Virtual School Victoria (VSV) staff and students recenly celebrated Autistic Pride Day, which has been celebrated globally for 15 years.
Virtual School Victoria (VSV) currently has 372 autisitc students who each have unique strengths.
Austistic Pride Day encourages people with autism to develop self-acceptance and self-esteem by acknowledging and celebrating the importance of neuro-diversity.
Celia Milton, who co-organised Autistic Pride Day and is a VSV Learning Adviser, said the day not only acknowledges the challenges and difficulties that can arise for autistic people, but it also recognises and celebrates unique strengths.
‘Autistic Pride Day plays an important role in helping people feel good about who they are’.
‘While there is no single experience of autism – clinically referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) – a broad definition is that it’s a different way of thinking. This neurological developmental difference changes the way people see, experience and understand the world,’ she said.
This year, VSV asked our autistic students to share why they feel proud to be them.
Here is what they said:
‘I feel proud to be me basically because I am different. It makes me feel like I can do something great in this world. I am proud of me for overcoming many challenges, and coming out the other side being stronger and braver than I ever was. I love myself and who I am, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.’
‘I am good at baking.’
‘I am proud to be me because if I was neurotypical I wouldn’t have the experiences that I have. I probably wouldn’t go to VSV, wouldn’t enjoy learning about history so much and wouldn’t have the interests that I have.’
‘I am proud to be me because I enjoy having heightened senses. I can often more easily notice / hear things others don’t. I also enjoy the somewhat unique perspective I have thanks to my ASD. But most of all, I am proud to have autism because if I didn’t, I would be a completely different person.’
Take a look at Gladys’s video here
‘I’m proud of my gaming skills and proud to be me.’
‘I am proud of my ability to get through hard times and of my achievements since joining VSV. I am proud that I am taking a chance to break down the barriers of my anxiety. I am proud of myself and accept myself for the way I am.’
‘I am proud to be part of my family. They make me happy.’
‘I am proud to be me because: I am creative, fantastic at drawing, REALLY focused at things I enjoy like drawing, craft and dinosaurs. I love when people use the 5-point scale with me. I am proud to be an Autistic Kiddo!’
‘My name is Kristian, I am 13 years old and I have autism. I am proud of my autism and I’m really glad I have it. Some people think of it as a disability and I’ve even met autistic people who didn’t like it at first, but then they changed their mind. It’s not a disability, it’s an ability.’
Thank you to our amazing autistic cohort for sharing their stories.
The ICAN Network’s mission is to prove what young people can do. They provide mentoring to young people on the Autism Spectrum and also have useful resources.
Check out their tips on nurturing self-esteem and pride in autistic young people here
The Yellow Ladybugs are dedicated to the happiness, success and celebration of autistic girls and women. They run regular informal social events for autistic girls, generally between the ages of 5 and 16.
Amaze also has useful resources on understanding autism for parents, carers and staff.
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