A Photo Walk With Autism

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This is a wonderful idea; especially the part about making the pictures available online.  I know I’ve given Mike ‘his own camera’ on many occasions, most recently on a family trip to the Bronx Zoo.  He has even used the camera to make his own stop-action shots of a subject, usually a dinosaur toy, and likes to view through the pictures as you would a flip book.  You’d be amazed at how quickly a memory card can get filled up!  But, like the article below, it’s also a good way to view the perspective your child takes, and the things that draw their attention.  -Ed

Photo Walk To Help Kids With Autism See The World Through A Viewfinder


Back in 2010, James Aitcheson started letting his sons, James and Spencer, then age 14 and 11, use his old cameras to shoot pictures. The images the boys captured as they took walks with him surprised Aitcheson, a professional photographer.

“Both boys have Asperger’s Syndrome,” said their mom, Emily Aitcheson. “And when they would go through the pictures after they got home, my husband noticed that the boys were taking pictures of things he never thought to look at and often from a different perspective.”

James, who owns and operates a photography business, ASquared Photo, was so impressed with the vision his boys displayed of the world around them, he and Emily thought up a way to offer the same opportunity to other children on the autism spectrum.

The Liverpool couple are sponsoring what they hope will be the first of a series of photo walks called the “World Through My Eyes 2012 Photo Walk,” the morning of Aug. 26 in the Willow Bay area of Onondaga Lake Park.

The event is free and open to a maximum of 10 to 15 pre-registered children, between 5 and 16 years of age, who are affected by autism. The event is scheduled to begin at 9 or 10 a.m., depending on the weather and the needs of the participants. Registration information and event updates are available online at asquaredphoto.com.

Emily said each child will receive an entry-level, point and shoot digital camera worth about $50. The children will be invited to walk around the park with their families for a couple hours, capturing whatever images they choose.

After that the Aitchesons will collect the cameras, download the images to their laptop and return the cameras to the children. James will compile and edit the images, and a book featuring at least one or two images taken by each child will be available for purchase from an on-demand publishing company in late September or early October.

The couple is spending around $1,500 of their own money for the event, and they say they would welcome donations and volunteers.

“Maybe we’ll show (participants) that there’s this cool hobby or profession that they could get into now or later in life,” Emily said. “It’s a way to communicate with people who don’t understand how they communicate. And maybe we can bring some more understanding to autistic kids through something as simple as a photo walk.”


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