Young Ballarat musician Jack Stacey is changing perceptions of autism and setting an example to others to live beyond their 'limits'.
At four-years-old Jack was diagnosed with autism, a lifelong developmental condition that affects how an individual relates to their environment and interacts with other people.
At the time of diagnosis doctors estimated he would only be able to write his own name and read basic text.
Now 21-years-old, Jack is recognised as a talented pianist and composer, receiving a scholarship through the Ballarat Symphony Orchestra, completing his third-year of a Bachelor of Music alongside his Licentiate in Music.
He is sharing his story during World Autism Month to send a message to others diagnosed with autism that they too can achieve anything they put their mind to.
Since Jack was two-years-old, music provided an expressive and emotional outlet and a method of communication.
I want to be known for what I can do, not for what I can't.
Jack Stacey, musician and composer
"Music was how I was able to communicate before I could even talk properly," he said.
"It wasn't just a way of communicating it was an expressive outlet and an emotional outlet. It was something that could help me focus and pin my thoughts down.
"Listening to it is also very comforting. It lets me centre myself. I think recently it also helps me discover more philosophical elements as well as understanding the world itself and society around it."
Watch Jack at the piano below.
At 10-years-old Jack travelled with his family to London to work with esteemed musician and expert on autistic savants Professor Adam Ockelford for one month.
Since the trip to London, Jack has performed for Top Class as one of the state's best studying VCE music although he was only in year 10. He has composed a piece for the Ballarat Symphony Orchestra and performed recitals and concerts in Ballarat and Melbourne.
Jack said throughout his life he has challenged himself to face his limits and overcome them.
"At the time when I was diagnosed it was estimated I may have only been able to write my own name or read basic text. I wanted to keep fighting and keep proving myself to show I can do this," he said.
"Music is what I am very capable of doing. I want to be known for what I can do, not for what I can't.
"Music has provided a way for me to contribute to community and I hope I can be a role model and inspiration to people who have similar disabilities to my own knowing you can do anything if you put your mind to it."
Jack Stacey at the Art Gallery of Ballarat in 2017. Picture: Lachlan Bence
Jack's first piano teacher Daniel West said he and Jack had noticed autism was becoming less of a barrier as society was becoming more comfortable and accepting of it.
Jack will perform one of his own compositions with the Ballarat Symphony Orchestra at the Art Gallery of Ballarat on June 23.
Other upcoming concerts include a performance at the Stawell town Hall on May 26 and at the Art Gallery of Ballarat in September.