These are some of my favorite photographs I’ve ever taken. How predictable they are of my son. I took these just days after getting my new digital camera, and I was experimenting with all the different settings on the thing. These were taken with the rapid action settings, the multi-burst setting I think it is called.
The reason I like these photographs of my son so much is not because they are particularly good, or because they were taken with my new shiny camera, it has more to do with the fact they so perfectly display what it has been like to be with, be around, raise my autistic child.
My experience with autism is limited to raising my son, who was diagnosed as having asperger’s syndrome about the age of five. I also did some para work for DPS where I met and helped with some other autistic children that had different functional levels. I am not an expert. I’m barely informed on the ever changing trends, but I try to keep up.
My son is very bright, that often comes with asperger’s but he is different, and over the years, people have asked me questions, like ‘What is it like raising a disabled child?’ or ‘How does that work for you guys?’ Since he is mostly functional and I’ve never really had to deal with a truly disabled child except when I worked at various medical jobs and when I was working at DPS, I’m always at a loss how to answer. I have a friend that is a twin and when people ask her what it is like having a twin she always answers ‘I’ve never been anything else, how am I supposed to answer that?’ I’ve never had any other children, I have no basis for comparison.
If I were to have an answer, it would look a lot like these photographs. He lives in his own world, a world that we all seem to be stumbling around in and bothering him on occasion. He had his own language as a child, and it was a huge struggle to get him to speak english. So in these photos, to see him telling me about his day, laughing and expressing everything that happened to him, and he remains slightly out of focus of the reality he has been forced into, that is what is like to live with, to raise my autistic son. Some days it is dramatically hard to understand and see him, and other days, like in the sixth and seventh shots he almost falls completely into place and I can totally understand him and you can see he gets the world – even if he is a little blurred on the edges.
Maybe I’m unfair, maybe we are in The Boy‘s world and we’re the ones out of focus.