117 [S9 E12] Transcendence, reinvention and self discovery: reconnecting with our essential autistic self later in life
Topics in this episode: autism research, family, meltdowns, sensory issues, things that have changed for the better since diagnosis

Rose Matthews is an Autism Researcher, peer reviewer, consultant, presenter, trainer, and writer from Durham in the UK.

Now 64, they first realised they might be autistic at 58 – and finally ‘found the answer to a lifetime of confusion’. Their long journey to diagnosis included an extremely varied career, leaving their marriage, living apart from their children, and being arrested and detained in a police cell following a ‘catastrophic’ meltdown.

In recent years they have gone from a job as a crossing guard to their current role as an autism researcher. They are interested in exploring the autistic experience of motherhood, menopause, retirement, death and dying.

 In our conversation we talk about:

➡ How clothing and fabrics are important to Rose’s self expression and their sensory experience

➡ The ‘catastrophic’ meltdown that led to a traumatic night in a police cell – and a very useful and important piece of advice about the legal process

➡ Their decision to leave their young children with their father in their thirties, and how their autism diagnosis has helped them to forgive and heal the past

➡ Their research into autistic people’s experience of menopause

➡ Autism and ageing, and their experience of what they describe as the ‘transcendence, reinvention and self discovery’ of post-menopause.



Two very brief references to suicide (not explored in any detail)
Rose talks about an experience of sexual assault at approx. 37 mins in, for about 2 mins.


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.



Rose’s website: www.rosematthewsresearch.com

Their LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rose-matthews/

Their Twitter account: https://twitter.com/NortherlyRose

Bridging the Silos Autistic Menopause study: www.AutisticMenopause.com

Bridging the Silos Autistic Menopause Study: First published paper: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/13623613241244548 

Science on the Spectrum (the research by Dr Rachel Moseley that Rose mentions): https://www.scienceonthespectrum.net/

Information on autism and menopause from the National Autistic Society: https://www.autism.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/topics/physical-health/menopause


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