get a little bit of money off that. I don't expect to make much off fiction writing, but if I'm taking the time to do the writing anyways I might as well try to get some cash off it. I'm autistic, and sure I've got the Art of Problem Solving, but I'm aware what being autistic means for my chances finding more “typical” jobs. I have no illusion that I will ever support myself with fiction writing, but if it can help me get a little bit more in savings or help me pay off college, that would be nice.

Oh, and then NaNoWriMo will actually start in a bit more than a week and I will be putting these 1500+ words of fiction per day towards a novel. Eep. (I'm actually shooting for 2000+ words per day on average, because the more I can get done during the rush of November the more likely I am to have the momentum to actually finish. Besides, 2000 words is about an hour of typing if my brain goes fast enough, which it hopefully well.)

So that's where I am right now. I'm also trying to write 2 blog posts per day for the remainder of October so that I don't need to write every day in November.

Oh, and here's the Chinese words I needed to look up recently for essays.



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Not Tolerating it Doesn't Change It.

Trigger Warning: Ableism, some internalized

Augh something my dad said, practically off-hand, over the summer is coming back and being a problem in my brain right now. He probably doesn't even remember saying it. No, really, I'd bet that he doesn't remember saying it. He'd totally agree with the sentiment, though, because, you know, he said it and it's in line with other stuff he's said. [If you want to know where internalized ableism comes from for a lot of autistic adults, look to the parents. With autistic adults who weren't diagnosed until adulthood, still look to the parents because seriously how good a job can you expect a parent to do when they've been told their kid's brand of weird is something totally different from their kid's actual brand of weird?]
Disorganization after the age of twelve isn't something that I tolerate.”
(I lived with my mom during the school week. She saw my locker a few times, but my dad never did. Thank goodness.)
How are you going to not tolerate it, dad? Really? How are you going to prevent me from being disorganized, me, who, as much as I prefer order (I don't require it, but I do prefer it) I can't create or maintain it. It's been tried. I can't do it.

Are you going to blame the fact that I can't do certain things on the way I was raised? I mean, I know you like to blame stuff on mom, but seriously, are you going to blame the fact that I can't keep myself organized on my mom? She tried to teach me. You... never really tried to teach me to keep organized. Sure, she failed, because it's not something I can do unless someone has some really off-the-wall idea that can magically create the required cognitive skills that I'm fairly sure I don't have, but she at least tried. She kept trying, too. So did (some of) my teachers. Others made jokes about it, some cruel, some not. One helped and made jokes that managed not to be cruel. By helped, I mean that when my locker was the complete mess that it always was, they spent about half an hour with me after school and emptied the entire contents of my locker onto the floor, pulled out the trash and recycling bins from the classroom, and helped me sort through the stuff. It didn't always work out well, since I have a limited ability to sort stuff before my brain decides to be done (my record for room cleaning type activities in a row is 3 hours, after which I slept for a similar length of time and had no more productive abilities for the rest of the day. I had been at full energy when I started. By no more productive abilities, I mean I wasn't even capable of acquiring food, by the way. And that was with my mom helping with the room cleaning activities too.)
As I write this, I'm staring at a pile of stuff on my desk. I don't even know how it got to the point it's at, I don't have enough stuff here that this level of mess should be possible and yet here it is and no I'm not able to fix it myself and my teacher when she saw it just said that I need to clean it and I don't know how.
Much like with my homework problem, there are cognitive skills that I just don't have and that are needed for this. Yeah, it's expected that people can do this. Yeah, because I'm verbal (mostly) and smart, it's expected that I'll be able to. But it doesn't work like that. I'm developmentally disabled. Look up what that means, if you don't believe what I'm about to tell you, but a developmental disability means that there are issues in multiple of: communication, self-care, home living, social skills, community use, self-direction, health and safety, functional academics, leisure, and work.

Communication? Yup. Inconsistent speech does that. Self-care? Yup. Home living? Yup. Social skills? Yup. Not sure what community use means. If self-direction is what I think it is, yup, that's one of the executive functioning problems I have. Health and safety I think I'm decent with, though the pain tolerance thing means I wind up missing major injuries sometimes (like 3-5 broken bones never making it to my medical record kind of missing major injuries.) Academics I've been great at. I don't know how people are quantifying leisure and frankly I don't think you should since different people enjoy different things. Work? I've had jobs and never been fired, so I'm going to go with being OK there.

But yeah, I'm disabled, do you really think the skills I don't have are going to magically appear when you tell me to do a thing I don't have the skills to do? Do you think they're going to appear when you say you don't tolerate one of the outward signs of my not having those skills? It doesn't work like that. I'm developmentally disabled. There are things I can't do. Telling me to do them isn't going to help. It's just not. Telling me how you “wouldn't tolerate” it isn't going to fix it, and frankly it scares me, because there's not anything you could actually have done about it. I don't need “tough love” to teach me to do this stuff. I need someone who can get it done for me because I can't do it.

And yeah, my mom messed stuff up with this sometimes. Seriously, my mom was told I had a different sort of brain weird than I actually do, what do you expect? She was told that I was just gifted. That's a thing that happened. It's not accurate information, but it's what she was given. Working under the assumption that I'm not disabled, of course you're going to have reactions to disability parts that don't work with the actual situation. That's to be expected. I put that on the bad information, not on her. Since dad's statement about “not tolerating” disorganization came after knowing I'm autistic? Yeah, no, that's him. He's actually not good about this stuff. Mom just didn't have the information required to be good. Still doesn't, really, because no one talks about what autistic adults need. I've got a nice pile of things I can tell her don't work, but as far as what does? Yeah, I'm stumped. “Get someone who has these skills to do the things for me” is basically what I've got. Which, you know, doesn't bode well for this idea that I'm supposed to grow up to be super-successful and all.

Monday, October 21, 2013

T21 Blog Hop: Disability Acceptance

So Down Wit Dat hosts a blog hop on the 21st of the month for three days (3x21) and despite the name, it's not actually just for Down's. It's for any disability stuff. So I'm doing a thing! I'll add the linky list at the bottom of this post once it actually exists.
Because this post also fit the October 2014 theme, I put it in again, here's October 2014's hop.

Trigger Warning: Ableism

Anyways, disability acceptance is my topic of the day, because people seem to mix up what that is. It's not leaving disabled people/people with disabilities (I'm just going to go with "disabled people" for the rest of the post but yes you count even if you use different language) without education. It's not a sense of "I accept that you're not a real person and I love and care about you anyways." It's not using the fact that we can't do certain things (what those things are depends on the disability and the person) or that certain things are harder to learn/do (ditto) as an excuse to never let us become adults. It's understanding a few things.
  1. Some of us think "Disabled" and/or some of our specific disability labels are defining factors in who we are. Not the only ones, but among them. Some of us don't. We're the ones who decide that about our own disabilities.
  2. We're real people with thoughts, feelings, hopes, and dreams. Some of us have different dreams than you might expect. Some of us enjoy things you might find weird. Strange as some of them might seem to you, if we say we enjoy something, that probably means we enjoy it, and you shouldn't be feeling sad about the time we spend doing it instead of doing things you think we should enjoy.
  3. There will be things we can't do. Disability kind of implies that. It's not "letting our disability win" or whatever other loads of nonsense people come up with when we admit that. Finding workarounds, accommodations, and good technology is the way to go.
  4. There will be plenty of other things we can do. Some of these may be things where you'd expect our disabilities to be a problem. Others won't be.
  5. Not letting us try a thing because you think our disability will make it a problem is not OK.
  6. Similarly, not providing proper education because of our disability is not OK.
  7. Neither is insisting we just try one more time for a skill that it's clear we just don't have. Clear to us is sufficient. Most of us have limited energy, and proving one more time that we are, in fact, unable to do certain things (see item 3) takes up energy that we often can't afford to spend.
  8. Sometimes we have the ability to do a thing, but it's hard and takes up more time and energy than we think it is worth. Getting help with such things is appropriate and not "Letting Our Disability Win."
  9. There will also be things we just don't like doing. This may or may not have anything to do with our disability. Sometimes it just has to do with item 2: we're real people.
  10. Telling us we're using the wrong language to refer to our own disability is rude. Letting us know that Specific Person X has expressed a different language preference for themself than the one we used describing them is not rude, so long as Specific Person X actually has the preference you're saying they have.
  11. The following phrases are almost always used in ableist or otherwise bad ways and you should be aware of this:
    1. "Not Like My Child." (Yes, we are.)
    2. "Letting Their Disability Win"
    3. "High Functioning" and "Low Functioning" (Seriously the whole concept is nonsense)
    4. "Does Not Communicate"
    5. "Noncompliant"
    6. "Using Their Disability as a Crutch/Excuse"
    7. "Mentally age x"

    Sunday, October 20, 2013

    Back and Reviewing Unstrange Minds

    Considering the short length of my inability to access blogger, I'm just copying the one real post I made in that time and putting it up a day later.
    I read No, You Don't: Essays From an Unstrange Mind. I liked it. A lot. It wasn't happy, mostly, though there were happy parts. I do think you should get it, if you can and haven't.
    I got it when it was free. (haha :p)
    Anyways, now that you know that I think you should get it, here's why. Sparrow writes important things. Not everything in her experience is true for all Autistic people, just like not everything a neurotypical person would write about their life would be true for all neurotypicals, but a lot applies to more than just her. Really. She talks about the things she's had to do to survive, and that's hard. She talks about the ways people react to those of us who are sometimes capable of speech and sometimes most emphatically *not* capable of speech. It's not nice. I've been really lucky, and no one's really taken issue with it in my time in China, which is important because I don't *have* the option of skipping class when I'm non-speaking. It happens too often, on too short notice, for me to do that when I'm in class 5 days a week and 3 absences is enough to start hurting my grade.
    And she makes a metaphor about social interaction that I've made too: checkers and chess. You sit down at the checkerboard and it turns out your opponent is playing chess. This doesn't end well, by the way. Checkers loses very quickly.
    It's honest. It's important. I think everyone who is autistic or interacts with autistic should read it if they can. Not because everything in it will apply to everyone: it won't. It can't. But some of it probably will, and the parts that apply are important.

    Friday, October 18, 2013

    Not the Lie Most Expect

    Trigger Warning: References to institutionalization

    I have a confession to make. When I was asked about disability and accommodations on my paperwork for studying abroad, I lied. No, I didn't say I needed things I don't need. That... I don't know of anyone who's done that. But I still lied.

    Other disabled people can probably guess what I did. For those of you who are confused: I described my disability as causing fewer challenges than it actually does. I was honest about what formal accommodations I need in a classroom environment, because that's actually not much of a much, but as far as what my being autistic can mean for study abroad in general? I wasn't entirely honest.

    You might be asking "why would you do that?" Now, Neurodivergent K can probably tell you just fine: she got kicked out of a class for saying she's autistic. I wound up not going on a study abroad program in high school because I was honest about the shellfish allergy that I... somehow grew out of? Yeah, that happened. But I was honest. I told them, "I may not be able to stay with a host family unless allergies can be explained to them properly and they get it. I always need to be allowed to refuse to eat something if I believe it may cause a reaction." I admitted that I was not going to trust them to determine if something was safe for me to eat or not. The other candidates for the program got interviewed one on one before acceptance. I got interviewed by all four teachers involved in the interview process at the same time, and 90-ish percent of the interview was detailed questions about the shellfish allergy. I answered honestly, every one of them. I was not on the trip.

    That's the problem. Honesty gets you kicked out of stuff "for your own good" without ever getting the chance to show your competence.

    I didn't want that. So I didn't answer honestly as far as what I have problems with. Frankly, if I had, I've got an idea what would happen. The question wouldn't have been, "Can she study abroad?" It might have been, "Do we need to call adult protective services?"

    No, really. What are some of the reasons people give for why someone needs to live in a group home, or with an aide, or whatever else? I can think some.

    • Trouble bathing
    • Trouble keeping self fed
    • May injure self or others
    Those are really general. Some that might be more specific:
    • They might walk in front of traffic
    • They might hurt themselves cooking, maybe spilling boiling water on themselves
    • Doesn't "fit in" because of "weird" autistic behaviors
    • Maybe lying down on the floor, considering that folks get pissy about that in institutions?
    Now here's the thing. My exact reasons and ways I do those things might not be the ones you think of first, but guess what? All those things. People who know me would think the idea of my needing to live in a group home or something of that sort is ridiculous. I'd agree. I need no such thing. With proper supports, neither do the people who actually live in them. But the fact remains: A lot of the problems people give as the reason for needing a group home are problems I have.
    Executive dysfunction: it's hard for me to shower daily and get three meals in. Yeah, it really is.
    I've spilled boiling water on myself enough times that it's not even a surprise anymore when it happens. Not even joking.
    I've run out in front of traffic without realizing it before, and I have friends who can attest to this.
    I've picked at and popped my acne and yeah it bleeds and yeah by the standards of the system that counts. I hurt myself.
    I've layed down on the floor in public. It's a thing that I've done. 
    Autistic stuff definitely makes me not fit in. All those things. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. 
    Why might I lie about how autism affects me? Oh, I dunno, maybe because I prefer the question remain "How can we make studying abroad accessible?" Yeah, I think it's that.

    Thursday, October 17, 2013

    Look Up!

    How about no.

    Look down, look down, don't look them in the eye.

    It's not about self-esteem, really.

    Look down, look down, don't look them in the eye.

    If I'm walking, I need to look down to be confident. Know why? Because if I can't see my feet, I will trip over everything. Last time I tried to walk at my normal speed with my feet outside my range of vision (just barely outside, I mean, I was looking straight ahead and not up or down at all,) I tripped within three feet of trying. I have to look down or else I'm going to fall down. So yes, I suppose you could say that my looking down when I walk is about a certain sort of confidence: it's necessary for the confidence that I will stay on my feet.

    Look down, look down, don't look them in the eye.

    If I look up, I might make accidental eye contact with someone. People are fine. Faces are often fine. Eyes are uncomfortable. If I look down, I still see people, so I know where they are, but I can't make accidental eye contact unless someone falls over. And, you know, if I look up, that someone might be me?

    Look down, look down, don't look them in the eye.

    The four leaf clovers are all on the ground. Yes, I have a lot of them. I find them in bunches, in ten and twelve and twenty, and that's because I look down.

    Wednesday, October 16, 2013

    Meh. Tired.

    There was something in the classroom today that made a sound like a cellphone that's about to die. It went off about every 1-2 minutes. It was annoying everyone, I could tell (mainly because they said so,) and for me it was really obnoxious. I'm not able to keep talking through that sort of thing any more than I can talk through the school bell, so it made participating in class a lot harder. It was also a tone that hurts my ears, so the constant interruptions with ouches was causing problems for getting my concentration back after each interruption. This went on for about the first hour and a quarter of class. Bad. I was on the edge of melting down but there wasn't much of anything I could do about it because I needed to be in class. It wasn't anyone's cell phone. We checked. We couldn't find anything in the room that could be causing the problem. But there it was, that sound, and considering that speaking is a big part of class and also that I'd only gotten, oh, about four and a half hours of sleep, less than half what I need, this was not good.
    Yeah. Four and a half hours of sleep. That's what happens sometimes with me and hard deadlines, in this case related to the piece I'm writing (wrote and rewrote) for FYTortall's book. Which is going to be a totally awesome book, I'm sure. That doesn't mean the time spent from 8pm-3am chasing citations and rewriting stuff is time I ever want to spend on that again. It's not. But it's done and I hopefully won't have to do that again. Please. I do not want to do that again. I prefer to write about the cool stuff Tamora Pierce writes at hours when I am properly awake, thank you. [Not everything about how she handles neurodivergent characters is awesome, but I had coherency issues on all the meh representations so my article is mostly talking about the things she did really well. No, really, Zhegorz's character arc is wonderful, for example.]
    Oh, and in Chinese class we did an in-class written thing. It was handwritten and I turned it in, so I can't hand it over yet, but I've got all the words that I had to type to check how they were written. (My typing system uses pinyin, and then I choose the character, so if I know the pronunciation and can recognize a character, I can type it. Writing it requires a bit more, at least if I want to write from memory.)
    These are the words I had to look up. I really should know how to write a few of those, but... I'm human. I'm better at remembering where information is stored than I am at remembering what the information actually is. That's what psychology says anyways, and that that's why we're all so dependent on Google now, if they're right. Which is actually pretty cool, I think.



    Tuesday, October 15, 2013

    Syllabus Standards

    Oh hey Chinese essays. This one is about course standards, globalization, and education. I basically argue that colleges should write course descriptions/syllabi so that what you need to know to start and what you're going to learn can be understood without needing to read the syllabus for every prerequisite and still not be sure which parts you're going to need from which prerequisite.
    I translated this into English and added later commentary. I'm cool like that.



    第二)这门课的学分是在什么样的专业可以用的?如果学生有独特专业的话,这一部分没有用, 而大部分的学生要知道。
    第三)开始上这门课以前,学生需要什么知识?表明这一部分的方式会有最大的改变:现在, 大学会根据自己的另外几门课说明学生要什么知识。这样不行:大学要说地清楚,学生 开始上课前要学好什么。学生为了准备能选别的课或者去自学,都行,只要学好需要的 知识就可以了。


    Monday, October 14, 2013

    Adventures in Explaining to People who Know They Don't Know

    These are the best adventures in explaining, really. Not joking. People who think they know how things work will argue with basically everything I say, which makes it so much harder. It's especially harder if I'm still partially shut down, which totally happens. I was still in partial shutdown when I explained what happened at the museum, actually, but because no one was going "that can't be!" and "autism doesn't work like that!" at me as I tried to explain what happened, I was still able to mostly do it.
    So what happened starts with sensory overload. This should not be surprising to anyone who knows me well, since my sensory processing issues are the most annoying issues I've got. I'm pretty much OK with the language issues as long as I'm allowed to write or type.
    See, the museum was mostly marble, which reflects sound quite effectively. This led to a major case of The Sads, because it was loud and I couldn't really understand what the teachers were saying to me over it.
    At least, I think that was how it started being bad. I got a vague sense of something not right when we were on the second floor (we started from the bottom and were working our way up.) On the third floor, the entrance to the exhibit hall had sounds that were bad, and I'm pretty sure that's how speech went kaput. Definitely a sensory overload issue. Then I hit the point where it took concentration to read the English captions on the art and artifacts, which, um, that's a bad sign. I'm pretty sure it's a bad sign when someone who lives by the written word as much as I do finds reading to no longer be automatic. I guess my body language was making it pretty clear that I was in distress (hi what is knowing what my body language means to neurotypicals I have no clue) so one of the teachers asked me if I was OK. I flapped for a bit trying to get words, then pulled out my notebook and started writing once I figured out that speech was not happening. Meh. Figuring out that speech is not happening is useful, because it means I can start writing instead, but it's kind of frustrating too, because I can talk faster than I can write.
    I let her know that I was overloaded as best I could. [I don't know how to write all the relevant words in Chinese. I should fix that.] And then I went home and crashed. A few hours later, I had a meeting with the academic director, who had also been at the museum with us. She knew that I'd had a problem and left, but not entirely why. So she wanted to talk to me a bit about that in addition to the official reason for the meeting, which was about an independent study.
    Yeah. So "I'm not always aware that I'm overloaded until I try to talk and discover that I can't" is one of those statements where I expect to get challenged. It's true, but I expect to get challenged, because it's not something people tend to understand. She asked a couple questions to try to understand, but there's a difference between "I don't believe you" questions and "I'm a bit confused, can you explain?" questions. Her questions were quite firmy in the second type, which tends to bring out the infodumps. It's hard to explain exactly how my body awareness (and emotion awareness) issues work, but I can toss out examples. I think the two issues are related, and I told her that too. The response to my saying I think the problems are related was that she thinks that makes sense. Really. This is a reaction I can work with. It's not the reaction I expected (I expect the worst,) but I'm glad that it's not. Flagship has been pretty consistently doing better than I expected of them as far as autism stuff goes.
    Of course, it probably helps that I didn't explain much until after they'd already paid for the plane tickets and tuition and such. The longer you wait, the harder it is to discriminate based on disability without making it obvious that that's what you're doing. It's also harder to accommodate properly, so it's a trade-off. But they're actually doing a really good job at the whole accommodating thing. I'm seriously impressed.

    Sunday, October 13, 2013

    I myself have noticed my growing resemblance to a daffodil

    Fanfiction, Tamora Pierce, was on Archive of Our Own first. Warning that we have characters thinking they and/or other characters have lost their minds due to one character having woken up as a daffodil. I don't own the characters or the universe.

    When Neal woke up, the first thing he noticed was that everything seemed much larger than usual. He looked around his page quarters. Everything was bigger, and his perception of color seemed a bit off. He looked down. Then he fainted.
    When he came too, he looked down again. Sure enough, he seemed to be a flower of some sort. He couldn't tell what sort, seeing as his eyes were in what he presumed to be the bloom, but the shape of his arms suggested that he may have become a daffodil.
    I myself have noticed my growing resemblance to a daffodil. No. That had been a joke. He was not supposed to actually turn into a daffodil. It had to be a dream. It had to.
    Experimentally, he tried to wiggle his toes, or where his toes should be. He felt no response. Looking down, he saw no response. He seemed to have taken root in his sheets. He tried to move a whole leg. Still nothing. Nealan of Queenscove began to panic. Wiggling his fingers was impossible. Waving his arms was much slower than it should have been, but there was movement. He could turn his head. He tried to speak. It was barely audible, but his voice existed. That was something.
    Of all the stupid jokes I made, this has got to be the worst to actually have happen.
    There was no way he could scream loudly enough to be heard with the door closed. He had to hope that someone would come looking for him, and soon.
    Kel didn't see her best friend at breakfast. Risking lateness for class, she ran to the hall where all the pages lived and pounded on his door. “Neal!” She heard a squeak, barely. She kept pounding. When more squeaking was the only answer, she tried the door. It opened. Neal was not in his room, and there was a daffodil taking root in his bed. She wasn't sure what was going on, but it wasn't good. Turning to leave and tell the training master that Neal was missing, she heard more squeaks. They sounded vaguely like words, and they came from the daffodil.
    “Kel? Can you hear me? It's... it's Neal.” Kel looked at the daffodil that was claiming to be her best friend, and it continued. “I myself have noticed my growing resemblance to a daffodil.” She heard what sounded like nervous laughter. That was Neal, all right. But he was... a daffodil. That was a problem, and frankly one harder to solve than trying to keep her fellow pages alive when they were ambushed by bandits in the hills had been. That was a question that made sense, even if the answer was hard to get. This question should have been impossible.
    “Should I get the Stump?”
    “Probably. And Numair.”
    “I'll be back.”
    Wyldon was easy to find at the training yards. “You're late, Mindelan.”
    She bowed. “Yes, sir. And Neal seems to be a daffodil.”
    He stared at the one female page. “I think we need to get you to the healers. Clearly the stress of training has taken a toll on you. I've said it before, that women aren't cut out for this life.”
    Kel bit her lip. That was the most logical assumption for Lord Wyldon to make, and unfortunately, it was the wrong one. “Please, sir. He hasn't reported to practice this morning yet. Can you at least come check his rooms before concluding I've lost my mind? I'm telling you, Neal seems to be a daffodil.”
    “Very well, Mindelan, if only so that I can attest to the inaccuracy of your delusion when I drag you to the healers afterwards.” He followed her to Neal's rooms, then knocked on his door. “Page Nealan, this is your training master. Open this door at once.”
    Only a faint squeaking was heard. Lord Wyldon knocked again. “If you do not open this door by the count of ten, I will open it myself.”
    “It's unlocked, sir,” Keladry said.
    When he reached ten, the door remained shut. Entering the room, Wyldon saw no signs of the Queenscove boy, though there was a daffodil on his bed. Gods, I've lost my mind too. Then he heard the squeaking again, coming from the daffodil.
    “Yes, Neal, I brought him. He thought I was insane, though I'm not sure if he thinks differently now. He might think he's insane too.”
    “I wish you were insane. If this is a delusion, it's shared.”
    Wyldon swore, something neither Kel nor Neal had heard him do before. “We either need healers, all of us, or we need Numair.”
    “Shall I get him, sir?” Keladry asked.

    “No, you stay with our... daffodil. I'll get Numair.”

    Saturday, October 12, 2013

    A couple short essays

    Yay short essays for Chinese. These are both ~300 character essays. The first is quite a bit more optimistic about the government "attempts" to do stuff about inequality than I actually am, but it's what I could come up with using the language patterns they were asking for. Meh.
    Also, I got featured on a thing related to NaNoWriMo, which I'm planning to do this year. Considering that it's me getting interviewed, that will work better as "my" post for the day that most of you can actually read.



    Friday, October 11, 2013

    Some Good Things In China

    Trigger Warning: Some ableism references, some references to ableism-related poverty

    I have China stuff to talk about. When I was at orientation, one of the people told me that disability rights was basically not a thing in China and that "accommodations" were also not a thing. I get that China has a lot of disability stuff that's bad. I really do. I've seen some of the problems first hand. A blind person digging through the trash to try to find food and something to drink is a sign that something is very wrong with how we handle disability. [I asked him what he was looking for, and he said something to drink, and I gave him my full water bottle. It doesn't fix the structural issues or the fact that he's going to be doing the same thing again the next day and the next until he can't anymore. If he's lucky, it meant one day where dehydration wasn't as much of an issue.]
    But what I want to talk about is a few of the things people are getting right here. I don't have the energy to spend all my time on the things that are wrong. I just don't. It's tiring, and it makes me feel like we're getting nowhere. Sometimes, I need to talk about things that are good. [Remember, this blog is actually for me. I'm happy when it helps other people, but I write it because writing things helps me process stuff and if I'm not accountable to the world about it I can ignore it which is bad because it's important.]
    Pretty much every sidewalk, all the subway stations, have lines of bricks that are textured. It's done in a way that you can feel it through shoes. The lines in the bricks direct people along the sidewalk, and they change where the path is changing. So things like "this is where you turn to get onto the subway" or "there's about to be stairs" or "there's a fork in the path here" or "STREET!" all have the lines change to a bunch of dots. I'm pretty sure that's meant to be for blind/low vision access. I don't know how well it actually works, because I can see, but it seems like a smart idea.
    The local supermarket has no stairs. None. Instead of a typical escalator, it's got a slanted moving sidewalk sort of thing. I assume it's actually meant for being able to take shopping carts up, but slanted moving sidewalk>escalator in terms of wheelchair access.
    I've seen a few power chairs (mostly they look like the motor was added by the end-user) rolling down the street in the bicycle lane. As an engineer, I kind of want to know how these DIY power chairs work. It looks like they took the battery and motor off an electric bike and then somehow got it to turn wheelchair wheels instead of bike wheels. If I knew much of anything about how electric bike wheels were hooked up to the motors, I probably wouldn't think this were complicated.
    I've had speech go kaput on me several times while I've been here. No one has taken issue with my writing or typing instead. Usually typing, since my handwriting is horrible, though I did wind up writing on a couple of social occasions. I've pulled out Open Office and Notepad++ in class, in tutoring, in meetings with teachers. People have been confused about what caused that specific instance of speech not working, but no one's tried to tell me that if I really wanted to speak I could or anything. Even the "I can't really come up with original speech right now, but I can still type and I can very slowly read what I typed out loud" was taken as just being what I needed to do at the moment. That was during tutoring yesterday. It might have also been the first time that my tutor got that I really am disabled. Which yeah, I am. Just a bit. It actually gets more obvious that I am as I get more access to the technology that lets me get around the issues, since it's pretty easy to mistake "inconsistently capable of speech" for "just quiet."
    [Why just "technology"? Well, all technology assists someone. Otherwise there would be no point. Also, the stuff I use is primarily stuff that abled people use too, just for different things. Notepad++ is the text editor of choice for quite a few programmers who use Windows. Open Office is an office software package- word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, and the like.]
    So there's that. Yeah, China has a lot of issues with how it handles disability. So does the USA. That doesn't mean that folks in the USA can't learn from stuff that folks in China do well, even if it's not most of the folks in China doing it. The existence of bad stuff shouldn't stop us from taking a look at the good stuff and seeing what we can learn from it. (I bet an electric bike motor and battery attached to a manual chair is a LOT cheaper than a typical power chair, and it's almost certainly better than no power chair at all, for one thing.)

    Thursday, October 10, 2013

    Winter is Coming

    Oh hey, more fanfiction. The prompt was Winter is Coming, and yes, I stuck this on Archive of Our Own first. 

    Alana shivered as she got out of bed and dressed. Last night had been the first hard frost of the season, and it was still too early to for it to have warmed much. She estimated that she had an hour until the first bell of the morning, when she would need to go to the dining hall and eat, then go to the practice fields with the rest of the pages. That was time enough to practice with Coram's sword, and as much as she hated the cold, she hated the idea that she might be killed adventuring due to never having mastered the sword even more. She pulled on as many layers as she could without truly affecting her ability to walk, borrowed his sword quietly (he had drunk too much after his guard shift the prior night and would likely sleep till noon, waking with a horrid headache,) and headed for the private mirrored room she practiced in. She would learn to be natural yet. She had to.
    That was not the morning she learned to be natural. Nor was the morning after. She hoped she was making progress, though she had little evidence of this. In practice with her fellow pages, she felt as slow and clumsy as ever. Sklaw could some progress in the small red-head, but he seldom complimented anyone and never her. Without the free practice duel that he seemed so reluctant to put her in after the utter disaster her first had been, there was no evidence she could judge. She didn't notice how Coram's sword felt less heavy than it had, nor did she realize that she was completing her pattern drills faster. If she had, it would have been some small comfort against the fact that hard frosts were now every night and it was still cold in even their morning practice outdoors. At least when it's actually winter, they won't make us practice outside anymore!
    Days before the end of outdoor practice for winter, the Duke granted Alana a day off. For the opportunity to see George, she could brave the cold she dealt with on the practice courts. She saddled Moonlight herself and rode to the Dancing Dove. En route, she had to use the thieves sign George taught her- even those who knew they could go to market any time they wished were starting to shop for Midwinter in earnest, and that meant the pickpockets were out in force. Most of the cities thieves knew better than to bother the red-head with violet eyes, as he was a friend of the Rogue, but this was a time of year where there were new folk in the Court who didn't yet know whose purses to leave alone.
    George noticed her right away, of course, looking up from his card game. “Lad, I wasn't expecting to see you until Midwinter! His Grace decide you deserved a day of rest, did he?”
    “He said I was making progress well enough that I could get my Midwinter shopping done before the crowds.” Alana snorted. “I think he misjudged the crowds.”
    “He may not have the same information that we cityfolk do, always up in the palace. Why would he care about a storm down the river? But the dockworkers care- no boats coming in means buy while they've the time.”
    “Is it coming this way?” Much as Alana hated cold, she liked snow, and with winter almost upon them, a storm might well bring snow to throw at her friends.
    “Unlikely- that his Grace would know, and even I've not heard it. Now, shall we deal you in?”
    Alana took the offered cards- Gambler's Chance was an old game, and she knew it well. 

    Wednesday, October 9, 2013

    A 15th Explanation

    Trigger Warning: References to abuse, murder, dehumanization

    Someone decided to inspire "STOP TELLING ME HOW TO IDENTIFY MYSELF" post number fifteen!
    I got this comment on my
    Ignoring the fact that you have autism doesn't make it not so. Person first language is important because it reduces dehumanization (which has led to abuse and misunderstanding of many disorders). You are selfish and short sighted/ignorant for setting back that cause. One reason you people have such a hard time is that you don't understand other viewpoints. The world doesn't revolve around you. 
    Can we go through all the fail here for a moment?
    Ignoring the fact that you have autism doesn't make it not so. 
    Why hello, I believe you are a strawman. I might be wrong about which fallacy is going on here, but considering that "Ignoring that fact that I'm autistic doesn't make it not so" is something I would say (actually, I think I've said it,) it's not that good an introduction for saying I'm totally wrong about things. When I say it,  I then go on to point out that ignoring/denying the fact that I'm autistic leads to all kinds of bad things. So I don't entirely know what the point of that sentence is. I'm not denying my neurology when I say I'm Autistic...
    Person first language is important because it reduces dehumanization (which has led to abuse and misunderstanding of many disorders).
    Person first language was important in its original historical reason, which is pretty much the reason that you gave. It still is important for many people. See also, why when I run into people who prefer to be called people with insert disability here, I do it And yeah, it's a lot better than, say, calling your clients ableist slurs. Which is what it was often meant to replace, by the way.
    There are dehumanization of disability things that happen with "person with thing" too. Some of them are actually based on "person with." People can assume that you could be a person without insert disability here just as easily, and then abuse for the purpose of making you be so. That's bad. It goes with "hi I see this disability as so incompatible with humanity that we need to remind ourselves constantly that you are human."
    It goes with "your disability isn't that important to who you are, if it went away you wouldn't be much different." That's not going to go well with a pervasive developmental disability.
    And how about this? If you all spent the time dealing with issues we face like our murderers getting sympathy instead of taking a swing at a small piece of self-determination called deciding for myself what I want to be called? Maybe there would be less dehumanization and abuse?
    Yes, I went there. Letting a person decide what they want to be called is part of self-determination. I know that's one of the words folks like to at least say they care about.
    You are selfish and short sighted/ignorant for setting back that cause.
    Ah, the ad hominem. Inaccurate. I'm not ignorant. I know the history. Times change. Languages change. A lot of places have corrupted person-first language in ways that are actually problematic and maybe you should look at those ways before calling me ignorant. When words, causes get corrupted, appropriated? You can try to take it back, or you can find a different tack that hasn't been corrupted yet. "With autism" often ends with abuse in the name of making us become without autism.
    If and when autistic gets taken over by people who give it bad meanings? Yeah, if I don't think we're in a position to take it back, I might move again. I don't think they're going to any time soon, though, because right now we've got a pretty good hold on "it means this is a significant part of who I am and I won't let you ignore that." Which is actually kind of the opposite of ignoring the fact that I'm autistic?
    One reason you people have such a hard time is that you don't understand other viewpoints.
    More going after my personal traits instead of my ideas, and also wrong. I can understand viewpoints other than mine just fine. I've never tried to talk a person with autism who prefers person with autism into using "autistic." Know why? Because I understand that they have a different viewpoint, that they have different experiences, and that the language they prefer can be affected by that. So I go with their preference. Seriously, I would think my most recent post about language (until now) would illustrate that I'm totally OK with person-first for people who prefer it, which means I understand that some people do, which means I understand a viewpoint which is not my own, which means this statement is wrong
    It's also likely based on Theory of Mind, which is a problematic basis for several reasons. One is that neurotypical folk have trouble figuring out the viewpoints of people significantly unlike them too! Which, um, yeah, autistic/allistic is a divide where it's going to be hard. Since allistic folks tend not to need to figure out autistic folk, they get to say we're unknowable, not make an effort, and blame their lack of understanding on our differences. The fact that we have some trouble figuring them out, too? Is because we can't understand others viewpoints, or that others have viewpoints: Theory of Mind.
    The world doesn't revolve around you. 
    Hm. Not sure where I said it did. Pretty sure it revolves around the sun (is a miasma of incandescent plasma.) [They Might Be Giants. I needed something nice in the pile of fail.]
    But seriously, not news. I'm well aware that the world is made to support white [I am that] able-bodied [and that] cis [I pass for it] straight [I pass for it] neurotypical [nope] men [nope.] However, my blog does order itself to my wishes.