Autism and the Power of Pictures

Photographs have the power to inform and sometimes change how we think about something. An example of the transformative potential of photographs is the Farm Security Administration Photography Project which was carried out during the Great Depression. In that project, the FSA commissioned photographers to visually document the daily lives of tenant farmers and sharecroppers to give Americans a front row seat on the devastating affects of a longstanding drought. Many believe the project sufficiently influenced the views of enough Americans to allow passage of the New Deal economic reforms.

A nonprofit in Massachusetts called the Broad Spectrum Project is harnessing the power of photographs to promote a broader and truer understanding of the day-to-day facets of living with Autism. The photographer behind the Project is Kristin Chalmers, who produces posed and un-posed photographs of children with Autism and their families. The organization’s mission statement is:

To provide authentic images of autistic people, so the world can see the many diverse faces of autism, begin to understand its effects, and support the cause.

To ensure the authenticity of their images, Kristin often takes photographs of children and families while in the middle of their daily activities, doing what they normally do or in celebratory events, such as a regional benefit walk for Autism Speaks. Chalmers was recently named the official photographer for Autism Speaks New England.

Kristin has a son with PDD/NOS and is sensitive to the sensory and situational challenges of children on the Spectrum when she organizes and schedules photo shoots. Photo subjects aren’t generally asked to pose in formal portrait-taking sessions because those sessions involve many elements which are upsetting to children on the Spectrum – dressing in uncomfortable, possibly sense-violating clothes, going to a strange place in an unfamiliar situation and sitting and smiling on cue in a studio with bright, hot lights.

For times when formal photo sessions are scheduled, Kristin is willing to change the schedule if the appointed day turns out to be one when the child has a hard time getting regulated. She works, not just to create insightful, poignant pictures, but also to make sure the photography process is a good and beneficial experience for the children she’s working with.
When you scroll through the Spectrum Project collection of pictures, you may first simply see that the photos are beautiful and well composed. Then, as you continue to look, you find yourself walking alongside the children and the adults who love and support them. You’re caught up in the spirit and rhythm of their lives.
This is a very good thing indeed. It’s a good thing for Spectrum families. Better yet, it’s a good thing for neurotypical individuals who struggle to understand Autism as more than a “light it blue” campaign during Autism Awareness month and news stories about children in crisis.
The website for the Broad Spectrum Project is: http://broadspectrumproject.org

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Is Your Teen Tad Shy?

Sandra Pearson for ProviderSearch.com

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Melva Radtke who, along with her husband and son, created 9th Planet. This unique video modeling program helps Tweens, Teens and Young Adults with Aspergers and high functioning Autism navigate the social world around them.

Following a science fiction storyline that will appeal to this age group, the videos feature Tad Shy an alien from the 9th Planet. Tad wants to interact with the “typicals” on this planet and Bob, a robot on his spaceship, acts as his coach, guiding him through social situations. The videos come with a workbook and are entertaining and humorous to encourage the repeat viewing that reinforces the social skills they teach.

9th Planet currently offers two skill sets. The first one deals with basic situations such as physical space, asking questions and eye contact. The second one tackles more complicated situations such as empathetic listening, recognizing sarcasm and phone skills. A new series offering job search skills is currently in production. This series will focus on the executive function skills needed for a job search and in the workplace.

And the best part, is that several members of the cast and crew have Autism Spectrum diagnoses.

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

As with many innovative special needs programs and services, this one was created by a mom. Melva is an attorney and educator with a son on the Autism Spectrum. Tristan, AKA Tad Shy is now in his 20s but he wasn’t diagnosed until he was in Junior High. When he was younger, they knew something was “off” but no one could quite figure out what. He was diagnosed as ADHD and put on Ritalin but it was clearly not the answer.

Then an article appeared in Time Magazine about Autism and Aspergers Syndrome. The Radtkes felt like they were reading about their own son.

So while they had a name, Aspergers, and even an IEP, Tristan was aging out of programs designed for younger kids. Nothing in Tristan’s school programs fit him. They had nobody to help. So, out of frustration with their own situation, 9th Planet was born.

Success for Their Own Son

Melva and her husband had seen other videos and thought, hey, we can do that! So they did. Now Tristan has a diploma in film editing from a technical college and does the video editing for the Tad Shy series.

Melva says that being able to create something useful for their son and others is very rewarding. She says it’s been an amazing experience to watch the social impact the videos have had on a worldwide scale. And not only are other parents sharing success stories but the videos are also being used in school classrooms.

Tad and Bob give teachers, therapists and parents a point of reference when they talk about a skill that is less personal and less defensive. And ultimately more helpful.

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SEO Strategies

SEO is a long term marketing strategy. It’s one of the most important strategies that most e-commerce businesses are using to get more customers. However, many of the negative impacts that it causes are not being recognized.

Marketers and SROs have realized that SEO is causing them to lose more customers than it is bringing in. A lot of them are finding that the negative impact on the long term profitability is outweighing the short term gains. In other words, businesses will only do a back end SEO strategy once they have a critical mass of online traffic.

What is a back end SEO strategy?

A back end SEO strategy is focused on getting organic traffic and linking back to your site. It’s also known as keyword/domain research, back link building, link buying, or buying backlinks. The key is to get more traffic to your site and to increase your keyword-ranking, and improving the SEO of your page, and there are services that help with this, find out more here.

Let’s take a look at the key points in a back end SEO strategy.

How to run a back end SEO strategy

Below are 3 key questions that you need to ask yourself when running a back end SEO strategy. All of the questions you need to answer are the same questions you need to ask yourself when looking at any SEO strategy.

What is the specific benefit that you want to deliver?

The first question you need to ask yourself is “What benefit do I want to deliver?” What do you want to do to improve your long term profits? What are the benefits that you want to deliver? How can you guarantee that you deliver the benefits that you are seeking?

The better you answer these questions, the more likely you are to deliver the benefits you are seeking. The benefit you are seeking must also be clear and measurable. Do you really want to improve sales? Do you want to boost conversions? Do you want to drive more sales leads?

The benefits that you are seeking are a specific target that you need to deliver to your audience. You will need to be clear and measurable.

For example, if you are running a link building strategy and you are working to link your site to all the high value blogs, these blogs will become a requirement for your audience. This is a great benefit for your site. You want to link to high value blogs and start building links to all these high value blogs.

You will also need to ask yourself the following question: what is the best way to do this? Do you have a page on your site that you can point users to? Or do you use a software like MozPro that lets you link out directly to a site?

Then you need to do a keyword research exercise to find the keywords that have a high chance of attracting the most traffic and then follow those keywords.

Another important part of a back end SEO strategy is that you need to know which site directories have the best traffic. If you are not sure about this, do a keyword research exercise. Does your site get more traffic than the following sites?

8,000 domains

Linkbait.com

Contentful

Compete.com

Moz

TripAdvisor

RankTank

You will then need to add all these sites into your SEO strategy. Remember to include these sites in your plan so that you don’t waste money building back links to an inferior ranking.

Seven Cartoon Characters Who Might Be on the Autism Spectrum

By Jen Lovy

Re-posted from

http://www.specialev.com/author/jen-lovy/

“Mom, I think that person has autism,” says my 10-year-old son Noah. And because his brother Evan is on the spectrum, he has developed an intuitive ability to detect even the most subtle signs of autism.

Sometimes Noah notices an inability to decipher social cues. Sometimes it’s an unusual speech pattern or a repetitive behavior. Once it was something as simple as a mother holding the hand of her young teenage boy.

Noah’s A-dar* got me thinking about which cartoon characters might have an autism diagnosis if such a thing existed in the world of animation. But then, like every responsible attorney, realized I probably should include some sort of disclaimer.

Caution: This post is intended for people who have an appreciation for sarcasm and humor. Yes, I know that autism is a pervasive developmental disorder characterized by deficits in social interaction and communication, a limited range of activities and interests and often the presence of repetitive behaviors. And I know that if a person exhibits one or even some of these traits, it does not necessarily mean he/she has autism. But, for the fun of it, I have diagnosed seven cartoon characters who meet at least one of the criteria for autism. One of my favorite shows to watch is rick and morty and I just found out how to watch rick and morty online so I never miss an episode. Just remember; sarcasm and humor – or at least one mom’s attempt at it.

1. Cookie Monster Not only does this Sesame Street character exhibit a significant preoccupation with cookies, but his expressive language is significantly delayed when compared to his monster peers. Like many on the spectrum, if he had his way and the writers didn’t cave in to pressures to make him eat healthier, Cookie Monster would happily live on a self-restricted diet consisting of only his preferred food.

Schroeder2. Schroeder, the object of Lucy’s unrequited affection, is a precocious piano playing prodigy. His savant skills are perfect, and his knowledge of all things Beethoven are nothing less than impressive. Typically, Schroeder is content to play his music and engages in very little on-going dialogue. He can, however, become easily agitated if either his piano playing or his idol Beethoven are criticized.

Dalmations3. One of the 101 Dalmatians. The prevalence of autism is 1 in 68. Statistically speaking, if you have 101 Dalmatians, chances are at least one of them will fall somewhere on the spectrum.

Tigger

4. Tigger clearly has issues with attention and focus. With all his bouncing around, we can also speculate that his sensory-seeking behaviors are indicative of an autism diagnosis.

ElmerFudd5. Elmer Fudd Forget about the fact that he really needs a good speech pathologist, the guy is obsessed with killing a rabbit. Does he even talk about anything else, ever?

 

BrainySmurf

6. Brainy Smurf is a know-it-all intellectual who isn’t afraid to impart his wisdom upon the entire Smurf clan Do they want it? Mostly they don’t, so it’s not unusual for Brainy to be kicked outside the village or smacked over the head with a mallet. Despite the abuse, he remains oblivious to the fact that his fellow Smurfs have no interest in his “wisdom.”

SpongeBob

7. SpongeBob wins the award for having the most characteristics of autism. Although hyperactive, he is extremely focused and determined and will do whatever it takes to accomplish a goal. Often, he is oblivious to impending danger, and his lack of awareness tends to put him and others at risk for harm. He has a hard time detecting lies, and his kind-hearted and innocent nature means he is nice to everyone, notably those who are not always kind to him. SpongeBob also has anxiety. He is especially anxious about clowns and the dark.

Which cartoon characters would you add to this list?

* A-dar is a made-up term used to refer to someone with an intuitive ability to identify an individual on the autism spectrum.

Photos © Depositphotos.com

Hosting Technology Providers

Your web hosting choice is important because it determines your websites performance and security. Many websites provide you with free, high-quality domain names, but most of them contain potentially malicious or unencrypted private keys. They can also contain network communication information that could be used to infect your site with harmful software, giving hackers an unprecedented level of access to your machine. If you plan to host your site on a secure cloud platform, ensure that the cloud provider monitors user activity for malicious activities, and encrypts your data before sending it to your website, and there are also services that offer dedicated servers for business sites and others.

Tip: Do not forget to update your browser, hosting service, or hardware when new software is released.

1. SALT Technologies’ SALT Administrator and Dashboard

Salt provides a user-friendly, easy-to-use network administrator interface. It includes a firewall, a rules engine, a firewalls inspector, and access control with OAuth support, so you can set up your own security policies in minutes.

To run Salt, you need to run its daemon in a supervised mode and include it in your code. A supervised Salt installation consists of a Salt master server with minions, each of which is a group of Salt servers or workstations. One Salt master provides your network and application resources, while another allows you to install Salt minions and configure and manage them. If you decide to run Salt as a service, it uses a Salt master to manage the minions. All Salt master processes run under the local user, which allows Salt master to be run in the background, in a secure manner, while serving and maintaining your database and tables.

You can quickly deploy Salt master on your servers by copying the Salt master repository and running Salt-master in a Linux-based virtual machine on any system, with any amount of RAM.

Salt has three main features:

A fast and easy to use firewall which allows you to configure firewall rules.

A firewall inspector that allows you to inspect and find firewall violations.

The firewalls inspector supports multiple operating systems: Linux, FreeBSD, Windows, and Mac OS X.

Salt is so user-friendly that you can be up and running in just minutes and not have to know anything about it. You can use it to protect your network, database, and applications. If you decide to setup your own monitoring, then you’ll want to check out Salt’s advanced features, such as the remote access feature.

Tip: If you find a Salt bug, please file an issue or pull request.

2. Magento PHP Framework

Mage is a powerful web framework that powers many of the most popular sites, such as Shopify, Cloud9, and Redmine. Mage provides a server-less, features-based framework that lets you rapidly set up a new website in a matter of minutes.

Magento’s central “shopfront” serves as a hub that lets you easily add and edit products, manage them from the front-end, build forms and pages, and preview the page before it is created and published. This allows you to rapidly iterate on new features, add new functionality to existing pages, and create a website without having to constantly maintain a back-end server and database. Magento features an extensible component architecture with modules (called “component systems”) that are customizable and extend and optimize the core framework.

 

Slip and fall accidents study

Slip and fall accidents catch most people completely off guard and cause injuries that tend to have a consequential effect. Slips and falls are a major cause of serious injuries in the United States, making up an estimated 20 percent of injuries in a year. Injuries associated with slips and falls are costly to the health care system. In a study in the United States, to prevent one slip and fall injury per 20,000 people, policy makers would need to spend about $36.5 billion each year.

Factors that increase a person’s risk of injury from a slip or fall include the type of institution the person goes to, socioeconomic factors, sexual behaviors, age, gender, physical capabilities, and housing characteristics.

Men are more likely to be injured from slipping than women, but this could be explained by differences in their exposure to risks from external sources such as child care and work. Men tend to be exposed to the risks of slip and fall injuries from having higher socioeconomic status, higher education, and having more household workers. Men also tend to be more frequently exposed to house work such as dishwashing or gardening, which is a hazardous occupation that results in slips and falls, even more with conditions of poor lighting, that make these accidents more frequent, and that’s why many people look for legal help, to cover these accidents.

Factors that decrease a person’s risk of injury from a slip or fall include having a good walking or running stride, having a high level of fitness, walking along well-defined surfaces, getting out of high-risk situations, and keeping an eye on one’s surroundings.

With respect to the role of occupational safety programs and mechanisms to prevent slips and falls, we discuss research that examines their effectiveness, such as the following:

A number of international surveys demonstrate that, with some exceptions, workplace safety programs are ineffective. A review by Bony et al found that 87 percent of studies found no evidence of either a reduction in occupational injuries or a reduction in the health care costs of falls. Overall, they concluded that workplace safety programs, while having a few modestly effective programs in some countries, have no statistically significant impact on reducing the overall injuries or health care costs of falls.

A meta-analysis found that workplace safety programs have a large effect on reducing injuries. However, in the United States, the effect of workplace safety programs on reducing injuries is at the level of a small effect.

Another study of 16 countries compared the impact of policies to prevent falls on injuries. It found that falls are significantly and negatively related to the size of the policies and that the costs of injuries due to falls are often more than offset by the benefits of the policies.

A study of 84 countries including 17 countries in Europe, 13 countries in North America, and 1 country in Asia found that the impact of workplace safety policies on the number of injuries or illnesses for children under 5 years of age is small and the policies provide some protection only when children are in institutions. However, there were no significant differences in health care costs.

Another study found that although three small countries had some policies in place, Australia and Hong Kong did not have any effective workplace safety programs, while New Zealand and France had some effective policies in place.

A 2009 study concluded that countries with effective workplace safety programs experienced less fatal work injuries and fewer days lost due to work-related disease and injury. The study investigated the effect of six different safety programs – comprehensive annual health checks, mandatory fall prevention training, employee training, safety breaks, employer complaints, and workplace inspections and enforcement of working conditions – on the annual number of work-related fatalities and the number of work-related days lost due fall and slip accidents.

“I am more like you than autism can ever make me different.”

An Autistic Weighs in on Friendship

By Judy Endow

Dawn Inclusion Making (Endow, 2013, p.115)

I am a professional person who works as an autism consultant to various school districts when I am not speaking and writing. I have an autism neurology myself so I enjoy the privilege of being able to see and experience autism from a variety of viewpoints. One thing that greatly pains me is the continuing wrong assumptions professional people make about autistics and how those wrong assumptions often get interpreted as fact.

This past week I again ran into the erroneous assumption that autistics do not want or need friends. The truth is we do want and need friends just like any other human being. Our autism neurology means that making friends in conventional ways on conventional developmental timelines often presents difficulties for us largely because we have a different neurology – not a flawed humanity!

It took me many years to understand friendship. It wasn’t until I started my 50th decade of life that I started enjoying meaningful friendships. When I was growing up there was no support for kids like we have today when they have difficulties due to autism. Even so, I was able to slowly figure out and develop meaningful friendships on my own.

I want to share an excerpt from my book Paper Words: Discovering and Living with My Autism that clearly illustrates autistic people not only want friends, but can be friends with other people. It is one way for me to counter the erroneous belief I met up with again this week. Please share widely to help dispel the faulty idea that autistics do not want, need or have the ability to participate in friendships. Autistics do have real friends and here is the story of how that looks in my life.

“One thing all my very close friends have in common is that, besides having time for me, they allow me to be their friend. Most people who imagine themselves to be my friend are very kind and giving people and like to be known for being helpful to me, an autistic person, but they do not ever make the space for me to be their friend back. Thus, it is not a true friendship because they do not find me to be necessary to the core of their being.

My closest friends and I have reciprocal relationships. Both of us find the other necessary in our lives in a way that is not demanding. I find my close friends necessary, because when I am with them I can be my very best – the person I was created to be. I am able to be who I am and it is O,K. And they report similar feelings.

We know each other’s faults and flaws and can love each other through them. This means that our faults and flaws don’t become each other’s pet peeves. We are all limited and imperfect and are O.K. with that in ourselves and in each other.

This is how it is with my closest friends. We find each other necessary and care deeply for one other. When I’m allowed to show my caring however I want, I am able to freely spend the gold of my soul, often with abandon, on my friends. I love it and would not live my life any differently. Friendship can even come from a pet at home. It can be a dog which can cheer you up in the darkest times or any other pet which can be with you all the time. Check out iPetCompanion’s Article to know more on this. If you are looking to incorporate cannabidiol oil into your cat’s diet as a supplement, check out this list on laweekly.com/best-cbd-oil-for-cats/ and find the best CBD cat oil for your little furry.

The meaningfulness of life for me, an autistic, is in the reciprocal relationships of my everyday life. So, all in all, when it comes to the truly important stuff of life, I am more like you than autism can ever make me different. Imagine that!” (Endow, 2009, p. 173).

The School Bell Was My Enemy

January 4, 2015

by Kevin Hosseini

What I remember first about school was the bell in the hallway. Any time it rang and I was close to it I became agitated and scared. The bell hurt my ears. It startled me so much I got angry and felt like kicking or hitting or yelling. I wanted to take the pain away and give it to somebody else.

Everyday I’d go to the cafeteria for lunch. There was also a bell by the cafeteria. The bell rang and hurt my ears. I’d cover my ears and I couldn’t eat. The bell made me angry and I felt like kicking or hitting or yelling.

The bell was outside the boy’s bathroom. I didn’t go to the bathroom because I was afraid the bell would ring. My mom tells me it wasn’t until I had therapy for my ears that I was able to go to the regular boy’s bathroom at school. I held my pee and went to the bathroom at home.

The teacher told me the bell was for a reason. It told the kids when it was time to go to class, time for recess, time for lunch, and time to go home. For me the bell was the most scary thing at school. I thought the bell was used to hurt my ears. I thought they were punishing me.

One day the bell went off and wouldn’t stop. It seemed to go on forever. All the kids got up and it was chaos. The teacher told me to get in line. The bell didn’t stop. I covered my ears. I wanted the bell to stop so I kicked a girl in line. “Fire Drill” someone told me. I didn’t know what fire drill meant. That’s when I learned that the bell went off if there was a fire in the school. Sometimes we’d pretend there was a fire but there wasn’t a fire. The bell still scared me.

Another day we had a fire drill in the morning. It made me agitated. It rang and rang and rang. Now I knew that bell was for fires! Then I went to lunch and the bell rang again. I screamed. I thought we were having a fire. I yelled and yelled and yelled. Somebody grabbed me and held me so I couldn’t hit or kick. I screamed more because I thought the school was on fire.

They called my mom to pick me up. I was happy I was safe.

The bell bothered me until I was in the 6th grade.

_______________________________________________________________
About Kevin:

Kevin Hosseini is 20 years old. He’s living in supported living home and is writing his impressions of being on the autism spectrum. His website is www.kevingallery.com.

Debra (editor and Kevin’s mom) comment: It wasn’t until having a long conversation with Kevin while driving to Mexico this week that this story came out. Until this week we thought Kevin was agitated in the cafeteria because of all the kids and the unstructured time. Kevin had auditory integration therapy when he was in 2nd grade that helped with some of his sound sensitivities. Auditory integration therapy is a ten-day listening program that helps with hypersensitive hearing issues.

Autistic People Make Good Friends

ShaneandChris-300x225                                                           Chris and Shane

Re-Posted Blog by Debra Hosseini – The Art of Autism

“I was deeply touched by the great sense of support and genuine regard for one another that was so obvious when Chris and Shane did their presentation at Vroman’s. The total absence of being competitive in any way combined with their great sensitivity to one another is all to rare in our culture. They were truly cheer leaders for one another– pointing out the other person’s talents and accomplishments and stepping in with prompts for the other person when necessary. Their friendship is truly edifying and sets an example for all of us of ‘how to call forth another person’s best.’ They know the true meaning of friendship.” Connie Kalter, Vromans, August 2013

by Debra Hosseini

There is a myth that autistic people can’t bond and make meaningful friendships. I’ve observed many on the spectrum who have closer friendships than many neuro-typicals. They may not have a lot of friends, but the ones they have are deep.

Chris and Shane

A couple of weeks ago I was at Vroman’s bookstore in Pasadena for a book signing, invited by the dynamic Kelly Green of Autismhwy.com. As always we invited participants in the crowd to show their art and share the projects they were working on. Everyone in the crowd was impressed with Chris and Shane. Chris and Shane have been friends since the third grade. They seem to have a closeness and bond that only a few of us experience with friends.

When Shane was sharing his animation drawings, Chris asked questions of Shane which brought out the best of Shane and made him shine. Shane did the same for Chris. You could tell there was no competitiveness or jealousy in their friendship. Each of them truly wanted the best for each other. I was sitting next to the coordinator for the event, Connie Kalter, who was deeply impressed. Many think that autistic people are unable to make friends. The events I participate in show this is far from the truth.
Chris and Shane

Chris and Shane inspired this blog. They made me think of the many friendships develop over the years I’ve been facilitating the Art of Autism project. Often people on the spectrum make better friends as they seem to value important things rather than the superficial.

Andrew and Kai

Many times friendships develop among different-aged participants. This ends up looking more like a mentorship-friendship. For example, last year in Ventura everyone was impressed when Andrew Mendoza gave Kai Viruleg a painting of a Collie that Kai admired. The gesture was beautiful and genuine.

Michael and Andrew and Wyatt

Andrew Mendoza and his mom Rosie received a beautiful painting in the mail a few months ago from Michael Tolleson. Wyatt, Kelly Green’s son also received a painting from Michael. That made me think of how the cycle continues. Generosity of spirit is what friendship is about.

Kyle and Eddie

Friendship can develop between nonverbal and verbal people. Last year, I wrote an article for Autism Eye about the artist Eddie Callis from the U.K. Eddie has developed a close relationship with the amazing vocalist Kyle Coleman. Kyle is nonverbal. Eddie encourages Kyle in the arts and thinks one day he can help Kyle to speak. They have a true friendship.

Dani and Kevin

I wrote a blog last year about the Autism Movement Therapy workshop, where Dani Bowman reached out to my son Kevin. Dani is a friend to many.

Nick and Dylan

In Hollywood at Mr. Musichead, Dylan Aragon sang with Nick Guzman accompanying him. Nick stepped out of the spotlight to allow, Dylan to shine. The owner Sam, told me later, that our event was “life changing” for him. I think he told me this because the average person who doesn’t know many autistic people have preconceived ideas about autism, that may be far from the truth. That is because the media has done a number on us.

The Art of Autism hopes to continue our events in the future. We hope to see many more friendships continue to blossom and grow. I’m ending this blog with Kyle Coleman’s “Just Listen” because when we listen we can be better friends.

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Autism and the Power of Pictures

BroadSpectrumProject-2BoysPhotographs have the power to inform and sometimes change how we think about something. An example of the transformative potential of photographs is the Farm Security Administration Photography Project which was carried out during the Great Depression. In that project, the FSA commissioned photographers to visually document the daily lives of tenant farmers and sharecroppers to give Americans a front row seat on the devastating affects of a longstanding drought. Many believe the project sufficiently influenced the views of enough Americans to allow passage of the New Deal economic reforms.

A nonprofit in Massachusetts called the Broad Spectrum Project is harnessing the power of photographs to promote a broader and truer understanding of the day-to-day facets of living with Autism. The photographer behind the Project is Kristin Chalmers, who produces posed and un-posed photographs of children with Autism and their families. The organization’s mission statement is:

To provide authentic images of autistic people, so the world can see the many diverse faces of autism, begin to understand its effects, and support the cause.

To ensure the authenticity of their images, Kristin often takes photographs of children and families while in the middle of their daily activities, doing what they normally do or in celebratory events, such as a regional benefit walk for Autism Speaks. Chalmers was recently named the official photographer for Autism Speaks New England.

Kristin has a son with PDD/NOS and is sensitive to the sensory and situational challenges of children on the Spectrum when she organizes and schedules photo shoots. Photo subjects aren’t generally asked to pose in formal portrait-taking sessions because those sessions involve many elements which are upsetting to children on the Spectrum – dressing in uncomfortable, possibly sense-violating clothes, going to a strange place in an unfamiliar situation and sitting and smiling on cue in a studio with bright, hot lights.

For times when formal photo sessions are scheduled, Kristin is willing to change the schedule if the appointed day turns out to be one when the child has a hard time getting regulated. She works, not just to create insightful, poignant pictures, but also to make sure the photography process is a good and beneficial experience for the children she’s working with.
When you scroll through the Spectrum Project collection of pictures, you may first simply see that the photos are beautiful and well composed. Then, as you continue to look, you find yourself walking alongside the children and the adults who love and support them. You’re caught up in the spirit and rhythm of their lives.
This is a very good thing indeed. It’s a good thing for Spectrum families. Better yet, it’s a good thing for neurotypical individuals who struggle to understand Autism as more than a “light it blue” campaign during Autism Awareness month and news stories about children in crisis.
The website for the Broad Spectrum Project is: http://broadspectrumproject.org

If you are looking for professional photographers who could take a picture of your special moments, make sure you take a look at PMAI Photography NYC.