I am Miranda Stevens, the photographer behind this project.
As a young child, I could often be found in my father's darkroom, developing photos was a magical process to me. Photographing portraits is clearly my passion, I am visually oriented, autodidact and a real visual thinker.
During my journey to look into autism, I often came across the stereotypical characteristics in which I did not recognise myself. Three years ago, together with Female Autism Network Netherlands (FANN), the idea was born to start a photo project about autism in women. As a photographer, I wanted to give these women a chance to show their faces and share their personal stories.
I am incredibly proud to have won the FANN Innovation Award 2022 with this photo project. Over the past few years, I have worked on this project with tremendous joy and passion and I think 101 is a great number to finish it with. Project 101 has become a series of portraits that tell a story that I think needs to be told, so that together we can more widely create knowledge and understanding about autism in women and girls.
Whether you are a caregiver, a neighbour, autistic yourself or over here out of an interest, I hope that you as a visitor to this website will be inspired by the portraits and stories that share a richness of real experiential knowledge.
A word of thanks
My personal thanks go to Els Blijd Hoogewys (President FANN), Annelien Blom (Social Media), Laura van Dijk, Marieke van der Til, Nikki Reinders Mies (translators) and not forgetting all the women and girls who participated in this project.
Hi, I’m Annelien. Miranda made my FANNtastic Portrait in August 2022, after I’ve been fan of her work for years! We had a vivid conversation during the fotoshoot. About how she wants to show her work to as many people as possible, to raise (inter)national awareness for autistic girls and women. She publishes her pictures on her website and Instagram. Immediately I offered my help to also publish on Linkedin and Facebook & Instagram.
Now I create (with Miranda’s input and approval) the content for these social media channels. We are thankful for every like, share or tag! Social media is really my thing: I’ve graduated as digital designer and worked as content creator. On my own channels I’m also busy with autism awareness. But in real life I’d rather talk about my kids, movie actors, barefoot shoes and the fact I’m very very tall (as you can see in this picture, lol).
Would you like to know more about me?
You can find my FANNtastic portret and story here.
My name is Laura van Dijk, I work as an experience worker at 2 recovery academies and received my ASD diagnosis 10 years ago. Back then, there was not much known about ASD in girls and women at all. My search for information and knowledge was therefore quite long and many things I could find were mainly focused on boys and men. What I missed was the recognition and experience stories of other women, so that I could understand my ASD better and thus myself. I read every book and article I could find, but missed the specifics of ASD in girls and women.
When you don't understand yourself well and can't get clarity on why you process information in a different way that is not understood by others, or why it is you continue to struggle with certain things in your life, it is quite tough when you have to do it all alone. I did not find that recognition until I made an acount on instagram and started reading and sharing my stories in my search for peers. By talking to other women, you notice that you can find much more recognition and understanding. That is also the reason why I decided to retrain and work as an experience expert. I was able to turn my struggles into my strength.
So when I heard about the 101 FANNtastic portraits project, I was thrilled!
What a fanntastic intitiative to give girls and women a voice and a face in this way! I took part in the project myself and was so taken by it that I think it is super cool to work on the translations for this project. It is a beautiful way to see and understand how ASD works in our lives.
You can find my FANNtastic portret and story here.
My name is Marieke, and since this summer I have been helping out with the translation of interviews to English. I live in the north of the country, in a lovely quiet village, together with my four cats. I keep myself busy with my volunteer-work at an antique shop and with my biggest hobby: cooking.
In 2014 I had to stop working, because of a combination of health issues caused by epilepsy and burn-out. At Inter-Psy Groningen (where FANN-initiators Els Blijd-Hoogewys and Marleen Bezeker are employed), as a woman with autism I was really in luck, and I was diagnosed quite quickly. A lot fell into place for me: problems with social connections, stranding at school and jobs, the constant lack of energy and substantial sensory overstimulation. It has cost me time and effort to rearrange my life, but, despite the permanent low energy and easy overstimulation, I now feel better mentally than I ever did before.
I got to know FANN through Inter-Psy, and Miranda’s photo-project through a contactgroup for autistic women on the internet. It’s very satisfying to be able to contribute my part to this project, I think it’s wonderful how this shows the diversity of autistic women.