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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Identity

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 […]

Education

Just How Hard Can Easy Be? By Lisa Morgan

June 2, 2018 Spectrum Women

I’d like to take a look at how hard ‘easy’ can be for an autistic person. For this purpose, I’m going to use actors in a play. The setting is a classroom.  The lead role is an autistic student (played by me). The supporting roles are comprised of the teacher, other students, and any aides in the room. The antagonist is the environment. Let’s take a moment and look at a school environment through the eyes of an autistic student. First, let’s consider the setting of a typical classroom in an elementary school. The room is bright and colorful with […]

Featured

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 […]

Featured

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 […]

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