You are in for an amazing parenting experience!! High functioning autistic kids can be wonderful (like any "average" kiddo).
the worst part of helping a child with Autism is helping them to deal with their frustrations. many will act out very aggressively when they can't
manage a noisy atmosphere, too many people, difficulty in understanding requests or instructions or constant interruptions in their daydreams
I worked with quite a few Autistic kids at the daycare and they adore routine! Set place for everything, certain clothes, favorite toys and favorite
people. one little guy who also suffered cranial deformation had a "thing" about collecting certain tree leaves on his walks...he was highly
tactile and would spend hours inspecting his leaves and running his fingers over them in amazement. he was a cool kid, but had an explosive temper (he
nearly bit one of my finger tips off when I touched one of his leaves without asking first).
There are a TON of support groups and play groups for parents and families of Autistic kids and many schools have integrated classrooms to accommodate
high functioning Autistic.
I've known many adult's with autism as well and while they can be weird sometimes
they are such deep thinkers, very sensitive in many ways, have
a childlike wonder than never seems to leave them, and many have a particular talent they excel at.
Depending on the level of function, a "normal" life is quite possible with supports and creative parenting
I'd recommend finding a support group in your area, your kiddo would meet other Autistic kiddos of varying levels and you as a parent would have much
needed supports and insights from others dealing with the same issues.
Socializing can be a big challenge for these kids, some simply cannot tolerate too many people around and noise is an issue. Social situations can
either cause them to go deeper into their daydreams or cause frustration that too many demands are being made of their attention. They don't like
distractions much. They are always on task...and breaking that mind set causes discomfort and irritation.
Treating them as normal may not be completely possible, but trying to not to allow them to divulge too much time in their "heads" can really help
them later on. Especially in school where constant noise and distraction is on high.
best of luck, I have no doubt you'll be fine and learn a LOT