Through I CAN and being a mentee, I got a lot more courageous and a lot more willing to do stuff I never thought I would even consider engaging in. – Lachlan
During our South West Victoria team’s 2017 video rendition of “You Can’t Ask That!”, Lachlan Peach delivered this classic insight: ‘No, I don’t think I’ll grow out of my Autism. Autism is a part of me. If I’m gonna grow, it’s gonna grow with me.’ Lachlan’s journey from I CAN mentee to mentor has been marked by immense growth — in his confidence, his own Autistic identity and his ability to encourage younger Autistics with his positive outlook and chilled out humour.
In this brief video interview, Lachlan explains how Autistic peers and role models have helped him develop confidence and pride, offers advice for Autistic young people who are contemplating post-school life and shares why he aspires to go into teaching one day. Click here or on the image below to watch the video.
On his first I CAN Network experience: Being with other Autistic peers gave me the chance to be open and not have any fear about being judged. Everyone could relate in some way to things I had gone through. We could all just be ourselves and have great fun. There was no shame and it was just awesome.
On the importance of Autistic community: It’s important to have contact with other Autistics for the simple reason that you don’t have to worry about being misunderstood. If you trip up and say something silly, you don’t have to worry about the instant backlash or looking bad. Even if people disagree with you, there’s always a feeling of support.
On his message to the world: Never doubt us Autistics. We will always surprise you. You can assume what we’re going to do, but we’ll come up with something different and better to beat those expectations.
At I CAN Network, we believe in the power of storytelling. Since 2016, we have been running an annual campaign called Humans on the Autism Spectrum, through which we celebrate the personal stories and insights of Autistics in our network. Over the years, we’ve had the privilege of highlighting many Autistic voices, including young people who are new to our I CAN mentoring programs, those who have been with us for years, mentors, teachers and advocates.
In 2020, we are especially proud to be partnering with the NDIA to deliver Humans on the Autism Spectrum: School Leavers.
From early April to mid-June, we will be showcasing experiences, insights and advice from ten Autistic members of our team who are navigating post-school life, including TAFE, university, the workplace and community. Their stories contain messages that are relevant not only for younger Autistic peers but for anyone wanting to understand Autistic lived experience.
We are a proudly Autistic-led and predominantly Autistic-staffed organisation – the largest of our kind in Australia. We deliver group mentoring to thousands of Autistic young people ages 9-20 across the country via school programs, online group mentoring and community events. We share our Autistic insights through personal stories, professional development and consultancy work and offer free webinars worldwide. And we provide paid employment opportunities to dozens of Autistics who help design and deliver our game-changing programs.
Our I CAN team and supporters are driven by a shared vision of creating a world that embraces Autism.
Our vision needs everyone. We invite you to join us – subscribe to our newsletter.