I am a Spectrum Inspired Photographer
In 2007 I was working as a reporter at a small weekly newspaper in northern Saskatchewan. It was a learning experience for me, as my first real position in the field I studied in university. I wrote a lot of stories and took a lot of photos. Many have been forgotten but there are some that are still with me.
That fall I covered a conference called “The Faces of Autism”, for parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. In Saskatchewan at the time, support for families touched by autism was behind many other provinces. This conference was a way to seek the support these families needed, and to raise awareness for a disorder that is so often misunderstood.
It started out as a regular assignment for me. I sat in the front row in the high school theater with my notepad, tape recorder and camera on my lap, feeling detached. I wasn’t a parent and I didn’t even know anyone with autism.
In fact, I hardly knew anything about autism at all.
The conference, and more importantly the parents, opened my eyes. I learned so much about Austism Spectrum Disorders that week. I still remember hearing a story about a young man who had been segregated from society because of his autism. He wasn’t comfortable in social situations and therefore didn’t have a job. His life was changed when he started to work as a dishwasher for a restaurant. He was so happy there. He was doing something he was comfortable with and doing a good job. With the right support people with autism can be a part of society.
I remember sitting there, listening to the stories and thinking that I could be one of those parents one day, struggling to be heard and feeling alone. No one knows if their child will be on the spectrum. I knew right then and there that I wanted to support these families.
I wrote the best story I could about their conference and hoped it was enough.
After all this time that conference has stayed with me. So when I discovered Spectrum Inspired recently, I was drawn to it.
SI is “a global community that connects, supports and uplifts individuals and families touched by Autism Spectrum Disorders. In order to educate the general public, our team uses Lifestyle Photography to document a diverse group of children on the spectrum and their families across the globe in effort to normalize and destigmatize ASD. It is our mission to give families a platform to voice their struggles, celebrate their victories and share their story; all the while, removing the stigma and stereotypes of what is thought to be representative of Autism and show the world just how broad and beautiful the spectrum is.”
I have joined this amazing organization so I’m going to be offering my skills, voice and heart here in the Oromocto and Fredericton area. I believe this is my chance to do more for this community, for families who may never have the chance to document their lives and whose stories deserve to be seen and heard.
These sessions are meant to capture your family and your child as they are. I am a lifestyle/documentary photographer so I want to photograph real, raw, unposed moments at your home or a location that means something to you. I want to create beautiful images that show your child’s personality and how special they are. I promise to put my heart into these sessions because I know how important these images are.
I am doing this because I want to give back and because I believe in this cause. It’s so important to raise awareness and show the world that these children matter and are loved.
If you are a family that has been touched by autism, you can apply to be considered for a free SI session.
The application will help SI get to know your family and your child. Once you are accepted, you will be connected with a local photographer to set up the session. We are all over the world, so you have a great chance of finding someone near you. The following links will give you all the information you need.
For more information, or if you’d just like to chat, get in touch with me. I would love to hear from you.