You are never prepared for a diagnosis of autism. My wife and I discovered this eleven years ago when our two year old son was diagnosed.

Not knowing many other small children at the time, it was difficult to see the signs at first; our little boy was happy and bubbly with a good sense of humour. However, by the time he started nursery it became clear that he wasn't like the other kids. So began our journey into the confusing, daunting and, frankly, overwhelming world of autism.

As I now know, autism affects more than 1 in 100 people, but at the time of diagnosis you feel extremely lost and alone. Looking back, those early years were spent desperately searching for answers. We scoured the internet in the hope of an insight into our son's mind, we read as much on the subject as was available. Navigating our way through the mountains of confusing and often dubious material to find information that was helpful, practical and uplifting - rather than terrifying or depressing - was a challenge.

If the last decade has taught me anything, it is that knowledge is power. With information comes options, support, hope, change.

My subsequent role as a trustee for the Autism Research Trust brings me closer to the current, ground-breaking discoveries going on every day in the field of autism. Understanding this complex and far-reaching condition is the key to improving lives, and I certainly feel more empowered when I know what is going on at the ARC and how these developments might affect my son's future.

  

Andrew Buisson, ART trustee and father of Luke