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An open letter to ‘martyr’ parents – Jeanette Purkis

July 15, 2018 Spectrum Women

I will preface this by clearly stating that I have no issue with parents of autistic kids. It would be rude — and foolish — if I did, considering that a lot of my advocacy work is with parents. I recognise the vital role parents have in supporting their kids to grow to be strong and fulfilled autistic adults. Parenting can be very difficult and parents usually do an amazing job. This letter relates to a small subset of parents within the world of autism… I was in conversation online in response to a post about a TV program featuring […]

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I have a mental illness, I’m autistic and proud by Jeanette Purkis

June 13, 2018 Spectrum Women

This is a piece about mental illness and autism. It was quite difficult to write as it looks at issues of discrimination and exclusion from some parts of the autistic community. While it may be uncomfortable, issues like this need to be raised so we can address them. The name of my personal blog is Jeanette Purkis: Thoughts on All Things Autism and Mental Health. Occasionally I get a comment saying ‘Autism is not a mental illness.’ Cue someone very carefully and painstakingly setting me straight on something I apparently don’t know — that autism and mental illness are not […]

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SWM presents Dr Isabelle Hénault speaking with Christine Jenkins ~ Autistic Women and Intimate Relationships

May 31, 2018 Spectrum Women

Spectrum Women Magazine (SWM) presents an interview with Dr. Isabelle Hénault (psychologist and sexologist) speaking with SWM Correspondent Christine Jenkins about autistic women and intimate relationships. Topics discussed are safety, consent, naivety, how to read the signals, and misreading intentions. Dr. Hénault also gives insight to the upcoming clinical guidelines for identifying autistic females, and on sexuality and the law. Recording date May 12, 2018 Montreal, Canada. Information and links to books mentioned in interview: The Autism Spectrum, Sexuality and the Law: What every parent and professional needs to know — Tony Attwood, Isabelle Hénault and Nick Dubin. https://www.jkp.com/uk/the-autism-spectrum-sexuality-and-the-law.html Upcoming […]

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Anxiety and Depression — A Spectrum Women Collaboration for Mental Health Awareness Week

May 18, 2018 Spectrum Women

Anxiety and depression is a common factor for many of us on the autism spectrum and something we battle, struggle, tussle, manage, and cope with most days. Many of us have our own strategies to manage the difficult times that consume us, and some of the Spectrum Women wanted to share with you their personal insights into how they tackle anxiety and depression. We also want to highlight for Mental Health Awareness Week just how important good mental wellbeing and self-care is, especially for all of us on the autism spectrum… Lisa Morgan… I often get depressed over how much […]

Book Releases

“FIFTEEN THINGS THEY FORGOT TO TELL YOU ABOUT AUTISM” — BOOK REVIEW AND INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR DEBBY ELLEY

May 12, 2018 Spectrum Women

Interview by Maura Campbell, Spectrum Women Features Writer. I just blitzed through the book I wish I could have read when my son was diagnosed with autism eight years ago. Fifteen Things They Forgot To Tell You About Autism, penned by Debby Elley, one of the driving forces behind Aukids magazine, was published in April and is already attracting great reviews. I can see why. Debby’s book is packed with helpful advice and practical tips based on what she’s learned over the years as a mother of twin autistic boys.  It reads like a conversation with a wise and trusted […]

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Oh! The Meaning of the Meaning of Words… by Lisa Morgan

May 8, 2018 Spectrum Women

Words have meanings!  Unfortunately, they have lots of different meanings for people, making it a challenge to communicate. There are phrases such as, “Let’s go for coffee soon,” which somehow usually means “Hi, it’s good to see you; I wish we could spend time together, but it’s impossible right now”. Also, “We need to talk about goals soon” can mean “I’m really busy and this is going to have to wait”. One of my favorites over the years has been, “Text (or call) you later” meaning “goodbye”.  Where is this all written down?  How do other people know this language […]

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Non-Verbals and Me by Jen Elcheson

May 6, 2018 Spectrum Women

“Smile,” “look, natural, Jen,” “stop making funny faces,” “stop moving,” “look at me.” Those were just some of the things that were said when I was younger. This didn’t just happen when my photo was being taken, it also happened whenever someone wanted to get my attention. I did not even realize my idiosyncratic body language/movements or facial expressions (or lack thereof), and was actually doing what came natural to me at the time, whether it was zoning out or looking perpetually astonished like the proverbial deer in the headlights (those are just a couple of examples). To further confound […]

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Mental Health Care and Gaming — The CheckPoint Organisation

April 30, 2018 Spectrum Women

Interview by Spectrum Women feature writer Renata Jurkevythz Video Games are a common special interest among autistics. They provide experiences and teach tools in a safe environment ruled by logic, where you can fail and retry as many times as you need without getting hurt, or can simply enjoy a beautiful world that is not governed by confusing social rules. Especially for autistic minds, that must bear a never-ending flow of thoughts and emotions, they can provide a moment of focus and immersion that silences the brain while entertaining. Video games have been one of my major interests since I […]

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Stess: Anxiety, Perfectionism, Black and White Thinking and Catastrophising by Jeanette Purkis

April 16, 2018 Spectrum Women

This article focuses on the stresses which are more likely to be the domain of autistic people: what they are and some strategies that can help address them. Social anxiety While this is not exclusive to autistic people, it is a very common occurrence for us. We might think that other people don’t like us or are judging or discriminating against us. This often comes from being bullied or invalidated in other ways in the past. We end up second guessing ourselves or being either way too trusting or, alternatively way too cynical, assuming that behind any kind gesture there […]

Autism April

WHY WE THINK OUR PETS MIGHT ALSO BE ON THE SPECTRUM

March 29, 2018 Spectrum Women

A Spectrum Women collaboration, edited by Maura Campbell Kate Ross, Anita Lesko, Jen Elcheson, Lisa Morgan, Becca Lory, Christine Jenkins, Terri Mayne, Jeanette Purkis, Barb Cook Spectrum Women share a love of animals and we definitely reckon Kathy Hoopmann was on to something in her best-selling book, All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome (2006). Here’s why….     Kathy’s other titles include All Dogs Have ADHD, All Birds Have Anxiety, Inside Asperger’s Looking Out and The Asperger Adventure series. You can read more about Kathy and her books here.

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