'My superpower': Siblings 'come out' at school
TEN-YEAR-OLD Indigo Leyland and her younger brother Kyan Newitt have 'come out' as being autistic to their peers at Blackbutt State School with the aim of raising awareness.
The pair's mother, Simone Newitt, works at their school as an inclusion teacher, is an autism advocate, and is also "proud to be an Aspie".
"My children have inspired me to be more open with my own autism," Ms Newitt said.
"I've learnt so much from them.
"They were both very brave, especially when they decided to tell everyone about their autism."
The pair opened up to their classes on World Autism Day earlier this year.
"Most people think autism is a disability," Indigo said.
"But it's not. Autism is my superpower."
Kyan agreed with his sister.
"It's my superpower too," he said.
"I have super memory because of who I am.
"I can also hear and see things not everyone else can at first. I'm super alert."
Ms Newitt said autism had heightened their senses.
It was Indigo's idea to tell her class she was autistic, and at first her mother was apprehensive.
Ms Newitt described that moment as life-changing for her family.
Kyan said he was nervous and scared to tell everyone.
"I didn't want to tell anyone about my autism," he said.
"I thought they would treat me differently."
However, Kyan was already being bullied for his differences.
"I was started to be bullied and I thought, maybe if they knew why I'm like this it would change," he said.
Kyan and Indigo said their mum had prepared them by sharing strategies for when things got a bit tough.
"They are not impaired or disabled because of their learning difference," Ms Newitt said.
"It's important to understand that with the right attitude, help, and strategies in place, people living with autism can lead normal lives with families and jobs.
"We work on using what makes us different to our advantage."
Indigo has big plans for her life and said she would be using her autism to help her achieve her goals.
"I'm different in a good way," she said.
"I'm going to use these to become a doctor and an author."
Kyan said his dream was to be an accountant and a town planner.
"Me and Dad have already started designing a new town for the South Burnett," he said.
"It's going to be near a lake so people can swim."
Ms Newitt said she and her family planned to keep advocating and raising awareness about autism in any way they could.