I’m Max – male homo sapiens of the dork subspecies, fluent in Dad jokes.
Throughout much of my adult life, loneliness has been a constant menace. There were times when it was so intense I felt like I was suffocating, and I would make unnecessary trips to the shops just for the brief interaction of talking to a cashier.
I received the “you’ll never amount to anything” talk from the most dangerous source of all – myself. I told myself that I’d never be able to move out of home, or go to University, or get a job. In my teens and early 20s my self-confidence was basically non-existent. I had internalised the widespread perception of Autism as a liability.
I often wonder myself how I managed to pull through some of my darker days. Having such a supportive network of family and friends helped immensely. My personal I CAN Network of family and friends always had my back, and taught me to believe in myself. I guess I can also be very stubborn, which is sometimes a good thing, as it helped me to grit my teeth and push through the tough times.
The I CAN Network itself has also been enormously helpful to me in my journey from self-doubt to self-belief. By encouraging people to see the positives of Autism, the I CAN Network helps people on the Spectrum to feel valued. If a person is treated as deficient, they’re naturally going to have a pretty dismal opinion of themselves, but on the other hand, if they’re treated as a worthwhile human being with valuable strengths, they’ll flourish. My self-esteem has skyrocketed since I joined I CAN, and I want to share this magic with others.
If my brain and my body are the hardware, my Autism is the software. It’s a specialised kind of software, and not always the most user friendly, but at the right tasks, it excels.
Through his work at the I CAN Network, Max is creating a more inclusive society. Join us by donating or giving monthly to create employment opportunities for people on the Autism Spectrum, and to support schools and workplaces to celebrate their individual strengths.