love tears & autism book
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an award-winning memoir 

Love, Tears & Autism

An Australian mother's journey from heartbreak to hope


When Cecily prayed that God would teach her to really love people, she was hoping that the answer would be easy. She didn’t expect to have her life turned upside down, her dreams shattered and her priorities rearranged.

Just weeks after her prayer, Cecily’s three year old son was diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), and Cecily and her husband started out on a journey which would be physically hard, emotionally draining, intellectually challenging and spiritually exhausting. And yet the road would lead to love – real, honest, true, gritty love.

If you’ve ever prayed a big prayer, or questioned a big God, or faced a big hurdle or felt like you were drowning in a big sea of sadness, this book will lift, help and offer hope – spiritual and emotional hope for the depressed, the suffering and the questioning. 

For parents and friends of children suffering from the new autism epidemic, this book offers not only emotional support but also practical information and resources to help you find your way through the jungle of diagnosis and therapy.

This is Cecily’s story, but it is also God’s story – because He is the one who has been working in her, teaching her to love.

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It's so exciting to release this updated and revised second edition of Love Tears & Autism into the world. All the links are updated, and more information added. Plus there's a 'Where we Are Now' chpater, with information on what's happened since the book was first published.



FAQ about Love Tears & Autism


Q: Why did you decide to write Love, Tears & Autism?

Cecily: I started keeping a blog about my son’s road with autism just after he was diagnosed with ASD at the age of 3. In the five years it has been going, people have found it helpful. I began to think that writing a book from it would be practical and encouraging for families with children on the autistic spectrum.


Q: What motivated you to write the book?

Cecily: Every Thursday for a year, I would drive across Sydney so that I could drop my preschooler and his baby brother at my mother in law’s place for the morning. I’d say a quick goodbye and head out to the shops where I could do all the things I needed to do and then at the end, sit at relax in a café with a book, a piece of cake and a pot of earl gray tea.

After my little boy was diagnosed with ASD, I quickly swapped my Thursday morning novels for books about autism. I scoured bookshops and libraries for information and read everything, mostly crying at the same time.

Unfortunately, though, I never really found the book I was looking for. The technical books were heavy and discouraging, and the personal stories were either overly depressing or unrealistically cheerful.

I wanted a book which explained autism in real life language, gave me practical help, emotional support and told me that there was light at the end of the tunnel. I never found it, so I tried to write it. Hopefully, I have succeeded!

Read more of Cecily's interview here.

Join the Love Tears & Autism community on facebook where you'll find regular updates about the book, autism-related information and other good supportive stuff.  There's also a support group you can ask to join. Search for Love Tears & Autism Parent Support Group.


Reader reviews


Cecily - just wanted to thank you for writing love, tears and autism. What an honest, moving, helpful and intelligent read - I finished it in one sitting last night! Thanks for your willingness to tell it how it is rather than bulls**tting and sugar coating (language!). ~ M L

"I have just finished reading your book "Love, Tears & Autism" . I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed it and as I am trying to find out more information regarding Autism, I appreciated the additional links you had inside your story. Congratulations and thank you for sharing your journey with me." ~ J O


I read your book 'Love tears and Autism' and was truly moved. It was a terrific read and gave so much to think about. You write so well and I was swept along in it. Thank you.  I have now loaned the book to a friend with a grandchild with autism and have already had other requests when I've told people about it. I very much appreciate you sharing your story with so many. I'm sure it will be a great help to families not only concerning autism but all the other 'stuff' that is part of being a parent. The ending was brilliant and such an encouragement to keep praying.  ~ J L 

 “Yours is a story that has touched my soul. You have confronted and written about some of my worst, unspoken fears. You are honest about your own perceived inadequacies to climb, with your son, the mountain of autism spectrum and in doing so you have written a book for all of us not just for parents of children with autism. The lessons of facing our challenges head on, of being a true friend and showing genuine understanding of others in their times of need are things you write about with disarming honesty. You constantly tug at our conscience as you write about your own. A beautiful book about the heartache and challenge and joy of real love.”

Carolyn Hewson– businesswoman, company director, entrepreneur


“Love Tears and Autism is a book that will change many lives. Cecily Paterson writes with an honesty and directness that will appeal to many readers. 

In the mood of a modern day blog Cecily writes with breathtaking honesty without ever being indulgent or ever losing hope. In the style of Philip Yancy, she asks the questions many believers think are too impolite to ask.

Discovering God's will for our lives is never as simple as we imagine but Cecily will help many discover that their calling is staring back at them in the eyes of the children they have, not just the fantasy children they imagined.  This book will make you cry, laugh and maybe even cringe but it might also help you to pray, do your best and remember that God has not finished with you yet!”

Rev Richard QuadrioSenior Pastor Macquarie Chapel, President NSW Council of Churches. 

I was introduced to your book by a friend on facebook. My son was diagnosed with autism 3.5 years ago and it was very kind of her to try and connect with me via your book.

Thank you for writing the book - I related well to your frustrations with the diagnosis and subsequent search for answers. I think most parents in Sydney would say that too. But it is good that someone like yourself can express it so well.

Friendships are easily sorted with autism, but even the most dependable find it hard to understand and to be honest I really do not have the energy, and in this case the ability to explain the issues involved. I will be using your book for these friends. I really like your section regarding what children with autism need.

Anyway, thanks again. Regarding loving a child with autism - my wife describes it as as similar to God loving us. We ignore Him most, if not all, of the time, yet He still loves us and cares for us. ~ J L


“Cecily Paterson gives a starkly honest, reflective and sometimes feisty account of her struggle to love and accept her autistic son and of her desire to see him fit in. This book will speak into the lives of anyone who has a disabled family member, and is a reminder to all parents to love and accept our children as they are, while still encouraging them to become the best they can be.”

Katrina Roe,radio personality, children's author and blogger

“As a counsellor I often see the struggles parents and particularly mothers, have with children who are somewhere on the Autism spectrum. Cecily’s honest portrayal of life with her son will bring hope and encouragement to many families who daily have to manage one or more of their children with this disorder. Whether we like it or not, society’s negative opinions of parenting are reflected onto these parents. Reading this book will help others who are not as closely connected to autism to catch a glimpse of life for these parents.” 

Kerrie Merchant M. Couns. (UNE) PACFA, APC

As autism is reported to affect one in 160 children this is a book for everyone to read. Love Tears and Autism gives us an honest account of Cecily and her family’s agonizing path to their precious son Cameron’s diagnosis of autism. We journey with them through the frantic gut wrenching years that follow. As diagnosis comes Cecily has a clear understanding that God is teaching her to love although this is not a path she would have chosen.

Through the dark times, I held on to the fact that I knew what the purpose of all of this was for me. God was teaching me to love, even when I felt no love and even when I wondered if I had the energy to face the next half hour.

“As we read this book we see too that what Cecily and Cameron need most is love and acceptance. Cameron’s disability was not always her biggest difficulty – sometimes it was other people’s attitudes and lack of understanding.

Cecily bears testimony to the fact that learning love and letting go of being the one in control is not easy. However, depending on God the author of love who is in control, is the only path that offers true hope.

As a mother of a son with autism this book offered to me enormous encouragement and comfort. It reduced my feelings of isolation as I drew parallels with my own experience. Cecily’s account is honest; neither does she hold back on the nitty gritty details nor the ugly thoughts that rise up in our hearts. As Cecily examines these feelings she gives us great insight into her God-given lessons in learning love. This is a book I will keep reading in the years to come.”

Kate Hurley, author of Take heart - For families living with disability, 2009 Blue Bottle Press