Stories of Autism 2015: Landon {Gigi’s Joy Photography: Wisconsin Special Needs Photographer}

Meet Landon.

Gigi's Joy Photography: Special Needs Photographer Racine

He’s the last of the Stories of Autism children to be featured in honor of Autism Awareness Month. (His brother, Brendon was featured earlier.)

From his mother, Amanda:

My pregnancy with Landon was perfect. He was a perfect baby. Friends and family loved everything about him…his round cheeks, his chunky legs, and a few people told me that there is something “special” about him, that he “glowed” and made them happy.

Gigi's Joy Photography: Wisconsin Autism Photographer Union Grove

Landon reached every milestone right on time. At his 18 month well check visit, his doctor was concerned about regression in speech. He stopped saying what few words he had picked up and replaced it with “EEEEEEEE.” His playtime went from making fun toddler messes into perfect, color-coded matchbox car parking lots. His laughing changed to crying and his daycare provider told me that she was having very difficult time handling the changes that took place in my son.

Gigi's Joy Photography: Wisconsin Autism Photographer Union Grove

On January 11, 2011, I had him officially diagnosed with Autism and we started the process of Birth to 3. There I met a man and his wife who would become my first Autism friends. They introduced me to a DAN doctor in the area who treats autism using biomedical methods including diet and supplements. After reading Jenny McCarthy’s book Mother Warriors, I knew in my gut and heart that I had to do whatever I could to get the money to see this doctor. Changing everything we knew about modern medicine, diet and adding countless supplements into his diet was a huge struggle. I did catch some flak from family and friends who thought I was going about all of this wrong way, that I should trust the big “professionals.” Not long after, I adopted the motto “If society thinks it’s the wrong way, then I am on right path.” Using my gut as my guide, Landon has blossomed.

Gigi's Joy Photography: Special Needs Photographer Milwaukee

Landon started full time in home ABA after a 14 month wait for funding. Along with regular visits to our DAN doctor, awesome ABA therapists, and a complete diet overhaul, Landon is now attending Kindergarten with his peers with minimal help from teacher’s aids and staff. He still struggles socially and emotionally, but was recently evaluated for being gifted and talented in art and math. He is also reading at a 1st grade level. He graduated from full time ABA a year ahead of schedule and now only goes part time in-clinic. He loves arts and crafts, loves to run, is a Lego genius, and wants to drive a big truck when we grows up (he asked me if I would sit next to him in the front seat). He truly does glow.

Amanda, mother of Landon
South Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Gigi's Joy Photography: Special Needs Photographer Waterford

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During Landon’s photography session, he had a bit of a meltdown, as children often do. However, children on the Autism Spectrum can be much more susceptible to emotional outbursts – they are more frequent, and often more intense. Because I was there to document Landon, and sensing that his mother was comfortable with it, I kept on photographing.

I shared the following image and words on my Facebook page:

“I’ve been given special permission from the family to post this image – it is one of my new favorites. Mother and child images have always captivated me – usually they include snuggling and a book or two. This one is a bit different. I captured this image during a recent Stories of Autism session. At this age, if your brother uses your Lego guy longer than what you deem necessary, it can feel like your world is crumbling around you. That’s when a mom sometimes steps in. She lifts you up, acknowledges your feelings, and if she can’t fix it – she’ll empathize with you.I usually post the cuddles and laughter and smiles – but this picture shows a mother’s love and compassion in a whole new way.”

Gigi's Joy Photography: Special Needs Photographer Racine

Please click here to see Landon’s official Stories of Autism page

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