Farrah McKenzie is the mother of three children; three-and-a-half-year old twins and her 6-year old son, who has had an autism diagnosis since he was three. She was nominated as an Autism Champion by a friend who is also a mother of an autistic child.
Farrah explains how autism came “crashing through her door like a tsunami” when her received his diagnosis. Farrah believes “knowledge is power” and so decided to learn about autism so she could “get to know his autism inside and out”. Farrah developed an Facebook community, Autism Support Angus & Dundee, where parents could “share hopes, dreams, problems, questions and achievements our children make”. There are 215 families in the group and they share information, approaches and even jokes with each other. Farrah says “we celebrate every word, sentence, milestone and achievement we make as individuals and families”.
When we asked Farrah what inspires her she replied simply “my son. He is the real autism hero not me, he has my heart and until he has a voice I will be that voice. I will shout and holler and scream for people to be more aware of autism, and be part of the journey. People need to know the daily battles my son faces to fit into a world that is so strange, painful and challenging to him and learn to support rather than criticize, embrace rather than hate, question to learn rather than judge, and just be accepting autism means different not less. Through the group we are making connections and friends for him, I suppose the more of us who are in it together the stronger we become, and the harder we are to knock down.”