• Featured

    Living My Life More Authentically Autistic by Dr Trish Leonard-Curtin

    Over the last year I’ve been on a path of understanding myself and my place in the world in an entirely different way than before. Last year I received my autism diagnosis, and earlier this year, it was confirmed that I also have ADHD. Finally, in my early forties, I now have a language and understanding of experiences which have confused me my whole life. Somewhere at last to sensibly organise that bundle of personal oddities and self-enquiries I’d buried deep inside and tried to cover up. For the most part, when I was young, I got by okay enough. In childhood, it was socially acceptable for me to daydream, say random stuff and escape to a make-believe world in my mind. Mostly, I could [...]
  • Featured

    What is Wellness?

    by Barb Cook M.Aut.(Edu), Dip.HSc.(Nut), Developmental Educator, Integrative Neurodivergent Nutritionist & Adult ADHD Coach We all need energy. How we obtain it however can come from a variety of sources. We can get energy from food which gives us calories to burn, sleep which restores our mental and physical wellbeing so we have energy to do things throughout the day, and from doing things we enjoy. Looking at all the different ways to obtain energy has me thinking about the necessity of food. Food provides our bodies with fuel as well as sustaining life. Over the past few decades, we have seen an enormous increase in food choices, but a decline in health as obesity, diabetes, coronary heart disease and cancer rise in increasing numbers. [...]
  • Arts

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

      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.   What led to you being professionally identified as autistic? I received my diagnosis in June of 2019, but I had already realised I was autistic [...]
  • 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

An Introduction to Self-Advocacy & Self-determination Skills. What Are They and Why Are They So Important?

by Spectrum Women in Advocacy

by Barb Cook M.Aut.(Edu), Dip.HSc.(Nut), Developmental Educator, Integrative Neurodivergent Nutritionist & Adult ADHD Coach Neurodivergent people often experience challenges in exercising skills associated with self-determination and self-advocacy. Self-determination and self-advocacy are pinnacle life skills that drives your success in education, employment, independence and within society. With the right supports, tools and strategies, you can develop a strong sense of self-determination, that builds your confidence in knowing how to advocate for your needs. When neurodivergent people gain these skills, [...]

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