(With help from Mum)
I like playing with My Little Pony and my favourite pony is Twilight Sparkle. She has magic and wings that make her fly. I have many talents but one of my amazing talents is my memory. I can tell you about all the My Little Pony characters and what has happened in 5 seasons of the TV show.
I am also quick to point out what you have moved in a room. I take in where everything is located down to the smallest detail. I am always the winner in playing the game Memory against my Mum. I love music and can remember the words after listening to a song a few times. My favourite song to sing at the moment is Let it Go and I love to re-enact the scene out of the movie at the same time. One day, I want to be on YouTube.
I go to kindergarten and I don’t like it yet, but one day soon and when I am bigger I get to go to school and get a dog. I am not 10 yet, I am only 4. One day I will be 10 and get to go to school and not kindergarten. My kindergarten teachers help play with me and let me go into a tent when I need quiet time or feel angry. I never used to be able to jump and now I can jump and jump on one foot. My personal ‘I CAN Network’ is made up of my family who play with me, look after me and love me no matter what.
Stacey, Charlotte’s Mum.
We overcome the negative culture, stigma and norms that society places on Autism by rising above it. We try not to let other people’s views affect us personally. People may only get a glimpse of a challenging behaviour, but they miss out on seeing all of the amazing qualities and strengths that an individual on the Autism Spectrum has that makes them awesome. We always endeavour to speak out, educate and encourage others to never be ashamed of being on the Spectrum or having a loved one on the Spectrum.
It is incredibly important for people to talk about Autism in a positive way. We are talking about people, and we need to embrace the amazing strengths and qualities that people with Autism have, and work together to remove the stigma that has been around for far too long. Autism does not discriminate in who has the diagnosis and we do not need to fear it, we need to celebrate the uniqueness and different perspective it contributes to our lives.
The I CAN Network is important because it highlights the amazing achievements that are possible if you nurture the strengths and talents an individual has. You need to look beyond potential challenges because if you cannot– you are essentially missing out on a world of opportunity.
Because of the I CAN Network, we no longer have fear about future uncertainties. The I CAN Network has taught us the importance of placing more focus on the present day, and embracing and celebrating everything that comes with Autism. It may not always be a smooth journey, but by focusing on the positives, Charlotte’s future possibilities are endless. Every moment is an opportunity, if you allow it to be.
One way that you could help to create a more inclusive society would be to educate yourself, ask questions, and ask yourself ‘what can I do to assist in making society more inclusive?’ We all have a responsibility to create and sustain change. Even if you are not directly impacted by either being on the Spectrum or knowing someone on the Spectrum– you need to ask yourself whether the actions you are currently taking would be the same if it was your partner, child, sibling or friend on the Spectrum. Or would you want and expect more of our society?
To me, a world that embraces Autism is one where everyone has the same opportunity to be who they want to be, without fear of judgement. It is a world where strengths and talents are celebrated, and everyone can achieve their goals.