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Ultraviolet Voices: New book sheds much-needed light on female autism experience

2:34, Fri Jun 27 2014

The British public will be given an insightful glimpse into the multifaceted world of autism next month with the release of Autism West Midlands’ new book, ‘ Ultraviolet Voices: Stories of Women on the Autism Spectrum’ . Comprised of 15 chapters, each written by a female with experience of autism, Ultraviolet Voices is a powerful, moving and inspirational collection of narratives shedding much needed light on the difficulties and complications of being diagnosed, supported and understood as a female living with autism spectrum disorder.

Due for release on World Autism Awareness Day, April 2; the new book will be accompanied by a series of interviews and Q&A sessions with autism experts in the UK.

A year’s worth of research in the making, the book draws on the experiences of a diverse range of contributors including artist and university graduate Esther Whitney, autism trainer and mother Lana Grant, speaker and psychologist Wendy Lawson and entrepreneur Cynthia Kim. Each chapter gives a rare and intimate insight into the minds of these exceptional ladies, some accompanied by further creative additions such as illustrations, poetry and other personal expressions.

Autism has a long running historical association with men, statistics indicating that there are, on average, four times as many men diagnosed with the syndrome than women. It remains unclear whether or not this is due to biological reasons or a lack of understanding in regards to how autism presents in females.

Regardless, the fact remains that due to the gender bias of the condition, autism in women has remained largely undiagnosed and unexplored. The book is therefore a long awaited contribution to the female autism understanding and is sure to receive a hugely positive reception amongst a wide range of readers.

Ultraviolet Voices deserves a standing ovation for its dedication to exploring all aspects of the female autism experience. It does not shy away from the darker sides of the condition, with expert Robyn Steward’s chapter including a recount of sensitive stories and material related to the types of abuse that women on the autistic spectrum are vulnerable to. Zaffy Simone is another notable contributor, recounting his exceptional story of gender dysphoria diagnosis and journey to now living as a man. These are all very real parts of the condition to which the book gives ample credit.

The book is edited by neuroscientist, Dr Elisabeth Hurley, a regular guest speaker at conferences and events about autism and author of the book ‘The Good and Bad Science of Autism’. Hurley also makes her own personal contribution to the project, the book concluding with an additional 16th chapter exploring and explaining the latest scientific research on females living with autism.

The foreword is written by Dr Juli Crocombe, a Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist in Neurodevelopmental Psychiatry with over 15 years of experience working with people diagnosed with autism.

Given that autism affects around 1.1% of the population, amounting to over half a million UK diagnoses, the book is a highly relevant and perceptive read for all members of the community.

The book is available for pre-order for £6 from the Autism West Midlands online shop