Capturing those special interests

Galina at Chez Maximka  has written a lovely post about some photos she has recently discovered.  These are not just any old photos but hundreds of photographs taken by her non-verbal autistic son that has enabled Galina to see the world from his perspective.  Her son’s photos are really interesting in that they are mainly focused on familiar objects around the home and taken from an interesting angle.  As Galina asks in her post, does her son’s photography show a comfort with familiar everyday objects rather than exploring unknown territory?  As many of you know a core difficulty that our autistic children have is the fear and anxiety they experience when confronting new situations so it makes sense that our children would stick to the familiar.

It has certainly made me think about my son’s photographs which, like Galina’s son, have also tended to be on parts of the home, objects or his face which he then likes to distort through the apps on the ipad.  He never shows an enthusiasm for photography as such but if we leave the camera or ipad around he will pick it up and take some unusual pictures or mini video clips.  We now have hundreds of his photos and videos at home which up to now I haven’t thought about too much but Galina’s post has made me think about what my son gets from taking these pictures.  Is it the technology of taking a picture or video that my son enjoys or the object that he is focusing on?  I’m guessing it’s a bit of both.  My son has always been inquisitive with his hands, pushing things, pressing things, seeing how things work and enjoying the repetition of the movement of something.  He is very much a tactile learner.

However, we have also noticed that sometimes he will take pictures of his special interests which is a wonderful record of what he has done (or made).  One of his best collections are  the 100′s of photos he took when he visited a military museum with his dad a few years ago.  At that time he had a deep interest in military vehicles so visiting this museum was a great opportunity for him to indulge his ‘special interest’ without any distraction from his sisters or me.  As I wasn’t going, I encouraged him to take some photos so that he could show me when he returned home but I never expected that he would return with over a hundred photos.  Here is just a very small selection:-

Such was his enthusiasm that later on that day, we sat side by side looking at his pictures and talking about the things he had seen.  In those precious shared moments I realised the importance of those photos for my son; they acted as a visual prompt and helped him to remember his day.  And for me, it was lovely to be able to  enter my son’s world because usually much of what he thinks and feels is shut away.

It just goes to show that when we run with our child’s special interest just how much they can achieve and how much we can learn about our very unique children.


This post has been submitted to Galina’s linky on the talents of our special needs children.  If you would like to read the other entries or contribute a story please click here.

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2 Responses to Capturing those special interests

  1. Galina says:

    Shared on Twitter, G+ and SU. :)

  2. Galina says:

    Deb, what a lovely surprise on a Saturday morning to open my email box and find your posts. Thank you very much for contributing such a beautiful piece to my linky.
    Your son’s photos are brilliant, he clearly has an eye of an artist. I also think it is the objects and the technology as such. My son loves his ipad, I think it is the sense of being in control that he values, he knows what he is doing and what is going to happen if he presses this button or that. Technology could be quite liberating. Thank you again for writing this piece, I am most grateful.

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