My name is Margot van Schendel, I am 27 years old and I work in autism care. Currently I work there as pedagogical counselor, lived experience worker and trainer for Stichting de As [The As Foundation]. From September 1st I’ll be working as a residential social worker and as a job coach for a protected housing facility of Jados.
I was diagnosed with ASD six years ago. Although I was hardly familiar with what this meant, it was a relief to have an explanation for my 'behaviour', having always felt so different. Both during my higher education and in my spare time, I immersed myself in everything that had to do with autism (my special interest), to eventually make this my profession. I am very proud that I have been able to turn my vulnerability into a strength. Although it will always remain a vulnerability. I have learned a lot from a severe autistic burnout, and I can grow even more in the social-emotional area. Fortunately, I am given all the room to develop into a (as much as possible) self-reliant woman, at the housing facility (Woondroom Breda [LivingdreamBreda]) where I reside. I have my own spacious apartment and I have been living/enjoying this with my dear neighbour, my boyfriend, for little over a year now. I hope that we can be different together for a long time to come.
I am proud of who I am and what I do! The steps I have taken in recent years, the help I receive, the appreciation I get from clients and colleagues, the love my boyfriend gives me... It all helps me moving forward. Tell me and I listen, show me and I watch, let me experience and I learn.
I notice that many people (with autism) worry about what others think of them, they are constantly adapting to that. What I want to say to them is, "Let's be different together!" You can't change the people around you, but you can change the people you choose to have as part of your life. What I want to tell others (with autism) is that not everyone has a part in your future. Some people just give you some wise lessons. See this video from award-winning storyteller Jay Shetty,