Archive for the ‘charity’ Category

Recently, I had the opportunity to take part in an amazing project, the Stories of Autism.  This project pairs a photographer with a family with an autistic member, and provides a way to heighten autism awareness through the exhibition of the portraits and stories of children and adults on the autism spectrum.

The family I met with has a beautiful eleven year old daughter, Sydney, who is on the autism spectrum.  She is a happy, energetic, lovable girl who I really enjoyed getting to spend time with.  We chose to do her pictures at the beach by their house, as this is one of Sydney’s happy places, a place she feels at peace and at home.

I want to share a portion of what Sydney’s mom wrote about this amazing little girl:

“She has taught us to slow down and enjoy the moment. It is fine to plan and look to the future, but not at the expense of today.  Look for the joy and find the positive in every situation. Always tell each other “I love you”. And hugs always feel good….even if it is multiple times per minute! And that we can get through anything when we work together.

Sydney is our ‘silly heart.’ She has a smile and a laugh that are truly infectious. She loves with all of her heart and harbors no ill-will. She does not know what it means to be manipulative or cruel or even how to tell a lie. While she is often self-serving, she is not selfish. She is never shy to ask for a hug and is free with her “I love you’s.”  She is never bored and does not crave material goods, preferring to share. She craves the love of her family and finds such joy and humor in the oddest places. I can only imagine how different our world would be if everyone acted this way.  What a wonderful world it would be….”

stories of autism portraitbeautiful autistic girl

For the third year in a row, I have had the pleasure of photographing the awesome kids at a local school, the Experimental Education Unit in Seattle. The goal of this school  is to promote the development of children’s cognitive, motor, communication, and social interaction skills by means of educational and therapeutic interventions most appropriate for each child. The programs always include typically developing children and children with various developmental delays or disabilities. All classrooms are managed by interdisciplinary teams including the head teacher, assistant teacher, speech and language pathologist, occupational or physical therapist, social worker, nurse, and other appropriate staff.

The community at the EEU is so supporting, so caring, and so much like a family.  I enjoy coming to the school every year and feeling like I am a part of it while I am there.

Here are just a few of the over 200 kids that I got the chance to photograph :)

 

child headshots

Back in April, I had the opportunity to meet the kids at the Experimental Education Unit (EEU) at the University of Washington.  The EEU is a early childhood center that provides classes the have a great mix of children with and without disabilities.  The focus is on inclusion, not only for the benefit of the child with a disability, but also for the child without a disability.  The social integration of children with and without disabilities greatly benefits all children, and will impact these children throughout their life.  The EEU also collects data to continue to learn the best ways to enhance the experience of all the children.

I have always been interested in the needs of those with disabilities, and how unfortunate it is that our society does not seem to understand that best way to include these amazing individuals in our society.  We often feel the need to place them in special classes, facilities, etc., and while it may be beneficial to have specific areas in which extra help is needed, inclusion is very important for the development of the individual, as well as an accepting and loving society.

Here are a few photos from the two days I spent at the EEU getting to know the children and the staff.  This school has already embedded itself in my heart and I hope to continue to help in any way I can.

Seattle Children's Photographer at the UW EEU

Seattle Children's Photographer at the EEU