The FANN is a Dutch interdisciplinary network for professionals (psychologists, psychiatrists, researchers, etc.) who are committed to improve the diagnostic and treatment of females of all ages with the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), through a variety of instruments, tools and research. 

ASD in women is not or poorly recognised, as women often do not seem to match with usual symptoms that accompany ASD. However, this condition is not less severe for women. It just means women are usually better at assimilating and hiding these symptoms. The stress and fatigue that are caused by the effort to hide their condition, are therefore misdiagnosed as depression or borderline comportment. According to online research done by the FANN, there are only two articles worldwide that touch upon the specific issue of women with ASD and burn-outs. 

v.l.n.r Patricia van Wijngaarden-Cremers, Els Blijd-Hoogewys, Annelies Spek, 
Marleen Bezemer & Audrey Mol

Annelies Spek

Klinisch psycholoog en hoofd van Autisme Expertisecentrum.

Audrey Mol 

Klinisch psycholoog bij dr. Leo Kannerhuis, locatie polikliniek Amsterdam.

Els Blijd-Hoogewys


Klinisch psycholoog en manager behandelzaken bij INTER-PSY. Tevens senior-researcher. Mede-initiatiefnemer van FANN.


Marleen Bezemer


Gezondheidszorgpsycholoog en wetenschappelijk onderzoeker bij INTER-PSY. Mede-initiatiefnemer van FANN.

Patricia van Wijngaarden 

Psychiater bij het specialistisch centrum ontwikkelingsstoornissen (SCOS) van Dimence.


I’m Els Blijd-Hoogewys, a clinical psychologist/psychotherapist, chairwoman of the FANN (Female Autism Network of the Netherlands), chairwoman of CASS18+ (a consortium of specialists in adult autism), program director of the Dutch Autism Congress (NAC), and … aunt of a sweet autistic girl. 


In 2008, I received my PhD on the development of Theory-of-Mind in autistic children. As a clinical psychologist, I diagnose and give therapy to autistic adults, am manager of the Young Children’s Expertise Team at INTER-PSY, and regularly write lay articles on autistic young girls, together with Marrit Buruma.


In 2017, Marleen Bezemer and I founded the FANN. Soon after, Audrey Mol, Annelies Spek and Patricia van Wijngaarden joined the FANN board. We have an enthusiastic group of members who develop all kinds of products for autistic girls and women. We do this on a voluntary basis. It's fantastic to see how much you can achieve together. More can be found on, including Dutch blogs of autistic girls and women.


FANN wants to improve and disseminate knowledge about female autism. In doing so, practitioners, researchers, and autistic women work side-by-side. We can be found on LinkedIn, Dutch:, English:, Twitter @FANN_network, Insta @fann_autisme, with beautiful photos by Miranda Stevens, mini blogs by @auri_autisme and survival guides by @wereldvanautisme and illustrations by Anne-Claire.