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Finding a Different Kind of Normal: Misadventures With Asperger Syndrome

by Jeanette Purkis Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Pub Date:
Pbk 192 pages
AU$39.99 NZ$40.86
Product Status: In Stock Now
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Jeanette Purkis spent their early life reacting violently against their feelings of embarrassment, anger and confusion about their ‘difference’ from other people. Jeanette was unaware until well into adulthood that everything they found difficult, including their lack of success in forming relationships, could be a result of having Asperger Syndrome.  Used to being a misfit from a very young age, Jeanette found that being a member of a group in which they had a label – Jeanette the Communist; Jeanette, Enemy of the State; Jeanette the convict; Jeanette the drug addict – gave them a sense of order they could depend on, particularly in prison, where each day had a set routine and the inmates accepted them because of their rebel attitude. Finally diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome at the age of 20, the author only began to accept their diagnosis some years later when they felt for the first time that they might learn to cope with being Jeanette.  Jeanette’s remarkable life and their journey towards finding a different kind of normal is compelling and inspiring reading for people with autism spectrum disorders, and those living or working with them.

1. Being in the world but not of it. 2. Searching for the rules. 3. Learning which way is left. 4. Acting, independently. 5. Becoming the enemy. 6. Losing friends and gaining contacts. 7. Watching the end of the world. 8. Dying and surviving. 9. Educating the mad. 10. Forgetting the script.

This powerful autobiography is wrtiten without embellishment to provide an open and frank look at the author's life. Her loneliness, confusion and vulnerability whilst growing up are apparent as, having not fitted in from a young age, she adopts a series of different indentities from Christian to Communist, criminal and drug addict before being diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome (AS) and then finally coming to terms with who she is.
Jeanette Purkis is an autistic and non-binary advocate, speaker and mentor. Jeanette is the author of five books on elements of autism and is a regular blogger. Jeanette presented for TEDx Canberra in 2013 on the topic of autism and resilience and has been a keynote speaker at a number of events including the 2017 Asia Pacific Autism Conference and both the 2018 and the 2017 Autism@Work conferences.

Jeanette has worked in the Australian Public Service since 2007. They have facilitated a support group for autistic women in Canberra since 2011 and host a regular online radio program called Jeanette’s Autism Show.

Jeanette is highly visible in the autism community. They were named the 2016 ACT Volunteer of the Year. Jeanette was also a finalist in the 2017 ACT Woman of the Year award. Jeanette has received several awards for leadership. Jeanette featured in the ABC documentary Alone in a Crowded Room.