General

The Same Only Different – Maura Campbell

September 6, 2017 Spectrum Women

Imagine for a moment what it would be like if medical practitioners talked about red haired people the way they talk about autistics.  (Stay with me.) A description of a redhead might go something like this: Nearly 2% of people worldwide suffer from redhead disorder. Symptoms include abnormally pale skin, unusually thick hair follicles, hyper-sensitivity to changes in temperature and excessive freckling. There is no known cure. Within the redhead community, a debate might ensue about the relative merits of identity-first language (‘redhead’) versus person-first language (‘person with redheadedness’).  Some people might get in a lather over whether those with […]

My Life

The Glass of Milk – Maura Campbell

July 24, 2017 Spectrum Women

The teacher, a stern woman of a certain age, folded her arms across her ample bosom and stared intently over the top of her thick-rimmed glasses.  The reason for her evident irritation cowered before her – a painfully shy seven-year-old girl. A glass of milk sat untouched in front of the child. Mrs S. had presided over her terrified charges in this classroom for as long as anyone in the school – teachers and pupils alike – could remember. The children knew she meant business and none of them had ever had the temerity to defy her. Not until the […]

Featured

What Autistic Pride means to me by Maura Campbell

June 18, 2017 Spectrum Women

“What’s wrong with him, then?”  The man gawped at my nine-year-old son, taking in his noise-cancelling headphones, the belt around his waist and the strap attaching him to the dog. He then turned his full attention to me. He stared, demanding a response, expecting a justification to be provided for why we had brought a dog into the shop and were queuing beside him. Darragh was impatient for us to pay and leave so that he could enjoy his chosen treat for being a great boy that week at school. “Nothing. There’s nothing wrong with him. In fact, he’s wonderful.” […]

Featured

Why I Write… A Spectrum Women Collaboration

June 12, 2017 Barb Cook

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 […]

Autism April

Disclosure – The Pros and Cons – Maura Campbell

April 22, 2017 Spectrum Women

Whether to disclose an autism diagnosis is an important issue for many newly diagnosed adults. I would never presume to tell someone in that position what to do, though I would encourage them to take a bit of time to think about it.  What is said cannot subsequently be unsaid. After I was told, in a private consultation, that I had Asperger Syndrome I pretty much burst out of the Aspie closet immediately.  I hadn’t given the matter of disclosure much thought, which was uncharacteristic for me since I usually overthink practically everything.  I was so euphoric on the day […]

Autism April

“So What Exactly is Autism?” ~ Maura Campbell

April 1, 2017 Spectrum Women

Around this time of year, I usually get asked to speak or write about autism.  I’m happy to do my bit. April is Autism Awareness Month and 2nd April is World Autism Awareness Day. It’s a good opportunity to engage with people outside the autism community. We get a bit side-tracked as a community over whether we should be promoting “awareness” or “acceptance”.  Or maybe some other word that conveniently starts with an “a”, like “action”. I don’t see these words as mutually exclusive. I appreciate the argument that’s usually put forward by those who are critical of the focus […]

Featured

WHAT’S IN A WORD? – MAURA CAMPBELL

February 21, 2017 Spectrum Women

Words are powerful.  They allow us to express our thoughts, feelings and opinions. Words can also hurt.  Whoever coined the old adage “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me” must have led a charmed life. I approach this topic with some trepidation. I may need to take cover under my Thesaurus for daring to write these words. As soon as you broach the issue of appropriate language, many people will leap to the defence of the principle of free speech and accuse you of censorship.  Some people are weary of what they see as […]

Employment

AUTISM IN THE WORKPLACE – MAURA CAMPBELL

September 8, 2016 Spectrum Women

I was born with the social skills of a used teabag. Seriously, I thought maybe the other kids in school had been handed a manual on “peopling” one day when I was off sick or something.  But thankfully I’ve learned enough over the years to “pass” when I need or want to, mostly through trial and (lots of) error or by observing other people. I’m at a point now where I can function pretty well socially; it just takes a hell of a lot of effort to do it and I have to be selective in how and when I […]

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