Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism is now in its final stages of publication, preparing to be printed for the wide world to see by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, we, the Spectrum Women and authors of this book, felt it would be a great opportunity to tell you a little about ourselves and the reasons why we were part of this incredible project. Each Spectrum Woman has a unique story to tell and today we would like to introduce you to Renata Jurkevythz…
For 35 years of my life, I had no idea I was autistic. By that point, I was just used to the fact I have always been the oddball and never felt like I belonged. Back then, I believed most people felt that way and it was just how introverts were. Then my son was diagnosed with classic autism and I started to realize his behavior was a lot more relatable to me than everyone else. I was not like them, I was like him. Looking from the outside it would seem the opposite, but on the inside, we were the same. I rushed to research all I could about autism, and in the process, I started to have contact with autistic adults. For the first time in my life, people were making sense. I then received my Asperger syndrome diagnosis. Everything came together, the truth was opening up in front of me and since then, nothing has been the same again. I could start being myself for once, talk about my real thoughts, feelings and struggles. The mask fell and it was liberating.
In the middle of this self-discovery hurricane, I had the pleasure to meet Barb online and started writing for Spectrum Woman Magazine. I was given the opportunity to express myself in the form I love the most, writing. It is hard to express how important this is to me, how amazing it feels to be able to not only write (which is something I am passionate about), but also do it about all the things I held inside all these years and so desperately wanted to get out. If this was not enough, I also found wonderful friends in my fellow magazine writers. People I identify with and care about deeply. I was searching for myself and found so much more.
When the book idea eventuated, Barb invited me to contribute. I believe I spent a week hyperventilating and having mini panic attacks out of happiness overload. I still cannot believe this was happening. I am so grateful. Writing alongside such special people, that I both admire and care about is a dream come true. It is a pleasure and an honor, and the writing process has been an amazing journey. I never thought it was possible to do something in a group so seamlessly while having so much fun. These women are really special and I am so happy to know them and be a part of all of that.
I do not have titles to show or professional experience in the autism field yet, but I write about my life and my deepest feelings, completely open and with all my heart. What I want is to help others like me to realize they are not alone, and hopefully help them deal with their problems. With my words, I offer support and comfort. Just as I found, and still find, in my fellow writer’s words.
Barb Cook and 14 other autistic women describe life from a female autistic perspective, and present empowering, helpful and supportive insights from their personal experience for fellow autistic women. Michelle Garnett’s comments validate and expand the experiences described from a clinician’s perspective, and provide extensive recommendations.
Autistic advocates including Liane Holliday Willey, Anita Lesko, Jeanette Purkis, Artemisia and Samantha Craft offer their personal guidance on significant issues that particularly affect women, as well as those that are more general to autism. Contributors cover issues including growing up, identity, diversity, parenting, independence and self-care amongst many others. With great contributions from exceptional women, this is a truly well-rounded collection of knowledge and sage advice for any woman with autism.
The Authors: Edited by: Barb Cook, Michelle Garnett
Contributions by: Jen Elcheson, Artemisia, Catriona Stewart, Anita Lesko, Liane Holliday Willey, Samantha Craft, Jeanette Purkis, Kate Ross, Becca Lory, Renata Jurkevythz, Terri Mayne, Maura Campbell, Dena Gassner, Christine Jenkins
Foreword by: Lisa Morgan
Release date 21st August, 2018.
Paperback / softback / Kindle
2018, 9.02in x 5.98in / 229mm x 152mm, 288pp