Autism Speaks

by | Feb 24, 2018 | General Photography

Autism Awareness month is approaching (April) and I wanted to take the time to share this blog with everyone to raise awareness of Autism Speaks.

Every year on April 2nd many organizations get together and celebrate this day with unique fundraisers to raise money and awareness for autism. I am one of them.

What is autism?

Autism is a spectrum disorder that ranges from challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication as well as other unique differences. Autism is not one aspect in particular; this is a spectrum disorder meaning people with autism have varying different challenges.

Let me tell you my story about autism:

Autism Speaks

I had the privilege of meeting a little boy with autism when I became an elementary school teacher, his name is Brody, and he changed my life. There are often many misconceptions regarding children and autism. Many people think they are standoffish and aloof. I will be the first to say that is NOT the case.

Needless to say, this blog post is dedicated to Brody. As I mentioned earlier Brody has changed my life. I was one of those people that didn’t know about autism and often carried those misconceptions as many others do. Then I met this incredible, caring, kind, adventurous, and exciting kid that had a love for life like no one I’ve ever met. He has shown me what real and true happiness looks and feels like.

Over the course of the year, I had him in class he taught me the important things in life. He has reminded me of what is important and encouraged me to stop and take the time to enjoy the small things. Brody has helped me learn to enjoy every moment and never to forget to laugh. He has altered my educational and photography career from this point forward.

I have since become very active in the autism community and have changed the way I run my classroom. Every year now I donate my time doing photos for children with autism. I want to make sure everyone is comfortable with the experience. Many parents of children with autism struggle with the thought of getting professional photos taken because this is a break in the schedule and it can be quite stressful for everyone involved. My goal is to make sure that everyone has a great time and there isn’t a worry of paying money if things don’t go as planned. I started doing this for the month of April and have since waived my session fee for families with autism at any point in the year. I owe the way I have changed my business to one smart AMAZING kid, Brody.

Autism Speaks, Autism Aware      Autism speaks, Autism aware


Signs and symptoms of autism:

Obvious signs begin around the age of 2-3 years old but sometimes can be diagnosed earlier particularly with developmental delays.

  • Avoiding eye contact and wanting to be alone
  • Trouble understanding people’s feelings or talking about their own feelings.
  • Prefer not to be held or cuddled, or cuddle only when they want to.
  • Repeat or echo words or phrases
  • Repeating actions
  • Lose skills they once had
  • Not play pretend games
  • May have unusual reactions to how things smell, taste, look, feel, or sound

These are a few symptoms from the CDC

Causes and Treatment:

There is no cure for autism.

Who is affected:

Autism is more common in boys than girls (4.5 times more)

Living with Autism

Autism is very real and many of these kids’ struggles making friends and having relationships many of us have, all because they are different and unique. There are students just like Brody that do not get the support they need. Please remember to take a second and educate yourselves. You will find that kids and adults with autism are amazing and they will teach you more about life than you can teach them. I know Brody did.

         Autism speaks, autism aware


Do you have a child with autism and need a support group? Check out the Quirky Moms on Facebook. This is a group of amazing people that share their stories and help support one another as well as celebrate the success’; this is the group you want to help you through your adventure of being a parent with a child with autism.

Let’s raise awareness #LightItUPBlue

Join me at the autism walk in Portland, Maine; I will be there taking photos!


Autism Walk

Autism Society Facebook Page


Owl My Love,


Catherine Gross

Catherine Gross


My name is Catherine and I am a newborn and family portrait photographer in Maine. I love nothing more than cuddling a sweet baby or creating a stunning, fairytale work of art..

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  1. Gail Carver

    Thank you for sharing this blog with us! I have had a couple HS seniors with autism and they often become my favorite clients. I also work with our local CHildrens Resource Center and love watching the dedication the staff has to all of their kids!

  2. Giselle

    Love this beautiful post about Autism awareness. Thank you for taking the time to enlighten us about this subject!

  3. Morgan

    Great information on autism and great photos! What a great way to honor autism awareness month!


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Catherine Gross

My name is Catherine and I am a newborn, child, and family fine art portrait photographer located in Central Maine. I love nothing more than cuddling a sweet baby or creating a stunning, fairytale work of art.

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