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Christie Hayes shares: "Our beautiful boy has been diagnosed with autism."

Australian actress and mother-of-two Christie Hayes has publicly shared her two-year-old son has been diagnosed with autism.

“I want to share because it will help him, help others and (maybe selfishly) help me saying it aloud, too,” the 30-year-old, best known for her role in Home and Away, posted to Instagram.

“Our beautiful boy has been diagnosed with autism,” the post continued, next to an image of Hendrix, whom his parents also call Hendy.

As a parent we always want to make the best choices for our children. I’ve thought about this for the last month and I’ve decided that whilst this is Hendrix’s story, I want to celebrate him. I want to share because it will help him, help others and, (maybe selfishly) help me saying it aloud too. Our beautiful boy has been diagnosed with autism. I opened up about it this morning on air (I got a little emotional) and I want to thank you for your kind, loving, & in many ways – very funny messages. Having a sense of humour when you’re going through something that alters your life is vital, and laughter is the best medicine (as is wine). I know of course how lucky we are, my son hasn’t been diagnosed with a terminal illness or something that warrants extreme devastation, but being told that your child is different and might have some challenges ahead is not always easy. You never want your baby to have something you take for granted – such as talking and basic social skills, as a problem. However I’m an extremely positive person and my Hendy is a ray of sunshine. He’s so funny and cute, and whilst he can’t talk to us yet, (he is 3 in October) I know he is having great conversations all the time because he sits there laughing his head off. This tells me he has a wonderful imagination which makes me doubly proud and equally inspired. My heart sometimes breaks because I’ve been waiting almost 3 years to hear my little boy say “mum”, but we’re so lucky to have access to so much support. The autism spectrum is vast, I’m only learning as we are going, but he shows us lots of love in smiles, cuddles and hand holding (he can’t talk so he drags me wherever he wants to go.) Hendy is the sweetest boy, knows what he wants, isn’t scared of anything, is brave enough to lead an army and has a smile that could stop a war. So here’s to any other family who’s on the autism walk of life, please welcome us aboard and hit me with any tips you have! Oh, a total plus about my little man is that he is a neat freak and obsessed with cleaning and going to bed when he’s tired. What more could any mother want?! Hendrix my beloved, you are perfect to Mummy & Daddy – just the way you are! Xx

A post shared by C H R I S T I E H A Y E S (@christiehayes_) on

Hendrix is Hayes’ first child with her wine broker husband, Daniel White. He is also brother to one-year-old Harley.

Hayes, 30, initially opened up about the diagnosis on radio, where she works as co-host of the 198FM Wollongong breakfast show. The Instagram post followed, thanking fans for their support.

“I want to thank you for your kind, loving, & in many ways, very funny messages,” she wrote. “Having a sense of humour when you’re going through something that alters your life is vital, and laughter is the best medicine (as is wine).”

Hayes acknowledged that her position is privileged — that the diagnosis could be much, much worse. However, she touched on the feeling of helplessness that many parents of children with autism will likely understand.

“Being told that your child is different and might have some challenges ahead is not always easy,” she wrote. “You never want your baby to have something you take for granted, such as talking and basic social skills, as a problem.”

LISTEN: Christie Hayes discusses taking your baby home from the hospital for the first time on our new podcast, Year One. Post continues below.

Hayes said she has waited almost three years for Hendrix to speak, noting that he seems to communicate more with himself than with others.

“He’s so funny and cute, and whilst he can’t talk to us yet (he is three in October), I know he is having great conversations all the time because he sits there laughing his head off,” Hayes wrote.

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“My heart sometimes breaks because I’ve been waiting almost three years to hear my little boy say ‘mum,’ but we’re so lucky to have access to so much support.

“The autism spectrum is vast. I’m only learning as we are going, but he shows us lots of love in smiles, cuddles and hand holding. (He can’t talk so he drags me wherever he wants to go.)”

Trying and failing to get a selfie with my baby on his first train ride ???? #longweekend #exploring #countrybumpkins

A post shared by C H R I S T I E H A Y E S (@christiehayes_) on

After sharing her son’s story, Hayes told Mamamia she told very few people when he was first diagnosed three months ago before deciding it was “silly” to try to keep it private.

“That implies that there’s something wrong with it. And that’s certainly not the case. It’s a very normal, very common, very real thing,” she said.

“By opening up we’re feeling better… We’re embracing it, acknowledging and not trying to change it.”

She admitted it took her some time to process the diagnosis because she feared the challenges her son might face. But she said she took comfort in reading about famous parents like TV hosts Waleed Aly and Chloe Maxwell, or Hollywood actor Robert De Niro, all of whom have children with autism.

So what’s next for the family?

“We’re taking it day by day and enjoying every minute with both of our boys. As my husband said, ‘We’ve got one child that doesn’t say anything and one that doesn’t shut up.’ So it’s a nice balance.”

Hayes said she “wouldn’t change a thing” about her son. She hopes to someday enter advocacy for people with autism and to help educate the public.

“This is not a bad thing. It’s him and it’s who he is.”

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