2017 was an extraordinary year of change for the world. Donald Trump was elected as President of the United States, once again raising the question of The Simpsons having a time traveler as a writer. Same-sex marriage was made legal in Australia highlighting how important acceptance and equality is, however, the thing that stood out to me most was what the autism community achieved.
This year was a difficult one for the autism community as we were constantly confronted with new issues. Earlier this year we had to prove that autistic students belong in mainstream schools when Pauline Hanson stated that we didn’t belong because we held our peers back in addition, we also had to stand together once again when Don Burke diagnosed himself with Asperger’s and used it as an excuse for what he did 30 years ago.
This year made me proud to be autistic as I got to see the community at its best. We showed the world that when times are tough we stand as one and get through whatever the world throws at us together. This year brought a great deal of change, however, there is still a long way to go before the autism community is accepted and included. At the end of each year, I like to reflect on what I achieved as an advocate and to plan new projects for the coming year. This year there were many achievements. At the beginning of this year my Facebook page had 45 likes and now at the time of me writing this post there are 143 likes and a reach of over 1000 people and I would like to thank everyone who has contributed throughout the year. This year I was given the opportunity to speak at two major events and was in the newspapers on many occasions inspiring people and hopefully encouraging them to change their perceptions around autism.
Next year I have one major project planned which I am pleased to announce today. On the 20th of March 2018, I will be holding a Professional Development day. This day is to be held in Warrnambool which is, of course, my hometown and from where this journey all began. The day will feature students, teachers, parents and professionals in the field of autism as speakers. If you are interested in attending please save the date and keep an eye on social media for further details, I am very excited about this day and would love to see you there.
I would like to finish this post by wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2018.
Autism Advocate, Blogger, Speaker