I struggle to trust in others, because I have been let down by many adults in my life.

This has a chain reaction in many aspects of my life.

I start to doubt my ability to make the ‘right’ decisions and choices.

Impacting on my self confidence, self belief and the way I feel others see me.

Eventually impacting on my mental health.

Self regulating these emotions of rejection and confusion feels like a huge Mount Everest to conquer.

Those standing on the sideline often say that ‘ That’s one of Life Lessons’ and ‘It’s moments like this that builds resilience’

Comments like these have been dismissive of my feelings.

Making me feel that I do not have the right to feel this way.

Leaving the impression that I deserve to feel this way.

Instead of processing and making sense of the situation and all these emotions, I shove them deep down inside.

Hiding my feelings away so tight.

So tight that I never have the chance to learn how to navigate or make sense of these emotions.

Never having the chance to make sense of how these situations eventuated or unfolded.

Never learning those important life skills needed to navigate, a sustainable adult life later on.

Majority of the time, I don’t give myself permission to feel anything.

Using Equine Assisted Therapy as a reflective approach with my Counsellor.

I have started to develop skills to identify, validate, process, and understand my emotions and start to trust my own decisions and abilities.

I am starting to identify and avoid the red lights and find more green lights.


Published by Autistic Perspectives

__________ Summer Farrelly is 15-year-old Autistic Advocate, Public speaker, Inclusion & Education Consultant, Artist, Chicken Whisperer, Animal Assisted Learning Program Creator & Facilitator , Animal Therapies LTD Ambassador and The A List Ambassador. A daughter of a late diagnosed autistic mother and a sister of two autistic brothers. Summer believes her lived experience as an autistic individual and living within a family that consists of multiple autistic members, each with their own complexities, will provide both a relatable and diverse perspective For the last 5 years Summer has been sharing her personal insight and the benefits of human and animal connection. Often stepping out of her comfort zone sharing vulnerable, raw, and real moments of life challenges faced by young autistic teens in hope to educate and inspire others. Summer has become a recognised and valued contributor within the Animal Assisted Learning and Therapy platforms. Summer’s connection with animals has provided her with the strength needed to navigate life as an autistic teen who faces daily challenges of self-harm, ADD, PTSD, anxiety, Reactive depression, and Dyslexia. Summer’s journey is about understanding herself emotionally through their connection with animals more importantly this journey is about understanding herself and practicing self-care. About Animal Assisted Learning Program ‘Chickens to Love’ Summer developed Animal Assisted Learning Program Chickens to Love for Autistic and other Neurodivergent people (this includes anyone who may be ADHD, ADD, ABI or anyone whose brain is not considered “typical”). I created Chickens to Love as an inclusive program, to benefit everyone and include everyone, because neurodiversity is part of biodiversity. We all can benefit from understanding ourselves, our emotions, and the perspectives of others. Our communities must understand and learn the importance of a deeper level of compassion, empathy, and acceptance of differences. Neurodivergent people, are often encouraged or forced to fit in to everyone else’s way of seeing the world. The Cultivation of self-esteem in ones self-starts with self-love, self-acceptance and having the ability to embrace one’s true authentic self. Chickens to Love is designed from a neurodivergent and animal (Chicken) perspective to better understand social dynamics, emotions (ours and other people’s), other people’s perspectives, consent, respectful touch, resilience, self-acceptance, empowerment and how to self-advocate. Animals can change our lives. Never underestimate the power of them!

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