Abbie, 26.

I am 26 years old. I am studying my Bachelor of Social Work at Victoria University. I have a dog named Scout who is like my child, and my best friend. My hobby and ‘chill out’ time is going to movies at the cinema. I was diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum at the age of 20, but grew up knowing I was always different.

My parents were told at the age of 2 that I would not learn to read or write. I was told I should high leave school in year 9 and go to TAFE because I would not be able to do the VCE work at high school. Although it was modified, I did do it! I got some funded extra help at school regularly. My mum and I had meetings with staff at the school to persist with what I could and could not do. I had strong resilience and persistence to keep going and succeed.

I sometimes feel isolated when I feel like I can’t talk to anyone. I look okay, so I am supposed to be okay. If I am not okay, it is extremely hard for me to say. The I CAN Network has helped me build my confidence, to be able to say if I am NOT okay and explain my challenges. By building resilience to deal with adversity I have begun to stand up for myself sometimes and ask for help if I need it. There are also many people who have believed I can do what I am aiming to do and have helped me at my own pace and level. I CAN helps people believe in their strengths and work with them. It gives people opportunity who otherwise may not have it. It builds confidence. It gives people something to belong and commit to.

To me, Autism means being someone who is making the world interesting.

Abbie celebrates the individual strengths of people on the Autism Spectrum. We need your help. Join us by donating or giving monthly. Together, we can create employment opportunities for people on the Autism Spectrum, and can support schools and workplaces to celebrate their individual strengths.

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