In a rare display, Waleed Aly has opened up about an issue that is very personal to him and wife Susan Carland — raising a child with autism.
In a segment about comedian Tom Gleisner’s work with the Learning For Life Learning Centre, Aly spoke about his son’s autism diagnosis. Aly and Carland’s 11-year-old son Zayd was diagnosed with autism in 2011.
“I didn’t worry, it didn’t hit me in the face — it actually explained a lot of things and it opened up doors,” he said on Monday night.
The Project host, who normally keeps quiet about his personal life, explained that once he was aware of the condition, his approach to parenting had to change.
“Then what happens is you’ve got to try and reorientate everything, so that you’re communicating with the kid in a way that actually works with the way their brain works.
“And when you do that and you get those moments where a door opens, and suddenly they do something … your heart just leaps.”
'You've gotta try and re-orientate everything so that you're communicating with the kid in a way that actually works with the way their brain works, and when you do that and you get those moments where a door opens…it's unbelievable and your heart just leaps' – Waleed Aly pic.twitter.com/4sH5Cphp1e
— The Project (@theprojecttv) May 27, 2019
The father-of-two, however, went on to explain how he still worries about Zayd’s future.
“The thing that is really scary about it is you actually don’t know what their ceiling is,” he said.
“So all the things that you would normally take for granted like when they have a career, when they get married or whatever, you’re just facing an unknown. You don’t know if those things will ever be possible.”
My kids have taken over my Instagram account for #WorldChildrensDay with @unicefaustralia ! They wish all kids had happy childhoods, safe homes, warm beds, and games to play. And I think they’re right 😊 #KidsTakeOver #UNICEFAmbassador
The Project host also opened up about his son in an interview on Hit Network’s Carrie & Tommy radio show in 2017.
“It’s easy to handle once you know what you’re dealing with,” he said of learning of his son’s diagnosis. “I actually thought, ‘Oh great, the world makes sense now’. And now we know exactly what to do, we can handle this. And he’s thriving, he’s coping really well.
“But I can imagine for other parents it wouldn’t be like that at all. Because when you have a diagnosis, what that triggers in a lot of people’s minds is this is lifelong and I suppose it kind of is.”