This time last year you were lucky to get a peep out of Rusty Waters.
But now the seven-year-old Bayswater boy waves and says hello.
Rusty was diagnosed with autism at three, after his parents Russell and Megan watched him struggle with everyday interactions.
Last year, he began attending Friends of Autism therapy sessions each day after school to improve his communication skills.
"They teach him the things we take for granted like the necessity of saying hello and how are you," Mr Waters said.
"These things do not come naturally to children like Rusty. He has come a long way."
Rusty can spell almost every word and recite books verbatim, but has difficulty being taken out of his comfort zone.
"He is very intelligent - he just doesn't understand social communication," Mr Waters said. He said Friends of Autism tailored programs to suit Rusty's needs, which also helped him and his wife understand their son's situation.
Friends of Autism is among the charity groups that benefit from United Way WA's Five Cents for Five Senses campaign.
The campaign encourages people to donate their spare 5Â¢ pieces to United Way's collection tins.
Donations can be made at any HBF or Westpac branch.
Visit www.unitedwaywa.com.au for more information.