In preparing to write a blog post to introduce my work for the 2014 Stories of Autism gallery, I had lots of ideas of words I wanted to share, but no picture for the post. I didn’t want to single out one child from the project, and so I looked through my image folders for something to symbolize autism. At the very least, I knew I could find something pretty. This image was taken back in November, under a brilliant Florida sky. When I came it across it again on my computer, the quote “trees that bend will not break” came to me immediately. I think that sums up these children and their families perfectly.
I fell down the rabbit hole of the internet in search of the accurate quote and background information for the quote. The link for The Oak and The Reed, one of Aesop’s Fables, will site many different versions of it for you, but the main idea holds true. If you allow yourself to bend, adapt, and change in response to the storm around you – you will survive. That’s what these families do. When confronted with an autism diagnosis, they bend. They let go of their old ways of doing things, and make adaptations for themselves and their children. They innovate, research, and network – and by working together, they figure it out – and then they share with each other. No one claims to have all of the answers, but each of these families have found ways to make their lives better for themselves and for their children, by bending with the wind.
The thing is, these families not only survive… they thrive.
And I can’t wait for you to meet them.
Please check back throughout the month to read their stories.
Here’s some thoughts from the journey: Gratefulness and Stories of Autism
The Stories of Autism 2014 gallery goes live on Sunday, April 14th.