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My name is Briannah, I am 12 and a half years old, I have two sisters and I’m an aunty. I was diagnosed with autism at 8 years old along with other hereditary conditions from both my parents.

My sister and I both have autism, but we are different in every way. She’s social and I’m not. She’s active and I’m not. She’s a sensory seeker and likes to wrestle and I don’t like being touched!

I love cats, anime/manga, reading, drawing and video games.

I’ve always really struggled to make friends and often spent my time alone at school and my teachers also struggled to understand my way of learning or what I needed. Because I also have selective Mutism people think I’m rude or that I don’t need help because I’m so quiet.

School just wasn’t working for me and my grades started to suffer because of bullying and lack of support and understanding. So I started home schooling… my grades were really good at home and I made online friends through schooling online, but… online friends weren’t the same as real life ones.

I decided, as hard as it was going to be, that I wanted to start high school this year.

With the help of Lisa at Autism SA and her speaking to my school and teachers and organising pre school meetings with staff and other kids and helping educate the school about my needs to make school work for me, I started in Year 7, high school this year!

I’ve been there a term now and I already have six friends and have had a couple of hangouts dates at my house with friends! Tomorrow I’m walking home from school with my friend and dropping into the IGA to buy something. (I wont even leave my mums side to get something at the end of the shopping isle so this is huge for me…)

Thanks to support, understanding, inclusiveness, training of Mt Carmel college and Lisa/Autism SA my grades have exceeded everyone’s expectations. I now smile, chat and look forward to going to school everyday.

Yes I’m a little quirky and different… but I’m proud of myself and so are my teachers and family.

I believe with the right support and being included, people with autism can do anything just like anyone else.

I now smile and love being at school with my friends.’