“We don’t have this label ‘Autism Spectrum’ for people to be saying ‘I Can’t. We have it so people can say ‘I CAN'”.
– Chris Varney, Founder of the I CAN Network
The I CAN Network was formed in September 2013, in response to the momentum from Founder Chris Varney’s TEDx, ‘Autism – How My Unstoppable Mother Proved the Experts Wrong’.
Shortly after the TEDx, Chris and his friend James Ong, a fellow Aspie, started designing the ‘I CAN Network’. Penny Robinson, a young woman with Asperger’s, turned up to the first I CAN meeting on 19 September 2013. In the coming months the trio teamed up with Tim Chan (a teenager with Autism), Gabrielle Breheny (sister to a brother on the spectrum), Damien Watson (a professional with Asperger’s), and Christian Tsoutsouvas (a teenager with Asperger’s). It was the collective passion and experiences of Chris, Penny, James, Tim, Gabrielle, Damien and Christian that inspired the development of a bigger team to pilot the I CAN Network over 2014-15.