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Determination and Strength

Ever since he was a child, Bruce Davidson has had a fascination for animals. First it was dinosaurs and then he discovered sharks.

“I became fascinated by oceanic predators,” he says.

Today he’s working towards his Bachelor of Science degree, with a goal of becoming a Marine Biologist. He’s already completed his first year of sciences at the University of the Fraser Valley. What makes Bruce’s story one of triumph is that when he was a child, his doctor told him that because he lives with autism, he would never get past middle school. Instead of being discouraged by that diagnosis, Bruce took that as a challenge and found the support he needed to prove his doctor wrong. Not only did he get past middle school, he graduated from high school and has applied his determination to his studies at university.

As an adult, Bruce continues to seek out the support he needs to be successful. One of those supports comes through Communitas Supportive Care Society. Communitas offers Personalized Supports Initiative (PSI) which provides Bruce with a personalized approach to meeting the challenges he faces from day-to-day. Bruce meets regularly with Jamie Fehr, his PSI support worker, who helps him build a daily schedule, create a budget and has helped him to explore job and volunteer opportunities. Jamie says Bruce is a determined and ambitious person.

“He is a good communicator and really knows how to advocate for himself,” she says. “I really appreciate how he can focus on his goals and does not waiver from them.”

Bruce appreciates the support he receives from Jamie.

“She is patient with me and respects my desire to achieve certain things,” he says.

One of the things that Bruce has learned in life is to be aware of his strengths and weaknesses. He encourages others who live with challenges to find a balance.

“Try to understand your disabilities before you try to conquer them,” he says.

He uses his own experience as an example. Bruce realized that if he was going to be successful in school, he wouldn’t be able to work and study at the same time. Working a night shift job and being in school full time was just not realistic.

His self-awareness also helped him as he made the transition to university. One of the ways in which his autism manifests itself is that he finds it difficult to get started on a task but when he does get started, he becomes so immersed in that task that it’s hard to stop.

“So I found that when I’m in school, it’s best for me to study in large chunks of time, close to an exam, rather than in little bits every day,” he says.

Bruce continues to find ways to increase his knowledge as he works towards his degree. Jamie suggested that he apply at the local fish hatchery, which led to a process of research into different work and volunteer opportunities, fine-tuning his resume to reflect his love of marine biology and then dropping that off at various places.

“Bruce really made this happen,” Jamie says. “He never gave up. His determination showed each time Bruce shook the hand of another supervisor, handed in a resume or suggested a new place he could apply. He really owned the process, landing and acing the interview.”

That determination paid off when he landed a volunteer role at the fish hatchery. He is looking forward to how this experience will support his education.

“I’m really excited about this opportunity,” he says. “It’s one more goal that I’ve successfully met.”

Jamie says that she enjoys connecting with Bruce and has learned a great deal from him.

“It’s so fulfilling to strategize with Bruce to work through problems and then seeing goals accomplished,” she says. “He truly inspires me to achieve my own goals.”

Find out the many ways that Personal Supports Initiative helps people like Bruce.

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