Jasmine, 27.

Life looks a bit different when you are Autistic. It’s nothing like what I thought it would be when I was younger. Not that my dreams were all that big or unusual. I hoped I’d find a place where I belonged, something meaningful to do, and maybe even love if I was lucky. However, some struggles are uniquely Autistic ones. I wondered when the sound of the sheets rustling about on my bed would stop hurting my ears, or when I would understand the hidden messages in people’s words, or why I couldn’t speak when I was upset.

And while I struggled to understand myself growing up: it seemed so did everyone else.

Weird…lazy…hopeless…strange…embarrassing…

The world can be very unkind to those who are different.

As an adult I’ve discovered a little bit of defiance is a good thing. I don’t aim to fit in anymore at the expense of my identity and self-esteem…because frankly the world could do with some change.

And then, on the internet of all places I found the refuge of the Autistic community. It is an indescribably wonderful feeling to discover you aren’t as alone as you thought. Finding community is so important. We don’t have to go it alone. There’s a whole community of us: online and in the real world. We might not all be visible or ‘out’ for the world to see, but we exist. If this sounds like you, come find us!

The I CAN Network creates a world that embraces Jasmine’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.

Go to https://www.gofundme.com/ican-camp-qld to donate – any support is very much appreciated.
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