It’s Liam Parkinson’s goal to help students with autism and other learning difficulties navigate the school system with ease and support – to create a space he never had.
The 24-year-old Sunbury special education teacher felt left behind when he was at school, he felt unsupported. Ultimately, he made the choice not to complete his high school certificate, and it put him off pursuing further education for a time.
But he didn’t want other students on the spectrum to have the experience he did.
He took action, and entered vocational education to complete a certificate IV in education support.
“I was bullied a lot and the teachers couldn’t understand why I didn’t like being around other children. Due to being bullied I was transferred to three different primary schools… [when I went into] high school I was bullied more and only lasted a term,” he said.
His grandmother homeschooled him for three years before he returned to a high school he enjoyed – and then it closed down. He entered four different courses before he realized what he wanted to do.
“[I thought about] what I liked to do, which was working with children with additional needs…That is when I came across the certificate IV in education support… Now I am looking to the future to start my diploma in teaching preparation [at RMIT],” he said.
“The reason these courses were important for me to study is because I believe that… having an additional need and not receiving the help I needed, I could give the children who have different additional needs the help they need to achieve their goals.
“What I want people to take away from my story is that even though things can be rough at first, never give up on following your dreams and goals in life.”