Growing up Autistic, whether you’re diagnosed or not, can be a tough gig in a world where difference isn’t always celebrated. I was once that kid, and I know from experience that it’s easy to internalise a lot of the negativity around us.
That’s why, at the I CAN Network, we place so much emphasis on building positive support networks that empower young Autistics. And for some of us, one of the most important members in that network is our dad.
My own dad, Curl Williams (pictured below), was certainly a central pillar of mine.
As a kid, every time I thought I couldn’t do something and said so, he’d tell me, “Rubbish, you should give it a go” and when I did, I nearly always did far better than I expected. He never doubted me the way I doubted myself, and his unshakable belief in me was like a breakwater against the constant crashing waves of self-doubt.
In honour of Father’s Day, several members across our I CAN Network community have shared their reflections on how their dad or other adult figure helped them develop a more positive self of sense as an Autistic young person. We appreciate that not everyone has had that type of support.
Whether it’s a parent, relative, teacher or friend, every Autistic young person deserves adults in their lives who will accept and embrace them for who they are. These invaluable champions can teach us at a young age to believe in ourselves and to say with confidence, “I CAN.”
Max Williams, Editor