In my family, autism is part of our everyday landscape. Amazing, brilliant and challenging, full of obsessions, unconventional perspectives and social confusion. In a family of five, four of us are on the Autism spectrum, and I am the odd one out. Aspergers, autism, expressive and receptive language disorders, integration aide, ADHD, PDD-NOS, anxiety… we’ve got it covered. But, as they say, if you’ve met one person with autism, then you’ve met one person with autism. I find each person fascinating, and each family unique. Our own family portraits (one is above) were recently taken by Angie Baxter, a truly lovely Melbourne photographer.
My heart feels most rewarded by the surge of love and meaning that I get from offering family photography to other families with autism, additional needs and special challenges. It feels gloriously important and beautiful to me, to be that person for a family, to be there to see them, to see their connection, their bond and their love. To be comfortable and relaxed enough that I react easily and lightly to any difficulties that arise during a photo session, to any uncertainty that comes in to play. I can give you that, the calm, the fun, the seeing of who you are. And, more importantly, the capturing of that.
This is something I can give, that I love to provide, which has value far beyond the cost of a session fee, or anything else. I can give a family a treasure, which is not only an acceptance, but rather a celebration of how wonderful they are. Real, flawed perhaps – as we all are – but true and together and beautiful in that. It's important, it's who your family is. It's your story. It's your wonderland.
Find out more about family photo sessions
Why family photography and autism?
Some of my most popular blog posts talk about everyday life, motherhood, family and autism. The following posts were inspired by my journey through portrait photography, and talk about why I love providing portrait photography to families living on the autism landscape.
The dream of the Beautiful, Aspergers portrait project is all about empowering girls to identify with their autism diagnosis in a positive way. Recognising those familiar traits but also celebrating each person's unique gifts and personality.
Primarily, Beautiful, Aspergers is an awareness project, drawing positive attention to the female profile of Autism. Autism is widely considered to be under-diagnosed and misunderstood in girls, with the majority of Autism diagnoses being boys.
This project is part of a general movement to redefine disability with positive language, and to recognise the beautiful unique gifts that Autism brings to this world. While understanding the struggles and challenges of life with Aspergers, our intention is to focus on the positives in a way that encourages and celebrates these girls and women.
Above all, Beautiful, Aspergers tells the story of these girls and women, each one a beautiful soul, both because of their Autism and aside from it.
To arrange a Beautiful, Aspergers photo shoot - a complimentary photo session, with a gift print included, with your permission to become part of the public project and website - simply contact me to book a time.
Autism organisations and resources:
- Sue Larkey
- Tony Attwood
- Unique U Psychology (My daughter’s psychologist, Danuta Bulhak-Paterson, specialising in girls and women on the Spectrum)
- Raising Children website
- Association for Parents of Children with a Disability
- Carol Gray Social Stories
- Temple Grandin’s TED Talk: The World Needs All Kinds of Minds
- Rosie’s BBC feature: My Autism and me
- Rosie’s TED Talk: How Autism Freed Me to Be Myself
Books I recommend
- I Am An Aspie Girl: A Book for Young Girls with Autism Spectrum Conditions by Danuta Bulhak Paterson
- Asperkids: An Insider's Guide to Loving, Understanding, and Teaching Children with Asperger's Syndrome by Jennifer O'Toole
- The Red Beast: Controlling Anger in Children with Asperger's Syndrome by K.I. Al-Ghani
- The Complete Guide to Aspergers Syndrome by Tony Attwood
- No More Meltdowns: Positive Strategies for Managing and Preventing Out-Of-Control Behavior by Jed Baker
Contact me about booking your family portrait session