“Like many parents walking this path, I wasn’t sure when or how to tell my young son, Rhys, he was autistic.  I was often told by others ‘you’ll know when the time is right’ but no-one could tell me exactly what that looked like.  So, I just got on with raising my son, learning about him and taking every chance I could to give him a good life.  Part of this was regular days at the park with other parents and their autistic kids.  We’d get together and chat while our kids played.  These casual playdates blossomed into the Autism Community Network.  As more families joined us, we started running social outings for kids and parents.  One day, at one of these events, Rhys ran over to me.  

“Mum, I have autism” he said.

“Yes,” I replied “you do.  And so does George.  And Mitchell.” I said, naming a few of the children he was playing with that day.  

“You are not alone,” I said to Rhys. “You are part of a big, beautiful community”.

I cannot have asked for a better way for my son to come to know he was autistic.  Learning he was different whilst surrounded by people who were just like him removed the isolation autistic children often feel.  Not only that, Rhys knows he is part of a positive, thriving community in which he is celebrated and valued.  It’s opened up so many opportunities for him too – like self-defence classes, driving lessons, and the chance to give back as a volunteer himself.  The Autism Community Network has enabled our whole family to strive for our best possible life, and in doing so, help others along the way.” –Kylie