Poppe-Simone, 15.

My name is Poppe-Simone. I’m 15 years old and in Year 10 doing VCAL and loving it.  My interests are modelling, drama, singing, rock-climbing, up cycling and sign language. I am involved in Special Olympics swimming and represented Australia in the Special Olympics Trans-Tasman Tournament in November 2016, successfully winning two gold medals. I have just been selected to represent Victoria in the Australian Junior National Games on the Gold Coast in July this year, which is so exciting.

I have experienced a lot of bullying at my school, and it makes me feel really isolated. At school when I was being bullied I felt like nobody cared about me and this made me not care about myself. I was treated like a rag doll, I was pushed and thrown up against walls, which tore me apart, mentally and emotionally. I had no support from the teachers, they told me to ignore it, the only support I received was from my parents and one true friend and her mother. I was able to overcome my feelings of isolation by listening to my favourite YouTubers who kept my mood high with their amusing sense of humour and a very generous caring and supportive attitude towards their followers, which I admired. Talking to professionals and my own personal I CAN Network along with a lot of hard physical work to strengthen my mind also helped a great deal.

I’m still not there yet. I keep kicking goals, I keep falling over, but I keep getting back up because I know that with the support of my personal I CAN Network I will get there. Without their support to keep pushing, guiding and patting me on the back, I would not kick the goals I have and I am so proud of those goals.

The I CAN community drive and show us we can do anything we set our minds to. They highlight our positives and strengthen them, they make us feel included and not isolated. Isolation is not a word used in the I CAN Network. Through great activities that the network offer, we have the ability to build relationships with others that can help us move forward in our lives and not feel alone. It can turn a shy girl like me that refused to talk for fear of rejection, into someone who blossoms with confidence and enthusiasm and loves life now. Thank you I CAN.

We are creating a society that celebrates Poppe-Simone’s resilience. You can too. 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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