Formally identified on the autism spectrum in 2009 at the age of 40, really did give that statement ‘life begins at 40’ a whole lot more depth and meaning. For me it was literally a whole new beginning of setting my life on a path of self-discovery, self-advocacy and personal empowerment.
I am editor and co-author of the exciting new book, Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism, covering never before published insights of life for women on the spectrum. Together with 14 fellow autistic women, we bare our heart and souls to the reader, providing valuable information, validation, support and advice. Working together with Dr Michelle Garnett, clinical psychologist of over 20 years in autism spectrum conditions, makes this book a well-rounded publication that fills a large gap between the personal and the professional. This book is a must read for women of all ages, and will make you laugh, cry, feel validated, but most importantly, you will never feel alone again.
Prior to embarking on this book, and, this is where the inspiration for the book evolved from, is Spectrum Women Magazine, an online publication, for and by autistic women, that I founded in 2016 to which I am editor-in-chief. This publication is one of my passions in providing trustworthy, relevant and credible information and a platform for fellow autistic women to have a voice. Autistic women from around the globe can write about their experiences, feel validated in reading and recognising themselves in others; a need that so many had been without for far too long. Nearing on a million unique readers per year, this online presence is certainly reaching to the many women and identifying women around the world.
I’m also a highly committed autism advocate, writer, speaker and keen motorcyclist, making a variety of appearances on Australian radio, television, in newspapers and magazines and the SBS television documentary, The Chameleons: Women with Autism. Co-founder of Bikers for Autism Australia, and Community Council Member of AASET (Autistic Adults and other Stakeholders Engaged Together) that provides advice and input into the areas of research on autistic health. I am an independent autistic peer reviewer of the journal Autism in Adulthood.
Currently I ride a Suzuki V-Strom DL1000 called Ron ‘Strom’ Burgundy and he is most certainly one of the major loves of my life. He definitely keeps my anxiety levels in check by taking me out on adventurous rides around the countryside. I implement the combination of my passion for motorcycling with my dedication in autism advocacy, in creating acceptance and pushing for action to improve the lives for all individuals on the autism spectrum.
I was awarded a Special Commendation in the 2017 Autism Queensland Creative Futures Awards by the Queensland Governor, his Excellency Paul De Jersey and spoke at the World Autism Organisation Congress 2018 in Houston Texas this year. I am currently studying a Master of Autism at the University of Wollongong (Australia) in the areas of education and employment and was jointly awarded the 2018 Community Engagement Grant for Facilitating the voice and self-determination of young adults on the autism spectrum.