If I had a dollar

If I had a dollar for every time someone said to me; ” You should go do normal kids stuff and just enjoy being a kid” or ” Being by yourself all the time is unhealthy.

First of all, what is normal? Last time I looked Normal is a setting on my Mums washing machine, Why does society automatically think I’m not enjoying myself because I’m not doing what most kids my age do. Why does society automatically get to decide that enjoyment can only be felt when, doing “age appropriate” activities, that involve other kids?

Everyone’s idea of enjoyment is different, everyone practices self care different, because we are different .I enjoy having philosophical and in-depth conversations, that has never been with my peers. My peers were interested in discussing the “Spiderman actor and what a hottie he is ” and “to shellac or not to shellac” these are topics that bring them joy.

Comments such as; You should go do normal kids stuff and just enjoy being a kid” or ” Being by yourself all the time is unhealthy.. These comments are unhelpful, making me feel like there is something wrong with me or I need to try harder. Autistic teens ‘ you do you ‘ don’t change a thing , do what fills your heart

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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