I received a pretty amazing email in April from this incredible Mother, inquiring about photos of her son. I don’t usually receive emails about photographing just one particular person in a family household, but in this case… Easton is a special little boy who’s journey needed to be documented.
Brittany was telling me how much she would love photos of her son & how long she had been searching for a photographer to take them. It had me wondering why her search was so extensive & an even bigger part of me was so overwhelmed with excitement that she was interested in working with me in the first place. I quickly ran to my calendar & we booked a date & later that evening I received another message from Brittany… informing me that Easton has Autism. & Suddenly everything made sense. My heart broke as she told me she booked a couple other photographers, who would then stop responding after she informed them of Easton’s Diagnosis… like the fact that Easton has Autism would change their minds about photographing him. As a Photographer & as Mother, I was angry. Infuriated. So, I couldn’t wait to meet this little dude. His story only motivated me more to give this family everything they’ve wanted for so long. Our session came & I instantly fell in love with Easton & his personality. We threw rocks, ran with the wind & watched Wreck it Ralph in the dirt. He has taught me patience & perseverance, & to never take this life too seriously. He’s a boy who is inspiring & strong willed;
He’s ALIVE & loving it. & That smile, it’s contagious <3
Brittany has kindly shared Easton’s story with me, & I’m eager to share with all of you & bring awareness to this shadow in the world that is Autism.
“Easton was born on Jan 13, 2012. We were so excited to bring him into the world. What was supposed to be the happiest day of our life quickly turned to the scariest. Easton was Born with a lack of oxygen and the doctors were very concerned that he may have had meningitis. He was rushed to a different hospital before I even had a chance to lay eyes on him. It wasn’t until 3 days later that I was released from the hospital and I was finally able to meet and hold my beautiful baby boy! Easton spent a period of time in the NICU and we were so relieved when we finally got to bring him home. He was a perfect baby. Hardly ever fussed and slept like a rock. When Easton was about 18 months old we started to notice that he was falling behind other kids his age. He started walking really late and we were very worried about his speech delay and social skills. We knew in our hearts for a long time that Easton had autism. He was officially diagnosed in October of 2015. Even though we already knew it in our hearts, hearing it officially felt like being punched in the stomach. We felt anger, sadness and worry about what the future would hold for our family. After a few weeks of grieving for the life we thought our son would have, life got back to normal and we soon realized that Easton was the exact same goofy, loving, happy little boy that he was before he was diagnosed.
My hope for Easton’s future is for more people to understand Autism. The absolute biggest challenge we face every single day is judgement from others who just don’t understand Autism. They believe that because Easton doesn’t look like he has special needs that he is just “acting out” or “spoiled” and that is the farthest thing from the truth. There have been so many times that Easton has had a complete meltdown in store simply because of the smells, the bright lights and all of the chaos around him that he is just unable to regulate himself. I dream of the day when somebody offers help to me in a store or gives me a kind, genuine smile when my son is having a meltdown instead of staring down at me and rolling their eyes in judgement. I ask for everyone to please educate themselves on Autism. Even if it is only a minute out of your day to read an article.
Easton has taught us more about life than we have taught him. He has taught us patience beyond belief and that laughter truly is the best medicine. Easton may have Autism, but he is so much more than that and I thank god every single day that I was blessed to be his mom.”
© Chloe photo 2023