Sister acts for autism understanding: Chloe’s story
A teacher at Geelong’s Christian College describes Chloe Lamb as “passionate and extremely capable”.
Chloe is also someone with a strong social conscience, illustrated when she set out to increase understanding about autism through a fund-raiser for Amaze.
The school says she “wowed all of the staff and students” with a presentation on autism where she chatted about brother James, who is on the spectrum.
She spoke to Amaze after her fund-raiser.
Teachers and students high-fived Chloe after the talk
Tell us how your school fundraiser came about?
“At the beginning of the year our teacher talked to the class about something you would like to achieve. I told him that I would like to raise more awareness about autism”.
How did the teachers and students respond to your talk? Do you think they knew much about autism before this?
“They asked questions at the end of the talk, and high-fived me as I walked out of the hall after the talk.
“And some students since the talks have come up to me and said, ‘My brother/sister/cousin has autism too’.
“The teachers were quite curious and asked me things like ‘how is your life with James’? I did a special separate talk to all the senior staff members at my school early one morning.
“I think they listened really well, and I think they may have learnt something from it – which would help them deal with other children on the spectrum at school now.
“I know that lots of students (and probably teachers), didn’t know much about autism before the talk, so hopefully even if they learnt one new thing that is great”.
Chloe’s relationship with James
Tell us about the relationship you have with James.
“Although I don’t ‘play’ with James like other siblings in families, he still gets me to help him do things at times when he is stuck (like when the music player won’t work), and I know he is happy to be around me and I am his family”.
What do you like most about your brother?
“He is cheeky, and I like his smile the most. And because he doesn’t talk, you can sort of see what he is trying to say through his eyes – his eyes ‘talk’”.
Is there anything you find challenging about having him as a brother?
“Lots of things – like other people not understanding about how it is for me to have James as my brother. And it often makes mum and dad very busy, as he has lots of appointments, and they get tired.
“It makes it very hard when he doesn’t talk, so I can’t even ask him who are his friends at school or how was his day, when we all sit down at night and have tea and talk about our day”.
What do you wish more people knew or understood about autism?
“I wish that more people understood what is was like to have a sibling or a friend with autism because then they would understand it like I do.
“I wish that more people would accept people better with autism and not do things like teasing them at school and calling them names, because its not their fault they have autism and they don’t mean to have autism, they are just are who they are”.