Autism Stories is a project that focuses on the lives of persons with autism.
I want to show the life stories and the invisible struggles and joys of people with autism and of those who care for them. I want these stories to be seen and to resonate with a larger public who is not often exposed to the reality of autism. I want to explore the relationships between the persons with autism, those supporting them, and society at large.
What does their autism mean in terms of daily tasks, parenting, autonomy, relationships, or work? What are the coping mechanisms they develop? How is the interaction between people with autism and their non-autistic peers? How do parents of autistic kids organize their life, build support systems for their children, and manage psychologically?
Although autism has received increasing attention lately, most people still know little about what it means to live with autism. Stereotypes and false information concerning autism still abound. The lives of those living with autism and their families remain largely invisible.
It’s not my intention to tell these stories by turning their subjects into heroes or victims. It’s not my intention to impose my own views on what it means to live with autism. I want to give a voice to the participants, whenever possible and in ways that are accessible for them. They can draw or write on my photos and I can include their own stories or comments alongside those written by me.
My contact with most of the participants has been greatly facilitated by GAMP, a Belgian association that fights for better and more inclusive services for persons with handicap with high dependency. I am grateful for their support.