Yenn Purkis is an author, public servant and passionate advocate for Autistic people and their families. Yenn is the author of ‘Finding a Different Kind of Normal: Misadventures with Asperger Syndrome’ – an autobiography, ‘The Wonderful World of Work: A Workbook for Asperteens’- an activity book about employment for teens on the Autism spectrum. Yenn is co-author of ‘The Guide to Good Mental Health on the Autism Spectrum’ and ‘The Parents’ Practical Guide to Resilience for Children aged 2-10 on the Autism Spectrum.’ Yenn has also contributed to other books, journals, blogs and websites. Yenn has a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome and atypical schizophrenia.

Yenn has been working full-time for the Australian Public Service since 2007. In between writing and paid work, Yenn frequently gives talks about living well with Autism and mental illness. Yenn gave a presentation on Autism and resilience at the TEDx Canberra conference in 2013. Yenn facilitates a support group for women on the Autism spectrum and has their own internet radio show entitled Yenn’s Autism Show. Yenn lives in Canberra, Australia.

Yenn was the 2016 ACT volunteer of the year.

Yenn was also interviewed by WIN News in December 2017 in conjunction with nominations opening for the Aspect Awards. In the interview their advocacy work and being one of the first women diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in Australia is discussed. The video can be viewed here on FaceBook.

And so there is friendship

In my own mind on the bus
The sunset explodes in yellow and pink
across the arch of the sky
blinding, amazing.

The sky darkens
And I am filled with disappointment at the loss of the sunset.
I look up and see a friend
She sees me and greets me with apparent joy.
We walk together
her relating bad news from home
Maybe I can help.
I invite her in
How can I not?

We sit
Exchange thoughts and Facebook posts
Laugh and drink hot chocolate
We watch a film
Of me – yes, I am a host who shows films of herself to guests!
(‘It was a new DVD. I needed to test it. I’m not such an egotist. Truly, I’m not!’
No, I don’t believe myself either)
I’ve things to do
My spreadsheets await
My Wednesday talk sits unpracticed
But I don’t mind
For I know the value of a friend
And people are measured more precious than spreadsheets and talks.
My workaholic self is banished
My human returns –
A gift from friend to me.

A while later we part
‘Come over any time’ I chime as she leaves
And so there is friendship.

Yenn Purkis, 2015