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 […]

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Disability Behind The Curtain by Gabrielle Hailstone

August 9, 2021 Spectrum Women

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 […]

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Pity? Ugh! by Lisa Morgan M.Ed. CAS

March 12, 2021 Spectrum Women

**Content warning: suicide I had a service provider working with one of my sons say they were ‘sorry’ to me the other day.  This person hadn’t done anything wrong – until their apology.  They were ‘sorry’ for the state of my life.  Sorry… for my life being the way it is as far as they understood it! Yes, parenting as an autistic adult is difficult.  (I imagine parenting as a non autistic adult is difficult as well.)  Yes, growing up autistic in the 60’s/70’s was very difficult.  Yes, being bullied throughout my lifespan so far has been demeaning and harsh.  […]

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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 […]

Advocacy

Imposter Syndrome by Lisa Morgan M.Ed. CAS

October 12, 2020 Spectrum Women

Have you ever felt the thrill of a hard-won success – only to completely doubt your abilities soon after? Maybe you stepped out of your comfort zone, worked very hard, did an incredible job, but then started to rationalize it was all just luck?  How about feeling like a fraud, even though you have clear evidence you are not? Even irrefutable, written, positive feedback can be dismissed by the doubt and angst inflicted upon people by the Imposter Syndrome. The Imposter Syndrome is a lying thief. Just as I started moving forward, taking risks, and enjoying successes; it crashed into […]

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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 […]

Advocacy

When so Little was Known of Autism by Lisa Morgan M.Ed. CAS

June 29, 2020 Spectrum Women

Autistic adults who are now in their 30’s and older are a unique group of people twice over.  First, they are unique because they are autistic and second because most of them grew up undiagnosed.  In the US, autism did not become a common word until the 1960’s, even so, it was still extremely rare to have a diagnosis of autism in the 60’s and 70’s or even 80’s.  School kids were helped by IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) from 1975 and beyond, but at first all kids were labeled “disabled” and the techniques used to help them were […]

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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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Today by Lisa Morgan M.Ed. CAS

March 31, 2020 Spectrum Women

My alarm goes off.  As my mind transitions from sleeping to waking up, I wonder what day it is.  Oh, yeah, it’s today.  It’s always today now.  There’s no schedule to discern one day from the next anymore.  It’s the spring of 2020 and the whole world changed just a couple of weeks ago. Then, I start to remember.  This today is going to be a great day!  Things are really going to get exciting!  I had decided the night before to shake things up a bit and have my coffee in the living room by the window instead of […]

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