It strikes me that there are several different types of happiness. Achievement brings about a sort of happiness that could be called satisfaction. Hardy has learned to read and write phenomenally quickly. His black and white thinking and his exceptional memory mean that he learns sight words and patterns in language at an extraordinary rate. It's such a delight for us to be able to praise him so effusively and see his little face light up with joy.

He also derives happiness from sensory input. He likes to lick smooth things (he tries to lick my cheek too, I take this as a compliment about the texture of my skin!) and loves being tickled, as long as we watch for the overload signals.

Finally, there's a type of happiness brought about by his world being in order. His anxiety levels are lower at this point and he clearly experiences a sense of contentment with his lot in life. We've been through several phases - numbers, the solar system, always carrying a stone and a pine cone etc. Currently we're all about weather and geography. So for Hardy this means keeping tabs on what the weather is like around the world, when the sun is setting and rising in various places and what the time zones are. At any given moment he can tell you what the weather and the time is in Halofi, for example - not bad for a five year old! The first thing he does every morning when he comes in to our room is to regale us with the day's weather stats. Some mornings it might be nice to have a moment or two to achieve a reasonable level of consciousness before this starts but I can honestly say that it makes me deeply happy to be a part of this unique, courageous, hilarious, and all round wonderful little boy's life.

Cara is mum to Hardy, who is five and a half, has an autistic spectrum disorder, a complex language disorder and high levels of anxiety. She is currently taking an extended break from her career as a teacher. She fills her spare time making visual aids and resources for Hardy, and has a house full of PECS cards! She blogs at “Why My Autistic Son is Brilliant” which aims to focus on the positives of ASDs and living with a superhero who has an ASD.