Lydia, 18.

Hi, my name is Lydia. I was diagnosed with Aspergers at age 5. I’m now 18 and graduated high school in 2016. I’m currently studying Music at Victoria University and my ultimate career goal is to become a Music Therapist. Music Therapy is the use of music to assist with healing, emotional health and managing anxiety. My passion for music started when I was 4 years old, watching DVDs of Kasey Chambers, going to her concerts with my Dad, and listening to Midnight Oil and the like. I started taking piano lessons, which lead on to taking vocal and guitar lessons.

I was once told at school that VCE and the exams would be too difficult and stressful for me. However, I was really keen to study music and music therapy, therefore I needed to have completed VCE to pursue this. So, I ignored the teacher’s advice, completed VCE and I’m now studying music at Victoria University. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t difficult. I spent a lot of time with my teachers explaining how I learn differently to others. I asked them to provide typed notes for each class to help me study and revise. I had regular meetings with the student counsellor to help keep things in perspective and focus on smaller, more achievable goals rather than the long term.

The I CAN Network has given me confidence to talk about my Aspergers with my teachers and others, and to help them understand how I process information. The I CAN Network shows the world what people on the Spectrum can do. If you can do it, I can do it. There is nothing stopping any of us from achieving great things. The process of how you achieve doesn’t matter, just as long as you give it a try.

Music, mentoring for I CAN and volunteering at community camps are my favourite things to do. The I CAN Network has helped me build confidence about being on the Spectrum and their values have taught me to embrace my quirks and talents. Whilst I am on the Spectrum, I’ve never let it define me. Yes, I may be different, but isn’t everyone?

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