This past April, we joined a group of photographers across the country for an event called “Focus on Autism”. As a service to the community we provided complimentary sessions to include an 8×10 of anyone living with autism who wanted their portrait taken. April being Autism Awareness month we wanted to take that opportunity to promote awareness of autism and offer our services to those living with autism.
Autism is a disorder that I personally was not aware of until just a few years ago in my late 30′s. I cannot believe that I lived almost 40 years and had never heard the syndrome. I met a man, who was/is about my age. He was related to my cousin by marriage. Before he arrived, my cousin had ‘prepared’ us just in case anything “awkward” was said or done. This gentleman showed up in a classic car that had been completely restored… by him. I am not into cars so I cannot tell you if it was a Camaro, Firebird or Mustang. I do remember it was a 60′s era car. This man had taken this car apart piece by piece, cleaned, repaired, replaced and basically had a perfectly ‘new’ showroom conditioned car. As I stood on my cousin’s porch watching all my male cousins, uncles and our husbands ohhh and ahh over this car, I remember thinking “There are at least 2 masters degrees and 1 phd and none of them can restore a car to look like that! Incredible!”
Later I began to be more aware of children & adults with autism at church, school and in my community. Autism is on the rise and experts are still not fully sure about the cause.
Today I want to share with you the story of Mr. J. A very smart young man who wanted to participate in our Focus on Autism and came to us to have his portrait made.
Mr. J’s favorite subject is science. And I bet he is very good at it and makes good grades. His favorite hobby is horseback riding. Working with a horse centers his focus and concentration. J also knows that he has to be tender to the horse and is also learning the responsibility of caring for the animal.
He is very well mannered which really impressed us.
And did not mind posing for the camera one bit.
Young Mr. J’s story as told by his mom…
…J is our twelve year old son. He was diagnosed with PDD on the Autism spectrum when he was two and a half. At that time he hardly spoke. Mostly he just screamed and his behavior was out of control. We had a hard time finding any child care due to his behavior. We have come so far and I am so thankful. God used J and his behavior to bring me to my lowest point so I would rely on Him and not myself. I hadn’t accepted Christ until then.
He (God) has used J to speak to so many at our church as well. J was baptized on a Wednesday night and I have never seen it so crowded on a Wed. night. They even shot a video about serving in the church and the impact on others using J’s “buddy”, A. In our church we have many special needs children and they often will pair that child with an adult buddy to help them during Sunday school. A was J’s Awana’s teacher when he was 3 then volunteered to be his buddy. When J was baptized, he insisted that A “bababatize” him. J wanted to do the talking on the video shoot and even though it was somewhat hard to understand him I heard that there was hardly a dry eye in the house. He is proof that the Gospel message is so simple to understand. J is very concrete and if you say something is so, then it is. We still have our bad days but I can’t believe how far we have come. He just returned from his first Boy Scout camp out without his brother or Dad. He rides horses and loves helping on his riding instructor’s farm. His progress continues to amaze me!
I cried when I first read this note/testimony from J’s mom. God has already used J to glorify Himself. I fully believe that He will continue to use J.
I look forward to seeing what else God has in store for Mr. J.
In the future, we will be spotlighting more children living with autism and sharing their stories. Please bookmark this page or “like” our facebook page so you will not miss one!