02 February, 2010


So, in November I was seized with conviction: Oberlin needs an Autistic Self-Advocacy Network chapter! Or, to be more specific, I would like an ASAN chapter, but I don't know how many ASD kids go to Oberlin, if any. Or, to be even more specific, I've encountered two, and one just graduated--so I know there are two ASD kids at Oberlin. Hardly enough. I also don't know if the other ASD kid would be into this; he's really nice but I don't know whether he's interested in disability rights.

I needed to figure out how many interested ASD students there were, and find out who they were, and contact them. Not necessarily in that order. So I emailed the head of disability services asking if she could send out an email to all the students registered as disabled, so that anyone who was ASD and interested could get back to me.

She answered me like a month later saying that she'd needed time to let her thoughts "percolate" and that we should get an autism rights speaker at Oberlin, and she also sent me the Tim Page freakshow New Yorker piece (I'm being a little harsh, but I would probably feel more positive about the piece if I hadn't had to spend like two weeks agonizing over how to tactfully answer her query about whether it should be linked on the Oberlin disability services page). I linked some pieces that I thought were better (a New York Times article about accommodating ASD students in college, and Changing People to Fit Jobs, or Finding Jobs to Fit People? by Dora Raymaker--which I just think is amazing, and applicable to so many areas of life). She said that she knew all the disability services people quoted in the NY Times article, which was cool, and that we should meet and talk about ASAN. We agreed that we would meet when I got back on campus.

Guess what didn't happen! Can you guess? I figured it was dumb for me to wait for her so I emailed her a week or two ago saying that I was on campus. CAN YOU GUESS WHAT HAPPENED THEN?

I should probably delete this because it's kind of bad to criticize someone when it's really obvious who they are. I'm sure she's a good person, I know some disabled kids at Oberlin really like her, and she must be really busy--but she's the one who decided we need to have a meeting, and there's no reason for us to have a meeting. It's just like, why do people always have to make stuff about "having a meeting" and "talking?" I don't have anything to say to her anyway. I just wanted her to send out the email. She's done it for other disability-related student groups. Why does everyone have to make everything needlessly complicated?

This post is called WWAND because I was hoping that Ari Ne'eman was reading my blog and could advise me, but he probably isn't because he's famous and has a real life. Someone else advise me instead. Why does everything have to be so hard all the time? Why can't people just do things that other people ask, if they aren't difficult and make sense? This kind of thing isn't especially easy for me, but I realized that if I keep waiting around for a really organized and socially adept ASD kid to come to Oberlin, I'll be waiting forever. It might as well be me. So why can't it just be me?


  1. Maybe more students will come if there's an ASAN where they are.

    There are some other cool people, and non-students at that.

    Why indeed?

  2. Don't give up.

    I understand completely about the email.

    I had a professor who gave me a C without any explanation and I was certain I had completed all of the assignments perfectly so I sent him an email to ask him how he came to his decision about my grade. That's my right as a student and I should get an answer. Wether I agree or not is different, but I should at least get an answer. He emailed me back saying that I was RUDE to him for asking such a question especially through email! Then he explained that if I wanted an answer I had to meet with him in person so that we could "discuss" the situation.

    I was like, what situation, all I wanted was a simple answer to a simple question and I asked it in plain english (no rudeness involved). I felt like he wanted to add a whole crap load of social drama for no reason.

    Not surprisingly I did not go and have a "talk" with him and kept my C. I felt really left out.

  3. And that shows how important it is to have professors like you.

    Or at least give a social context that you and they are comfortable with and still act professionally.

    The professors of my acquaintance do try to explain at the start of the year or at the start of the semester. Then I end up picking up from how they might grade other students.

  4. Can I join your Oberlin ASAN chapter from New York?

    I personally would love a group to discuss being ASD in college... the stressers of being here are making my invisible disability more visible.

  5. I actually happen to be a huge fan of this blog and read it often. :) I'd be glad to discuss this with you in more detail and give my thoughts, should you want them. Can you send me more information about what happened? My e-mail's aneeman@autisticadvocacy.org. I'm generally available via e-mail, though if you don't hear back from me within a week or so, send me a follow up in case I didn't get it or it got buried underneath something else.