DANIEL Giles can rattle off a list of things that make him stand out from the crowd.
He finds it hard to concentrate, gets anxious easily, doesn’t always understand social cues and struggles with hand-eye co-ordination.
As a child he needed fences to stop him running off, he didn’t interact well with other children and he was so obsessed with the colour red that he’d have tomato sauce on apple pie.
Daniel has a disability – he’s a young person with an autism spectrum disorder.
But he doesn’t let anything hold him back and is dedicated to promoting disability inclusion.
The 23-year-old Bendigo resident shared his story yesterday at the International Day of People with a Disability festival.
“People with disabilities are indispensable to society. In future I hope I can inspire other people with disabilities to reach their full potential. You guys can make a valuable contribution to society... despite living with a disability I have been empowered to reach my full potential,” he said.
Daniel was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder at 10.
He calls it as an “invisible disability” because he doesn’t need a wheelchair and his actions can be wrongly interpreted as bad behaviour.
“It has had a major impact on my life,” Daniel said.
He attended special school, then mainstream school. Some students weren’t always kind and he was bullied, which included being poked with pins.
“I would often bore them by talking about architectural buildings in detail,” Daniel said.
Daniel completed school, studied graphic design at university and won Bendigo’s Young Citizen of the Year Award.
He now runs a graphic design business and is determined to keep campaigning for disability inclusion.