Presently, I am working on two different photo pieces for individuals on the autism spectrum.
One, which will likely be more of an ongoing narrative, is for children on the spectrum. This series is a simple portrait series that shows a lighter, more fun side to our amazing kids. Often times, we see more of the hard numbers of kids affected by autism and some of the harsh realities we in the autism community face. While not trying to diminish those realities or the importance those messages are with regards to research, funding, etc, at the end of the day, these are our children. These are our beautiful souls that we fight tirelessly for. I want to capture and show that beauty for the world to see. Show them as they are- children; our children, not just a number or a statistic.
The second one is more of a short term project (at least for now) – teens on the spectrum. Teen years can be a scary time for a NT kid. There are so many things that come into play, depending on the age – transition from elementary school to middle school and all that entails, puberty and the changes your body goes through. Then you will start to transition into High School which means you have to start thinking and planning for life after school – aka, the real world. Again, this can be a quite unnerving prospect for anyone to try to navigate. Throw in, then, an autism spectrum disorder and it can be quite the game changer.
For me, I feel like I am in a race against the clock with my son starting high school next year. Maybe parents of NT kids feel the same… I don’t know. Dominic, my oldest, was diagnosed with PDD-NOS back in 1st grade. So, this is new territory for me. But, as I got to thinking about all of the changes he has gone through in recent years and the transitions, I wondered how other parents experienced these transitions and how they did getting through them.
So, I want to hear from you. If you have a teen on the spectrum, I want to hear from you and maybe include your teen in this story! You can email me at brian @ brianmengini . com