Neurodiversity Celebration Week (March 21 - 27) is a worldwide initiative that challenges stereotypes and misconceptions about autism and learning disabilities. Speak My Language is sharing the stories of neurodivergent people from culturally diverse backgrounds to help make multicultural Australia a more inclusive place.
Actor and advocate Michael Chan was drawn to participating in the Speak My Language program because he wants to challenge Chinese Australians to view disability differently. Through his work, he hopes others can recognise that "people with disability have talents and capabilities. They want their stories to be heard, and feel welcomed and valued."
Last year, Michael took part in the City of Greater Geelong' My Story project, writing about growing up with high-functioning autism in a traditional Chinese family. As Michael explains, "I’m so proud to be a high-functioning autistic person."
I have a positive attitude towards my life, and I feel it’s growing. I don’t feel any anxiety during a plane flight, whether crossing the Pacific on long journey or short trips to the many islands in Hong Kong. Luckily, I’m brave enough to overcome my fears and uncertainties with my high levels of poise and calmness under pressure, like performing a show to the general public.
Michael's Cantonese interview with Speak My Language explores what living well means from his unique perspective. He highlights the role drama has played in broadening his horizons, meeting new people and gaining greater confidence. Michael says he owes much of his success to Back To Back Theatre, who allowed him to tour locally and globally during their run of The Shadow Whose Prey the Hunter Becomes.
Cantonese listeners can enjoy Michael's full interview for free on our website.