Featured

Thinking the Autism Way by Lisa Morgan

September 8, 2017 Spectrum Women

Friendships are one of the best things in life, as well as, one of the hardest of all things to understand.  I want friendships, but they are a mystery to me.  Friendships are complicated, simple, painful, loving, scary, safe, and I could go on with my diametrically opposed words but I think I’ve made my point. So, when I have a friendship, I try to safeguard it from any possible mix-ups that can happen.  I know what these are because they’ve all happened before at some time in a previous friendship.  I safeguard it by explaining about autism and what […]

General

The Same Only Different – Maura Campbell

September 6, 2017 Spectrum Women

Imagine for a moment what it would be like if medical practitioners talked about red haired people the way they talk about autistics.  (Stay with me.) A description of a redhead might go something like this: Nearly 2% of people worldwide suffer from redhead disorder. Symptoms include abnormally pale skin, unusually thick hair follicles, hyper-sensitivity to changes in temperature and excessive freckling. There is no known cure. Within the redhead community, a debate might ensue about the relative merits of identity-first language (‘redhead’) versus person-first language (‘person with redheadedness’).  Some people might get in a lather over whether those with […]

Advocacy

‘Take me to your leader’ – Autism and leadership by Jeanette Purkis

September 3, 2017 Spectrum Women

Last night I was in a room full of people considered leaders—people making a difference in community work, CEOs and entrepreneurs, people with even longer CV’s than me! I was a finalist in the ACT Excellence in Leadership Awards for the second year running. As I listened to the accomplishments of all the finalists and when I heard my own biography read out, I reflected on leadership—specifically what it means to me and why it is useful in the Autism community. I jotted down a note to write a post on Autism and leadership, got my certificate and then did […]

Arts

Creativity – Jeanette Purkis

August 12, 2017 Spectrum Women

It is 2011 in the psychiatric ward at Canberra Hospital, the dingy and oppressive and thankfully now long-closed ‘PSU.’ There is a new patient, a woman who doesn’t say much, looks agitated and scared and who wanders around all night looking at the linoleum tiles which have sparkles in them. She constantly listens to music on a tiny green iPod. Her diagnosis is indeterminate at this point – Asperger’s syndrome and some kind of psychosis. Doctors say she is hard to place diagnostically. The other patients remember her coming in a few days previously, wearing a suit, nice jewellery and […]

Featured

How does it feel, not being able to leave my own world? – Renata Jurkevythz

August 10, 2017 Spectrum Women

A while ago I wrote a piece about the feeling of living in my own world. It is a world that exists deep within me, and I am its sole inhabitant and ruler. It is very different from the outside world where this world feels like home to me. It feels natural. With this ascertained, I wanted to explain a different aspect of this world in how hard it is to simply leave it and enter the outer one, where everybody else is. My world is very busy, often confusing and extremely deep, but this is home. This isn’t a […]

My Life

My Safe Space – Barb Cook

July 28, 2017 Spectrum Women

Putting on my big black motorcycle jacket, boots and helmet makes me feel safe. I have an armour protecting me from the outside world that I don’t want to let in… but only for a while. I need this time away, so sorry, I am not letting you in behind this barrier…. this time is for me and me alone. I need this time; this space is for me, just me, so I can find my way back into the world with a mind that has unscrambled itself. When the world around me gets too loud, too bright, too confusing […]

My Life

The Glass of Milk – Maura Campbell

July 24, 2017 Spectrum Women

The teacher, a stern woman of a certain age, folded her arms across her ample bosom and stared intently over the top of her thick-rimmed glasses.  The reason for her evident irritation cowered before her – a painfully shy seven-year-old girl. A glass of milk sat untouched in front of the child. Mrs S. had presided over her terrified charges in this classroom for as long as anyone in the school – teachers and pupils alike – could remember. The children knew she meant business and none of them had ever had the temerity to defy her. Not until the […]

Parenting

Parental Invalidation ~ Jeanette Purkis

July 7, 2017 Spectrum Women

A good friend of mine who is the mum of one of the young women I mentor asked me to write this piece after she had witnessed another parent of an autistic teen post negative things about their child on social media without the teen’s consent. The content was something I can imagine the young person would have found monumentally embarrassing. Sadly if I recounted every instance where someone who should be a responsible adult belittles an autistic child or young person who is standing right next to them it would make quite a long and unpleasant book. This stuff […]

Relationships

Behaviour is Language ~ Renata Jurkevythz

July 5, 2017 Spectrum Women

In this insightful and thought provoking piece, Renata talks about how for her, learning languages (English being second to her native Portuguese) significantly compares to learning the innate social cues that non autistic individuals inherently know… People are so quick to doubt my diagnosis of Asperger’s just because I “behave like a regular person” and “don’t look autistic”. This really bothers me! This doesn’t just happen with me, but with the vast majority of diagnosed people that don’t match the male/classic stereotypes. And here lies a substantial problem. Too many of us have to go out proving ourselves all the […]

Featured

Spectrumly Speaking Episode 13 – Autism Advocacy in Australia, with Barb Cook of Spectrum Women Magazine

June 28, 2017 Spectrum Women

(28 mins) In this episode, hosts Katherine Cody, Psy.D. and Becca Lory, CAS, BCCS speak with Barb Cook. Barb was diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome in 2009 and is Founder and Editor in Chief of Spectrum Women Magazine. She is a highly committed Autism/Aspergers advocate, keen motorcyclist and web/graphics guru. Barb has made numerous appearances on Australian television and radio, in national newspapers and magazines, was part of a documentary The Chameleons: Women with Autism. She is also the Founder and Director of Bikers for Autism Australia and Co-Founder/Director of the Australian Autism Aspergers Network Inc. Barb discusses her personal diagnosis, the autism gender gap in […]

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