KNOWLEDGE IS POWER

I have always loved that phase.

Knowledge can help create change, improve quality of life and empower others.

I am autistic , I have lived experience, I have valuable knowledge to share.

I am a student struggled in the education system.

I want to share my knowledge to empower others to support our young autistics within the education system.

Like……

Just because I am not looking at you or stimming doesn’t mean I am not listening.

Listen more effectively when I am focusing on your voice. Facial expressions and body movements are distracting or sending me confusing messages.

Please don’t single me out by saying, that I need a particular tool or strategy to help me self-regulate.

Even though your heart is in the right place by hoping to bring awareness or understanding it is actually singling me out, making me a target for being different and categorising me as getting special treatment.

Please help find a strategy that all my peers can benefit from.

I need you to be familiar with the difference between a need and a want.

I may need to take time away from the class environment to re-centre and self-regulate, this doesn’t mean I want to get out of doing work or skip school.

I understand I must complete my work I will be able to do this more efficiently when I am able to focus.I

need a teacher who understands me not autistic stereotypes Help me negotiate a system with my teacher that will help me thrive.

Where I can gesture or communicate without words, my emotions or challenges without drawing attention to myself.

Comprehension and processing information is one of my biggest challenges.

Understand I will not be able to answer a question straight away, calling on me in front of the class will compromise my self esteem.

Change can turn my world upside down; routine is my Anchor.

Please prepare me for change if change is out of your control, allow me to work through and process.

Empower me by listen to me, if I indicated I am feeling overwhelmed, please don’t expect me or encourage me to push through

.Allow me time to work through these intense emotions with dignity.

I Forced myself to mask my authentic autistic self to oblige social obligations.

I mask because I feel unsafe to be myself, Because being myself attracts bully’s.

Masking is draining and impacts on my mental health and self esteem.

Summer

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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