Monique Post who received a diagnosis of Aspergers at the age of 25 was asked to become one of the first experiential autism consultants for the Dutch government during a project ‘Looking from within autism’ from 2013. She is currently European Ambassador for the Dutch Autism Association (NVA), has been a researcher/joint interviewer Webchair for the FE college (Haagse Hogeschool) in The Hague and is currently involved in a new research project EmFASiS ‘Gender and Health in girls and women with ASS’ which will be starting this year. Through her company Post Presentations in The Netherlands and international work she lectures on autism for FE colleges and universities and has been a contributor to various Dutch autism magazines. The ethos of her United World College background that each individual person is unique and can make a difference is apparent in her lectures as well as in the individuals she is able to support in their emancipation.
An all-day event she organised in the Cardiff Millennium Centre in 2016, sponsored by The Waterloo Foundation, was a great success with more than 100 participants, 14 speakers and also introduced the participants to the pioneering work of her mentor and teacher, biopsychologist Dr.Martine Delfos.
This event was based on the theme of working together to better understand the invisible extremes of the human spectrum because of being in awe of the people that we met. Speakers included a storyteller, a researcher, a business owner, a storyteller/psychologist and people with autism. Our key subject was inclusion and we worked with the broader of autism, trauma, attachment, eating disorders, self-harm, communication and language. These are all diagnoses which can also be given to someone with a diagnosis of autism. Paths are being explored to see if such a broad focused event, where the core would be autism and inclusion, would be interesting for The Netherlands.
The models of Martine Delfos, such as the Socioscheme, Autism from a developmental perspective and the Mental Age Spectrum Within 1 Person (MAS1P, are helping to move our understanding of autism forward. Current research has opened up new perspectives: autism is starting to be considered a ‘delay and acceleration in brain development rather than a defect.
An exciting change seems to be underway in the understanding of autism. This gives the possibility of positive development when we can connect with the child, adolescent or adult and support their unique way of learning and understanding of the world. She recognises her passion to give back in collaborating with inspiring partners and organisations who also work from the perspective of acknowledging each individual connecting with the child, adolescent or adult.
Current research has opened up new perspectives: autism is starting to be considered a ‘delay and acceleration’ in brain development instead of a ‘defect’ and this leads to hope.
The Next Step in Development
What happens to an individual’s development when a person internalises what is happening on the outside? Rejection can be internalised, not living up to your own expectations intensified and diagnosis becomes essential as a way of confirming that you are indeed ‘different’ than others.
Accelerated and delayed areas of development consequently cause a disharmonious developmental profile leading to misunderstanding, intense judgement and mental health issues.
How can the ‘difference’ that each person experiences become something to not only be embraced but be worked on? How can the environment help build the feeling of pride in a person with autism and is self-image really that important?
Using the theory of Martine Delfos ‘Autism from a developmental perspective’ and her model ‘Mental Age Spectrum Within 1 Person’ I will explore the positive social effect this can have on young people and adults with autism leading to exploration in an individual’s development.