Meet Emma from Ontario
Use your voice and empower your individuality.”
Emma is a bold, brave, and inspiring 4-year-old. She is currently in junior kindergarten, attending the French immersion program at Parkinson Centennial Public School. Emma was diagnosed with autism when she was 3 years old.
Emma can brighten anyone’s day with her outgoing personality. She has an incredible vocabulary and loves to ask questions! She enjoys playing soccer, taking horseback riding lessons, playing with her dogs Rascal and Max, and spending time with her older sisters Seanna and Makenna. In her spare time, Emma enjoys watching TikTok and YouTube videos.
It is no surprise that Emma has big plans for her future. She intends to continue improving her French language skills and wants to be a Marine Biologist when she grows up. She is already powerful voice for the BIPOC and autism communities, and was recently featured in the news: https://www.orangeville.com/news-story/10350610--this-means-a-lot-to-our-family-first-bipoc-ambassador-appointed-to-orangeville-autism-parade/
She is inspiring important conversations, inclusivity, and awareness within her community and beyond. Learn more about Emma in this Q&A.
At what age were you diagnosed with autism?
I was diagnosed at the age of 3 before I started kindergarten. I was having trouble socializing with other children, I was extremely picky with textures of food and clothing and was fixated on certain things. I was not able to adapt well with change and had behavioral struggles that were out of norm. I was taken to several different professionals and received the diagnosis of Autism.
How has autism affected your life?
Autism has made interacting with other people a bit challenging. Sometimes I struggle with finding friends or socializing with other people. But the friends I do have value me and understand me. Sometimes I don’t understand why I can’t do certain things that I do, but it’s a learning curve for myself and others around me.
How does it make you unique, and help you excel?
I am very inquisitive with how the world works around me. I enjoy playing sports and challenge myself to my fullest potential. My Autism has allowed me to be the person I want to be. I love to go into stores and organize the shelves to make sure everything is in order; I am a bit of a perfectionist that way. I feel that my vocabulary has given me the voice to advocate for myself and my needs and aspirations.
What struggles have you faced because of your autism?
I struggle with socializing, sometimes I can become either mute or out of context within conversations. I do have good eye contact, but if something isn’t to my benefit, I will tune the person or conversation out. I like to follow a routine and be prepared as to what I am doing each day. I struggle to get up and go to school, but once I’m there I enjoy myself. I also struggle with certain things with regards to my hygiene practices. I need a constant reminder to prepare myself to have a bath, but once I do I feel amazing. With me it is the initial get-up and go aspect, but once I’m doing the task, I’m relieved I followed through. I also struggle with my anger sometimes; I can be both verbally and physically assertive with regards to my behaviors. I have found some techniques to calm myself down that seems to work well for me.
How has your family supported you through your autism journey?
My family are my number one supporters. They understand me and know what I want them to do for me. My family are my biggest advocates who stand by my side and use their VOICES to speak on my behalf when I need the support. I am grateful for my family support system.
Has your life been impacted by Coronavirus? What are your some of your goals and hope for the future?
Yes, my life has been impacted by Coronavirus because I had to do online schooling which was very difficult for me. I was not able to sit on the computer all day and focus on my school. I like when I do my schooling at a school, this works better for my routine. I also couldn’t play my sports which made it difficult for me to keep myself busy at times. I haven’t been able to visit my doctor in person and talking via zoom isn’t something I like to do.
My goals for the future are to continue building my French vocabulary as I’m in French immersion. I also would like to be a Marine biologist when I grow up.
What advice would you give to a young person, recently diagnosed with autism, wondering what the future holds for them?
I would tell them to love who they are and embrace every minute of it. Use your voice and empower your individuality.
What five words best describe you to the world?
Sassy, Meticulous, Loyal, Vociferous, Inquisitive
In one word, how would your friends and family describe you?
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Disclaimer: These are subjective opinions and real experiences of autistic people across Canada. Autism Speaks Canada does not provide medical or legal advice or services. Rather, Autism Speaks Canada provides general information about autism as a service to the community. The information provided on our website is not a recommendation, referral or endorsement of any resource, therapeutic method, or service provider and does not replace the advice of medical, legal or educational professionals. Autism Speaks Canada has not validated and is not responsible for any information, events, or services provided by third parties.