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Finding connection through music: Hannah’s story

19-year-old Hannah Smedley has achieved some remarkable things in her life – including shooting music videos, performing on stage in front of 45,000 people and even being nominated for an Adelaide Youth Award.

Hannah, who lives with autism (also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder – ASD), says music is her “safe haven”.

“It’s the first thing I turn to because it helps me mentally. Sometimes in life things are difficult and I use that to write songs and express how I feel.

“Music is my therapist and my go-to. I enjoy bringing that to other people as well.”

Nothing comes easy

Hannah went through high school feeling isolated, misunderstood, mistreated and judged or labelled – making it challenging to connect with others, or build up her self-esteem.  

“Sometimes people would only see me as autistic or have a disability. I later realised that having autism is nothing to be ashamed of. It is a gift that I am very proud to have.”

During her discovery into music, Hannah realised she was no longer going to say sorry “for being me and trying to please and impress others” – a thought process which inspired songs such as her hit, Plastic Jewellery.  

“Plastic jewellery is not considered as precious as real jewellery and it was my way of saying that we are all precious no matter what our differences.”

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