It took me a while to acknowledge the truth that Zac is autistic. I knew he was since he was 6 months old but I sort of tried to ignore it. Everything inside of me hoped it wasn’t a real thing (mostly because everything outside of me said it wasn’t a good thing…)

But I knew that he saw the world differently. He communicated differently. He learned differently. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but he was outside of the ‘normal’ difference. Every kid is different, but Zac was just that little bit further over the line of difference… and sometimes he would tip way over that invisible line, into some sort of abyss and I would have to dip in and catch him. And sometimes he would go the other way and end up in random meadows of complete and utter joy, and I was so happy to dance and twirl and be with him there.

As a toddler, he was deep and searching and sometimes unreachable, but in the moments when he caught himself with me, he was so overwhelmingly loving that I could barely breathe!

The thing with autism is that it’s actually more normal than I realised back then. Those abysses and meadows are a reality pretty much every day – and they bring something beautiful to our family life.

So to the parent reading this thinking “that’s my baby”…. Hey… take a breath. It’s ok. Your child is ok. More than that… your child will bring change to this world in a way only they can.

My boy is 8 now. He loves school. He loves books. He loves random facts about history. In social situations he learns by observing others and copying what they do – he works out the rules of the room. He doesn’t get inference and he struggles to connect in groups of his peers, but he has some beautifully close friends who he will care about forever. And outside of his peer group, I sort of have a feeling that he has his own personal ministry of smiles that impacts others and brings joy wherever he goes.

He is always so completely and utterly himself.

So keep going. Keep loving. Keep believing. But more importantly keep TALKING!! Don’t worry that your baby is different… talk about the difference. If you can’t celebrate it right now (and the truth is that there is ALWAYS pain attached to difference) then just try and believe you will be able to one day. For now, take a moment when you can to tap into their genius and translate it to the world in some little way.

The world will be a better place because of it.