Loving father and photographer Thimothy Archibald started capturing his autistic child's unique habits on camera as a way of dealing with his son's diagnosis. But, what was supposed to be a simple documentation, turned out to be much more. Not only did he learn more about his son's unique world, but the father-son photo project brought them closer together. Thimothy, as a pro photographer, had to learn to stop trying to control situations by letting his son take the lead.

The then 5-year-old autistic boy named Elijah was obsessed with mechanical objects, had a need for repetition and was socially withdrawn. Each shot that his father took reflects both Elija's unique habits and his interaction with the world around him. "I never wanted [Eli] to think that he was normal. I wanted him to be aware of how different he was and see that as an asset," Archibald said.

The whole photo series has been turned into a book titled 'Echolilia'. You can purchase it through Archibald's website.

More info: timothyarchibald.com | echolilia.com (h/t: mymodernmet)

#1

Autistic Son Photography

Timothy Archibald Report

Dorrine Fisher
Community Member
4 years ago

Beautiful

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#2

Autistic Son Photography

Timothy Archibald Report

Melody Lanzatella
Community Member
4 years ago

Compression of their body calms many autistic people.

Lycie Wray
Community Member
4 years ago

It works wonders! Also helps people with anxiety and panic attacks! My husband holds me really tight when I'm having one and it helps like you would not believe. I learnt this technique from a little man I worked with who had aspergers. He taught me so much and how to control my own emotions. ❤️

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Josiah Krauss
Community Member
4 years ago

If I fits, I sits. That's really adorable.

Marcus Eiland
Community Member
4 years ago

Yeah, I've always loved small enclosed spaces, I can block everything out and relax. A few months after receiving my second diagnosis I also found out that I have an aversion to yellow light and that's why I can't stay outside for long before getting headaches from over stimulation. I like to withdraw to small dark spots so much so, I've designed a fully enclosed computer cabinet that hopefully I can build one day.

Dorrine Fisher
Community Member
4 years ago

The womb?

Nashira Waldron
Community Member
4 years ago

There was an autistic kid that came to our pool when I was a lifeguard. He would go underwater smiling and stay under for so long that I had to watch him to make sure that he was OK. I heard that it had something to do with the pressure on her ears, but now I'm wondering if it had anything to do with stimuli, you can't hear much when you're underwater .

Michelle Orton
Community Member
4 years ago

My daughter did this... Very calming. We built a special room just for her and her different ways of dealing with the world. It was heaven sent. Beautiful photos that tell a powerful story.

Twila Craddock
Community Member
4 years ago

Not autistic but when I get very stressed it calms me to curl up in a snug space

Eienn Jae
Community Member
4 years ago

I'm also not autistic but I still find myself curling under my dresser in the dark when I can't handle my emotions.

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Jane Dale-beaumont
Community Member
4 years ago

Temple Grandin an autistic lady invented an enclosed walkway which calmed the cattle, as they walked to wherever, she went to college and built herself a wooden crate that she would get in when feeling stressed.

Kirsten Preston
Community Member
4 years ago

This shot is so beautifully poignant, capturing the person seeking solace and peace from the outside world.

Martin Neubauer
Community Member
4 years ago

I used to do that, i'd lay down a blanket in my toybox and sleep in it.

Sadiyah Bibi
Community Member
4 years ago

comfort of the womb? where there was just the child no unusual sights or sounds and the sound of the mothers heartbeat. some autistic children imitate the rythm of a heartbeat while tapping

Starrene Stuart
Community Member
4 years ago

That's soo true,,,

Ariel Condor
Community Member
4 years ago

but why naked?

AnZnyah Rr
Community Member
4 years ago

Beautifully captured

Catharine Deboni
Community Member
4 years ago

I am in tears, kinda just had to go for a walk and compose myself. My 8 year old son has autism and looks so much like Elijah. His name is Alessio. I have observed and seen him do almost all of these scenarios. The way he sleeps, the way he seeks deep pressure from objects or holds onto toys for long periods of time, the way he will deeply inhale when smelling something new, the way he will pour water into empty coke bottles and press his little nose against it and study toys inside as they magnify. Thank you for this beautiful post Timothy! xxx

Angel Scott
Community Member
4 years ago

That's my son, sometimes even in the dog cage

BethAnn Burazin
Community Member
4 years ago

It reminds me of being pRe born. Inutero

Claire Copland
Community Member
4 years ago

My son loved being squeezed

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#3

Autistic Son Photography

Timothy Archibald Report

Claire Copland
Community Member
4 years ago

Nothing tragic about this young man.

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#4

Autistic Son Photography

Timothy Archibald Report

Diana CrunChewy Watson
Community Member
4 years ago

I used to do this as a kid, too. I'm not on the Autism spectrum.

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#5

Autistic Son Photography

Timothy Archibald Report

Janice Foster
Community Member
4 years ago

Wow, these are so powerful!

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#6

Autistic Son Photography

Timothy Archibald Report

Jolyn Zimmer
Community Member
4 years ago

A unique view of the world. Bet he sees something different in each and every square

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#7

Autistic Son Photography

Timothy Archibald Report

Suzie Duffin
Community Member
4 years ago

That's one beautiful shot the calmness and natural comfort with nature-

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#8

Autistic Son Photography

Timothy Archibald Report

Dorrine Fisher
Community Member
4 years ago

Ahhh cool grass!

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#9

Autistic Son Photography

Timothy Archibald Report

Rita Mandado
Community Member
4 years ago

My son who turns 32 at the end of the month sleeps like this ...I always want to put my arms around him and tell him it will be ok

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#10

Autistic Son Photography

Timothy Archibald Report

Susan Calvo
Community Member
4 years ago

yet another view of the world....

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#11

Autistic Son Photography

Timothy Archibald Report

Joanne Palmer
Community Member
4 years ago

Very raw emotional photos, You captured the isolation but yet your son's connection with nature shines through at the same time <3

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#12

Autistic Son Photography

Timothy Archibald Report

Shandela Kirk Brooks
Community Member
4 years ago

My so is naked mostly too. His clothing "hurts" him.

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#13

Autistic Son Photography

Timothy Archibald Report

Ingo de Haan
Community Member
4 years ago

My girl who is also autistic, paints my nails and does make up and my hair. Love it,, but I sometimes forget I have it on me so I go grocery shopping with 20 pins/clips in my hair. I'm a 40 year old man, and my wife doesn't warn me before I leave the house.

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#14

Autistic Son Photography

Timothy Archibald Report

Kipper Mcgee
Community Member
4 years ago

I did this because I could feel sounds

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#15

Autistic Son Photography

Timothy Archibald Report

#16

Autistic Son Photography

Timothy Archibald Report

Kirsten Preston
Community Member
4 years ago

Incredibly strong image

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#17

Autistic Son Photography

Timothy Archibald Report

Puddin Tane
Community Member
4 years ago

Cute.

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#18

Autistic Son Photography

Timothy Archibald Report

Mellissa Clancy
Community Member
4 years ago

I've done that so many times as a kid!

#19

Autistic Son Photography

Timothy Archibald Report

Melody Lanzatella
Community Member
4 years ago

My 15 yr old son is autistic. Every autistic person finds their own way to interact with and cope with the world. I wish I could be my son for even one day, so I could better understand how he perceives the world. I know it is a constant struggle for him, but I dont know why. He can speak, but cannot put into words how he feels. I STILL search for the way that I might be able to help to ease his burden, but each time I have tried, I only make things worse or frustrate him. Thank you for sharing these very personal moments with us.

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#20

Autistic Son Photography

Timothy Archibald Report

Cara Jimenez (Thron)
Community Member
4 years ago

This may not be, but I feel like he is uncomfortable with the overcast. I'm very sensory, and overcast is unbearable.

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#21

Autistic Son Photography

Timothy Archibald Report

Tara Allhands
Community Member
4 years ago

My nephew has played with tools since he was 2. He's now 6, and was recently diagnosed as high functioning autistic. Tools are his love language. :)

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#22

Autistic Son Photography

Timothy Archibald Report

Ian Osmond
Community Member
4 years ago

To me, one of the interesting things is that I've done all of those at least a couple times when I was a kid. I presume that Elijah does it a lot more, but it makes the point that autism can be part of the normal human variation -- sure, pretty far off on one end of the bell curve, definitely different than most of us, but still within the normal range of human experience.