HEARING the words "yes", "no" or "I love you" may be taken for granted by some parents but not by Stacey Collins.
The Rockhampton mother of two-year-old Jace, who was diagnosed with autism last year, said it's those simple words that she is overjoyed to hear, with her son speaking very little.
"I hear other parents saying I wish my child would stop saying no, and I say well I wish my child would say it," Stacey said.
"He said 'I love you' for the first time recently and I was just so happy."
And on Monday the mother and son were dressed in blue along with everyone else at the John Villiers Centre of Excellence for children on the autism spectrum to help raise funds and awareness for the cause.
Next month is Autism Awareness Month and Autism Queensland has launched a new campaign "Go Blue for Autism" to raise funds and awareness of the condition that research shows affects one in 160 children aged 6 to 12 years.
Team leader at the centre on Lakes Creek Rd, Tina Bettinzoli, said the centre was the only facility in Rockhampton for autistic children.
"We have about 12 children in two different groups and we have speech therapists, and counsellors for the parents to support them as it can be hard to cope once your child has been diagnosed," Tina said.
But Stacey said she looked at it from a positive perspective rather than a negative one.
"He just sees things differently and that just means I have to approach it differently, it doesn't mean he's any less smart, he's a very intelligent boy," Stacey said.
- Autism prevalence in Australia is on the rise, now more common than cerebral palsy, diabetes, deafness, blindness and leukemia put together.
- In Queensland, there are more than 10,000 school-aged children living with autism.