• Advocacy

    Masking and Camouflaging: The Where, When and Why by Barb Cook Developmental Educator

    Autistic people often mask and camouflage as they feel uncomfortable about showing their true selves, or, to avoid standing out in the crowd. This occurs due to a lack of understanding and acceptance of difference within society, and the autistic person feeling they must hide who they really are, in fear of being seen as odd, weird or strange. There are some differences between masking and camouflaging and when this can happen. Camouflaging is generally seen as trying to merge into the background, not to be seen or stand out to other people. Another term is blending. You are trying to blend in with your surroundings. For example, this could occur at work or school during lunchtime, when trying to avoid talking to co-workers or [...]
  • Featured

    Disability Behind The Curtain by Gabrielle Hailstone

    Standing in B+ behind a draped curtain was my most anticipated experience as an autistic dancer. “5, 6, 7, 8…and pirouette! That’s great, now again.” I loved that part. The “again” part. Until I was twenty years old, ballet was my special interest. It’s what I wanted to be when I grew up: A prima ballerina. A dream that would ultimately end in failure when I couldn’t “take it” any longer. But what was “it” that I couldn’t “take” exactly? Rhetorical Question (RQ), I thought it was the “dance world”. I thought it was a number of different things other than what it actually was: masking ASD. Only diagnosed two years ago, my go to emotion lately has been rage. Rage because it didn’t always [...]
  • Featured

    Autistic Pride: Be Unashamedly You ~ Barb Cook

    I believe in myself… finally. It hasn’t always been this way. Life was this strange existence that I could never quite figure a way to get through. Well, that was to the outside world around me. Life in my own world made perfect sense — especially as a young girl — but that changed as the years went by, and self-doubt began to creep in. I have blundered my way through most of my life until I learnt about autism back in 2008, leading to my diagnosis in 2009. That day, March 3rd, was the best day of my life. Seriously. It was a stepping stone to finally accepting me for who I am, and to embark on a journey to find my true self. [...]
  • Featured

    Pity? Ugh! by Lisa Morgan M.Ed. CAS

    **Content warning: suicide I had a service provider working with one of my sons say they were ‘sorry’ to me the other day.  This person hadn’t done anything wrong – until their apology.  They were ‘sorry’ for the state of my life.  Sorry… for my life being the way it is as far as they understood it! Yes, parenting as an autistic adult is difficult.  (I imagine parenting as a non autistic adult is difficult as well.)  Yes, growing up autistic in the 60’s/70’s was very difficult.  Yes, being bullied throughout my lifespan so far has been demeaning and harsh.  Yes, my husband’s suicide was/is very difficult to experience and process.  Yes, living as an autistic adult in 2020 is challenging, but… it has all [...]
  • Arts

    Representation Matters by Yenn Purkis

    Musician Sia recently released a film called Music which caused controversy in the autism / neurodiversity community as it features an allistic actor playing an autistic character. Sia caused further offence by talking about levels of functioning and at one point called an autistic actor who said they would have liked to have been cast in the film as ‘a bad actor.’ This post isn’t going to be all about ‘what Sia did’ but the situation does highlight a big issue in the autism community and the disability community more broadly – that of representation in media and representation generally. We are influenced by what we see on TV and in movies and the lyrics we hear in music. This seems to be particularly true [...]
Featured

‘What I (Don’t) Know About Autism’ – Interview with Jody O’Neill

by Spectrum Women in Arts

  Interview by Maura Campbell, Spectrum Women Features Writer. When writer and actor Jody O’Neill reached out to Spectrum Women about ‘What I (Don’t) Know About Autism’, I couldn’t resist getting in touch with her to find out more about the woman behind this groundbreaking Irish theatre production (soon to be available on demand). Performed by a cast of autistic and non-autistic actors and inspired by Jody’s own experiences, the play takes the audience on [...]

Pity? Ugh! by Lisa Morgan M.Ed. CAS

**Content warning: suicide I had a service provider working with one of my sons say they were ‘sorry’ to me the other day.  This person hadn’t done anything wrong – until their apology.  They were ‘sorry’ for the state of my life.  Sorry… for my life being the way it is as far as they understood it! Yes, parenting as an autistic adult is difficult.  (I imagine parenting as a non autistic adult is difficult [...]

“MILDLY DIFFERENT” – Interview with Anna Czarska

Mildly Different is an exciting new film project which aims to shed light on what autism in women looks and feels like from an autistic perspective. Maura Campbell met up with Anna Czarska, Managing Director of Sticky Tape Productions, to find out more. How did the idea for the film come about and what are you hoping to achieve through this project? The film was inspired by my own experiences. I went through most of my life not knowing about my autism and believing there was something inherently wrong with me. This not only led to a great deal of [...]

Reducing Workplace Stress: Working Together on Self-Care by Barb Cook, M.Aut., Dip.HSc.

How often do we hear ourselves saying “I just need to finish this job and then I can take a break”, or “If I can get this project finished, I can then take a couple of days off”? When we tell ourselves this over and over again, without taking action to ‘look after ourselves’, the cracks inevitably will begin to appear. The internal motivation of “I’ll get this job done, then I can…”, becomes the ultimate words of dread, with the “then I can…” [...]

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Featured

THE TOP TEN THINGS PARENTS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT GIRLS ON THE SPECTRUM

March 8, 2018

Feature photo: Becca Lory with her mom ©Becca Lory 2018 A Spectrum Women collaboration, edited by Maura Campbell In honour of International Women’s Day, the Spectrum Women writers have compiled a list of things we think it’s particularly important for parents or carers of girls on the autism spectrum to know. 1. Recognise how autism presents differently in girls In adult studies, the 4:1 male/female ratio in autism diagnosis disappears. This means autistic girls are not rare. Persist when they say so. Look for intensity and insistence on sameness. Many of our behaviours are quite typical but we won’t choose to […]

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In the Spotlight

Six Kindnesses for Living by Jennifer Lisi in partnership with Happy Hands Toys

by Spectrum Women in General

The body is a wonderful thing, complete with a glorious system of nerves for experiencing our resplendent world.  Most individuals seamlessly navigate their sensory environment.  But for myself and other autistics, simple tasks lay at the mercy of sensation.  I am forty-one years old trying to make each day of my life matter.  I have [...]
Arts

‘What I (Don’t) Know About Autism’ – Interview with Jody O’Neill

October 27, 2021

  Interview by Maura Campbell, Spectrum Women Features Writer. When writer and actor Jody O’Neill reached out to Spectrum Women about ‘What I (Don’t) Know About Autism’, I couldn’t resist getting in touch with her to find out more about the woman behind this groundbreaking Irish theatre production (soon to be available on demand). Performed by a cast of autistic and non-autistic actors and inspired by Jody’s own experiences, the play takes the audience on a journey that celebrates autistic identity and offers deeper insights to those less familiar with autism, smashing some tired old myths along the way.   […]

Arts

Representation Matters by Yenn Purkis

January 27, 2021

Musician Sia recently released a film called Music which caused controversy in the autism / neurodiversity community as it features an allistic actor playing an autistic character. Sia caused further offence by talking about levels of functioning and at one point called an autistic actor who said they would have liked to have been cast in the film as ‘a bad actor.’ This post isn’t going to be all about ‘what Sia did’ but the situation does highlight a big issue in the autism community and the disability community more broadly – that of representation in media and representation generally. […]

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