Damien, 42.

My catch phrase is ‘anything is possible’. I like to think of myself as an innovator, mainly due to my abilities and interests. I work in IT, dealing primarily with the web domain. This work ranges from accessibility, user interface design and visual design, through to web development in a variety of languages.

My strengths include problem solving (thinking outside of the box), working with visual information, attention to detail, concentration and mental reasoning. This has set me apart in the industry I work in due to my ability to focus for long periods of time and quickly apply my knowledge to a new situation. Being able to design and program also makes me unique.

I once said to a friend that I could see the day where having ‘Autistic’ on your resume is a badge of honour. This may sound strange to you, as the majority of people currently see only negatives of Autism. In my own personal experience, a manager once said to me at my yearly review that “you deliver on time and under budget, your work is exceptional and you are always thinking outside of the box”. This was then followed by “but I’m going to have to mark you below average because of your communication skills”. People with Autism don’t do things the same as many other people, but this doesn’t mean that what they do or how they act is wrong. People with Autism are often highly skilled in a particular area and can be extremely passionate about topics of interest. Learning to focus on the positives of Autism will help people identify the strengths they have, and allow them to embrace their differences instead of feeling held back and trying to conform to what society deems as ‘normal’.

I was diagnosed around the time that the I CAN Network came into existence. Working with such a diverse group of people has really helped open my eyes to what people on the Spectrum can achieve. As the understanding of Autism continues to grow and society’s preconceived ideas begin to change, it has been great to see the upcoming generation of kids with Autism embrace their differences. The I CAN Network has given me a group of friends, peers and mentors who are sharing their journeys in a positive and enlightening way. Believing that ‘anything is possible’ fits right in with the I CAN attitude, so I’m looking forward to what the I CAN Network does next.

Join us

Through his involvement at the I CAN Network, Damien is creating a world that benefits from embracing Autism. People on the Autism Spectrum are often under-supported and excluded in our workplaces. Through his role at the I CAN Network, Damien celebrates the strengths of all individuals on the Autism Spectrum in order to ensure that workplace environments are more inclusive. We need you to help us support the social inclusion of people on the Autism Spectrum.

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