What on earth are you? No label suffices – Inservice Autism 2013

On 14 November 2013 by Carolien Geurtsen

I was invited as speaker on a 2 day conference on autism. It was a strange combination of factors and ingridients and a lovely combination of uniquely wired people in whose surroundings I felt completely comfortable.

The most personal strange discovery which I noticed for myself was the following: I was completely able to focus and open up to speakers IN the (autistic) spectrum, but had to close down, literally LOOK down and filter a little extra when there were speakers NOT in the (autistic) spectrum (or at least so I presume – I could be totally wrong with this assumption).
So when I was attending meetings of who I figure now as NON-spectrum persons, I either had to look down and listen from that position, close my eyes in order not to get visually over-stimulated to keep focused, or take pictures [look trough a frame] and either right away process them while listening or save them it the proper files on my telephone.

Every once in a while even I was doubting whether I was paying full attention, but it was when I found myself nodding frequently that I started to discover a pattern: I was filtering out the non-necessities in order to be able to cope with all the stimuli of the attending people and visual and audio input at the same time.
Most significant for me was this was not happening at all with people so called in the spectrum like Paul C Siebenthal, Wendy Lampen and Diederik Weve. Utterly interesting. I only could think of a connection with that they were each talking from their own Book of Life.

In short, I had a great time, with great talks, wonderful silences and many impressions and new contacts to take home.
The location “Provinciaal Vormingscentrum Malle”, is a very basic one with an absolute charm because of that.
I only felt sorry that two of my colleague speakers @Autistagirl and @Aspienaut had a really short and cold night due heating problems. They are two people who I strongly recommend to follow on Twitter and find their various publications and maybe chance to hear them speak yourselves. My own little room was on the contrary much too warm for my comfort, so I closed the heater, opened the window and slept only under a sheet and my huge bath towel which I brought. The blanket was much too warm for me.

So I had a great couple of days.
I only wished there had been simultaneous translation of the various settings, although I totally understand this to be very costly and not feasible, but there was so much value and quality in content and presentation that I would have loved to be able to share this with a wider audience. So yes, I certainly have a wish-list towards next year: More, longer and a true international Inservice on Autisme

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It was a great joy to be in this cocoon with very special people for 3 days and I went home with fond memories and loads of new contact details.
And I look very much forward to receiving the sheets of the various meetings and workshops I attended and the ones I couldn’t.
Autistagirl and me were programmed at the same time so I had no chance to attend her Workshop.
The I Can’t wait urge is strong and as a matter of fact and feel my good old missionary qualities arising…
The uniqueness and the special, extremely gifted and talented people who each from their own perspective are so enormously challenged in a 2013 world with so much stimuli, I can only being to imagine how demanding that is and my own sensitivity for sound, light and people seems…trivial I quess is the proper English word.
This morning, in order for me to process my own impressions, it was lovely to play with the pictures I made in the early hours, and transform them in a black and white cartoon type of way.

Having said that.


In the mini workshop Creative Writing and Autism I attended on Day One, I wrote a Sprinter which was cryptic at that moment and hardly translatable, but I give it a try. First you draw your own hand and write 5 qualities, one in each finger and I choose the pleasure one to keep it light and surfacial, or so I thought…


What on earth are you?
but one of my dreams?
you sit down on the floor
and lean against my couch
with hick-ups of pleasure
I don’t get it
because I miss you so much that it hurts
My male best friend C
my female best friend A
my unborn child
my mother
my so beloved death ones

Only upon arriving home I realized that my friend A, who passed away last year November, as  a matter of fact died on that 12th yesterday a year ago. A co-incidence which make my tows curl up.

I did not write this to make anyone sad, certainly not  Biba, Paul, Carl, Wendy or Diederik, but to share how much I appreciated to have met you and sharing some of me with you, where you shared so much of you with me.
As well as the ones whose names I forgot, the ones I did not meet and the ones who took the effort to come to my workshops, to me, this crazy wired forgetful species, apparently not IN the spectrum according to some tests, possibly with some left over minor brain-damage or maybe just born this way, definitely in a different kind of spectrum than the ‘mediocre’ ones we all trip around in.

And Wendy, no words are enough to express how happy I am that you are able to cope with this emo-bomb on legs who is all over the place on moments that you can least use it 😉
Ilonka, I immensely love to know you as a dear friend, a wise and humorous earth mother incarnated, helping me to keep my wits whatsapping day or night time. I have so much respect for all you managed to manage the last couple of months.

Love you all


my dear friends birthday


Music uploaded Nov 1 2011

Inner Bells
from Album Kirvani Revisited (Challenge Records)
by Marion von Tilzer
Rani Heymann – clarinet,
Caroline Leeuw Wagner, Lisanne Soeterbroek – violin,
Wouter Huizinga-viola,
Sanne van der Horst – cello,
Heiko Dijker – tabla,
Lenneke v Staalen – indian violin, Marion von Tilzer – piano,
(Inner Bells was commissioned by Auke Bijlsma)

2 Responses to “What on earth are you? No label suffices – Inservice Autism 2013”

Trackbacks & Pings

Leave a Reply to jjvoerman Cancel reply

  • July 2019
    M T W T F S S
    « Jul    
  • Subscribe to Blog via Email

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: