Featured

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 […]

Advocacy

Barb Cook on the Autism Gender Gap, Being a Chameleon and Finding Your Tribe

May 2, 2018 Barb Cook

Barb Cook is founder and editor in chief of the international publication Spectrum Women Magazine, co-founder and director of the Australian Autism Aspergers Network Inc., and founder of Bikers for Autism Australia. Barb is a passionate autism advocate, keen motorcyclist with a love for visual arts. Barb has been recognised nationally and internationally for her work spanning from her original publication the Autism Aspergers Network Magazine. Today Nick McAllister from Autism West catches up with Barb for an exclusive interview. You were diagnosed as being autistic at the age of 40, is that unusual to have such a late diagnosis? Getting a diagnosis […]

Featured

Mental Health Care and Gaming — The CheckPoint Organisation

April 30, 2018 Spectrum Women

Interview by Spectrum Women feature writer Renata Jurkevythz Video Games are a common special interest among autistics. They provide experiences and teach tools in a safe environment ruled by logic, where you can fail and retry as many times as you need without getting hurt, or can simply enjoy a beautiful world that is not governed by confusing social rules. Especially for autistic minds, that must bear a never-ending flow of thoughts and emotions, they can provide a moment of focus and immersion that silences the brain while entertaining. Video games have been one of my major interests since I […]

Featured

Stess: Anxiety, Perfectionism, Black and White Thinking and Catastrophising by Yenn Purkis

April 16, 2018 Spectrum Women

This article focuses on the stresses which are more likely to be the domain of autistic people: what they are and some strategies that can help address them. Social anxiety While this is not exclusive to autistic people, it is a very common occurrence for us. We might think that other people don’t like us or are judging or discriminating against us. This often comes from being bullied or invalidated in other ways in the past. We end up second guessing ourselves or being either way too trusting or, alternatively way too cynical, assuming that behind any kind gesture there […]

Autism April

WHY WE THINK OUR PETS MIGHT ALSO BE ON THE SPECTRUM

March 29, 2018 Spectrum Women

A Spectrum Women collaboration, edited by Maura Campbell Kate Ross, Anita Lesko, Jen Elcheson, Lisa Morgan, Becca Lory, Christine Jenkins, Terri Mayne, Jeanette Purkis, Barb Cook Spectrum Women share a love of animals and we definitely reckon Kathy Hoopmann was on to something in her best-selling book, All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome (2006). Here’s why….     Kathy’s other titles include All Dogs Have ADHD, All Birds Have Anxiety, Inside Asperger’s Looking Out and The Asperger Adventure series. You can read more about Kathy and her books here.

General

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

March 14, 2018 Spectrum Women

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 the same drive for success as any other woman: career, family, autonomy and financial stability.  But too often I have been paddling upstream against a current of external factors I can’t control.  Finding ways to turn the boat downstream and work with those factors can […]

Refelection

The Best Version of Me by Lisa Morgan

March 11, 2018 Spectrum Women

I am an autistic adult who lived undiagnosed through the sixties and seventies in a school environment where differences were not accepted and teachers thought quiet, bright, students could be left alone in favor of the more vocal, struggling ones.  I fell through the cracks and landed in a no-man’s land of bullying, rejection, sensory assaults, and pervasive loneliness. As I think about those early years, my mind wanders back to a typical day and I visualize one of the most important conversations of my life. In my mind’s eye I see her sitting alone in a room full of […]

Featured

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

March 8, 2018 Barb Cook

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 […]

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 […]

Featured

‘DINA’ – MOVIE REVIEW

January 24, 2018 Spectrum Women

by Maura Campbell Dina (2017) is an unconventional love story featuring an autistic couple, Dina Buno and Scott Levin, and was the recipient of the U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. The movie charts the weeks leading up to Dina and Scott’s wedding day.  From a touchingly intimate yet unobtrusive viewpoint, it reveals some of the pivotal moments in their relationship. Dina succeeds in smashing several of the pervasive stereotypes about disability and personal relationships, and we see some beautifully tender moments as this engaging couple navigate their changing circumstances against the backdrop of suburban […]

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