I love giving back to my community however I can. Many of my clients know that I photograph NICU babies in the hospital but I also am a participating photographer with an organization called, Spectrum Inspired. This program offers free photo sessions (and all the photos) to families with children on the autism spectrum. If you have a child that is autistic I highly recommend looking into a session for your family. These sessions are fun and casual and no stress involved or allowed. These photo sessions are done in your home where your child feels the safest.
This in-home lifestyle session was done at the client's home in South Minneapolis. This wonderful boy is intense, sincere, & exuberant. We included mom and sister into the photo session. I remember mom telling me that bright lights, barefeet, and cold water are off limits. However, when you look at the images you'll find that the socks came off and the feet came at me! lol I take that as a sign of being comfortable with me. We sure had fun.
Before I show the images from our photo session I want to share their story. When Holden was diagnosed with ASD at age 5, mom dramatically increased her Facebook posts. She didn’t say anything about the diagnosis at the time, but her thought was that as she slowly shared this news with friends and family, they would look at those pictures and think to themselves that he sure didn’t look autistic. That was her goal. And he doesn’t look like the autism stereotype that she had in her head: he smiles, he interacts, he has reduced eye contact but it isn’t none. He is able to do a lot of activities and he has some very good friends. In her mind, these were signs that his autism was mild, evidence she could point to that they would be all right as a family and that his future could still be bright. She wanted others to think of him the same way.
As time passed, and Holden's mom learned more about autism. She learned that autism doesn’t mean the lack of smiles or friendships. She learned that some of the ways that her son was sensory sensitive was a part of the autism and it helped a lot of things make more sense. She saw him flap for the first time – a classic autistic activity – and it brought her and him both so much joy that he will now sometimes flap to cheer mom up if she's sad. Over time autism became less about the behaviors that he had and more about the way he saw and experienced the world.
Mom still worries about his future because it turns out that is a mom’s prerogative, but she has also changed her ideas about what success will look like for him. Turns out, they are in charge of defining that themselves and she actually has no doubt they can make it work. So now, when mom posts pictures of her family on Facebook, it is to show that this too is autism, they are already are all right as a family, and their future is bright.
This Too is Autism
If you are interested in Spectrum Inspired either has a volunteer photographer or a family interested in applying for a session please visit. www.spectruminspired.org
Michele also specializes in Fresh 48 photography sessions in local Minnesota Birth Centers and hospitals. To book your custom Fresh 48 Session with Michele be sure to send her e-mail with your due date to get on the calendar. BOOK NOW