I’m autistic and I wrote a book about it, called But you don’t look autistic at all. It originally came out in Dutch in April of 2019. The English version was crowdfunded by me and came out in the summer of 2020. In the beginning of 2022, the German version was released.
The book was also adapted to a kids version, this book only exists in Dutch (for now). It’s title translates to I’m autastic! I moved to Japan in 2022, and about that I wrote This autistic girl went to Japan, which was be released in Dutch in September of 2023. It will be released in English by the end of February 2024.
I’m available for speaking events in English. You can contact me through the contact page.
Things can be quite tough when you’re autistic. But you probably knew that already. Did you know you could also be simply fantastic? Or even better, autastic!
This book is for autistic children from around 8 years old and the people in their lives. I’ve written it together with children’s author Esther Walraven. The beautiful illustrations are by Roozeboos. More info on the book can be found on this website (in Dutch).
This article was initially written for Flow Magazine. They asked me: What do you struggle with when you have autism?
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…?
Thanks to the launch of my new book (and a cringeworthy opinion piece in Trouw that we had to respond to), I have been in the papers, on the radio and even on TV over the past few months. While I was generally pleased with the coverage, I also worried from time to time, as some of the headlines were somewhat unsubtle. Although I invariably did my best to emphasize the diversity of both Japan and autism, that didn’t always come across well.
In four days I will fly back to the Netherlands for a month. My last visit was in January, so it was about time. I have to, because my little brother is getting married, and of course I have to be there. The wedding is not in the Netherlands, by the way, but in the south of France. Good, we’ll fly there too.
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.