Yes, there are also women with autism: "No, we're not robots."

Yes, there are also women with autism: “No, we’re not robots.”

Ghislaine van der Elst (28) is autistic. It took her years to receive this diagnosis. Her psychological complaints were confused with anxiety disorder and depression, but treatment was unsuccessful. At the age of 20, three tries at school, the dawn started that it might be something else – autism.

Autism is often recognized in women more than men, because they are said to be more likely to behave in a socially desirable way (see also box). Jesslyn understands that. “I taught myself to look at people and act the right way, so it didn’t really pop up.” However, she found little contact with her high school peers, because socializing was difficult for her. “Throughout my school days I tried not to stand out.”

Now that she knows what is wrong with her, she can handle the matter better. “In the past I was often disappointed when something didn’t work. Now I know better where things are coming from and I feel better when something is too much and when I have to take a break. For a lot of social work. Attitudes, just … When I need it myself. “

She did a short with her boyfriend, Alwyn Ritterter YouTube documentary About autism. In it, she says that she waited a while to tell Alwyn about her diagnosis. Why? “If you google autism, you will come across things that I don’t necessarily recognize. For example, I was afraid that he would read that I cannot empathize with another person, while I can. I wanted it to be good at first. So knowing that I have autism wouldn’t change Much. “

A major misunderstanding: Not being social

According to Ghislaine, her autism doesn’t have much of an impact on their relationship. “I think Alwyn particularly notices the fact that I often get tired. I fall asleep too early and for a lot.” She also has difficulty filtering out the voice, which often enters her voice loudly, and is easy to stimulate excessively. For others, apart from that, she is barely noticed that she has autism.

A major misunderstanding about people with autism, according to Ghislain, is that they cannot be social, or that they are completely different in social contact. “The idea is that they don’t look at you or talk about one thing all the time.” She doesn’t like watching series and movies where autistic people are a focus. “It bothers me. They take everything that an autistic person can have and put it into one character. I understand better, because the series About Me wouldn’t be interesting enough, because autism is essentially internalized. But it would be nice if more was done about it.” Autistic women. “

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I was stuck at 25 years old

Bianca Tuibes (36) is also a thorn in the side of the ‘autism’ stereotype. “People think that we are all emotionless, insensitive and that we cannot empathize, but we really can. Sometimes we just process emotions differently. We are not robots.”

As with Ghislaine and many autistic women, the diagnosis was not made until late. She was 26 years old when the exchange rate fell to psychologists. At the time, she was struggling for years with a variety of problems, from social awkwardness and depression to an eating disorder.

She says she hung out at the age of 25. “I had complaints of exhaustion. While my photography career was going well, I felt like it was failing. Things went so fast that I couldn’t handle it. About again. Throwing in the towel. For the umpteenth time. I was going to judge myself for that: “Yes, madam does something again and never finishes it again.” She wrote about it on her blog, and then a friend directed her to an article about women with autism Bianca got to know herself in a way that she examined for herself, after which she finally received the correct diagnosis.

Poor you, what cunt should you sit next to.

Already in the first group of elementary school, it was noticeable that she was “different”. “I can be very angry if I don’t think something is fair.” When she was transferred to Montessori School, things went better, although she found it difficult to communicate with other children throughout her childhood. I was bullied a lot in high school. “I was a little clever and did not accept hints that other people found disturbing. In some things I was also very young. When I was a seventh grader I entered school wearing a SuperMario T-shirt and a bag with Flippos. I tried really hard. It fit, but didn’t quite understand how. Then I got it.” On Nikes, for example, but then I tie it too tightly, which made me look out of place. I was so embarrassed and other people thought it too. “

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“I remember in third grade when I was turning over the diary of the girl sitting next to me and reading,“ Hey, how much you should have sat next to her. ”This is“ me. ”I realized that there was something wrong with me. As autistic women, we sometimes joke about it. : It takes 25 years to know we have autism, but Kristen and Charlotte in Grade 2B already know that. And they’ll choose you right away. “

Bianca has written a book about her autism: But you don’t seem lonely at all. “We autistic women get that comment quite a lot. It might be intended as a compliment, but what you’re actually saying is: Oh my God, how smart you know how to hide your true self so well.” The children’s version of the book will also be released in early April. I am stressedTargeted at children from the age of 8 years. “Many books focus on shortcomings. I think it would be a good idea to teach children that it is okay to do things your own way.”

Too many incentives in the office

Bianca herself does that too. She tries to organize her life in a way that suits her as best as possible. “Since I was diagnosed, I have been dealing with it better and better. For example, train travel can be very tiring for me when it is busy. So I travel outside rush hours as much as possible. Other people often understand when I am doing it. I want to meet outside. Rush hour, that makes a big difference to me. ” She has also adapted her work to it. “I wouldn’t be able to work full time in an office. There is a lot of motivation, and that’s very stressful. I also found the photography intense, and I often lay with a headache after a day of filming. That’s why I’m now primarily interested in creating websites, I can organize It does better by myself and it gives me more peace of mind. “

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Women and autism

Women have long been underdiagnosed with autism, says psychologist Animek Koster (73), who works as an experienced expert at the Dutch Autism Society (73).NVA). “It was always assumed that it was more common among boys and men than among women.” This may be because autism manifests itself differently in women. Coaster says they tend to mask their symptoms and conform to what the environment expects of them. In short: Boys express themselves more ‘with autism’, while women generally exhibit socially desirable behavior. As a result, women are often diagnosed late, which leads to a lot of frustration and incorrect treatment.

Find out after 60

Now that there is more interest in autistic women, it is also being recognized more often. About a quarter of people with autism are now women, while this was much less than that before. During Autism Week (from March 27th), NVA will begin with a “New Autism and Women Expert Group”, of which Coaster will be chair.

She also has autism herself. This was only discovered after her 60th birthday. “I spent six years of psychoanalysis and many individual therapies before it came to light. Only then could 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 the Autism Women’s Network From Holland.

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