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A few years ago Sami began participating in an anti-bullying program for schools called 'Stop Bullying... Try Music'. As a young singer/songwriter of 15, she would talk to school students concerning her own experiences with being bullied and how she overcame. She was picked on at school daily about her singing, sometimes coming home in tears and nearly gave up many times, but instead, she wrote a song 'I Don't Like You Anymore' and turned her attention to music. In music, Sami found self-esteem and a whole different group of people who saw her talent. Being part of the music world outside of school gave her the confidence she needed to ignore the bullies. The bullying stopped when she was able to believe in herself and she hopes to inspire this for schoolchildren with her work in the 'Stop Bullying ...Try Music' program.

Sami Cooke is an inspiring young lady who loves her music adores helping others. She is not afraid to speak up for others and is a very approachable teenager for both children and adults to talk with. She sees her ability to use her voice to encourage other young people to build their personal self-esteem as an opportunity.

Sami has always had 2 main dreams for her music: one to make it her career and the other to be able to help people with her music career. 'Stop Bullying...Try Music' was a wonderful opportunity to be part of.... but there has always been more.... to be able to be a voice for Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) is amazing.

The word 'Spectrum' implies the vastness that Autism Spectrum Australia covers, from those at the lower end of the 'spectrum' who need full time, daily personal care, to those on the high- end of the 'spectrum' who are very advanced in their thinking but find they can feel outside of mainstream society.

Recently, Sami gave a speech for a school concerning Aspergers Syndrome and the issues surrounding this part of the Autism spectrum. In Australia it is estimated that 1 in 100 could have a form of Aspergers and it is more prevalent in boys. Whereas other areas of Autism are noticeable at a very young age, Aspergers may not be evidenced in early childhood due to children being able to learn so easily. Many cases may not be noticeable until the early teenage years, when socially, Asperger children ('Aspies') find it hard to conform to 'normal' social behavior, thus finding it hard to fit in at school and 'normal' education systems. This can be frustrating and lead to social difficulties and bullying.

Studies now believe that people in history who could have had Apsergers are: Mozart, Thomas Jefferson, Sir Alfred Hitchcock, Charles Darwin, Sir Isaac Newton and William (Bill) Gates. These people, all high achievers in life, may have been socially isolated and outside of what is considered to be 'normal' in attitude and behavior. For 'Aspies' at school, without others understanding this situation, life can be hard and may lead to being bullied. This is why more understanding and tolerance is needed and this is where bringing awareness to this issue will help.

Sami will be helping to raise funds for regional areas for Autism Spectrum Australia, to help bring awareness to the needs of rural areas.