Advocacy

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

September 28, 2021 Spectrum Women

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 […]

Featured

It’s Not A Personality Problem by Mary P. Donahue, Ph.D.

January 8, 2021 Spectrum Women

Recently I was asked to sit in on a meeting between an autistic parent and the managers of her child’s home mental health support team. The parent was having trouble communicating her concerns to the in-home supports. It had become frustrating for both mom and team, and services had ceased. Mom wanted to continue finding ways to help her son and also had to have information from the managers to help her process what had happened. Though considered a neurotypical person, I am fortunate to have some ability to translate between the neuro-typical and autism worlds. So I went. Holy […]

Education

How Self Care, Interoception & Co-Regulation has Increased Peace in Our Family Life by Christina Keeble

January 6, 2021 Spectrum Women

Why is interoception & co-regulation important to being able to self-regulate? I get asked this quite often when I introduce families and professionals to these concepts. For more than a decade I’d worked with children and families and used programs such as the Zones of Regulation, sensory profiles, and sensory diets while working on increasing the child’s ability to self-regulate. It wasn’t until I had my own children that I learned and understood the importance of interoception and co-regulation. It was just never introduced in the trainings or literature I read. Interoception is our 8th sense and is our awareness […]

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Rituals, Routines and Stims – Oh My! by Maura Campbell

July 22, 2020 Spectrum Women

Imagine you’re standing on a makeshift stage. Just you. It’s time to dance. You start to move around the stage, the dancing getting better as you feel more comfortable. Then somebody removes some of the struts holding up the rickety stage. You start to wobble. You slow down to a hesitant shuffle and eventually you have to stop… As an autistic, there are days when the world feels firm under my feet. Those are the days when what I’m doing seems familiar and ‘right’. I know what to expect and what is expected of me. I have the right balance […]

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It’s Here, and It’s Real: Emotional Pain in the Body by Mary P. Donahue, Ph.D.

April 26, 2020 Spectrum Women

In my experience working with autism and trauma, I’ve noticed a large number of autistic people who report physical pain that’s there “for no reason.” They haven’t over-exercised, moved furniture, or otherwise knowingly taxed the physical body. So, know this: physical pain can also result from strong emotional stress. It’s a real thing. Taking a few minutes to consider the miracle that is the body, physical pain resulting from over-taxing the brain makes sense; high stress creates high anxiety, and over time, that can cause tightened muscles, constrained blood flow, increased heart rate, and joint pain, among other things. Such […]

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Be Mindful, Be Present, Be You: How to Handle Crisis Anxiety – Becca Lory Hector, CAS, BCCS

March 21, 2020 Spectrum Women

With the world around us a chaotic mess, it is getting harder and harder to avoid becoming a giant, swirling, ball of anxiety. The current pandemic has disrupted our lives and the world as we know it is on hold for the foreseeable future. It has interrupted routines, forced schools to close, and sent many of us to work from home or not at all. It feels as though the rug has been pulled out from under our proverbial feet. If you are feeling a growing sense of dread, you are far from alone. Most of us are feeling overwhelmed […]

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Autism: A Brave New World? by Maura Campbell

February 10, 2020 Spectrum Women

“You’re very brave.” I get that a lot. In fact, I’ve been hearing it constantly ever since I ‘came out’ as autistic. It’s usually said kindly (I think) and so I try to take it in the spirit intended. But every time someone says to me “You’re very brave” it gets me thinking: why is it ‘brave’ to be open about being autistic? I think there might be a few reasons for that. They might see it as ‘brave’ for me to apply a word to myself that’s generally represented as something very different in popular culture – usually a […]

General

Event Review: Attwood & Garnett Events 1 day Conference ‘Women & Girls with Autism’ Senate House, London 17 Jan 2020 by Yvonne Moore, Mixed Media Artist.

January 24, 2020 Spectrum Women

I recently attended the final day of the three-day Attwood & Garnett Masterclass programme focusing on Autistic Women and Girls as part of a 200 seated delegated conference. This was made up of autistic individuals of all ages (diagnosed, self-diagnosed in the process of self-identification or pursuing a diagnosis), professionals, parents, at the beautiful Senate House in Bloomsbury central London. This building is famous for its links to iconic films such as The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawntreader, Batman Begins: The Dark Knight Rises and in more recent times has played host to several BBC TV series such […]

Autism April

VIDEO: NIMH Special Event – A Woman’s Voice: Understanding Autistic Needs

May 7, 2019 Spectrum Women

browser does not support iframe Run Time Approx 1 hour 40 minutes Event source page https://iacc.hhs.gov/meetings/autism-events/2019/april23/spectrum-women.shtml The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) is pleased to invite you to attend our annual special event to recognize National Autism Awareness Month, A Woman’s Voice: Understanding Autistic Needs. We will be hosting a Panel Presentation featuring three authors of the book Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism, Barb Cook, Liane Holliday-Willey, Ed.D., and Dena Gassner, M.S.W. The panel will also include Jennifer O’Toole, author of Autism in Heels: The Untold Story of a Female Life on […]

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“What IS Wrong With People?” Struggling to comprehend injustice by Janine Kharey

December 30, 2018 Spectrum Women

I believe that altruism is at the center of how civilizations managed to be successful. I don’t think humans could have survived long in self-serving society. There must be something in us that makes us care about more than just getting our own needs met, yet tales of cruelty, injustice and man’s inhumanity to man bombard us. As an elementary teacher my life was deeply enriched by the beautiful souls that passed through my classroom. Among one of those souls was a child so full of undaunted  joy , compassion and wonder who could not understand how people could be […]

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