Autism

Hello my name is Toeps and I’m autistic. I wrote a book or two about it.

Nine struggles you’ll probably recognize when you’re autistic

This article was initially written for Flow Magazine. They asked me: What do you struggle with when you have autism?

Which jobs are suitable for autistic people?

In the silly piece in Trouw to which I responded with some other autistic writers, two critical “giftedness coaches” wrote that we couldn’t have autism at all, because, ‘Writers who say they have autism but write books and are in relationships are not examples of people with autism to us.’ Why their entire article made no sense we explained clearly enough in our reply, but the fact that they mentioned the very profession of being a writer made it extra funny to me. Did these two think that someone who sits like a hermit all day in their attic, in a cabin in the woods or, in my case, at the foot of Mt. Fuji, crafting sentences, cannot be autistic? How…?

Seven questions you can ask when an autistic person is stuck in their head

We autistic people are often good at stressing ourselves out. When we lose track, the same thoughts keep popping into our heads over and over again. Stress builds up and we can’t manage to calm ourselves down. When we ask for help, others say, “Don’t worry!”, or ” You’ll be fine!” Well intended, but perhaps the most unhelpful thing someone can say at times like that. “What do you mean, it will be fine?! How can you possibly know?!”, my head screams. Below are some questions that might actually help when an autistic person is stuck in their thoughts.

The autistic person who is doing too well

“I just saw you on Dutch tv station Max, and I think it’s really bizarre that you have houses in the Netherlands and Japan (*), and a job. I think you take advantage of autism for your own gain, yuck!” An email with pretty much this content I received last week, when I was on the train back home from my appearance at Tijd voor Max, in which I talked about my new book. In less than half an hour, this triggered viewer had taken the effort to Google me, check out my site, draw his conclusions and compose an email – although, judging by the language and typing errors, it was a pretty rushed message. Just five minutes of furiously pounding on a keyboard and boom, he had told that faker on tv the truth for once!

Eight things I do to plan better

As an autistic person, I sometimes find it difficult to manage stimuli. It is often too much, and if I go beyond my limits I sometimes have to recover for days. In my book I wrote about how I learned to create structure by planning. Now you may be thinking: Sure, planning is good, but how exactly do you do that? While I don’t think there is one method, and I believe everyone has to figure out what works for themselves, I have listed eight points below that have perfected my planning over the past ten years. I hope you find them helpful.

Aber du siehst gar nicht autistic aus

For some time now I saw in the Amazon statistics of my English book that, after the US and the UK, Germany is the largest buyer of my book. I also regularly received messages from German readers, asking whether the book would also be published in German. They would like to have their family read it for example, but they are not very good at English…

Identification

“Do you actually still identify as a woman?” Roufaida asked me, after we talked about her podcast, which I had also contributed to. Grrrls was the initial name, but now that she had recently interviewed a non-binary person, the name really couldn’t be used anymore. Shortly before, my Instagram app asked me if I wanted to put my pronouns in my bio. “Go away, leave me alone,” I thought. But why did I think that, anyway?

I went to Disneyland Paris with an Autipas (and in the middle of a pandemic)

I had been wanting to go to Disneyland Paris for months, but kept putting it off, “because Japan”. I couldn’t plan ahead, I didn’t dare take the corona risk, or Riemer had to work. But after we did not go in November, “because Japan”, and Japan and Omicron screwed me over again, I was determined: we are going. On New Year’s Eve. That way I would be rid of the Dutch fireworks misery as well.

A nuanced take on the Spectrum 10K study

There’s been a lot going on online recently. An organisation called Spectrum 10K is trying to recruit 10.000 autistic people to get DNA samples from, for an in-depth study of the genetic origins of autism. (Read more about it in this article from Indy100.) Science-y me is immediately interested. I too want to know where […]

Coming soon: But You Don’t Look Autistic At All!

It’s never the right moment. That’s what they tell people that want to have babies, but are not sure when. I’m talking about another kind of baby: my book, in English! Is this the right moment? Probably not. But I’m doing it anyway.

Flying autistic

For some time now, Schiphol has had green lanyards with sunflowers, for people with autism, or other invisible disabilities. With such a lanyard, employees should know that something is going on with you, so that they can respond in a helpful way to meltdowns or other problems. My first experience with this “service” was during […]

Beware, children playing

Earlier this week I was tagged in a post on Twitter. “OMG, did you see this?!” It was a post of an “autism parent educator”. For a moment I thought it was an “autism parent”, but apparently the two have similarities: they think they know a lot, but they don’t actually listen to people with autism. See the tweet in question below.

Autism mum

I see it more and more: articles by, with or about autism mums. Mothers of children with autism. They talk about how difficult their lives are, how they had to readjust their expectations in life, how the system fails them and how they had to fight their own disappointments.