Ever since he was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome earlier this year, I've been looking up every video, story and first hand accounts I could find. When I found one that I thought my son could relate to, I would share it with him. He would give me his opinion. "Yea, that's like me!" "I do that too!"
I've expressed to him that I was thankful that these people recorded their thoughts in their own way so I along with others could have a better understanding of what their lives are like. This led to discussions on using the camera to express what's on his mind. Hey, it's easier than writing which he struggles with greatly.
When I asked him today what he would take a picture of to show how he feels about himself and about Aspergers and ADHD, to be honest, I wasn't exactly expecting any deep thoughts (I was just trying to help him feel important and confident about who he is... his thoughts matter). I was surprised and somewhat wrenched by his reply, though. He said he would take a picture of a forest, which I asked him to explain. He said that forests seem lonely. That sometimes he feels alone and sometimes wants to be alone. He didn't seem bothered by this and so I didn't express concern. I suggested he go in the backyard and photograph that.
I helped him get set up and let him do the rest. I was intrigued by what he captured and how he played with monotone and color photos. I hope to be able to share his photographs with you, but at this time I'm choosing to wait until he's ready to share them himself.
When he was done, we loaded the pictures up and he was proud of his work. He explained his opinions about them as well and I was happy to show him how proud I was of him. He did a great job and hopefully, he's gained a new way to step away from stimulating environments (a little less tv time doesn't hurt either), a new form of expression, and another sense of completion and success.
What I gained was more insight into his world. And as I watched him standing on the edge the woods, I couldn't help but view his peering into the dark overgrowth in front of him similarly to how I look into his world. There's a lot going on in there and I'm just touching the surface. It's beautiful and inspiring.
As I photographed him, photographing what he wanted, he began photographing me. We have pictures of each other taking pictures of each other. It was good fun and he certainly made me smile.