When I was 10, my Grade 4 teacher set aside some time in a morning class for me to show everyone the “jetpack” I had made with a little battery-powered fan and a yogurt container.
When I was 12, my Grade 6 teacher helped me get a short story I’d written published by sending it out to a whole bunch of magazines and other publications until one of them finally accepted it.
When I was 17, my English teacher encouraged me to read out some of my writing to the class, even though I was very anxious about doing so, and told me, and everyone, how great she thought it was.
When I was 19, and in tears because I felt like my life was over now that I’d finished school, my Mum and Dad walked me through applying to University and told me that however impossible it seemed, they truly believed I could do it.
When I was 25, unemployed and drifting aimlessly through life, a lady named Robyn and a guy named Chris Varney told me they thought I had what it took to be a mentor for autistic youth.
This is how easy it is to be a life-changing force for good in the life of a person on the spectrum. Every one of these people helped me get to where I am today, simply by expressing their belief in me, and thereby encouraging me to believe in myself.
I have been immensely blessed to have had such people in my corner, and if there is one thing I hope to accomplish in life, it’s to offer the same support to others on the spectrum. Because I know from personal experience that a little encouragement can make all the difference in the world.