Featured

THE INVISIBLE PRICE OF ACCOMMODATION — Renata Jurkevythz

October 22, 2018 Spectrum Women

Every accommodation provided for a person with a disability, be it physical or mental, visible or invisible, is usually perceived as something they are getting “for free”. Something is being facilitated for them in a way it wouldn’t for a person without said disability. Supposedly, it is understood that it is not an advantage, but a way to make things less difficult, or simply possible, for someone already struggling with things that are taken for granted by others. Supposedly, of course. Therein lies the first problem disabled people face and that also originates the second one, the title of this […]

Advocacy

Stranger in a Strange Land: The Autistic Expatriate – Jeanette Purkis

September 3, 2018 Spectrum Women

I was at a conference this week and it generated some interesting thoughts in my mind. The light bulb moment was when a speaker talked about their child being ‘resistant to using the telephone’. I would have said that the child didn’t like using the telephone and I think the speaker would have too if the child were not autistic. Autistic people are frequently pathologised and our experiences seen in terms of being somehow deficient and in need of fixing. I do not want to detract from the conference, which was great, but that comment really set me thinking. I […]

Insights

15 THINGS YOU SHOULD ABSOLUTELY SAY TO AN AUTISTIC WOMAN

August 20, 2018 Spectrum Women

A Spectrum Women Compilation, edited by Becca Lory Hector, Jen Elcheson and Maura Campbell. Contributors: Barb Cook, Dena Gassner, Renata Jurkevythz, Lisa Toner Morgan, Liane Holliday Willey, Christine Jenkins, Terri Mayne, Kate Ross, and Anita Lesko. We received such an AUSOME response to our list of things you should NEVER say to an autistic woman that we had to compile a sister list for it of some really great things you could, and should, ABSOLUTELY say to an autistic woman (or any autistic adult regardless of gender). And since you guys finally felt the burn of being left out last […]

Special Feature

Meet the Spectrum Women Book Authors: Barb Cook

August 21, 2018 Spectrum Women

The Spectrum Women and authors of this book, Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism, felt it would be a great opportunity to tell you a little about ourselves and the reasons why we were part of this incredible project. Each Spectrum Woman has a unique story to tell and today, on the day the book has been released to the world,  we would like to introduce you to Barb Cook…   Today our book was released to the world, being transported by postmen on bikes, carried in vans, on trucks, via boat and carried by planes across the […]

Featured

15 THINGS YOU SHOULD NEVER SAY TO AN AUTISTIC WOMAN

August 13, 2018 Spectrum Women

A Spectrum Women Compilation, edited by Jen Elcheson and Maura Campbell Barb Cook, Dena Gassner, Renata Jurkevythz, Anita Lesko, Becca Lory, Terri Mayne, Jeanette Purkis, Kate Ross, Lisa Morgan Content Warning: ableism, paternalizing, bullying, sexism (pretty much a smorgasbord of awful). We present to you another collaborative piece where we discuss a bunch of things people should not say to autistic women (or, indeed, to any autistic person, female-presenting or otherwise) and why saying them can be negative from an autistic perspective. 1. “Are you sure you’re autistic?” Trying to talk someone out of their diagnosis, questioning their identity, saying […]

Featured

Meet the Spectrum Women Book Authors: Dr Michelle Garnett

August 3, 2018 Spectrum Women

The Spectrum Women and authors of this book, Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism, felt it would be a great opportunity to tell you a little about ourselves and the reasons why we were part of this incredible project. Each Spectrum Woman has a unique story to tell and today we would like to introduce you to Dr Michelle Garnett…   When Barb invited me to be a co-author of “Spectrum Women,” involving reading 19 chapters written by 15 autistic women about a diversity of life topics, I could not reply quickly enough to say “Yes!” in case […]

Parenting

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 […]

Spectrum Women Authors

Meet the Spectrum Women Book Authors: Samantha Craft

June 28, 2018 Spectrum Women

Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism is now in its final stages of publication, preparing to be printed for the wide world to see by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, we, the Spectrum Women and authors of this book, felt it would be a great opportunity to tell you a little about ourselves and the reasons why we were part of this incredible project. Each Spectrum Woman has a unique story to tell and today we would like to introduce you to Samantha Craft…   There is a popular quote by American anthropologist Margaret Mead that reads: ‘Never doubt that […]

Advocacy

If Neurodiversity Doesn’t Challenge You, You’re Not Doing It Right by Maura Campbell

June 23, 2018 Spectrum Women

“Would you like to pet the lambs?”  This story comes back to me whenever I have to check in with myself on whether I’m ‘doing neurodiversity right’. Let me explain. It was shortly after my son’s autism diagnosis, and many months before I’d cottoned on that I was also autistic. We were visiting an open farm as part of a large group of families, enjoying the opportunity to meet other parents raising kids on the spectrum.  Our lives had become very small in those early days, as we tried to process what autism meant for our beautiful boy, and even […]

Pride

My Pride by Jennifer O’Toole

June 18, 2018 Spectrum Women

I’m not proud to be autistic. Which, I realize, may seem like an odd way to start a piece that’s meant to celebrate Autistic Pride Day. But it’s not. Not really, anyway. It just takes some explaining. I played competitive tennis as a teenager. Twenty-five years later, I can clearly remember parents cheering courtside, our coach quick to praise us for making a strategic shot or communicating well with a doubles partner. It was, and is, easy to get swept along with the motion of things. To feel the irritation of “unforced errors” and find ourselves trapped in the toxic […]

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