Grape to meet you: Austin Wyatt, Networks Director

How did you first come across the I Can Network?
I went on the Young Adults camp last May after family came across the I CAN Network. I was impressed by the camp and decided to offer to help out.

What made you want to get involved?
My brother was subjected to the deficit model of schooling in his high school, while I was fortunate enough to go to a more progressive selective high school. The damage it had on his attitude to education was appalling. When I saw the difference that one I CAN camp made for the confidence of the attendees, I was inspired to help out where I could.

What exactly is your role at the I Can Network?
I am the Networks Director at the I Can Network, which means I build relationships with new schools, universities and businesses. I also help bring our message to government at all levels and work with potential funding partners. Finally I help train mentors and Network Leaders as well as mentoring at two schools and Swinburne University.

What does an I Can attitude mean to you?
To me the I Can attitude refers to the self-confidence, nurtured by an enabling network of supporters, which powers a young person toward their potential.

What’s been the highlight of your time with I Can so far?
My highlight so far has been when I got to be one of the assistant-convenors on the last I Can Teens Camp. This was a challenging but very rewarding experience for me. I got to see young people who were also on the spectrum overcome their fears and challenge themselves in a friendly environment.

What’s your autistic superpower?
Probably my knowledge of military history and counter-terrorism theory. I am part way through my honours year my degree and have a paper pending publication. Counter-terrorism theory and military history, with a particular focus on Russian history and the Napoleonic Wars, has always been an area of immense interest for me.

Do you have a message for readers?
It is important to remember that people on the spectrum can, and often do, outperform those not on the spectrum when we are encouraged by our supporters and given the tools to succeed. Don’t give up on your obsession, use it to propel you toward your potential!

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