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Jose’s account of Autminds 2015

Jose Spruyt presented a workshop about employed autistic at Autminds 2015. She provided us with an account of the day.

Autminds 19 September 2015

Early morning I left my house. A little less early still early enough I alight the train in Oosterbeek. My secret tactic is to observe people who might be attending Autminds and follow him/her. As I enter someone points me the way, checks my name on a list, hands me a key-card and a summary of the workshops I have registered. I walk on, coffee is present, and tea and cookies. After that, the workshops start. Fifteen in total, five rounds of an hour, a full program.

The first workshop I am attending is Melanie’s, we play a game called ‘a loose thread’. We are divided into two groups. The aim of the game is to share thoughts, experiences and opinions. The openness among participants is refreshing. Plenty of people with autism are present. Of course. We tend to forget how different we all are, alike and unique.

The second workshop I am attending is something completely different. Hannah is a scientist and working on a study on the image/metaphors about autism in movies. This is the workshops that is occupying me most after weeks. Everyone I am talking to afterwards, gets to hear about the restrictive image that evolved by the made up metaphors of non-autistics about autistics. Even now we are lacking new metaphors, not to replace these but to complete. Metaphors that commence from being different, how to view the world, of diversity and inclusiveness.

Then it’s time for a workshop that got cancelled, one about art. The organisation is aware of a volunteer artiste. However she never presented a lecture and is scared to death, she did stand up in a room of thirty people. She did show what she creates. Shown from details, analogue to minimal music, with a structure that evolves from executing a series of lose actions. About the use of colour, or the lack of it. And about how much more we are than just autistic, as an artiste, as a sister, as a human. A awe-inspiring message that is completely in sync with this year’s theme, diversity and uniformity.

In the fourth slot it is my turn to present a workshop. Exciting since I only showed it to two people of which one is an expert about content and the other very experienced in the format of a workshop. Yes, the information density is extremely high. I look around into the public, am I capable to do this? I decide I can. Within fifty minutes we browsed through – in a nutshell – all options of creating our own autism-job from a random job.

When it was finished I was exhausted. I joined the workshop ‘Autism images’ of Diederik, the last slot of the day. The idea is to create new images on autism, by means of drawings, pictures combined with text. After three quarters of an hour of consulting, exchanging ideas, drawing and writing we share the results. These include some interesting and promising images. Diederik has reserved a web address where we can submit our work to on a later date.

And that’s how a full agenda comes to a close. It has been an enchanting experience. A day dedicated to autism. I walk back to the train station, alone. I notice a few familiar faces. That’s logical, since we spent most of the day together. Still absorbing the extend of the whole experience I arrive at home. Over-stimulated, but without the negative connotation. Just tired. And satisfied.

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