The Good Life: Summer
“The cultivation of self-esteem starts with self-love, self-acceptance, and having the ability to embrace one’s true, authentic self” – Summer Farrelly.
Expressing my emotions physically and verbally has always been challenging. My biggest fear is others around me will question my emotions, forcing me to feel like I have to justify how I am feeling.
I have been working hard to build enough confidence to return to what I enjoy the most, training with dogs. My three dachshunds are my family’s pets – they bring me so much joy and fill my heart. Working alongside animals encourages self-reflection, growth, rebuilding and strengthening.
I have always struggled with friendships and the complexities it entails. I had a happy moment in my life recently when I made a friend a few weeks ago at the Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) awards. I made many connections at the awards. However, something unexpected happened. I made an actual friend, another nominee named Aspen.
For me, a good life means being surrounded by animals and nature. Being shown kindness and understanding. And being embraced by a supportive network.
For the last 5 years, Summer has been sharing their personal insight and the benefits of human and animal connection. Often stepping out of their comfort zone, sharing vulnerable, raw, and real moments of life challenges faced by young autistic teens in the hope to educate and inspire others.
You can read more about Autistic Advocate, Artist, Public Speaker, Animal Assisted Learning Program Creator, and recipient of this year’s Aspect Youth Award – Summer Farrelly’s good life here.
In our social media series #StoriesOfTheGoodLife we explore what a good life means for people with disability. People from all walks of life, living rich, full and meaningful lives on their own terms.
Funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services.