Autism: How farming can help 農場工作給患自閉症的年輕人帶來成就感
Lydia Otter, Farm Owner
We’re a small working farm, 100 acres with about 30 beef cattle on. But we’re also a farm where young people with autism learn working skills. We’ve got little goats and chickens, and we have an organic egg production.
Lydia Otter, Farm Owner
My word, what a busy day! Some of these young people, I’ve known for 30 years, you see. It’s just a wonderful privilege to see them grow up.
Animals are much simpler to understand than humans. There’s no lying or secret agendas with animals. What you see is what you get with an animal. If it wants to eat, it’ll show you it needs to eat. If it needs to go out to pee, it normally will show you.
I have Asperger’s syndrome. It is basically just the brain being wired a little bit differently. With it comes extra sensitivity to certain things. So in my case, my taste buds are, well, very tyrannical.
19-year-old Murray has been at Pennyhooks for a few weeks.
Emma Masefield, Autism Learning Centre Manager
Murray is a particularly interesting individual. He’s somebody who is described as pre-verbal, meaning he doesn’t talk. What we do is to really observe our students and to pick up on any body language, and if you watch Murray really carefully, he’s telling you an awful lot with his body language.
Ken Bruce, Murray’s Dad
At the age of about nine, we discovered that he was able to read and he knew, you know, a massive amount of words, he had good spelling and great expression when he was able to… It was a real revelatory moment when we discovered that.
When he feels comfortable, Murray can use a letter board or his tablet to communicate.
I would like to let people know that I have a good brain. Just because I can’t speak, it does not mean that I would not make a meaningful contribution to society.
Kerith Bruce, Murray’s Mum
I feel when he comes back from Pennyhooks, just his whole body language and everything is just so completely different. It’s almost like he’s de-stressed.
I yearn to have a body that works in sync with my brain.We are people who are really wanting to be heard. We will try positively to say how we feel if you are willing to listen and give us the space.
If I didn’t come here, I’d likely still be at home on the computer and that’s it. I’d probably think I was useless, essentially. But the fact that I come here, and occasionally help out with the animals. Yes, I do have a sense of belonging and accomplishment here.
1. We’re a small working farm, 100 acres with about 30 beef cattle on.
2. What you see is what you get with an animal.
3. When he feels comfortable, Murray can use a letter board or his tablet to communicate.