Yes, there are women with autism: ‘No, we are not robots’

Kisline van der Elst (28) has autism. It took her many years to get that diagnosis. His psychological complaints were misdiagnosed as an anxiety disorder and depression, but treatments for them were ineffective. In his 20s, three attempts at school, it could be something else – autism.

Autism is a disorder that is affecting more and more women than men because they are said to be more likely to behave in a socially desirable manner (see also box). Kisline acknowledges it. “I taught myself to look at people and behave in the right way, so it doesn’t really stand alone.” However, she had little contact with peers in high school because social interaction was difficult for her. “I didn’t try to stand alone all my school days.”

Now that she knows what is wrong with her, she can deal with it better. “I’m often frustrated myself when I ‘ve not done any work in the past. Now I know where things are coming from. When something is high, I feel good when I need to retire. I do not deliberately look for more social work. Circumstances, only when I need to.”

She made a short film with her boyfriend Alvin Ridsteier YouTube Documentary About his autism. In it he says he has been waiting a while to tell Alvin about his diagnosis. Why? “If you google Google Autism, you see things I don’t recognize. For example, I was afraid he would read that I could not be as sympathetic to someone else as I was. At first I wanted him to be nice so much would not change if I knew I had autism.”

Big Misunderstanding: Not socially

According to Kisline, his autism does not have much of an impact on their relationship. “I think Alvin is particularly attentive to the fact that I’m often tired. I fall asleep early.” She has difficulty filtering sound, which often enters her loudly, and is easily over-stimulated. For others, besides that, it is not noticeable that she has autism.

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A major misconception about people with autism is that, according to Kisline, they cannot be social, or very different in social interactions. “The idea is, they never see you or talk about a thing.” She does not like to watch series and films that are centered on people with autism. “It irritates me. They take everything a person with autism can have and put it in a role. I understand very well because a series about me is not interesting enough because autism mainly takes place internally within me. But it would be nice if something more was done about women with autism. Be. “

‘I got stuck on my 25th’

Bianca Toops (36) A pin on the side of a homogeneous figure of an ‘autistic’. “People think we’re all emotionless, emotionally ill, and we can not feel it, but we can really. Sometimes we only process emotions differently, we’re not robots.”

Like many women with Kisline and autism, the diagnosis was not made until late. He was 26 when the penny was dropped to psychologists. At the time, he had been struggling with many issues ranging from social ills and depression to eating disorder.

He was trapped at 25, he says. “I had complaints like I was burned out. When my photography career was going so well, I felt like I had failed. All of this went so fast that I could not handle it. I had already dropped out of several courses, and now I was on the point again. Throw in the pieces. For the eleventh time. .I’m going to judge myself for that: ‘Yes, madam is doing something again, never finished it again.’ “He wrote about it on his blog, after which a friend pointed to an article about women with autism. Bianca acknowledged this by examining herself, after which she received an accurate diagnosis.

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‘Poor you, Kant who has to sit next to’ it ‘

Already in group 1 of primary school, she was noticed to be ‘different’. “I would be very angry if I didn’t think something was fair.” When she moved to a Montessori school, things went well, although it was difficult to connect with other children during her childhood. In high school she was bullied a lot. “I’m a little clever, I’m not taking notes that others find annoying. In some respects I’m too young. I kept them so tight, it made me look out of place. I was so bad, others thought so. “

“I remember flipping through the diary of the woman who sat next to me in third grade: ‘Poor you, what’s you have to sit next to’ it ‘? It’s’ it’ I did. Something was wrong with me. We women with autism sometimes make fun of this: It took experts 25 years to find out we had autism, but Kirsten and Charlotte, both in class 2B, already knew. They would take you out. “

Bianca wrote a book about her autism: But you don’t seem to be an autistic. “We autistic women often get that idea. It means a compliment, but what you really have to say with it is: Ghosh, you know how well you cover your true self.” The children’s edition of the book will also be released in early April, I am autistic, Targeting children from 8 years old. “Many books focus on flaws. I thought it’s good to teach kids that it’s good to do things your own way.”

Many offers in the office

Bianca does the same. She tries to organize her life as best she can. “Since I was discovered, I have been handling it better and better. For example, traveling by train can be very tiring for me. So I travel as often as possible. Others often understand that when I want to meet outside in an emergency, it makes a big difference for me. . ”She also embraced her work. “I can not work full time in an office. There are too many offers, it’s very tiring. I also saw photography seriously, and a day after a shoot I often had a headache. That’s why I am now mainly interested in creating websites, I can better organize it myself, it It gives me more peace of mind. “

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Women and autism

Annemic Coaster, 73, an experienced psychologist at the Dutch Autism Society, says women have not been diagnosed with autism for a long time.N.V.A.). “It was always considered that it was more common in boys and men than in women.” This may be because autism manifests differently in women. Coaster says they hide their symptoms and the environment matches what is expected of them. “In short: boys express themselves as more ‘autistic’, while women generally exhibit socially desirable behavior.” As a result, women are often diagnosed late, resulting in a lot of frustration and mistreatment.

Discovered after 60

This is largely recognized as it is now more focused on women with autism. A quarter of all people diagnosed with autism are now women, previously it was much lower. During Autism Week (starting March 27), NVA will launch a new ‘Expert Group on Autism and Women’ in which the coaster will be chaired.

She also has autism. It was only discovered after his 60th birthday. “Before coming to light I had six years of psychological analysis and various personal therapies. Only then can I give it a place in my life and start my own development.”

For more information on autism in women, see Dutch Autism Register And this Female Autism Network Of the Netherlands.

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