Caring

Mon, 27 May, 2019Basmah Qazi

“Your heart just leaps”: Waleed Aly shares very personal story

“Your heart just leaps”: Waleed Aly shares very personal story

Waleed Aly has made an emotional revelation as he shared his son’s autism diagnosis, recounting the relief he and his wife felt when they found out.

During a segment about comedian Tom Gleisner’s work with Learning For Life Autism Centre, Aly said that receiving a clear autism diagnosis for his son Zayd “opened up doors".

“I know when we got our diagnosis for our son we actually had the opposite reaction to the guy in the package,” said Aly on last night’s episode of The Project.

“I didn’t worry, it didn’t hit me in the face – it actually explained a lot of things and it opened up doors.”

The 40-year-old, who is known to remain private about his personal life, said that alongside the relief, he realised that he had to approach parenting differently.

“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,” he explained.

“And when you do that and you get those moments where a door opens, and suddenly they do something … your heart just leaps.”

But despite it all, Aly did admit to worrying 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.

“And when you see something you don’t know is possible it changes your world, it’s really powerful.”

Aly has been married to his wife Dr Susan Carland for 17 years. The couple share two children; 15-year-old Aisha and 11-year-old Zayd.

Speaking to TV WEEK in 2016 about Zayd’s diagnosis, The Project host said that is was “a major thing for us".

“He’s a lovely little man, and it’s lovely watching him grow through all these things,” he said.

“Because of the early diagnosis, he was able to get the support he needed. He’s just coming on in leaps and bounds.”