Celebrating fearless women of the autism community

Being fearless means being able to do hard things. To get back up again and find the courage to keep going even when there may be a hard moment or bump in the road.

Chloe at an event for The Ability Center in front of a step and repeat with a dog


I was diagnosed with a visual impairment around three years old. We knew I had a disability by that time, but we struggled with diagnoses such as developmental apraxia, etc. Autism was difficult to diagnosis with my visual impairment, etc., but age eight or nine is when I was diagnosed. 

I always knew I had a disability of sorts. I knew that I needed extra help with some things. This was my normal. I sometimes struggle with executive functioning skills. I sometimes struggle to converse socially or know what to do when conversing with others. Sleep is challenging for me as well. Sometimes written communication can be easiest for me to get my words and thoughts out because I’m good at programming communication apps and making visual supports.  

One thing I am most proud of is being a great friend. Another is becoming a public speaker and talking openly about my life. I’m proud that after working very hard at it, I'm able to live independently with supports I need to be successful.  

During International Women’s Month, I want my fellow women out there to know you can do anything that you put your mind to. Keep trying and don't give up. Advocate for yourself and what you need to be successful. 

Being a fearless, strong, autistic woman means embracing individuality, being resilient, and challenging societal norms even when it can be uncomfortable at times. It’s about celebrating unique strengths and contributing to a more inclusive and understanding society.


Kasey in her UCF uniform


I was diagnosed with autism when I was six years old, but my parents didn’t fully tell me until I was old enough to understand. I still didn’t understand when they told me, but I just knew that some of the things I did were not normal compared to other kids.  

Some of my biggest challenges are my routines and that I’m very big on numbers. For example, doing something a certain number of times out of habit. I also struggle socially in large groups or crowded places with lots of noise.  

My biggest strengths are being a good listener and my loyalty to friends, family and teammates. I am also good at focusing on a task and wanting to work on it until I can fully complete it. With that came my success in school and on the softball field. I am very proud that I’ve played Division 1 softball while earning my Master’s in Sports Management with a 4.0 GPA. 

My message to all women, especially those on the spectrum, is to recognize your strength, embrace your uniqueness and support each other in breaking barriers. By speaking up, supporting one another, and fostering inclusivity, we contribute to a world where every woman’s perspective is acknowledged and respected.  

Being fearless as an autistic woman means embracing and advocating for myself, navigating challenges with resilience, and pursuing my goals with determination despite social misconceptions or barriers. It means standing up for my rights, and inspiring others.

Tania and her family on a playground


I’ve been described as anti-social, an introvert, weird, complicated, lonely, a picky eater, spoiled, rude, a narcissist and a perfectionist. There are plenty of other ways I’ve been described throughout my life, but autistic was never one of them until I was an adult.  

I was born in Mexico in the 90's, so there wasn’t much information available about autism at the time. Therefore, I was simply viewed as a problematic kid and felt like an outsider for most of my life. It wasn’t until I turned 29 that I found out that I was autistic. On the same day, my daughter, Valeria, was also diagnosed. 

To be completely honest, my diagnosis was a relief and I viewed it as the missing piece to my life. I finally understand who I am, and I feel proud about it. I’m currently in nursing school and working hard to advocate for my daughter, myself and everyone else who ever felt like they needed a shoulder to lean on. I especially advocate for the Spanish-speaking community, who often struggle to find resources and feel accepted by family and friends due to the diagnosis being stigmatized.  

My goal is to make a positive impact in the autism community and inspire others, especially all of the autistic women, moms and girls out there who are looking for someone to relate to. As an autistic woman I’d like to remind them that their voice matters, their experiences are valid, and they are capable of achieving their dreams. Most importantly, to remind them that they are not alone on their journey, and there is a community ready to offer understanding and solidarity.

You can follow along with my journey on my Instagram page @07taniagarcia.

Being fearless to me means finding things that make me happy and trying to do more of those things, even if I’m doing them alone. Life is too short, so I want to make the most of my short existence by living my truest life.


Brigid Rankowski


One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from being disabled and queer is you should never have to worry if you are “enough” to be considered a member of a marginalized community. There isn’t a test you pass and only you know your own lived experiences. We can’t always tell by looking at someone if they are disabled, so why would anyone think they could tell if someone is gay by looking at them?   

The layers of our being—how we identify and who we love—are some of the most personal parts of ourselves, so we need to be extra kind to those parts. Comparing our relationships to others doesn’t change who we are at our core.   

An important thing I’ll add that many older adults who grew up in a different generation can attest to is we don’t stop growing into ourselves. We may be raised thinking we must have a certain type or relationship for any number of reasons, but love finds a way. Listening to stories of older adults who had to stay in the closet and pretend they were someone else for their safety or another’s safety is really heartbreaking.  

The privilege to live authentically out loud is not afforded to everyone, but I am thankful we are continuing to move towards more acceptance.   

Read more about Brigid’s fearless story.


Being fearless to me is never giving up on that dream. I worked very hard to make my dream come true and I caught my dream, and now I am living my dream!

Jasmyn and her mom next to a horse

Jasmyn “aka” Jazz 

Jazzy Jazz is a 25-year-old woman, who was diagnosed on the spectrum at the age of three. In addition to being on the spectrum, she has a rare genetic disorder on chromosome 12, intellectual, developmental & physical disabilities as well as auditory processing & attention deficit disorder.

She attended public school up until the age of 21 where she received self-contained services, adaptive physical education, speech & physical therapy, as well as counseling sessions. At the age of 14, we began transition planning and advocating for her Individual Education Plan to have goals that support her dream of taking care of horses. The Committee of Special Education wanted her to explore other life skills options before locking into one, but because of her mom, Roxanne’s, relentless advocacy, they eventually ruled to provide Jazz with a life skills program that focuses on developing horsemanship skills.

“Could you imagine how much more progress could have been achieved, if the committee had allowed her to pursue her purpose from the very start of her high school career, “Roxanne said.

Eleven years later, Jazzy Jazz owns her own horses and lives a driven purpose life thanks to the animals and supportive people and family at HorseAbility. Jazz’s message to all the other fearless women out there is you can be anything you want to be! Believe in yourself! Find and keep people on your team who believe in you! Be brave! Be strong! Don’t give up on yourself! You got this!

Learn more about Jazz’s story and follow along her journey @ohana_stables on Instagram.

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