This past year has been a transformative stage in my life. It’s been a time of many breakthroughs, but perhaps the most significant for me is that my volunteer work in autism advocacy has developed into a paid job.
In March, I started working as a classroom mentor for students on the spectrum at a local high school. This is something I never thought I would be capable of doing, but I absolutely loved it, and I’ve already signed on to work at an additional school next year.
My work as a speaker has also taken off in a big way. Among my many gigs this year, I got to talk at the Victorian Autism Conference, at a forum on Autism and Employment with Amaze, and at Young Social Pioneers 2016. It still boggles my mind that people would pay money to hear me talk, but hey, I’m not complaining!
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention the Autistic Teens group I was recruited to help run in February; I’ve met so many amazing people there, and while I would’ve been happy to continue doing it for free, that too will become a paid position next year.
Now that I write all this down, I feel like I’m bragging, but I’m really just over the moon to finally have paid work, and for that work to be so awesome that it doesn’t even really feel like work at all.
My dream of having a full time career in autism advocacy is taking shape, and I can’t wait to see what’s next in 2017.