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Promoting acceptance and understanding of Autism and Neurodiversity

Our mission is to instill a Neurodiversity-affirming mindset in students, Autistic individuals, parents, and staff members about Autism through accepting and embracing the difference and empowering Autistic individuals.

Our vision is to increase understanding, awareness, and acceptance about Autism in the community. We hope that through our services, we can help support the needs of Autistic individuals and help them harness their unique strengths. Through working with teachers, staff members, parents, students, and Autistic individuals themselves, we aim to equip them with knowledge and appreciation of this Neurodivergence.


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Shadia Hancock


Owner and Founder

Shadia is the proud owner and founder of Autism Actually, and enjoys presenting and consultancy. They are also an ambassador of the Autistic-led organisation Yellow Ladybugs.

Shadia is currently studying a Bachelor of Speech Pathology (Honours), and recently completed a Cert IV in Animal Behaviour and Training. They have professional interests in Autism, communication access and supports, and animal-assisted services. 

Shadia was formally identified with Autism at the age of three, Generalised Anxiety Disorder at 14, and ADHD combined type at 23. Being non-binary, they enjoy discussing the intersectionality of Autism and the LGBTQIA+ community.

As an Autistic person with experience accessing therapeutic supports, Shadia is passionate about sharing how to view Autism from a neurodiversity-affirming perspective.

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Jane Hancock



Jane is one of our experienced presenters and advocates at Autism Actually. In addition to being a trained Secondary Mathematics/Science teacher, Jane also has a Master’s degree of Inclusive Education for Autistic students.

From 2008 to 2012, Jane was a member of the Victorian team for the Positive Partnerships project; a Federal-government initiative aimed at supporting school aged Autistic students.

Jane currently works as Job Coach at Auticon, supporting Autistic technology consultants,

and enjoys tutoring maths/science.

Jane is the parent of Shadia, and is passionate about sharing her professional and personal understanding of Autism in order to inform other teachers. Jane was also identified as Autistic in 2020.




Arwen is a standard poodle and training to be Shadia's psychosocial and Autism assistance dog with training guidance from Busimann's Dog Training, and asessment and accreditation support through Assistance Paws.

Arwen loves outings, cuddles, new experiences, squeaky toys, cheese and chicken treats, and people. 

As part of her role, Arwen will be trained to support Shadia accessing public spaces and the workplace. Some of the tasks Arwen will be taught include alerting to increasing anxiety levels, deep pressure therapy, blocking from other people, and harm interruption.

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