Despite lighting up our living rooms for an hour each night, Waleed Aly is incredibly private.
Unlike most Gold Logie winners, he tends to keep tight-lipped about his home life with wife Dr Susan Carland and their two kids. However in a candid new interview, The Project star opens up about his son Zayd's autism and how his 2011 diagnosis was a “major” thing for their family.
Affectionately describing the nine-year-old as “a lovely little man”, Aly tells TV Week, “Because of the early diagnosis, he was able to get the support he needed. He's just coming on in leaps and bounds.”
He adds,“it’s lovely watching him grow through all these things.”
Aly and his wife had long debated whether to discuss Zayd’s autism publicly with the Ten star previously wanting to let his son make that call.
However following a special feature on autism for The Project he says “the seal was broken” and he went on to write a 2015 column against the anti-vaccination movement where he reveals he is “the father of an autistic son”.
The number of people being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder is on the rise in Australia with Autism Asperger’s Advocacy Australia saying it now accounts for 31 per cent of participants in the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
The 2012 survey of disability, aging and carers by the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimated 115,400 Australians have autism with the largest group being between the ages of five and nine.
The figure is up almost 80 per cent since the previous survey in 2009.