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Hi! My name is Hayley and I’m 22 years old. I love dancing, my cat and dog (Kitty and Tilly) and hanging out with my nieces and nephew.

I was born with a rare metabolic condition called galactosemia. This means that I am on a strict diet of no dairy, but it also causes speech issues, cognitive issues, motor issues, fertility issues, tremors and sometimes seizures. I was also diagnosed with autism when I was 12 years and 10 months old.

Autism has affected my life socially, mostly during my later school years as I’ve had difficulty trying to make friends. Inclusion is so important and means a lot to me…in 2020 my dance coach, Alana, opened up dance for All Abilities! and for that, I am so thankful, because I finally have friends I can relate to. I also do soccer which is for all abilities too.

Raising awareness and educating others about autism is so important as I’ve found many people don’t have an understanding [of autism or disability] especially if they have never known anyone close to them. It is good to educate people that we are just like everybody else and want the same things.’