Racing with Autism Australia is a project that aims to raise awareness and acceptance of Autism Spectrum Disorder by show casing the unique and talented individuals who are involved in motorsport/racing who themselves are on the Autism Spectrum. We offer an educative approach to our project with the goal of inspiring people from all walks of life. Although we acknowledge the importance of ongoing awareness, we are passionate about creating educative, inclusive and inspirational environments.
This project is inspired by Racing with Autism who are based in Canada. RWA is an organization sharing the story of the inspirational Austin Riley who is a very successful racer within North America. Austin has an incredible impact on many across the globe, he is consistently inspiring others on the Autism Spectrum to achieve their goals and to share their stories.
Racing with Autism Australia has three core components:
RWAA supports racers in various racing divisions. We offer personable support, advertisement and we encourage our racers to discuss any needs they have, to see how we can best support them. Each racer is support in an individualised way. We do our best to offer support at and away from racetracks. The RWAA supported racers become connected and work towards building relationships with each other which has formed a one-of-a-kind nationwide team.
One of the many purposes of Racing with Autism Australia (RWAA) is to support racers by sharing their stories, including their achievements and their everyday struggles, with the hope of not just gaining awareness for autism but creating inclusive environments and educating many.
One of the most exciting parts of RWAA is our Pit Stop! The Pit Stop is a safe zone for people with a disability to rest, calm and destress while attending events. The Pit Stop has sensory based activities, fidget toys and re-regulation activities. Most importantly it is a safe place where no judgement is made, there are trained and experienced RWAA team members their to provide supports where required. This space is well respected, appreciated and highly utilised.
RWAA also offers presentations to community, school, and corporate groups. These presentations are catered to each request.
Our community presentations are ideal for sporting and youth groups that are interested in gaining more knowledge around Autism. These sessions include Autism education, scenarios, and assistance in ways to create more inclusive environments. We utilize the inspirational stories of our racers to create enthusiasm and positivity. These sessions are very interactive and are taken to with a positive and engaging approach.
School presentations are similar in ways to the community presentation but are adapted depending on the ages of the students. We work towards helping students learn how they may be able to interact and build relationships with people on the autism spectrum. Once again utilizing the stories of our support racers and the inspirational journeys. We strive to have a supported racer attend these presentations for that personable approach.
Corporate presentations are really focused on opening doors, ideas, and the potential for employing people on the Autism Spectrum. This includes highlighting the benefits and the inclusive aspects to doing so.
RWAA is a non for profit incorporated association.
My name is Jessica Benge, I am I am 30 and reside in North West, Tasmania. I have two passions in life, one is working with people with Autism Spectrum disorder, secondly motorsports. I was lucky to combine my two passions when I successfully gained employment in Canada in 2014 as the personal assistant to Racing with Autism superstar Austin Riley. This came about after I received an Australian Overseas Foundation scholarship for my work within the disability industry. I was lucky enough to be apart of the 2015 North American Racing with Autism, Autism awareness tour that seen us travel in an RV 28,000kms across North America, stop at various tracks for Austin to race but most importantly presenting Austin’s story and gaining awareness and understanding for Autism to thousands of Americans and Canadians. I spent over 14 months working with RWA and have returned another two times.
Under the watchful eye of Jason Riley, director and number one backer of RWA I have been guided to launch RWAA. I am a busy single mum to a little boy who has an intense passion for motorsports as well. We often travel to tracks to support our RWAA racers together. I also work full time as a trainer and assessor within the disability industry.
RWAA is my passion, and I will do anything to see it succeed.
“For those that changed my life, I want to do the same for them”