Hey there, it's Sam, your photographer and autism advocate.
Today, I want to share some heartfelt insights into how we can create cheerful photoshoot experiences for children with autism.
Every child is unique, and working with children on the autism spectrum requires a special approach. Here are some supportive ways I've learned through my journey as an autism professional, parent, and photographer:
1. PATIENCE IS KEY! Children with autism may need extra time to feel comfortable. I always start by letting them explore the environment and get used to the camera at their own pace. No rushing!
2. Be mindful of sensory sensitivities. Some kids may be sensitive to certain sounds or textures. I keep my studio environment as calm and comfortable as possible as well as select conscious outdoor locations that are not heavily populated.
3. Favorite Props! Incorporating preferred items into the shoot can provide comfort and create authentic smiles.
4. Flexibility and Adaptability! Be ready to change plans on the spot. If a child isn't comfortable with a particular pose or location, I'm always ready to adapt and find something that works better for them.
5. Celebrate every small victory! A high-five, a little dance, or a special treat can go a long way in making the experience enjoyable.
6. Always respect their personal space and boundaries. I let them guide the session as much as possible.
7. Children with autism might have trouble with eye contact or verbal communication. Again, patience and understanding is key - letting them express themselves in their own way. I am happy to use alternative communication.
It's our privilege to capture your child’s unique personality through the lens. Working with neurodiverse children has enriched both my life and photography journey beyond measure, and I hope these tips may be helpful to you.
Feel free to reach out for more advice or to schedule a session that celebrates the beauty of every child!