Featured

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 […]

Employment

Reducing Workplace Stress: Working Together on Self-Care by Barb Cook, M.Aut., Dip.HSc.

January 27, 2020 Spectrum Women

How often do we hear ourselves saying “I just need to finish this job and then I can take a break”, or “If I can get this project finished, I can then take a couple of days off”? When we tell ourselves this over and over again, without taking action to ‘look after ourselves’, the cracks inevitably will begin to appear. The internal motivation of “I’ll get this job done, then I can…”, becomes the ultimate words of dread, with the “then I can…” seeming to never come, and the list of ‘things to do’ becomes increasingly bigger. The more […]

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 […]

Employment

It’s Never too Early to Start: Planning Employment Futures with Autistic and Neurodivergent People by Barb Cook, M.Aut.

January 17, 2020 Spectrum Women

Opinion piece. The employment world can be a difficult one to navigate for most people, let alone for autistic and neurodivergent people. The employment journey starts way before getting a job. Society is led to believe that from a young age we need to get a good education, strive for a well-paid job, earn money to buy your first car, earn more money to move out and live on your own or with a partner, save and earn to support a family… the list goes on. This is something that many people aim for, that idyllic, perfect, fulfilling life. But […]

Featured

The Power of Acceptance by Lisa Morgan

December 22, 2019 Spectrum Women

I got a homemade gift the other day. It’s absolutely incredible in so many ways. The gift itself is beautiful, the person who made it even more so.  There are many layers of meaning within the gift; I’m still processing it days later. I want to share one meaning because it shows the power of acceptance. The gift is a stunning stained glass picture of an elegant flower sitting atop a strong stem with various swirling leaves. It is important to note that, as the colors were chosen with care, there were colors not chosen with just as much, if […]

Featured

Overcoming PTSD with ASD by Lisa Morgan M.Ed. CAS

December 1, 2019 Spectrum Women

PTSD is a harsh, stern, taskmaster.  Triggers are everywhere. They can even come in safe places and through a person you trust.  Those are the difficult ones because, if the trigger was very unpleasant, going back to that same safe place or person for help – does not feel safe. Living with ASD keeps the traumatic reliving of memories all close and fresh so to speak.  For many, our autism keeps the triggered memories alive through rumination of thought; keeps them graphic through visual thinking and lucid nightmares, and keeps us alone through withdrawing to cope. With PTSD there’s a […]

Employment

It’s not all about IT… Breaking the stigma in employment choices for autistic & neurodivergent people by Barb Cook

November 15, 2019 Spectrum Women

Information and technology (IT) has boomed over the past 30 years and become an integral part of the modern developed world. Employment opportunities in IT exploded alongside this growth and created pathways for autistic people in finding job security in an industry that has been stigmatized as the place where the ‘geeks’ gravitate. Software giants headhunt talented autistic people for positions in program development and defending against cybercrimes. Autistic people have been pigeonholed into this perception that we are gifted and talented in computers, math and science. Certainly, some of us fit this role like a glove, but what about […]

Featured

A Silver Lining… By Lisa Morgan

September 9, 2019 Spectrum Women

Trigger Warning ***This is an article on suicide prevention.*** In honor of September being National Suicide Prevention month, I thought I’d dedicate this column to issues of suicide in the autism community.  While I do understand suicide is not a welcome topic, I believe that is one of the reasons it is such a problem.  No one wants to talk about it.  Although, I believe if we did talk about it more, people wouldn’t feel like they have to keep their feelings a secret and there’s a better chance they will reach out for help. Another unwelcome topic, at least […]

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 […]

Advocacy

What is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’ and when should we just listen by Yenn Purkis

March 25, 2019 Spectrum Women

I used to be friends with a narcissist (as I imagine most people have at some point). This person had to be right and they loved to argue. I deliberately stopped being offended when she repeatedly said something rude. This resulted in her stopping talking about that thing and moving on to another topic which bothered me! I remember having an argument when she was clearly in the wrong. There were witnesses who told me this as well but this woman couldn’t let it go. She HAD to be right. Thankfully, most of us don’t have that almost pathological need […]

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