Gus, 8.

I am eight years old. I am in Grade 3. My favourite colour is red. I like racing and when I grow up I will be a race car driver.

One time, Dane said I can’t do a somersault but I did (Dane is Gus’s best friend – this wasn’t a teasing situation, Dane just honestly thought Gus couldn’t do a somersault – Kristie, Gus’s mum).

Whenever I feel like there is something that will be really hard for me to do, I just think of The I CAN Network and it helps me. Sometimes when I’m at school, my teacher reminds me to look at my I CAN Network drink bottle. Then I know that I can do anything… like run in the school Cross Country – I did finish and I even came 9th!

I like what Autism means to me. Autism is amazing. I like that it makes me a little different to some other people. I have really great memory for things – like when we hadn’t been to our caravan at the beach for 2 months but I still remembered that one of my Lightning McQueen cars was under the couch there.

I like that it makes me a little different to some other people.

Kristie, Gus’s Mum.

My son, Gus, is nine years old in May. He was diagnosed as Autistic just after his fourth birthday. It’s been nothing short of AMAZING learning and living in this world. He has been my life’s biggest teacher and he blows my mind, in some way or another, every single day!

Our friends all try to understand Autism, but it’s sometimes a confusing concept for even the most willing ‘student’. Birthday parties for friends’ kids can be tricky. Play centres like ‘Bounce’ are a lot of fun, but in such a sensory overloaded environment sometimes we just need to play it by ear – sometimes we either don’t go or we need to leave early. Planning holidays with friends has been another isolating time for our family. Recently we weren’t able to go on a long awaited group holiday as we knew, from a previous disastrous trip to the same location, that it would just be too much for Gus to enjoy.

Sometimes it’s hard to accept that there are things that just don’t suit our family unit as a whole. But we adapt. We find things that our family LOVES doing together and that somehow lessens the feeling of being isolated – because we always have each other. Speaking to other families with family members on the Spectrum always helps too. To have a network of these people around you, who know that sometimes ‘listening’ is far more valuable than ‘fixing’, means you are always part of an inclusive community.

I just love hearing about the achievements of those near and far through the I CAN community. From achievements of particular young people, to the expansion of the Network, it’s always a celebration! I also love having a cyber space to go to which is ALWAYS positive about the strengths, skills and talents of those on the Spectrum.

Everything Gusy does comes from deep within his little soul! He loves fiercely, he cries like his world is ending, his laugh is pure joy. AWEtism to me, to my family, means passion.

The I CAN Network is ensuring that Gus grows up in a world that celebrates his strengths. We need your help. Join us by donating or giving monthly. Together, we can create employment opportunities for people on the Autism Spectrum, and can support schools and workplaces to celebrate their individual strengths.

Subscribe to I CAN's mailing list

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.