Let’s have an honest discussion about anxiety, burn out and self care in young autistics.


Having to admit and acknowledge how consuming my anxiety is and was a extremely hard thing to do. I didn’t want people to see how vulnerable I was,

I was worried about people judging me because they have never experienced it.

I hope by sharing this post it will give insight and create an understanding about challenges autistic individuals face daily.

I mask my anxiety and depression very well, I pretend it doesn’t exist even at times when I felt like it is swallowing me.

Masking these feelings has had an impact on my mental health.

I prefer to help others before myself , its who I am and who I will always be.I

have been neglecting my own self care, not giving myself permission to ask for help or accepting help, and I have been struggling.

I am only 14 years old and I want to continue to inspire, amaze, challenge , present at events, change the world and peoples perceptions on abilities and the benefits of human and animal connection. The last 4 months have been challenging especially with the ending of a collaboration that was extremely important to me. I have had to work through intense emotions in order to find clarity and carve a new direction.

I had to let my guard down and admit I AM NOT OK. The one thing that helped me become more accountable, practice self care, reduce burn out, self harm was no longer there

.For the first time, I was not surrounded by animals and my heart felt empty.

Depression, self harm and an dark thoughts that hide in the corners of your mind started to creep back in.

Working with my business mentor Wendy Coombe , I was able to set new personal goals.

I was also able to set new business goals that will help me become independent and work towards sustainable future.

My personal goal and my families goal is to have a farm that provides animal assisted Learning opportunities, especially for those children who sit in limbo not fitting into any “boxes ” in our current education system.

I opened my heart to 3 mini dachshunds Penny , Leonard and Karl. They fill my heart amazingly giving me strength to move forward and continue this journey. I am OK and it’s OK not to be OK sometimes.

This is another example of how animals play a vital role in healing and rebuilding lives. It also highlights the importance of being a kind understanding human to everyone.

Many people have challenges that are invisible, many people are afraid to ask for help due to past experiences or past judgement, kindness can make a massive difference


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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