“Accidental advocate” Summer Farrelly has been recognised in the Aspect National Recognition Awards for continued support and guidance to young autistics.
This year's awards ceremony was held in Sydney on Thursday 7 April with more than 100 people in attendance.
Hosted by Autism Spectrum Australia, the event celebrates the incredible achievements of passionate autistics and autism communities.
An autistic advocate, public speaker, inclusion and education consultant, artist, Animal Assisted Learning Program creator and facilitator and Animal Therapies Ambassador, Summer has achieved a lot by the age of 15.
Summer also has a registered business called Autistic Perspectives, offering workshops that educate from an autistic student’s perspective.
Speaking at the 2022 awards last week, Summer shared their journey on how they became involved in autism advocacy.
“I call myself the accidental advocate and influencer,” Summer said.
“I didn't wake up one morning and make it my goal, in fact, it was never my goal – it is something that just sort of happened.
“I decided to put experiences out there and hoped it would help others, and it did.”
Summer said not only was their advocacy role based on their personal life, but also through the experiences of loved ones.
“I see myself fortunate to live within a family that consists of multiple autistic members, each with their own complexities,” Summer said.
“This means I am able to share both a relatable and diverse perspective and use that perspective to educate, inspire and encourage conversation about challenges and barriers that autistics face daily.”
Addressing the audience at last week's awards event, Summer's speech ended with some advice for those with autism:
“Love and value yourself, be authentic to yourself and do what fills your heart. Never let anybody discourage you or put out your spark. You are the innovators and the future changemakers of the world. I believe in you.”Summer Farrelly