Ethan, 9.

Ethan is 9 years old. He was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 3. He does not have an awareness of his Autism. Should he become aware with time, then I can only hope he knows how much we love him and are proud of who he is. We are richer for having him in our family.

He is a real showman. Not only does he have a flair for the dramatic and the ability to recite whole monologues from his favourite movies, but at times he can have the uncanny ability to choose a scene quite appropriate to the time and place. He is a very enthusiastic singer but isn’t keen on duets. He would rather have the limelight to himself. He has an eye for all things of beauty, including the ladies. He can give a really lovely compliment. Ethan’s favourite things are dinosaurs, trains, sea creatures and dragons. Before starting school, Ethan wouldn’t pick up a pencil, even with encouragement from his two big sisters. This year he is in year 4 and I am proud to say he can write the most complicated dinosaur names I’ve ever heard. He will correct my spelling on those matters. He spends his free time drawing. He is now creating his own dinosaur books and is knowledgeable on all matters of palaeontology.

Ethan’s ‘I CAN’ support network includes myself, his mother and full-time carer; his big sisters; and his grandparents. Ethan has support at school and has lots of wonderful friends there, including his best friend Bailey H. Ethan is not the only member of the family on the Spectrum. However, he is in need of a hand in sharing his story and how important he is to our world. As his mother and carer I CAN share that we have faced many challenges and continue to. We have experienced prejudice, public criticisms and isolation. At the time of Ethan’s diagnosis, we were a little family leaving a bad situation. For me, this meant leaving behind a career in healthcare that I loved and was proud of in order to take full responsibility for rebuilding our lives and creating a loving home. It has been more of a load than one person can manage alone. I hope that by sharing a small part of our journey, other families who are just starting out in the world of ASD or who feel like they are drowning at times, won’t feel so alone. In those times where it all gets a bit much, I look back on how far we have come. Through the threat of homelessness, personal safety and financial crisis. Sometimes by only looking one day ahead at a time, but still moving forward. Future supports will bring a much welcome helping hand to our family.

The I CAN Network creates a world that embraces Ethan’s strengths. We need your support to continue creating a society that empowers young people on the Autism Spectrum. Join us by donating to our next venture: holding one of our acclaimed camps in Queensland.

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