I am Karin, 45 years old. When I was 24, a care provider thought I might be autistic, which was called Asperger’s back then. It wasn’t something I had considered myself, and I didn't recognize myself at all in the picture of autism that I encountered, after I started looking into it.
I didn't experience the problems that were described about people with autism. And vice versa, I did have issues that were not linked to autism. Such as a sensitivity to certain noises, which only recently became part of the autism characteristics. Or friends, whom I did have, just like getting an education, and having a part-time job. Due to the lack of recognition, I started to doubt the correctness of the diagnosis. It’s a good thing that more attention is now being paid to (independent) women with autism, so that they can hopefully find recognition, in each other and the diagnosis, which I had to miss out on.
I find it difficult to say what the impact of autism is on my life. On the one hand, it’s a lot, because a large part of my job and volunteer work has to do with autism. On the other hand, I have been accommodating my life to fit me for years, and there are times when I hardly notice that I even have autism. At other times, for example when my life isn't going the way I would have wanted it to, I just don't know how much this is due to autism. I also try not to label everything as 'because of autism', but to see it as 'that's me' or 'this is a part of me'.
I am proud of my (volunteer) work in the field of autism over the years. Examples are the interest group Personen uit het Autisme Spectrum [People from the Autism Spectrum], Autminds and De Onderzoeksagenda Autisme [The Autism Research Agenda]. On my own website www.karinvandenbosch.nl you can find more information about what I do.
My tip to people with autism is to stay close to yourself. Get to know yourself and try to live from who you really are.