Yenn Purkis

NeuroDiversity Employment Consultant & Coach

Yenn Purkis is an Autistic and ADHD, non-binary, asexual advocate, and author. They have been an autistic advocate for almost 20 years and are passionate about promoting acceptance, understanding, and respect for neurodivergent and Queer folks. This is what drives their work. Yenn’s perspective is strongly aligned with the neurodiversity movement and social model of disability and is focussed on empowering neurodivergent folks and changing the world to be more understanding, accepting and respectful of neurodivergent people.

Yenn is a prolific author. Their first book, the autobiography Finding a Different kind of Normal, was accepted for publication in 2005. Since then, they have written or co-authored 17 books, all of which are about different topics of interest to autistic people and those who love and care for them. Yenn has co-written books with authors such as Barb Cook, Emma Goodall, Wenn Lawson, Tanya Masterman, Wayne Herbert and Sam Rose and they have contributed to several other books including the poetry anthology, Infectious Hope, Spectrums (edited by Maxfield Sparrow) and the mental health and autism book From Hurt to Hope. Some of Yenn’s books are bestsellers, including The Guide to Good Mental Health on the Autism Spectrum and The Awesome Autistic Go to Guide. Yenn blogs regularly and writes for many audiences and age groups including adults, kids, tweens, and teens. Yenn’s large social media following extends across several platforms where they post regular updates, ‘Yemes’ (Yenn memes), and links to their latest blog posts.

For over 20 years, Yenn has enjoyed sharing their knowledge and experience through presentations, panel talks, keynote speeches, media appearances, and workshops in locations all over the world and on a large range of topics. They were one of four autistic adults featured in the ABC documentary Alone in a Crowded Room and they have made appearances on television and radio in Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom as well as on online platform such as The Guardian and News.com. Yenn’s presentations can engage, entertain, and inform audiences of any size. They have spoken for TEDx Canberra twice – once in 2013 and once in 2023. They have presented widely for the Australian Public Service and state government agencies on autism and employment and have taken part in a “Great Debate” on disability employment.

Yenn’s over 17 years in the public service have given them a comprehensive understanding of autism and the workplace as well as providing the opportunity to educate managers and colleagues of autistic staff. They have co-chaired the Department of Education staff disability network and have participated in research co-production with the Autism Cooperative Research Centre, Melbourne University, The American Association for Suicidology, AASET Community Council and the University of Wollongong. Yenn has received accolades for their work over the years, including the ACT Volunteer of the Year (2016) and the ACT Chief Minister’s Inclusion Award (2019). They were a finalist in the 2017 ACT Woman of the Year, the NSW and ACT Regional Achievement and Community awards in 2017 and 2019, and the Institute of Managers and Leaders Excellence in Leadership award in 2016 and 2017, and, in 2017, the were nominated for Australian of the Year.

In their personal life, Yenn lives in “Yennski Central” – an apartment in Canberra. Yenn has a master’s degree in fine art from RMIT University. They like art, style, fashion, and shiny things and have over 150 artworks on display. They are a very out loud and proud Autistic and Queer person and love being part of the Queer community and the autistic and broader neurodivergent community too.  Yenn is also a massive fan of cats and lives with their little furry feline friend who is called Sunflower – a very naughty tortie who is loved by pretty much everyone who meets her.

Yenn’s personal website: www.yennpurkis.com

Services Yenn offers

Consultancy – Yenn offers consultancy services for individuals (neurodivergent and neurotypical), organisations / employers, teams, managers, educators, parents of autistic kids, law enforcement professionals and first responders, clinicians, and researchers. Yenn has provided consultancy services for many organisations including Feros Care, Melbourne University, mental health and disability service providers and individual researchers.   

Coaching / mentoring – Yenn offers coaching services for neurodivergent individuals, parents, employers and clinicians. Yenn has mentored many autistic adults and children and provided formal and informal mentoring and coaching on several occasions. If you are interested, contact Yenn to ascertain the goals of the coaching or mentoring process and work together to maximise the benefit from the process.  

Presentations – Yenn can give presentations on a large range of topics including advocacy, employment, mental health, Queer identity and autism, resilience, criminal justice or give a presentation on their life story. Yenn can speak to any sized audience either online or in person and can speak for a duration of 15 minutes to running an all-day workshop. Yenn has a wealth of experience giving presentations and is highly proficient at speaking. Yenn is considered one of the best autistic presenters in Australia.   

Workshops – Yenn can deliver workshops – either as activities within a presentation or as a stand-alone activity. Yenn has undertaken the Sensemaking / Cynefin facilitation course and can offer a range of workshop styles and formats. Yenn will tailor a presentation to the needs of the audience and organiser. Organisations wanting a workshop should contact Yenn so they can tailor it to the organisation’s needs.