Featured

Interview: Meet Cynthia Zuber

November 6, 2018 Spectrum Women

Spectrum Women Magazine Interview by Jen Elcheson Cynthia Zuber is a health and wellness writer from the U.S. who lives in the state of Minnesota with her husband, their adorable dog Jonah, and their 18 year old black cat, Juniper.  Cynthia, now 43, professionally identified as having Asperger’s (which in North America, according to the DSM-5 is ASD Level 1, or autism) at age 40, recently joined the autistic blogosphere with her Facebook based blog, The Neurodiverse Woman, which she hopes to eventually turn into a website. Her musings are deep and insightful, brimming with self-awareness, and empowering sentiments that […]

Featured

AUTISM, LITERALLY!

October 19, 2018 Spectrum Women

A Spectrum Women collaboration, edited by Maura Campbell, with Barb Cook, Jen Elcheson, Christine Jenkins, Terri Mayne, Kate Ross and Lisa Toner Morgan. Us folks on the autistic spectrum have a tendency to take things a bit too literally sometimes. Even when we get the meaning of a phrase, though, our active imaginations mean we can have great fun when we take things verbatim… 1. “I’ll have to call you back — I’m in the middle of my dinner”   That could get messy. 2. “I’m just going to go jump in the shower” Mind you don’t slip! 3. “I can’t […]

Featured

15 THINGS YOU SHOULD NEVER SAY TO AN AUTISTIC WOMAN

August 13, 2018 Spectrum Women

A Spectrum Women Compilation, edited by Jen Elcheson and Maura Campbell Barb Cook, Dena Gassner, Renata Jurkevythz, Anita Lesko, Becca Lory, Terri Mayne, Jeanette Purkis, Kate Ross, Lisa Morgan Content Warning: ableism, paternalizing, bullying, sexism (pretty much a smorgasbord of awful). We present to you another collaborative piece where we discuss a bunch of things people should not say to autistic women (or, indeed, to any autistic person, female-presenting or otherwise) and why saying them can be negative from an autistic perspective. 1. “Are you sure you’re autistic?” Trying to talk someone out of their diagnosis, questioning their identity, saying […]

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 […]

Spectrum Women Authors

Meet the Spectrum Women Book Authors: Jen Elcheson

April 19, 2018 Spectrum Women

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 Jen Elcheson…   Hello Spectrum Women Readers! I live in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada, a small northern […]

Employment

Tech Reject and Still Autistic. An Opinion Piece by Jen Elcheson SWM Features Writer

August 5, 2017 Spectrum Women

It goes without saying that autistic people should have reasonable access to gainful employment in a supportive and understanding workplace. How ‘inclusive’ is it when people automatically assume the most suitable jobs for autistics are always in the tech industry? What about those of us who are lucky enough to just be able to navigate the basic functions of our computers or electronic devices and are employed or seeking employment in non-tech industries? Are we not worthy of support and accommodation? Don’t we deserve the job or career that best suits us? All I know is society still has a […]

Insights

Autistic and Damn Proud of It! ~ Jen Elcheson

June 19, 2017 Spectrum Women

It wasn’t too long ago that I could admit to myself that I am truly damn proud to be autistic. It was a serious lesson in self-acceptance. Learning to accept being autistic meant learning to accept myself. As I have mentioned in some of my other writings, my diagnosis story differs from the narratives of the later and recently diagnosed autistic people featured nowadays. I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in late 1998 right after I turned 17, as my school, counsellor, and mom were concerned about how I was getting on socially and wanted me assessed. This was back […]

Featured

Why I Write… A Spectrum Women Collaboration

June 12, 2017 Spectrum Women

Inspired by “Why I Ride”, Barb Cook’s love letter to motorcycling published in Spectrum Women in October 2016, some of the Spectrum Women Writing Team have decided to share their thoughts on their shared passion for writing… Jeanette Purkis I am Autistic and also have schizophrenia. I often joke that it was pretty much guaranteed I would end up being a writer with those two diagnoses and the creativity which so often comes along with them. I started writing young. I got to read out my poetry at school assemblies from about the age of eight. High school English was […]

Featured

Nightclub Nightmare & The Day I Stood Up For Myself – Jen Elcheson

May 28, 2017 Spectrum Women

Anyone who knows me is well aware that I am not the kind of person who likes to go out much and explore uncharted social territory. It is a strong innate dislike as I am quite introverted and not much of a people person. However, in my younger days, before I had come to terms with being an autistic introvert, I desperately wanted to fit in so bad.  When I could muster the courage to do so, I would occasionally step outside my comfort zone and make myself do things many others would hardly bat an eyelash at. I would do them whether I liked them or not, even at the expense of my […]

Autism April

Let Me Make You Aware (poem) by Jen Elcheson (Content warning: bullying)

April 2, 2017 Spectrum Women

Content warning: bullying   A distressed young child held down to a chair They say he’s “just being a brat” They clearly don’t care The teen they think is too shy to speak Is aware they are different And may be more powerful than meek The adult struggling to find lasting work Is discriminated against Over their many ‘weird’ quirks We may not always look others in the eye When I see it being forced I grumble and sigh Others laugh when we flinch from noise or touch Not understanding Overstimulation can be too much They say our behaviours are […]