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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 […]

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Proverbs 31, What? by Shannon Hughes

January 23, 2020 Spectrum Women

*Content warning: suicidal ideation, depression, language Any woman who grew up in a fundamentalist Christian home knows that the Proverbs 31 woman is the ideal she should aspire to. Even if she’s not familiar with the scripture reference, she’s familiar with the archetype. The Proverbs 31 woman is the backbone of her community, the Martha Stewart who cares for her husband and children with stalwart devotion, executing feats of organization and economy that undergird civilization itself. She’s strong, savvy, and entrepreneurial. Because of her, her loved ones are protected, and most importantly, her husband is a success. When I was […]

Arts

What I like by Jenny Snyder

July 6, 2019 Spectrum Women

People make autism out to be scary and pitiable. But there are lots of things I LIKE about being autistic. Focus:  Focusing on an activity is incredibly energizing. You could say I have a one-track mind. I am good at certain kinds of things because it’s easy to totally commit myself to some drive and I am pretty much single minded.  Thoughts are like drugs to me.  A few times in my life people have commented, “You think too much,” like my focus was weird, but I love the non-stop inner deliberations.  My mind is not a bad place to […]

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Self-Protection by Yenn Purkis

December 26, 2018 Spectrum Women

I was in a documentary alongside three other autistic people which aired in 2010. In one scene, the four of us are having a conversation. One person, Akasha, said ‘The amount of money I have been ripped off is getting close to $500,000’. The other three of us all nodded in a very knowing way. I’m not sure about $500K but I have definitely been ripped off a lot of money over the years. I have been victim of scams and cons, plus toxic and dangerous people have manipulated me and taken advantage of me in many different areas of […]

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My Gratitude List by Jen Elcheson

December 17, 2018 Spectrum Women

Recently, I was talking with a friend I had not spoken to in a while. As I updated her on all the current happenings in my life, we both came to the realization that I have much to be grateful for right now and should write something about gratitude; so when things get bumpy, I will have something to fall back on. Also, as my autism diagnosis/professional identification turns 20 this year, it could not be a better time to do this! There is a lot of talk around gratitude in popular culture, social media memes, and psychology right now […]

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Interview: Meet Cynthia Zuber

November 6, 2018 Spectrum Women

Spectrum Women Magazine Interview by Jen Elcheson Cynthia Zuber is a health and wellness writer from the U.S. who lives in the state of Minnesota with her husband, their adorable dog Jonah, and their 18 year old black cat, Juniper.  Cynthia, now 43, professionally identified as having Asperger’s (which in North America, according to the DSM-5 is ASD Level 1, or autism) at age 40, recently joined the autistic blogosphere with her Facebook based blog, The Neurodiverse Woman, which she hopes to eventually turn into a website. Her musings are deep and insightful, brimming with self-awareness, and empowering sentiments that […]

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 […]

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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, Yenn 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 […]

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Non-Verbals and Me by Jen Elcheson

May 6, 2018 Spectrum Women

“Smile,” “look, natural, Jen,” “stop making funny faces,” “stop moving,” “look at me.” Those were just some of the things that were said when I was younger. This didn’t just happen when my photo was being taken, it also happened whenever someone wanted to get my attention. I did not even realize my idiosyncratic body language/movements or facial expressions (or lack thereof), and was actually doing what came natural to me at the time, whether it was zoning out or looking perpetually astonished like the proverbial deer in the headlights (those are just a couple of examples). To further confound […]

Arts

Tempus Fugit! The Aspergers Girl Becomes the Spectrum Woman by Kimberly Gerry-Tucker

March 3, 2018 Spectrum Women

Painting by Kimberly Gerry Tucker, superhero interpretation of ‘The Last Supper’. Is life not an elaborate Goldberg Machine; like the old game MouseTrap? A complex state of affairs in which a series of actions are linked together to produce a domino effect in which activating one device triggers the next device in the sequence? Tempus Fugit! (Time is wasting). Making and keeping friends growing up was like the Goldberg Machine. I knew that just one accepted invitation, (like the Goldberg) would trigger more invites, would lead to chit-chatty parties, and (gasp) sleepovers with Dads who made gross things for breakfast and Moms who would ask […]

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