Advocacy

An Introduction to Self-Advocacy & Self-determination Skills. What Are They and Why Are They So Important?

July 21, 2022 Spectrum Women

by Barb Cook M.Aut.(Edu), Dip.HSc.(Nut), Developmental Educator, Integrative Neurodivergent Nutritionist & Adult ADHD Coach Neurodivergent people often experience challenges in exercising skills associated with self-determination and self-advocacy. Self-determination and self-advocacy are pinnacle life skills that drives your success in education, employment, independence and within society. With the right supports, tools and strategies, you can develop a strong sense of self-determination, that builds your confidence in knowing how to advocate for your needs. When neurodivergent people gain these skills, it can be an empowering feeling. They will often feel their value and worth is being validated. They feel confident in speaking up and being […]

General

Living My Life More Authentically Autistic by Dr Trish Leonard-Curtin

July 8, 2022 Spectrum Women

Over the last year I’ve been on a path of understanding myself and my place in the world in an entirely different way than before. Last year I received my autism diagnosis, and earlier this year, it was confirmed that I also have ADHD. Finally, in my early forties, I now have a language and understanding of experiences which have confused me my whole life. Somewhere at last to sensibly organise that bundle of personal oddities and self-enquiries I’d buried deep inside and tried to cover up. For the most part, when I was young, I got by okay enough. […]

Arts

‘What I (Don’t) Know About Autism’ – Interview with Jody O’Neill

October 27, 2021 Spectrum Women

  Interview by Maura Campbell, Spectrum Women Features Writer. When writer and actor Jody O’Neill reached out to Spectrum Women about ‘What I (Don’t) Know About Autism’, I couldn’t resist getting in touch with her to find out more about the woman behind this groundbreaking Irish theatre production (soon to be available on demand). Performed by a cast of autistic and non-autistic actors and inspired by Jody’s own experiences, the play takes the audience on a journey that celebrates autistic identity and offers deeper insights to those less familiar with autism, smashing some tired old myths along the way.   […]

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 […]

Featured

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 […]

Featured

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.  […]

Featured

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 […]

Featured

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 […]

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