Photographer, mom presents faces of autism; book will be released in April
As Tera Girardin discovered, a child’s autism diagnosis is a sobering life event that comes with a heavy reading list.
The theories, the therapies, the reams of parenting advice can be overwhelming, said Girardin, whose 12-year-old son Alex was diagnosed when he was 3.
A photographer by trade, she found useful knowledge but little magic in the literature, especially the photos. In response, Girardin is offering her take on autistic kids — a book of portraits, in photos and text, called “Faces of Autism.”
The Lakeville resident will hold a book-release event on April 2, World Autism Day, from 1-3 p.m. at Christina Huddleston Elementary in Lakeville. The book spotlights 31 children, including Alex, and includes written contributions from the parents.
“There’s not a lot of opportunity to talk about your kiddo in positive terms,” said Girardin, a single mother of three boys. “As autism parents sitting in IEP meetings and evaluation meetings and medical appointments, you’re constantly focusing on how do we manage the difficulties of autism and the challenges. But it’s very rare that somebody says, ‘Tell me about your kid and what makes them unique and amazing.’ And when you do, they start to pour out their stories.”