107 [S9 E2] Autism deep-dive: examining the literature and ourselves, and reflections on burnout
Topics in this episode: autism research, burnout, family, intergenerational autism, relationships

Dr Alexandra Johnston is an academic and social anthropologist from Melbourne, Australia. Now 49, she was diagnosed in March 2023. She lives with her wife, Cherie, who she describes as the first person she ever truly unmasked with.

 She has several degrees, including a Masters and PhD in Psychology, and her special interests include writing, writing and… writing! So much so, that she self-diagnosed by conducting a literature review of autism, and writing a 45,000 word report on her findings.

I found Alexandra really interesting to talk to. I hope that you enjoy this episode as much as I did.

 We talk about: 

➡ her deep dive into the literature as she discovered her autism

➡ uncovering neurodivergence across generations of her family

➡ the very different reactions of her parents to her diagnosis

➡ having the support of her wife since her DX, and how their relationship has strengthened

➡ clusters of traits and co-occurring conditions

➡ our experiences of burnout and its impact


Squarepeg is a podcast in which neurodivergent women, and trans and nonbinary people, explore navigating a neurotypical world and share their insights, challenges and successes.

I hope that these conversations will be inspiring and thought provoking, open you up to new ways of thinking about being neurodivergent, and help you feel more connected to a worldwide community of people with similar experiences.

I’m Amy Richards, and after being diagnosed autistic at the age of 37 I’m now on a mission to learn more about different perspectives and issues around being a neurodivergent adult in a world that feels like it doesn’t quite fit.


LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexandra-johnston-30598436/?originalSubdomain=au

Reframing Autism: https://reframingautism.org.au/

The ALIVE National Centre for Mental Health Research Translation: www.alivenetwork.com.au

Autism centre of Excellence: https://www.griffith.edu.au/arts-education-law/autism-centre-excellence

Paper on Autistic Burnout – “Having All of Your Internal Resources Exhausted Beyond Measure and Being Left with No Clean-Up Crew”: Defining Autistic Burnout https://dx.doi.org/10.1089/aut.2019.0079

Self-determination theory for autistic people: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2023.1250391


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