Carla, 20.

I am proudly on the Spectrum. There are quite a few things about me that I could share, but here are a key few that might summarise my personality for you: I am passionate about social activism. I want society to work harder to be a better place for different individuals to live in. I am vigilant in maintaining an open mind, and always trying to expose myself to situations that I may not be used to. I also love public speaking, performing arts, writing and video games. I am ambitious, funny, persistent, creative, apparently intuitive, honest and have very good self-awareness.

Autism is obviously a personal thing for me, and it means that sometimes life can be challenging. But the way I see it, there are obstacles in everyone’s lives. No challenge automatically equals failure. If you can try, then you can strive to lead a full and effective life. I never give up, and never stop believing that I have the potential to succeed.

Since becoming involved in the I CAN Network, I have never been able to relate to so many people in my life before. It’s like a community, and a home.

Nearly every day, I receive negative feedback from people that suggests my Autism is a serious barricade to my daily functioning. I just take it, but then go about my day living through my own values and proving people wrong. Everyone has the right to feel good about themselves. Shining light on the ‘negatives’ of Autism damages our self-esteem and makes us feel worthless. No one likes to feel that way.

I always try and share the positive experiences that I’ve had with others, as a person on the Spectrum. I want to teach people how to find success in their lives, and break down some of the stereotypes that exist around people on the Spectrum. Since becoming involved in the I CAN Network, I have never been able to relate to so many people in my life before. It’s like a community, and a home. It’s great to be part of such a positive atmosphere, and around people that share my values and optimism. The I CAN Network is important because it allows people on the Spectrum to embrace their capabilities. We can contribute great things to this world, and we deserve to be opened up to these great opportunities.

If you could do one thing to ensure our society is more inclusive, it would be to make an effort to learn more about the people you encounter. They are more than just a face, and a few quirks. They have a story, and if you get to know that story, then you might just come to realise that all humans have a lot to contribute to this world, if you only let them.

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Carla’s involvement at the I CAN Network has enabled her to embrace her capabilities. She is now working hard to provide the same opportunity to other people on the Autism Spectrum. If you believe that these stories are worth celebrating, you can build a society that benefits from embracing Autism.

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