I joined Spectrum Inspired because I wanted to help families who have children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I knew that much, because I had heard from moms struggling with day to day activities and just living life, how hard it can be. Having photos taken is probably the last thing on their minds, but I knew that it was something they would love to be able to have.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I went to my first session a few weeks ago. The ladies of Spectrum Inspired do a fantastic job of preparing the photographers. I read through all the resources they provided, but I knew that there was know way of knowing exactly what this family would be dealing with that day.
Blake is four years old, big for his age and has moderate autism. “My son is very sweet, bubbly and can be outgoing,” his mom Amanda wrote in her session questionnaire. “He loves to be read to, and play hide and seek.”
But she also explained that he has sensory issues, many rigities and has frequent “meltdowns”.
He immediately started talking to me and showing me some colourings he made. But his mom told me that little things can set him off and cause tantrums, and that day it was being hungry or not getting his way. I knew that me being there was probably going to distrupt his routine, so it didn’t bother me and I was patient as we tried to talk him into going outside to blow bubbles.
Once we got him outside, I could see his mood change. I treated him like I would any other kid and got him to start exploring the nearby woods with me, looking for creatures. He has a vivid imagination and started talking about bad guys and competing with me to find things. Then when we got the bubbles out, he had even more fun.
I love capturing childhood, in all its forms. Blake may be dealing with things many kids don’t have to, but he’s still a kid. I loved spending time with him, seeing him come out of his shell and having fun.
I’m doing what I know how to do to help.
I can’t imagine how hard it is to have a child on the spectrum. But by doing these sessions, I can give these families a chance to make happy memories together. Maybe on a day when things aren’t going great, there are tantrums and fights, lots of frustrations. But for a few minutes, I help them forget about all that.