Living life on the Spectrum is just a part of our world, our beautiful daughter has always been unique, quirky, fun, smart, so much more than I could ever describe in a short sentence. With all of the good in her big heart, there were times that were not so great, meltdowns that we couldn’t explain, refusals to try new foods, and the girl never ever slept. These things were passable as being “that age” and we let it go for a long time…. until these meltdowns landed her in the safe seat, the counselors office, and even a time or two the principles office. She wasn’t being a “brat” she was being how she knew to be and was not understanding how to communicate effectively with those around her, so at the end of 1st grade we began some evaluations- evaluations that came to mind because we were concerned with how she always walks on her tip toes – causes are Cerebral Palsy, idiopathic, and Autism. We knew she didn’t have Cerebral Palsy and figured it was idiopathic but wanted to make sure her tendons and muscles weren’t being effected as she was hitting a growth spurt. What we found was a whole brand new set of questions as we actually looked into the possibilities of Autism. Suddenly, everything made sense. I said even if they said no – I had heard how hard it can be to find out and how it can take ages – I knew in my heart this is what it was. Within a month of her meetings and appointments and tests we got that verification, our daughter is on the Autism Spectrum.
Did I cry when we got the news, I did. Because of the unknown. Because people thought I was crazy. Because they thought she was just naughty, picky, bratty, and so on, but one thing they didn’t think about was how much KNOWING helped us. We began to utilize tools to help her with social skills, we learned things to help her calm, how to let others know when she needs a moment, and that just because she has a hard time sitting still – doesn’t mean she’s not listening, and taking every.single.thing in, because trust me she is, and she remembers everything good or bad, including when Mom says they can have donuts for breakfast. We still have bad days, but we can see the rainbow at the end of the Spectrum.
The last two years have been an adjustment – it’s hard as a parent when you want to do a million things and you have to stop and realize you can’t. It’s been a wake up call in slowing down in life period. It’s been good. Because life is good, and you keep living it and celebrating every milestone and accomplishment.
I had never realized how much my daughter had influenced my photography, because it wasn’t about sitting her down and telling her to smile and say cheese because that was NEVER going to happen. We played games, chased fireflies, used our imaginations and created scenes to act out – I had to WORK to get those shots, and it helped mold me into the artist I am today and I am so proud to be a Spectrum Inspired Photographer. It’s an honor to spend time with these beautiful souls and capture their spirit in their moments, not ours.