Featured

Affliction or condition? Battle or journey? by Christine Jenkins, SWM Correspondent

February 16, 2018 Spectrum Women

I compare and contrast my discovery of breast cancer with Asperger’s (ASD Level 1) My 50s have been a tumultuous time; I’ve dealt with the unfolding realities of separation, eventual divorce, menopause, gynecological issues, self identification on the autism spectrum, then official ASD diagnoses from 2008 onward. Then the bottom fell out of my world in Spring 2016 when I had two abnormal mammograms, swiftly followed by a very painful stereotactic biopsy of my left breast in early May.  Due to our wonderful Canadian healthcare coverage, I went from that to lumpectomy surgery in five weeks, then on to radiation […]

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Family Dynamics – Jeanette Purkis

January 22, 2018 Spectrum Women

Next week I m going to visit my parents. Despite having a difficult relationship in the past between us, I now love seeing them. I’m thinking how my mum will have a mango ready for my breakfast that she has specially bought and that Jalna yoghurt I like too. She has been telling me all about the shops in Beechworth that she wants to show me and the weekend will be spent just with family and friends I grew up with. Everyone will be happy to see me and ask me about what I am doing and it will be […]

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With a bit of luck… Jeanette Purkis

January 5, 2018 Spectrum Women

This post is about the idea behind ‘luck’—the impact of people’s attitudes, motivation and aspirations. It is first and foremost my own experience of these things. I will preface the piece by stating that your attitude is not a determinant of good or poor character, that it is never OK to blame someone for not managing adversity well and that different people can respond vastly differently to similar things. Autistic people often find they have a negative attitude and / or a pessimistic view. Sadly this is often due to the horrors which other human beings put us through, particularly […]

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The Big Sigh by Becca Lory, CAS, BCCS

November 27, 2017 Spectrum Women

This is one of those days. I feel it the moment I open my eyes. I instantly loathe that I am awake. I fall into an old habit of calculating how many hours I will have to reasonably be out of my bed before I can crawl back into it without having to feign illness or apologize for not returning a text. Twelve? Maybe if I stay in bed a little longer I can make it eleven. As I close my eyes, hoping for a lessened sentence, the dogs start to rouse. I hear the shuffle of early morning stretches, […]

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The women who don’t know they’re autistic

July 21, 2017 Spectrum Women

Fabienne Cazalis, École des Hautes Études en sciences sociales (EHESS) This article was co-written by Adeline Lacroix, who works with Fabienne Cazalis and was recently diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. A second year master’s student in psychology, she is working on a scientific literature review about the characteristics of high-functioning autistic women. Let’s call her Sophie. The description we’ll give could be that of any woman who is on the autistic spectrum without knowing it. Because they’re intelligent and used to compensating for communication impediments they may not be consciously aware of, these women slip through the cracks of our still-too-inefficient […]

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Salads, Spreadsheets & the Spectrum: The Fight that Has Nothing to Do with Food – Jennifer O’Toole

May 7, 2017 Spectrum Women

**Content Warning: Eating Disorders, Self-Harm Including excerpts from Sisterhood of the Spectrum: An Asperger Chick’s Guide to Life” Some years ago, psychologist Carol Dweck took a good, hard look at a bunch of very bright fifth-grade boys and girls. Specifically, she observed what happened when these kids were presented with new concepts — confusing information meant to cause them a bit of frustration. How, Dr. Dweck wondered, would they handle the stress? Among the girls in the study, the higher the IQ, the more likely they were to give up when asked to learn something that was particularly foreign or […]

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

Disability Free December — Linda Wemyss

May 4, 2017 Spectrum Women

A few years ago, I had had enough of disability to last me a lifetime. I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) which involves faulty collagen, which is the glue that holds our bodies together, so I am literally falling apart. Ehlers Danlos in my case, involves multiple joint dislocations and subluxations every day, generalised pain and fatigue, a seven year old migraine, a neurological condition called dysautonomia, and a wide range of medical problems involving my organs. I use a wheelchair. I also have autism, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (c-PTSD), anxiety disorder, dysthymia, and a few common medical problems […]

Autism April

Disclosure – The Pros and Cons – Maura Campbell

April 22, 2017 Spectrum Women

Whether to disclose an autism diagnosis is an important issue for many newly diagnosed adults. I would never presume to tell someone in that position what to do, though I would encourage them to take a bit of time to think about it.  What is said cannot subsequently be unsaid. After I was told, in a private consultation, that I had Asperger Syndrome I pretty much burst out of the Aspie closet immediately.  I hadn’t given the matter of disclosure much thought, which was uncharacteristic for me since I usually overthink practically everything.  I was so euphoric on the day […]

Autism April

How I Learned To Love Having My Period as an Autistic Woman – Kate Ross

April 13, 2017 Spectrum Women

VAGINA!! Now that I’ve got that out of the way, we can get down to business. This article will be using blunt and factual language which may make some readers squeamish, but my aim is to help start a conversation and not to offend. As women, we all share the commonality of experiencing menstruation, more colloquially called periods. However, for some crazy reason, we are restricted to talking about this in hushed tones away from anyone we might possibly offend by talking about this perfectly natural process. As I write this, Eve Ensler’s one-woman show The Vagina Monologues is playing […]

Latest News

A Stark Reminder: Autistic in the Air by Dena Gassner MSW

July 6, 2016 Spectrum Women

A few weeks ago, I had a presentation in another state here in the U.S. Those who hear me speak about accommodations know that I always say, “We shouldn’t seek to outgrow our need for accommodations but instead, to grow into them.” I firmly believe that there is a huge bias in that individuals with more obvious conditions (using a cane, wheelchair, etc.) are empowered to maximize their accommodations, however, individuals with invisible differences are set on an early path to seeking the outward appearance of ‘normal’ which means not asking for or getting accommodations. This becomes extremely problematic when […]

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