I first came across the Stories of Autism website a few years ago and was struck immediately by the beautiful faces and the candid, heartfelt words from the parents. I knew that this organization was one worthy to donate my time to. Stories of Autism wasn’t looking for a cure or even researching a cause – very simply, they were posting pictures and stories.
But these pictures and stories were anything but simple. Autism is not a simple diagnosis. It is incredibly complex and faceted. Five individuals on the Autism Spectrum could line up and have completely different behaviors, cognitive levels, and physical health – yet their diagnosis would be the same. By sharing backgrounds and experiences, we are able to connect and understand one another a bit better. Some of the essays go through all of the nitty-gritty details of doctors and treatments, others are more abstract and philosophical.
“When we tell and listen to stories, we can almost feel our souls breathing fully and deeply. Our capacity to see options, to visualize possibilities, to imagine expands and we are somehow more alive.”
These are important stories, and I am proud to help represent them.
This is my third year participating in the project. (In 2013, I started with Isaiah, and and introduction to the 2014 group can be found here.) The subjects for the 2015 gallery will be featured on the blog throughout the month, but here is a sampling of how things went:
We worked together.
We were silly.
There was great concentration.
And there were snuggles.
We looked for answers.
And occasionally, there were tears.
I am so proud of each of these individuals and their families. I am grateful that they have chosen to participate in this project. There is pride in their stories, some healing, and always – hope.
Please visit the official website, Stories of Autism, to see lots of beautiful individuals sharing their gifts with us. Check back on the blog and Facebook page throughout the month where I will reprint the essays, and show many more images documenting them.