Ellie Whetzel describes herself as “fiercely protective” of her four-year-old son Leo, who is primarily non-verbal.
When she confided in her partner Andy that she has “so many questions that have yet to be answered for Leo”, his response gave her new strength.
“It always amazes me, how even today there is still so much negativity surrounding autism,” he said. “One of the best things about Leo is how genuine he is.
“When he’s happy, he lets you know. When he’s upset, he lets you know. His emotions are pure and there is no pretence.
“The sad part is that people will say that this is abnormal. When really, this is how more people should be.”
“Somewhere along the way someone said, Leo is going to be different. We’re going to wire him differently,” Andy continued.
“Not everyone will understand him, but that’s okay.
“And even if he only touches these two people’s lives, he will have made a difference.”
Whetzel told HuffPost UK that until she met Andy she did not think it would be possible to find someone who could develop such a strong bond with her son.
“I had resigned myself to the fact I may never find a partner who would or could possibly recognise my boy’s unique gifts,” she said.
“While being understanding of his severe challenges, and love, accept, and cherish him the way I do as his mother.
“Yet, when Andy entered our lives, that all changed - I had not only found a loving and supportive partner... but Leo found his dad.”
Whetzel shares snippets of her life with her son and Andy on the Facebook page My Life With Leo.