Phyllis Ferguson graduated from McGill University as a speech pathologist and recipient of the McConnell Fellowship. She has extensive experience working all over the world (from PEI to Australia) with children and adults who have communication challenges. She is recently retired.
Phyllis’ professional knowledge of people with social and communication impairments provides a unique lens through which to view some of fiction’s most puzzling characters. She is the author of So Odd a Mixture: Along the Autistic Spectrum in ‘Pride and ‘Prejudice’ (2007) as well as several articles in Persuasions, the journal of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA).
Phyllis has given talks to numerous groups, including the JASNA AGMs in Montréal, Portland and Vancouver, the New Directions in Austen Studies conference in Chawton, England and the Pride and Prejudice: The Bicentennial conference held at Wright State University. She has also been a guest speaker for eight JASNA and two Jane Austen Society of Australia regions. During her years with the North Vancouver School District, she offered numerous workshops for parents and staff on a variety of topics related to communication challenges. In 2011 she presented an award-winning poster session entitled “Portrayals of Autistic Spectrum Disorders in Fiction” at the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists.
Phyllis previously served on JASNA’s board of directors as the chair of grants committee and the regional coordinator in Vancouver. She is currently the membership secretary for JASNA Canada.