REPAIRING AND REBUILDING, WITH REASSURANCE AND STRENGTH

By sharing my personal perspective in this post, I hope to create an understanding how Assistance dogs (animals in general) can play a crucial role in lives of young autistics such as myself

My assistance dog journey isn’t just about public access and access to social spaces.

My assistance dog journey and our connection have deeper role that some will not understand.

This journey is partially about self-reflection, self-reflection around the parts of ourselves that are fractured and challenging.

With the help of the K9 you can repair and rebuild if you are prepared to put in the effort.

Repairing and rebuilding can be life changing and can lift a suffocating weight.

Sometimes as I am peeling back the onion layers,

I found it challenging to seek comfort and reassurance from others, because people are the ones who have contributed to many of my emotional fractures and challenges.

My K9 gives me reassurance and strength.

I can feel his energy near me reminding me I am never not alone.

Not just a kid and a black Lab, together we can repair and improve quality of my life.

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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