Grief, anger, acceptance, art: my journey as an autism parent has been and continues to be full of winding turns and hills and valleys.

I love my son unconditionally, as the beautiful, hilarious, challenging, and charming person he is. I worry endlessly about his future, though, and there are days when it's hard for us to like each other (though the love never goes away).

To me, the greatest gift of his autism isn't his math wizardry or perfect pitch; it's the unique and poetic way he looks at the world. In my photography, I wanted to create a tribute to that perspective and the reality of our day-to-day life.

More info: flickr.com

#1

The Other You, The One Who Sees Me

The Other You, The One Who Sees Me

In this reflection image, my son is looking right at me. That's something he never does. Somehow, the barrier of the glass wall let him see me. I often sometimes think wistfully about this version of him, the one behind the glass. I love him the way he is, but I'd give anything to embrace the boy behind the barrier.

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Avit Kurniadni
Community Member
4 years ago

Make me cry....

Community Member
4 years ago

I'm so glad it touched you. Thank you. :)

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pusheen buttercup
Community Member
4 years ago

To the mother that took these beautiful pictures. I'm autistic myself, and I love photography... and when I look at these pictures. I see that your son loves you. :)

Trần Hiếu
Community Member
4 years ago

so handsome. it's love

María B. Kaiser
Community Member
4 years ago

Dear Kate, No needs for words when images tell a story like the one in your photos. The love you feel for your son can be seen in every one of the photos you shared. Thank you. <3

Ritsenki
Community Member
4 years ago

The caption of this picture makes me sad. It is something autistic and so many other "special needs" children have to suffer all their life. The knowledge that their parents secretly (or not so secretly) wishes they were someone else and often would be all to happy if they vanished and were replaced by someone who was not "broken" in the way society values it. By claiming that you would "give anything" to embrace the boy behind the barrier", you are at the same time saying that he is not enough.

Community Member
4 years ago

I certainly understand what you're saying, and I worry about that. However, as his mother, I crave the connection with him. I can't change that craving; it's part of my soul. I don't want to replace him; I want to hold him.

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Lewisa Figurative Sculpture
Community Member
4 years ago

Profound..

Љубиша В. Јовановић
Community Member
4 years ago

Fantastic picture, thank you!

Shrikant Rath
Community Member
2 years ago

Wonderful. I am speechless.

Ádám Szilvási
Community Member
4 years ago

Damn ninjas cutting onions...

Sam Tango
Community Member
4 years ago

Ok.. that one got me. My son is autistic and i have the same problem.

Љубиша В. Јовановић
Community Member
4 years ago

Exquisite photo, so meaningful and touching.

Edi IP
Community Member
4 years ago

speechless.. a picture is worth a thousand words meaning

Lisa Herrman
Community Member
4 years ago

When my son was diagnosed I wept. He's 17 and says autistic people are the next step in human evolution.

Sheralyn
Community Member
4 years ago

Whoa.. never thought of a reflection that way. Very thought-provoking.

Pat Satchwill
Community Member
4 years ago

HE IS A VERY HANDSOME YOUNG MAN AND THE LOVE FOR YOU IS IN HIS EYES

Patricia Meloy-Junkroski
Community Member
4 years ago

He is a handsome boy, yes. One who has love in his eyes.

eco okok
Community Member
4 years ago

I'm impresed with all the photographys bu this one is just to powerfull in a inner sense, i don't know if there is a word for what make me feel, (even in my own language) so i can only amazing photos.

Community Member
4 years ago

Thank you!

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Deana Michelle
Community Member
4 years ago

"Autism parent"????? You're a parent with a child with autism. That's it. Not autism parent.

A BK
Community Member
4 years ago

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Still a retard.

DancingToMyself
Community Member
4 years ago

Maybe you are, maybe you aren't. But it's bad to talk about yourself like that, it isn't healthy.

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#2

He Hears The Grasses Whisper

He Hears The Grasses Whisper

One of the core characteristics of autism is differences in sensory processing. The world can be overwhelming with so many sounds and sights and smells. But this can be a gift too; my son experiences the world in a way I never will.

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Celental Midnight
Community Member
4 years ago

You are a amazing mom!!!!

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#3

Winter Dream

Winter Dream

I often feel like there is something separating my son and me. We can see and hear each other through this barrier, but we can't quite touch. Here, I photographed him through a sheet of ice to symbolize that experience.

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Celental Midnight
Community Member
4 years ago

That's beautiful!!

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#4

Focus

Focus

One of my son's great gifts is his ability to focus completely on something. A puzzle, a musical instrument, the way the light makes colors in the clouds... He can put all of himself into what he loves, and I try to do the same in my interactions with him.

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Celental Midnight
Community Member
4 years ago

Beautifull!!!! I am glad that you use pictures to show that autism isn't a scary weird thing but in fact a gift!!!! I should know because I am autistic.

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#5

Head Under His Wing

Head Under His Wing

Photographing someone with autism isn't always easy, but that's because a good portrait is about emotional connection. To connect with someone on the spectrum, it helps to enter his world. Here, he's pretending to be an owl, and owls are his current area of special interest.

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Љубиша В. Јовановић
Community Member
4 years ago

Beautiful!

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#6

In There

In There

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Љубиша В. Јовановић
Community Member
4 years ago

Very, very good!

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#7

Spectrum

Spectrum

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Erza
Community Member
4 years ago

Beautiful collection of photographs. I love the title for this one.

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#8

Sleepy Morning

Sleepy Morning

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georgia
Community Member
4 years ago

Its such a lovely, peaceful image.

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#9

School Day Sunrise

School Day Sunrise

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Љубиша В. Јовановић
Community Member
4 years ago

Excellent!

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#10

Winter Is Here

Winter Is Here

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Harvey Tydeman
Community Member
4 years ago

well... Farther always promised

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#11

Something Between Us

Something Between Us

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Pamela Klein
Community Member
4 years ago

Transcendent, beautiful look into another's world

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#12

Loving The Shadow You

Loving The Shadow You

Some days are very, very hard. On off days, I start the morning with my son yelling that he hates me. The truth is, sometimes I drop him off at school and try not to squeal my tires as I drive away. I feel like a failure as a mother on those days, but I also know that those are the days that prove my love for him.

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Celental Midnight
Community Member
4 years ago

It's hard for us autistic kids/teens. It feels like we hear only bits of what the world is telling us. There is a cloud that confuses us. The few bits that we understand in this world feels like out safety line. Have you ever thought of doing ABA services?? And you are not a failure as a mother. In fact you are one of the greatest moms with a autistic child.

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#13

Distortion

Distortion

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Amy Radie
Community Member
4 years ago

Your special boy has a special mother.

#14

Rough Morning

Rough Morning

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Susann Campbell
Community Member
4 years ago

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He is hurting when he does this. Check his clothes to see if something is pressing and causing pain. A label, or zipper stab, or sock seam etc.

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#15

Sidelong Pickerel Smile

Sidelong Pickerel Smile

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Susann Campbell
Community Member
4 years ago

"Hi Mom, I love you."

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#16

After School

After School

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Susann Campbell
Community Member
4 years ago

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Peace and Quiet makes him happy.

#17

You And Me, Bugaboo

You And Me, Bugaboo

My son and I have a solid but very dramatic relationship. I make him really angry with my efforts to get him to school on time or have him eat something different for dinner. But I'm there for him, even when we're mad at each other. I think, I hope, he knows that.

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Susann Campbell
Community Member
4 years ago

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He knows but needs to be told everyday more than once. Don't hug him, let him hug you.

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#18

Tree Curl

Tree Curl

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Celental Midnight
Community Member
4 years ago

So beautiful!!!

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#19

When Everything Goes Quiet....

When Everything Goes Quiet....

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Susann Campbell
Community Member
4 years ago

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He is happy that nothing is touching him.

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