Chris Varney and the I CAN Network (Original article posted at Sensory Oasis For Kids)
This week I had the absolute pleasure of listening to Chris Varney, founder of the I CAN Network explaining his vision for empowering and encouraging young people on the autism spectrum. Chris was invited to come and speak at our support group meeting that I co-run with three other wonderful parents of kids on the spectrum, and instead of our usual 10-20 people we had a huge turnout of 70!
Chris spoke fondly of his parents, grandparents and special teachers who were amazingly positive role models in his life and who worked so hard to encourage Chris to be all he can be. In fact, he even brought his dad along to our talk and it was lovely to see how proud he is of his son.
The I CAN Network is a movement of young Australians driving a rethink of Autism from ‘I Can’t’ to ‘I CAN’. They are building a confident ‘I Can” attitude in the hearts and minds of young Australians on the spectrum and inspiring their peers with the ‘awe’ in Awetism! The Network came about by accident after Chris did a TEDx talk called “Autism – How my unstoppable mother proved the experts wrong” and was flooded with a huge response from people saying how his mum had inspired them; which in turn inspired Chris to commit himself to the potential of young people on the spectrum.
Now in its third year, the I CAN Network runs mentoring programs in schools and community groups called the Imagination Club, a teacher development program called Quiet Magic as well as camps for teenagers and young adults on the spectrum. If you would like to see their programs running in your school / group, get in contact with the team at [email protected]
As a parent of three young boys on the spectrum, I am so happy to see this wonderful organisation growing and evolving into something that I want my boys to be a part of. Thank you to Chris and the team for your amazing work and I personally can’t wait to see all of the wonderful things you will achieve.
“Young people saying ‘I Can” to their challenges and opportunities.”
You can watch Chris’s TEDx Talk here: