News

‘Aspie’ wants a world we all fit in

UNACCEPTANCE IS UNACCEPTABLE: Mathew Townsend was thrilled to have made a presentation at the Autism in Education National Conference in Sydney in August which was attended by 450 delegates.
UNACCEPTANCE IS UNACCEPTABLE: Mathew Townsend was thrilled to have made a presentation at the Autism in Education National Conference in Sydney in August which was attended by 450 delegates. Marc Stapelberg

LIKE any other intelligent young man, Mathew Townsend has dreams of making a career for himself, and one day getting married and having kids.

He holds a degree in environmental science and will next year move from Ballina to Brisbane to do a Masters of Environmental Management at the University of Queensland.

But a career in sustainability and a family is only half of Mr Townsend's story.

At 12, he was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, now classed as a mild form of autism, and has been hearing impaired since he was 18-months-old.

Much of his life has - and will continue to be - about advocating for better mainstream understanding and acceptance of people with forms of autism.

Towards this goal, he recently spoke publicly about life as an 'Aspie' at the inaugural Autism in Education National Conference run by national autism services group ASPECT.

He also writes about his life with autism on his blog, Aspie's World.

"I would like to see our society learn about people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (and hearing loss) so we all wouldn't have problems fitting in," he said.

"I would like to see employers, communities and organisations help people with ASD to get involved in the same way as able-bodied people."

Mr Townsend has continued to experience prejudice - an added burden to a life already more challenging than the norm.

"Lots of people always define me (by my) disability because I have hearing aids on, and show a lack of communication and social skills," he said.

"Unfortunately, many people react to this badly."

He plans to speak again at next year's autism conference.

"I hope to build understanding and a respectful relationship between people with autism and non-autism by learning our values, interests and ways of communicating."

Topics:  autism, autism spectrum disorder




Child killer claims constant fear of violence in jail

Warren Ross boards a police car at the King Street Court in Sydney in May 2014.

Ross once boasted he could make the child scream just showing a belt

Parents' worst nightmare: Daughter, 6, could be deported

The family of six-year-old Lennox Head girl Sienna Tippett have applied for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to intervene so she doesn't get deported for having an undiagnosed mystery illness.

A Northern Rivers family has started the fight of their life.

Avocados drop to 79 cents each

Avocados advertised at Farmer Charlies in Lismore for 79 cents each

Holy guacamole! Avocados in Lismore are how much?

Latest deals and offers

Brian McFadden makes daughters pay for own Christmas gifts

McFadden makes his daughters pay for half their presents

Lady Gaga is a godmother

Lady Gaga has become a godmother to her friends' daughter

Metal havoc this week at New Tattersalls Hotel

Only Machines Remain play Lismore on 6th August. Photo Contributed

Only Machines Remain to play Lismore this week

Will Turbo be taken off TV?

Memes about Turbo are flowing on Social media.

PEOPLE want Turbo taken off TV, but will Prospero Productions the ma

Police charge in after Lohan claims fiance tried to kill her

"You tried to kill me. You're a f*****g psycho".

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

Massive residential 9-storey high-rise hit by delays

An artist’s impression of the eight-storey-high apartment complex that Bernoth Holdings wants to build in South Toowoomba, next to the City Golf Club.

Developer struggles to get approved high-rise development started