The Flip Side of Autism

Actor. Comedian. TV Host. You may recognise Nikki Osborne from her most recent role as Delvene Delaney in Hoges: The Paul Hogan Story, or as the young lady that chipped her tooth on an olive in a string of Australia Unity commercials.  We recognise her as a parent of a child on the spectrum, who’s daily adventures with youngest son Teddy are full of the positivity, fun and good humour you’d expect from a mum who makes the world laugh for a living.


The Flip Side of Autism – Nikki Osborne

I’ve gotta admit, when we were first told our son probably has autism, I had a meltdown. Like so many other parents, I interpreted that as his brain being “broken” and I grieved for what I’d imagined to be his future. You know, typical things like playing football, riding bikes, chatting up chicks, becoming school captain and having heaps of instagram followers. We were so focussed on the things we imagined he wouldn’t do instead of noticing the unique qualities he did have.

Until one day at 20 months, we took Teddy for a quiet wander down the street. We’d been modelling “pointing” to him for months to no avail. During this walk however, I took his hand and pointed it to a number plate. Before I could say anything, Teddy had read the number plate out aloud.

WTF?! He hasn’t even said Mum yet but he knows the alphabet?! All of a sudden we realised the inner workings of the autistic brain. It also explained why he slept with his wooden letter T each night.

So we then made it our mission to help Teddy with his speech as much as possible. This kid has a lot going on, he just couldn’t share it.

Over the last few years, Teddy (now 5) has continually surprised us with his different take on things. He sees patterns and images that we never noticed. “Our car dash looks like Hoot the owl”. It does. “That crack in the wall looks like a giraffe”. It did. Then there was this little gem from Kindy. See video.

I like to visualise Teddy’s thoughts as him going on a bush walk. While other kids follow the main path, Teddy wanders off the beaten track. Sometimes he gets lost, but sometimes he makes discoveries that everyone else would have missed.

I often think Autisim should be renamed to Einstein Syndrome. After all, ol’Albert was non verbal until 4 and his brain was certainly not ‘typical’. In fact, just google famous people with autism and you’ll soon discover that your child is in good company.


Nikki will be contributing a number of these brilliant stories over the coming months. If you’d like to keep an eye on the day to day adventures we recommend following her on Facebook and Instagram.