Leigh E. O’Brien’s young nephew Liam lives with autism. Earlier this year, she composed this poem, celebrating her nephew and his individual identity. In doing so, Leigh not only highlights the challenges Liam faces on a day-to-day basis, she also visualises the unique lens through which Liam sees and experiences the world around him.

To a unique little boy,
Who will thrive and succeed,
In breaking through walls,
To transform the word “need”,

Hold on – to your world,
Growing up a fearless child,
Your Parents teach you manners,
But left your imagination wild!

Everything is an adventure,
You see a field of dreams,
The possibilities are endless,
But it isn’t always how it seems!

It wasn’t until you struggled,
To explain and to express,
That your parents knew-,
You needed more to progress,

They taught you all they could,
Gave the tools they had on hand,
Made your growth their mission,
Your happiness their command,

You tackle all the obstacles,
Push barriers with their help,
Your parents will make the best,
Of the hand that you were dealt,

A tiny step is a huge success,
As you push to learn and show,
Everyday you could impress,
Hope for you could only grow,

And as you storm mountains,
Standing patiently at your sides,
Your parents protect and defend you,
Against small minds and judging sighs,

They don’t see your disability,
Because they do not open their eyes,
They don’t think there could be more,
Behind the pitchy screams and cries,

You don’t fit into their world,
They don’t accept that you’re unique,
But as you grow and keep growing,
You’ll see you’re strong and they are weak,

Your parents see who you are everyday,
They see who you aspire to be,
A happy heart and strong mind,
Living careless in hope to be free,

Free to make a friend,
To learn in time at your own pace,
Free to be independant,
And have others respect your space,

One day the ignorant won’t ignore,
And they will see the best in you,
Your wild imagination will intrigue,
And you’ll show the world what you can do!