HUMANS ON THE AUTISM SPECTRUM 

At I CAN Network, we believe in the power of storytelling. Since 2016, we have been running an annual campaign called Humans on the Autism Spectrum, through which we celebrate the personal stories and insights of Autistics in our network. 

“YOU ARE MORE CAPABLE THAN YOU THINK YOU ARE” 

Max, Senior Mentor I CAN Network 

2020

For the last five years, we have had the privilege of highlighting many Autistic voices, including young people who are new to our I CAN mentoring programs, those who have been with us for years, mentors, teachers and advocates.

In 2020, we are especially proud to have partnered with the National Disability Insurance Scheme to deliver Humans on the Autism Spectrum: School Leavers. From early April to mid-June, we showcased experiences, insights and advice from ten Autistic members of our team who are navigating post-school life, including TAFE, university, the workplace and community. Their stories contain messages which are relevant not only for younger Autistic peers but for anyone wanting to understand Autistic lived experience.

Ayesha Humans Insta Sq

ayesha carson

“The only person who should say what I can or cannot do is me.” – Ayesha

Ayesha Carson embodies the I CAN spirit. She’s a former mentee who gained so much from the support and encouragement she received through I CAN that she was motivated to become a mentor herself.

In this video interview, Ayesha shares her experiences and advice on navigating post-school life, highlights the challenges of masking and interpreting unwritten social rules, and explains the importance of self-acceptance and embracing your differences. WATCH AYESHA’S INTERVIEW

Humans on the Spectrum

TIM CHAN

I am excited to be part of the self-advocacy movement to drive Autism to a new level of relevance and inclusion.” – Tim

What a privilege it is to have Tim Chan as an Ambassador for I CAN Network. Tim has been a part of our I CAN family since our earliest days and continues to make his mark as an advocate.

In 2014, at age 18, he was the first non speaking Autistic to deliver a TEDx talk and last year, he released his autobiography, Back From The Brink. Tim also plays a meaningful role in several other Autism and disability-related organisations across Australia.

In this powerful video, Tim shares his journey from a high school student who battled years of exclusion and self-doubt to a university student who is embracing his strengths in an inclusive environment whilst growing in confidence as an advocate. WATCH TIM’S INTERVIEW

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CAITLIN DOWNIE-KEMPSON

You can actually do the things that you want to do. The only person who limits you is yourself.”

Caitlin was one of our first high school mentees way back in 2014, a time when she didn’t believe in her own capabilities and didn’t have links to Autistic role models and peers. Now as an I CAN Mentor for the past five years she has helped many Autistic young people say “I CAN”.

In this video interview, Caitlin shares her journey from a struggling student in high school to someone who made it to university as a mature age student, shares what inspired her to become a mentor and reveals why she’s so proud to be Autistic. Click on the image below to watch Caitlin’s video. WATCH CAITLIN’S INTERVIEW

Humans on the Spectrum

LACHLAN PEACH

“Through I CAN and being a mentee, I got a lot more courageous and a lot more willing to do stuff I never thought I would even consider engaging in.” – Lachlan

During our South West Victoria team’s 2017 video rendition of “You Can’t Ask That!”, Lachlan Peach delivered this classic insight: No, I don’t think I’ll grow out of my Autism. Autism is a part of me. If I’m gonna grow, it’s gonna grow with me.’ Lachlan’s journey from I CAN mentee to mentor has been marked by immense growth — in his confidence, his own Autistic identity and his ability to encourage younger Autistics with his positive outlook and chilled out humour.

In this brief video interview, Lachlan explains how Autistic peers and role models have helped him develop confidence and pride, offers advice for Autistic young people who are contemplating post-school life and shares why he aspires to go into teaching one day.  WATCH LACHLAN’S INTERVIEW

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KITARNA – GOULBURN MURRAY

 “You can do this. You are awesome who you are.”

Kitarna, a 17-year-old mentee in the Goulburn Murray (VIC) region, is changing the way her peers and community view Autism. Surrounded by negative narratives for years, she has rejected the naysayers and instead has embraced herself and those around her with a positive energy which inspires. A defining moment of I CAN’s 2019 Regional Awetism Expo was when Kitarna took to the stage to share her personal I CAN story with authenticity and passion. At the end, a student from another school called out in admiration, “When are you running for Prime Minister?!”

In this brief video interview, Kitarna shares how she developed self-acceptance amid such negative messages about Autism, pays tribute to the teacher who made such a difference in her outlook and offers advice to other Autistic young people who also want to say, “Yes, I CAN.” WATCH KITARNA’S INTERVIEW

Humans on the Spectrum

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