G’day fellow mammals, and welcome to our recurring feature Grape To Meet You, where we introduce people on the Spectrum and share their insights.
Today’s star is Wenn Lawson, a psychologist, writer, and member of I CAN’s board. We thought it’d be great to get his input as someone who’s lived through great changes in the way that Autism is perceived and understood. Take it away Wenn!
So when were you diagnosed?
I was diagnosed in 1993.
And what was the perception of Autism like back then?
The perception of Autism was very different…. although it was beginning to be better known, the focus was still very much on deficits and problems. Today we focus more on strengths and working with our interests.
How did you first get involved in I CAN Network?
I came across the I CAN network when I heard Chris speaking. That was 5 years ago.
I wanted to get involved and offer my support but it would take another 3 years before that happened; I CAN needed time to settle, set up structures and build the organisation. I became more involved as the organisation spread to regional Victoria, where I live. I joined the South West board, and the main board a year later.
What do you believe is the way forward for Autism advocacy?
The main way forward in Autism is in recognising our strengths. Together we thrive, divided we won’t survive. It’s in the essence of team work and mutual support as we share our stories. Success isn’t about becoming top dog or climbing some artificial ladder, it’s about becoming all we can be as our true self and celebrating life. Resilience is all about bouncing back after hitting a hard surface… much easier to do this together though.
Do have a message for our readers?
The message I would have wanted to hear when I was younger would have centred not only upon self-acceptance but on acceptance of others and joining forces with those of like mind. Find your tribe and look fear in the eye, together. We are the future but the future won’t know this if we stay in the shadows.