Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological and developmental disorder that begins early in childhood and lasts throughout a person's life. It refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication—affecting how a person acts, interacts with others, communicates, and learns. According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism affects an estimated 1 in 59 children in the United States today.
The series The Spectrum portrays children who have been diagnosed on the autistic spectrum—a range that is far and wide. Some children with this diagnosis blend in so well that people do not notice their differences until compared with others their age, while another child’s differences may be more noticeable.
To call attention to the vast differences among members of this community, each portrait has been layered with butterflies indigenous to the Los Angeles area during April, Autism Awareness Month.The spectrum of colors used in each portrait elicit emotional responses suggestive of the personalities of each child.
As a mother of two sons diagnosed on the Spectrum, it is my hope that these portraits celebrate the individuality of each child regardless of their diagnosis, evoking compassion and not solely a label.
This series is yet still in its early stages. My goal is to photograph the young autistic community in Los Angeles and collect audio from both the children and parents. Any grant funding received would go directly to the families participating.
One sentence: Los Angeles-based portrait series of children diagnosed on "the spectrum".