Labels

“He doesn’t seem autistic to me.”

“He acts normal; he can’t be autistic.”

“What? He’s autistic?”

“Is the therapy helping?”

“How long does he need therapy for?”

“Is he going to get better?”

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These are a few of the questions and comments that I have been getting the past few months. Internally I cringe. Sigh. Throw up my hands in frustration. I want to yell, scream, kick doors, tell you to mind your own business.

Paradox.

Then I want to hug you, laugh with you, thank you for asking, applaud you for being brave~for actually talking, asking, questioning.

For every comment and question, I know there are a million unasked, unsaid comments.

I don’t want my kid to be different. I don’t want my kid to not fit in. I want him to be NORMAL.

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Paradox.

I want my kid to be different; to not fit in with the crowd. I don’t want him to do what everyone else is doing. I want him to rise above the masses, be a star, succeed, make his mark in the world.

It’s all a paradox.

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As good postmodern Americans we don’t like labels. We don’t like stereotypes. As parents, we definitely don’t like labels. We don’t want anyone telling us how to raise our kids. We want the freedom to parent the way we think is right.

And then there’s the LABEL: He’s a special needs kid with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Fear. Fear of failure as a parent. Fear of judgement. Fear of loss of dreams for his future. FEAR.

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There’s nothing WRONG with a label. There’s nothing WRONG with him. All the label really tells me is: I need help; my kid needs help. It’s OK to ask for help. It’s OK that I don’t know everything. It’s OK to make mistakes. It’s OK to embrace the label.

It’s OK that I don’t completely understand my son’s diagnosis. It’s OK that people ask me questions I don’t know how to answer. It’s OK that my son has ASD. It’s OK.

That’s really just what I want to hear.

He’s the same kid he’s always been. It’s just that now we can admit we need help raising him. We can ask for help. We can rely on others. We can be different. We can be normal. We can embrace the label. We can help other understand. We can help others who learn their kid has a label. We can make the journey together. We can face our fears and realize that we are human. We aren’t perfect. We ALL have a label and we ALL need each other.

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Photos by: Erin Dupree Photography

 

Fall Mini Sessions

I had the best time last weekend photographing some lovely people. I am always grateful that my clients let me put them in front of a camera and that they are willing to try crazy things to get a great shot. To all of you, THANK YOU! I love this time of year and look forward to all the new people I get to meet along with catching up with old friends.

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Fall Mini Sessions

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It’s time to get those family photos! $75 1/2 hour
5 Digital Images //
Booking for // October 10th Snohomish // October 11 Marymoor Park // Contact me for available times. joonitree.photography@gmail.com
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Perspective.

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There is a proverb, I don’t know who first wrote or said it, but it goes something like this: Sometimes you need to see the forest for the trees. Perspective. There are those moments in our lives where we realize that we’ve been looking at the forest by looking at the individual trees rather than by looking at it from the overlook on top of a mountain.

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About a month ago, our family had one of those life changing moments. Our fun loving, risk taking, license plate and toothbrush obsessed boy has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). He hasn’t changed; he’s still the same boy. But now instead of looking at just the bark and the roots and maybe a few leaves, now the whole forest is in view and it is all at once overwhelming and beautiful.

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Anthony is just like every other kid, special. He’s just like every other kid; he needs help. However, he’s just going to need a little more help in some areas that are just as easy as breathing air for most, but for him it will require a little more, a lot more effort.

We are so grateful that Anthony is getting some amazing help right away. He’s joined an Autism Early Intervention study at the UW called the Tadpole study. What this means is he gets one on one in home play-based therapy 15 hours a week. He loves it so far and I’ve already seen him saying and doing new things that he wasn’t doing a few days ago.

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If you want more information on what ASD is, here’s a a link to the CDC website with a good definition. If you want more in-depth info about Anthony’s specific diagnosis, email, call, text or come over~ We are a little housebound now for the next year as the study he’s in is a year long commitment, but we love company and I’ve always got coffee, tea or something or other cooking in the kitchen!

 

 

Amber + Joel: Engagement Shoot at Mukilteo Lighthouse

I met Joel a long time ago when we worked together and so was honored that he contacted me about  wedding photos. Amber and Joel live in Mukilteo and so we decided that doing their engagement photos in their hometown would be perfect. Though a typical windy Pacific Northwest evening, the light was perfect. How can you go wrong with a beautiful setting and a gorgeous couple? Congratulations Amber and Joel!

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