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The Spectrum Girl's Survival Guide: How to Grow Up Awesome and Autistic

The Spectrum Girl's Survival Guide: How to Grow Up Awesome and Autistic

by Siena Castellon


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Moonbeam Children's Book Awards - Silver Medal Winner
Nautilus Silver Book Award Winner
Purple Dragonfly Book Awards - First Place

"Never be ashamed of being different: it is this difference that makes you extraordinary and unique."

This essential go-to guide gives you all the advice and tools you'll need to help you flourish and achieve what you want in life. From the answers to everyday questions such as 'Am I using appropriate body language?' and 'Did I say the wrong thing?', through to discussing the importance of understanding your emotions, looking after your physical and mental health and coping with anxiety and sensory overloads, award-winning neurodiversity campaigner Siena Castellon uses her own experiences to provide you with the skills to overcome any challenge.

With practical tips on friendships, dating, body image, consent and appearance, as well as how to survive school and bullying, The Spectrum Girl's Survival Guide gives you the power to embrace who you are, reminding you that even during the toughest of teen moments, you are never alone.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781787751835
Publisher: Kingsley, Jessica Publishers
Publication date: 03/19/2020
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 288,325
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 13 - 18 Years

About the Author

Siena Castellon is a 17-year-old internationally recognised and multi-award-winning autism advocate and anti-bullying campaigner who is on the autism spectrum. She has won a BBC Radio 1 Teen Hero Award, Observer New Radical Award and the British Citizen Youth Award and is affiliated with the UCL Centre for Research in Autism and Education. She lives in London with her parents and her pet dog Rico.

Table of Contents

Foreword Temple Grandin 13

Acknowledgments 15

1 About Me 17

2 The Invisible Autistic Girl 21

3 Embracing Who You Are 27

Viewing Autistic Strengths as a Superpower 29

Understanding Your Autistic Brain 30

When Labels Are Problematic 32

To Tell or Not to Tell 35

Telling Family Members 37

Telling Your School 40

Telling Your Classmates 42

Strength in Numbers 43

4 The Importance of Being Yourself 45

Masking to Fit In 45

Social Exhaustion 48

Loss of Identity 50

When Masking Backfires 51

Masking and Mental Health 53

Being Yourself 55

5 Managing Your Sensory Sensitivities and Sensory Overloads 58

Sensitivity to Light 64

Sensitivity to Sound 65

Sensitivity to Smell 68

Sensitivity to Textures and Taste 68

Sensitivity to Touch 69

Sensitivity to Sights 70

Autism-Friendly Safe Spaces 71

6 Taking Care of Your Body 73

Starting a Skincare Routine 76

Brushing Your Teeth 78

Visiting the Dentist 79

The Art of Shaving 80

That Time of the Month 81

Period Basics 81

Period Products 82

Period Apps 84

Managing Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) 85

Period Etiquette 86

7 Understanding Your Emotions and Looking After Your Mental Health 87

Social Anxiety 91

Anxiety 97

Dealing with Our Emotions 100

Depression 101

Self-Harm 103

Suicide 105

Building Resilience 107

8 Finding Your Fashion Style 109

Developing Your Own Personal Fashion Style 110

The Importance of Wearing a Bra 113

Makeup: To Wear or Not Wear 116

9 Socializing and Making Friends 118

Don't Try to Be Someone You're Not 119

Useful Conversation Starters 119

Finding Like-Minded Friends 120

Be Disciplined in Your Conversation Skills 121

Edit What You Say Aloud 121

Being a Good Friend 122

Work on Understanding How Other People Feel 125

Ask Friends for Support 126

Avoid Gossip 127

Apologize When You Make A Mistake 128

Avoid Toxic Friendships 129

Don't Force Yourself to Socialize If You Don't Feel Up to It 130

10 Crushes and Dating 132

Recognizing Romantic Feelings 133

Asking Someone Out on a Date 134

Handling Rejection 137

Turning Someone Down 137

Healthy and Respectful Romantic Relationships 138

Sex Education 138

Your Body Belongs to You 139

Consent and Safety 139

Sexual Abuse 141

Knowing When to Move On 142

Staying Single is Fine 142

11 Gender Identity: Androgyny, Gender Fluidity and Transgender Girls 144

Transgender Girls 146

Transgender and Autism 146

Coming Out 147

Dealing with Parents and Family 149

Transitioning 150

Public Bathrooms 152

Sexual Orientation and Relationships 153

Identifying Positively as Autistic Trans 154

12 How to Survive School 155

Tips on How to Survive School 156

Managing an Overstimulating Sensory Environment 156

Handling Changes in Schedules and Routines 158

Executive Functioning Challenges 160

Break Down a Task into Smaller Sub-Tasks 162

Get Duplicates 163

Get into a Routine 163

Learn to Prioritize 164

Find the Right Work Environment 164

Socializing Challenges 164

Intolerance of Autistic Behavior 166

Coping with Unstructured Breaks 167

Coping with Inconsistent Rules and Expectations 168

Coping with Teamwork and Collaboration 169

Coping with Class Participation 170

Fine Motor Skill Difficulties 171

General Motor Skill Difficulties 172

Changing-Room Challenges 173

School Cafeteria Challenges 174

School Uniform Challenges 175

Knowing When to Move to a Different School 176

The Benefits of Home Education 177

Surviving Toxic Teachers 179

13 Bullying 183

What Is Bullying? 183

Why Me? 187

From Zero to Sixty 187

Dealing with Your School 188

A Word About Teachers 188

The Blame Game 189

Reconciliation Meetings 190

Document, Document, Document 191

Strategies to Use if You're Being Bullied 193

Using Assertive Body Language 197

Practicing Assertiveness 198

Friends or Frenemies? 200

When Bullying Wrecks Your Physical, Emotional and Mental Health 201

Sexual Harassment 202

Getting Your Life Back on Track 204

14 Co-occurring Conditions 205

ADHD in Autistic Girls 206

Common Signs of ADHD in Girls 207

Suggested School Accommodations 208

Anxiety 209

Common Triggers 209

Physical Symptoms of Anxiety 209

Suggested School Accommodations 210

Dyslexia 211

Common Signs of Dyslexia 212

Suggested School Accommodations 213

Dyspraxia 214

Common Signs of Dyspraxia 215

Suggested School Accommodations 216

Hypermobility 217

Symptoms of Hypermobility 217

Hypermobility Treatments 218

Managing Your Hypermobility 218

Suggested School Accommodations 219

Gastrointestinal Disorders 219

Suggested School Accommodations 219

15 Navigating the Perils of Social Media and the Internet 220

Being Smart and Safe Online 221

Protect Your Identity 221

Use a Gender-Neutral Screen Name 222

Don't Share Your Passwords 223

Be Nice Online 224

Think Before You Post 224

Don't Post Anything Inappropriate 226

Always Remember that the Internet is Forever 226

Don't Respond to Mean Messages 227

Don't Meet Online Friends in Real Life 227

Never Forget the Many Dangers of Sexting 228

Coming Across Upsetting Material 231

Making Online Purchases 232

Cyberbullying 233

Don't Measure Your Own Life Based on What Others Post 235

A Word About Self-Esteem 236

16 Celebrating Neurodiversity 238

Where to Find More Information 241

Autism-Related Websites 241

Bullying Websites 243

Mental Health Websites 244

Sexuality and Gender Identity Websites 245

Useful Websites 246

Recommended Reading 248

Index 250

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