Meet Jackson. He is a smart, wide eyed boy with a zest for life. He’s funny and charming and there is no mistaking that after just minutes of meeting him! I was able to settle into conversation with Jack immediately as he told me all about a city he and his friend would build one day, before hopping up to play with his brothers. It is clear that Jackson has an incredible imagination and just so much joy, he’s a pleasure to be with!
One of the things Jackson’s parents were hoping to share a glimpse of in this project is how much he loves his brothers and his role as the older brother. I think we accomplished that 😉
I can only imagine how busy (and tired!) the parents of three boys must be, but Jackson’s parents relationships with all the boys really shined through and it was clear they are very devoted to all their children. But, they have a different journey with Jackson than their other boys. I think as a parent you know each child is different and you have to parent them in different ways, that’s just the nature of parenting, but when you have a child on the autism spectrum-there are certain things you do and think about much differently.
Jackson’s mom told me:
“Lately, people will comment to us that they had no idea Jackson has Autism. That they’d never have known. And while that’s a compliment as to how far he’s come, it’s also supremely irritating. They don’t see the daily life, the difficulty in the simplest tasks. The constancy of staying one step ahead and planning for the worst. He’s come a LONG way, but it’s still a daily part of our lives, and it’s come about due to hours upon hours of therapy and hard work.
We also have trouble when it comes to people not understanding that we can’t just do things like other families. We can’t take our kids out to eat and expect him to sit for an hour at the table. We can’t go grocery shopping without taking an iPad or something to keep him focused. We can’t expect him to get ready for school or bed without a lot of help, even though he’s seven.”
I could say the same as other people, upon meeting Jackson it would be easy to miss that he has been diagnosed with autism. I think this is a testament to the hard work he, his family and therapists have done. As I’ve said, it’s really important to me that families who are affected by autism (and all special needs) get the credit they deserve. I want people to know just how much they are doing thoughtfully, quietly, consistently and CONSTANTLY.
Jackson’s mom said to me “We are so grateful for this project and the light you’re bringing to a dark subject. It’s hard. It’s very hard. Autism impacts life every. single. day. And to not only capture that, but CELEBRATE it…it’s an amazing thing.”
I am grateful to be helping families celebrate their children and show them off to the rest of the world. They are so worth it.