Jeanette Purkis (aka Yenn) spent her early life reacting violently against her feelings of embarrassment, anger and confusion about her ‘difference’ from other people. She was unaware until well into adulthood that everything she found difficult, including her 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 she had a label – Jeanette the Communist; Jeanette, Enemy of the State; Jeanette the convict; Jeanette the drug addict – gave her a sense of order she could depend on, particularly in prison, where each day had a set routine and the inmates accepted her because of her rebel attitude. Finally diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome at the age of 20, the author only began to accept her diagnosis some years later when she felt for the first time that she might learn to cope with being herself.
Jeanette’s remarkable life and her 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.
- Being in the world but not of it.
- Searching for the rules.
- Learning which way is left.
- Acting, independently.
- Becoming the enemy.
- Losing friends and gaining contacts.
- Watching the end of the world.
- Dying and surviving.
- Educating the mad.
- 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.
Yenn Purkis (aka Jeanette Purkis) is an autistic and non-binary advocate, speaker and mentor. Yenn is the author of five books on elements of autism and is a regular blogger. Yenn 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. Yenn 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 Yenn’s Autism Show.
Yenn is highly visible in the autism community. They were named the 2016 ACT Volunteer of the Year. Yenn was also a finalist in the 2017 ACT Woman of the Year award. Yenn has received several awards for leadership. Yenn featured in the ABC documentary Alone in a Crowded Room.