"If I start something, I also finish it". - Willeke

My name is Willeke and I am 33 years old. I have my own house with a garden in which I like to keep myself busy. Scouting is my biggest hobby. Being active outdoors with the children in my group or with other adults. It’s a place where almost anything is possible.

We do a lot of varied activities, which is perfect for me because I enjoy a lot of different things. I also like to exercise a lot, but I don't like choosing all that much, so every day I pick a different exercise activity.

The role autism plays in my life is bigger than I thought for a long time. I have had the diagnosis for almost 10 years, but I am only recently really learning how my autism works and how to better cope with it. The fact that I think about everything (really everything) has the biggest impact, I believe. This regularly generates a lot of questions, anxiety, tension and sometimes even panic. There is so much going through my head that I lose the overview. Especially if things are unpredictable or unclear and if something goes differently than I had thought. Thinking a lot and being sensitive to stimuli make things cost me more energy both before, during and after an activity or appointment. On the other hand, I also enjoy being able to think so much and deeply. It often produces creative ideas and insights.

I am proud of my perseverance. Despite all the difficulties, I don't shy away from things. If I start something, I also finish it. Likewise, agreement is agreement for me, no matter how difficult it is. In the other FANN photos, I see many tips for people with autism. About trying to be yourself and being open to your environment. I do not entirely agree with this. To change tack, I want to give practical suggestions. I suffer a lot from outside stimuli. It helps me to be able to shield or limit them sometimes. Consider headphones (possibly with music or soothing sounds), fidget toys, sunglasses, etc.

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