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Stories About Autism

A promise to my autistic daughter

I discovered an amazing Facebook page a couple of months ago, which was raising autism awareness through a documentary style photography approach. In this post it’s founder, Glenn Gameson-Burrows, talks about why he started the project, and his promise to his autistic daughter


When you have children, everything seems perfect.

The final piece of the puzzle. Your loving family is complete.

You have your whole life in front of you to watch them grow and develop. To see their first steps, hear their first words and be proud of them when they do so.

Having children is an emotional rollercoaster, where sometimes you just want to get off but you never do. Through the sleepless nights, the tough days, you’re always there.

It’s hard. Sometimes you just need to roll up your sleeves.

My youngest daughter was diagnosed with Autism in December 2015. In truth, my wife and I knew she was autistic when she was just a year old.

My wife, Angharad has two young nephews with autism and raised the issue with me that Aneira could be autistic at 9 months old. Of course, I was in denial and struggled to cope with the fact that my youngest child was different, not normal.

I had to do something, not just to raise awareness and acceptance of ASD but to educate myself on this disorder that my daughter has. In July 2015, 5 months before my daughter’s official diagnosis, I started ‘Magpie’ a photography based project.

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I use a documentary style approach to ‘Magpie’. I’m keen to capture how people who are on the spectrum go about their day, how they see and interact with the world around them.

For example, my daughter has to eat her hula hoops in the bathroom sink or standing on the coffee table. When we visit the park she climbs up the slide and then slides down the steps. Aneira is fascinated with shiny things such as; milk bottle tops, Friends and family collect them for us! This is where the projects titled came from (Magpie Syndrome).

This project is the most worth while thing I’ve ever done. The aim wasn’t to put myself in the spotlight but to meet other parents, gain more understanding of ASD, to know that we are not alone and to educate people. I was told just last week that the project has reached nearly twenty two thousand people across 15 countries so far.

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The children and adults I have met are incredible human beings. My life is so much more because of them and the advice we have picked up has been brilliant!

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I knew nothing of ASD before, now I believe we are better equipped to give our daughter the best shot at life. The future is scary & uncertain, but exciting. Aneira is improving every day, but early diagnosis has key.

You’ve probably realised by now, that I am no writer!

But this is something I recently wrote;

Promise to my Autistic Daughter

I promise no matter how difficult it gets or how people judge you or I

I will always have your back and you mine

I promise not to grieve for the future but embrace it

To take each day as it comes and be thankful for it

I promise I will embrace your uniqueness, your different ways

The way I wish people would see you most days

I promise that even when you don’t celebrate your birthday I’ll still celebrate for you

I promise that when you sit in the sink to eat your hula hoops I’ll let you

When you decide to climb the slide and slide down the steps I’ll let you

When the world gets confusing and everything get loud I’ll soothe you

When you melt down I’ll lift your chin no matter what store we are in

I promise to give you the best future I can

No matter how difficult it gets or how people judge you or I

I will always have your back and you mine.,

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Glenn Gameson-Burrows is a landscape, portrait and wedding photographer with a huge interest in documentary photography, based in South Wales. You can find Glenn’s project on the Facebook page Magpie ASD Awareness

Glenn first picked up a camera 2 and a 1/2 years ago after reading a Mary Ellen Mark book. His wife bought him a canon powershot and the rest is history. He like to photograph people who have a story to tell.
The power of  a photograph can change the world.

 

2 comments

  1. Catherine - April 7, 2016 9:47 pm

    Magpie is a nickname we use for Mia, if it’s shiny,house keys, car keys, lipstick containers or on one occasion, a gold glittering diary, we usually find it in her room hidden away!

    It’s always good to read other parents experiences and even though each child is like a unique finger print their parents have the same thoughts and feelings.

  2. Clare - April 16, 2016 12:26 pm

    What a wonderful idea, and the poem is beautiful. I will definitely be looking up this facebook page James, so thank you. And thank you for joining me on #spectrumsunday. I really hope you join me again this week xx

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