(Selected images from The Facing Autism Project, which includes more than 235 portraits to date)
The Facing Autism Project
Facing Autism is a long-term photographic project documenting the growing number of individuals, families and invested teachers, advocates, clinicians, medical professionals and researchers on the front lines fighting back against disability. Facing Autism is both a call to action, and a way to honor those who are rising to the challenge autism presents everyday.
“Autistic spectrum disorders are complex developmental disorders, associated with the well-known symptoms of social and communication difficulties, self-stimulatory and repetitive behaviors, and narrow or overly-focused interests. These symptoms result from underlying challenges in a child’s ability to take in the world through his senses, and to use his body and thoughts to respond to it.”
— Child Psychiatrist, Dr. Stanley Greenspan MD
The Facing Autism portraits compel the viewer’s engagement, and demand a sensitive visual inquiry of the individual faces. In the act of looking, the viewer may experience a sense of being “seen” by the children, in their delight and anguish; “seen” by the fierce and loving families in their grief and hope; “seen” by teachers in their commitment to full inclusion in learning communities; and “seen” by the compassionate therapists and medical professionals who support patients quality of life through emotional and physical wellness. This shift in perception reduces the chance of exploiting “poster children” to gain political currency, exposing those with power to the collective gaze of expectation by the autism community.
“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” – Robert F. Kennedy