I recently had a fun photo session, at Point Park on Lookout Mountain, with these two adorable brothers, Samuel & Benjamin. They are fun, active and full of life. I got quite the workout snapping shots of them. I loved watching their joy for life. These boys are simply adorable.
One of the reasons I did this photo session was to promote Autism Awareness. Samuel has been diagnosed with autism and this past year or so has been an adjustment for his parents in figuring out what is the best route to take in helping him. I asked his mom to share some advice to parents who might find themselves in a similar situation. I hope what she has to say here helps educate others about what parents go through, what parents need to look out for, what steps to take when you think your child might have autism, and how we need places like the Chattanooga Autism Center to help those with autism and to help the parents in deciding which direction to turn. I'm sure it's overwhelming trying to decide what is best for your child when there are so many options out there and you don't have a clue where to start. Hopefully this will be a bit of encouragement to another parent that just isn't sure where to turn or what to do.
Advice from a Mom of a Child with Autism:
"If your gut tells you something is just not right with your child's development, look into having you child evaluated, even if your family, friends, pediatrician tells you not to worry, "it's just a phase, he will grow out of it."
Early intervention is key to having the best outcome for your child, so don't wait!
Make sure your pediatrician screens your child for autism using the m-chat at your 18 month check up.
Be aware of your options, the state offers early intervention services to children, birth to age two, who have delayed speech and other developmental delays, a diagnosis of autism is not required to start getting your child important and needed interventions at no cost to you. Once your child turns three, services are handled by the school system.
Be aware of untested methods, there are so many therapies and the latest cure-all remedy. So do your research and invest in the therapies that have a sound basis for giving your child the best outcome.
Parenting is stressful, try to find balance for yourself and your family!
Get connected to good support groups such as family, friends, your church, and the autism groups in your community.
Supporting local groups such as the Chattanooga Autism Center with your time and donations helps build autism awareness and provides much needed resources to families in the community.
Your child is a blessing from God, aim for the best life possible for your child by setting short and long term goals. Remember while working towards those goals, it's a marathon not a sprint!
Pray and ask others to pray for you and your family. While it's true, you are your child's greatest advocate on this earth. Your child's Heavenly Father is far greater!
The steadfast love of The Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning, great is your faithfulness.
To support this cause I am donating 10% of any 2014 sessions,
that are booked in April, to the Chattanooga Autism Center.
Also, I am giving a $75 print credit to any family with a child that has special needs.
Please join me in supporting this cause. Thank you.