Mikey, 14.

I go to South Gippsland Specialist School and I am in Room 3. The thing I like most about school is art. At school, we sometimes do sailing. I got a first place medal with my friend Liam. On the weekends my favourite thing to do is play on my iPad. I love my Autism because it means I can eat whatever I want.

Once I was told that I wouldn’t be able to do a front flip on the trampoline. When I did it I felt good. I am also really good at making people laugh. I have a Facebook blog my mum helps me with called #MikeyMonday (the gift of Autism).  My family are always saying how funny I am so I pick something every week with mum to tell everyone. My family always help me to say ‘I CAN’ to everything in life.

Kris, Mikey’s mum.

Mikey is a loveable character who is a joy to be around.  He is constantly making the people around him laugh and his sense of mischief and vigour for life is infectious. Mikey knows how to make himself happy and goes out of his way to experience the joy in every day. Autism for Mikey can mean he is easily overwhelmed and has trouble with new people and experiences. Mikey attends a Specialist School.  They are well versed with inclusive teaching and offer activities for the kids to be involved in the community in many ways.

The I CAN Network is a broader representation of our family on a much larger scale.  Focussing on the strengths of people on the Autism Spectrum can produce magical results and this is shown regularly throughout the network in so many ways. We are able to overcome the negative stigma and norms that our society places on Autism by ignoring them and forging our own path. Autism has so many gifts to offer. The skills of people on the Spectrum are unparalleled and cannot be replicated in the average mind.

When someone says to me, “so you have 4 boys with Autism?” with a furrowed brow and a sad face, I say “yes I do” with a happy face and a positive disposition. It’s not the easiest life but I really believe in many ways my life is so much more rewarding than others; and that’s entirely because of Autism.

My boys are all so talented, honest, reliable, and great people to be around. I used to say to others that I didn’t choose this life but I make the best of it, now I say that it’s the best thing that ever happened to me. I say it and I mean it, and that’s what the kids respond to, the wholehearted, genuine acceptance and appreciation of them as human beings on the Spectrum.

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Mikey and his three brothers are embraced by their family, and celebrated for their individual strengths. We need your support to make sure that young people on the Autism Spectrum are supported in schools, workplaces and communities.

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