Featured

Gender Identity, Sexuality and Autism — Some thoughts and reflections by Jeanette Purkis

November 29, 2017 Spectrum Women

As a child I was told I was a ‘tomboy’. I rarely wore skirts or dresses and was far more interested in toy trucks and cranes than dolls, which I was confused by. What was the point of plastic people and what was I supposed to do with them? I wasn’t interested in boys growing up and couldn’t understand why anyone would intentionally wear uncomfortable high heeled shoes. Makeup baffled me. It looked like clay on people’s faces and red lipstick just made them look like a clown — or, as I got older and knew about such things — […]

Arts

Meaning of Life—an over-thinker’s guide to the universe by Barb Cook

October 2, 2017 Spectrum Women

I have elevated over-thinking to an art form. Ever since I was a small girl, I often wondered what life meant, right down to the atom level of existence. I have always felt compelled to believe that there was some higher meaning or bigger picture to this existence on planet earth and I want to know why, in detail, from every aspect and angle. In my pre-autistically identified younger days, I was often found lost in my head. The world inside often gave me a source of wonderment as well as a place to try and analyse all that I […]

Advocacy

Striking a Path into Neurotypical Space – Jeanette Purkis

September 21, 2017 Spectrum Women

I am a forty-three year old Autistic woman. Like many other Autistic people I have some quite significant ‘differences’ setting me apart from my neurotypical peers. Some of these stem directly from my Autism—things like being unable to read body language or not noticing anyone’s emotions unless they tell me or give a strong hint. I don’t usually notice if someone is crying unless they are doing it loudly! I don’t ever ‘do’ eye contact. If I remember I will look at a spot on the bridge of the nose of the person I’m talking with, but more often than […]

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 […]

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 […]

Employment

AUTISM IN THE WORKPLACE – MAURA CAMPBELL

September 8, 2016 Spectrum Women

I was born with the social skills of a used teabag. Seriously, I thought maybe the other kids in school had been handed a manual on “peopling” one day when I was off sick or something.  But thankfully I’ve learned enough over the years to “pass” when I need or want to, mostly through trial and (lots of) error or by observing other people. I’m at a point now where I can function pretty well socially; it just takes a hell of a lot of effort to do it and I have to be selective in how and when I […]

General

The Chameleons: Women with Autism

June 19, 2016 Spectrum Women

We often hear about autism in men, but rarely in women. SBS The Feed, looks at three different generations of women living with autism and how the stigma of the condition is amplified. We often hear about autism in men, but rarely in women. The Feed looks at three different generations of women living with autism and how the stigma of the condition is amplified by gender. More than 200,000 Australians have autism. It’s diagnosed four times more in males than in females and some experts in the field believe this reflects a failure of diagnostic processes rather than a […]

Latest News

COLOUR CODING FOR LEARNERS WITH AUTISM

June 19, 2016 Spectrum Women

COLOUR CODING FOR LEARNERS WITH AUTISM A Resource Book for Creating Meaning through Colour at Home and School By Adele Devine Jessica Kingsley Publishers RRP  AU$53.95 print – Footprint Books Review by Barb Cook – Editor-in-Chief – Spectrum Women Magazine Colour Coding for Learners with Autism is a fun and motivational learning tool for children on the autism spectrum. Often visual learners, children on the spectrum will find this book engaging whilst giving them a secure learning environment. The author’s extensive background as a special needs teacher working with children with autism, has allowed her to develop this effective colour […]

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