Monthly Archives: March 2010

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World Autism Awareness Day – April 2, 2010

Autism awareness has been near to my heart recently as I have learned that the son of a good friend has been diagnosed with PPD-NOS, a mild form of Autism.  After researching more about autism, I was shocked to discover that autism affects 1 in every 110 children, affecting four times as many boys as girls.  “The prevelance of autism has increased 57% from 2002 to 2006.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.”

Her son, Declan, is a brilliant 5-yr old boy who was reading full books at the age of 2 and has an unbelievable photographic memory.  She never he suspected him of having autism because he was so loving, affectionate and social…he was verbal and did not possess any traits of an introverted personality.  But, in her own words, “… that’s where I had to grow.  I was like most people and thought autism was this ‘set’ type of disorder and it looked the same on everyone.”  After extensively researching, reading, and reaching out to people affected by Autism, she started to notice and observe Declan’s struggles with fine motor skills, a severe food aversion, and a strong sensitivity to noise and touch, along with other behavior signs.  They had him tested and he was diagnosed with PPD-NOS.

Declan is now attending a private school which provides him the right tools (including occuaptional and speech therapy) he needs to work through his obstacles.  They feel blessed that they have the means to provide this for their son, but it breaks her heart that there are very few resources out there for many who cannot afford specialized treatment or receive adequate public services for their children.

I have joined in her efforts to make others aware of this growing concern that affects so many children today.  This Friday is the Third Annual World Autism Awareness Day.  Here are some ways to get involved, purchase a WAAD t-shirt or candle, become a fan of World Autism Awareness Day on Facebook, or if you know of someone who is looking for community resources, have them attend Houston’s Picnic in the Park (Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Fair) on April 10 from 12-4pm at George Bush Park.

Want to read more about autism?  Here are some on-line resources:

Autism Speaks – It’s time to listen.

National Autism Association

Autism Society – Improving the Lives of All Affected by Autism

World Autism Awareness Day

Autism Answers

Another way I’ve recently become involved was volunteering to speak at the Monarch School with students enrolled in their Life Academy Program.  The Life Academy strives to help their students “learn the business of life” by bringing in business men and women from the community to speak on their business experiences and life lessons.  I had the privilege of being asked to speak at the Monarch School last fall.  The students were looking for some help improving their photography skills.  Specifically, they use photography for product shots (they sell jewelry, wreaths, and gift baskets to raise proceeds to benefit their Life Academy and to grow student run businesses), newsletter photos, and capturing  students participating in their various projects.  I had so much fun with the students that I am going back to visit soon!  Next time, I hope to bring some other photographer friends along with me to give them some more one-on-one mentoring time!

The Monarch School in Houston serves the special education needs of children with neurological differences such as Autism (incl Asperger’s & PPD-NOS), Attention Deficit Disorder, Learning Disabilities, Tourette’s Syndrome, Mood Disorders (Bipolar Disorder, Depression), and Anxiety Disorders.  They educate children from early childhood to post-high school, with ages range from 3-25 yrs.  The Monarch students are “bright, intelligent children whos social awareness and emotional regulation interfere with their ability to learn.  The development of executive functioning skills is essential to their ability to be successful.”

Go check out their new campus, it is amazing!   ” The metaphor of the Monarch butterfuly exemplifies the work of The Monarch School – changing lives from the inside out.  The goal of the new campus is to create a build environment that works seamlessly with and empowers the process of transformation.”

Thank you, John, for welcoming me to your classrooms.  I look forward to our next visit!

Blame it on the jet-lag.

I am always late…I mean, chronically, consistently, unmistakenly, undeniably, always late – no doubt, at least by 15-20 minutes.  It doesn’t matter how close/far the distance I must travel, how familiar I am with the area, who I’m with or what time of day or night it is.  I’m ashamed to admit it, but just ask anyone who knows me, and they will probably tell you NOT to expect me at the designated time.  I would say that I get it from my dad…who, for as long as I’ve remembered, is always late too.  But I am not sure if habitual “lateness” can be considered a genetic trait.  Therefore, I must blame it on multi-tasking and thinking I can try to get more done in the alloted time than is humanly possible. 

However, on our first day back after Spring Break…we were TWO HOURS late for school.  Not the usual 5-10 min squeaking-by late, but the TWO HOURS, missed assembly and morning snack late.  I promise you, I set my alarm, I know I did!  But, on that particular day,  I (along with the rest of my family) completely slept through it!  Can you believe it?  And mind you, my kids have never slept past 7am since the day they were born!  But, hey…who’s complaining??  All I can say is, “I blame it on the jet lag!”

We just spent the past 8 days travelling to Tokyo, Japan to visit my BFF over Spring Break.  It was quite the adventure for my whole family and we thoroughly enjoyed every second of it!  There’s no greater joy than spending time with one of my bestest friends and her beautiful family…Disneyland was only the sideline perk!  I hope to share more of my trip later (if I can ever get caught up!).  So please excuse me if I’ve been a bit overwhelmed and scattered the past few wks…we’ve had a lot going on!

I have to give a big thanks to you, Kelly, for being so patient for your sneak peeks.  I loved spending time and getting to know your girls, they could not be more adorable!  I can easily see how they get their charming, outgoing personalities and beautiful blue eyes from you…I cannot get over how much they remind me of you!  Thank you for choosing me to photograph your precious family – the privilege was all mine!

I hope to have the rest of your gallery ready later this week…thanks!

Wonderland – Run, don’t walk, folks!

A little birdie told me that for a limited time, EmaLeigh’s Cupboard, is offering the Kyoko dress again in her shop!   This may be your last chance to get one!   I cannot tell you how many compliments we’ve gotten on this dress…tell her Karen sent you!

Blessings.

My heart weighs heavy this week and my mind is distracted.  I just recently have heard some sad news from two different friends of some trying times they’re each going through.  I am left feeling a bit helpless, and as a result have been in constant prayer over them.  I am thankful that their faith in God has been unwavering and even stronger through this difficult time.  I pray that He will continue to shower His abundant strength and blessings upon them.  It is times like these that make me hold on tight to my little ones and treasure every moment we are given.  It truly is a gift.

This little one is no exception to the rule.  She was quite the angel during our session…I could’ve stayed there all day capturing this beauty!   Her eyes were so captivating, I can tell she’s gonna be a heartbreaker!   You may be able to see the resemblence to Mom and Dad from our maternity session.

Thanks, E&S, for hanging in there with me…your gallery will be ready soon!