What is autism? Aspergers Syndrome is defined as a mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by great difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts.
Autism disability interests me a lot and the condition is very personal to me. Thomas Powell aged 17 from Hinckley, Uk has Aspergers syndrome and the disability affects how he communicates and relates with others. It also affects his perception of the world, something which other people can never completely understand. Tom is my first cousin. I have experienced first hand how his condition affects his social interactions with others and how this also affects the family, especially his mother, Natalie Harvey.
I am currently researching the topic and trying to understand how the condition affects each individual by talking to them personally. I am specifically asking the question how useful is photography for individuals with Aspergers syndrome? How they express themselves and communicate through photography? I will be focusing on self expression through art forms and researching the differences between how an individual with Aspergers tells their story compared to how an observer of Aspergers photographs their story.
Personally I feel that Aspergers syndrome not only affects the child with the condition but the parents also. The use of art and photography can be of great help to the parents. The photo book Autism Heroes is a collection of portraits of the families who’s children have autism and contains interviews with the parents talking about their struggles.