As a parent of a son with disabilities, I often wonder what interests he may develop, or activities he may like to be involved with. We also wonder, what can he manage, with the complex multiple disabilities he has to contend with.
Having these conditions from birth, our son is unaware of how it would be if he were ‘able bodied’ as he has not experienced life that way. He is ‘normal’ for him, and happy in his own way. Our role as parents and guardians, is to ensure that he sees and experiences as much as he can, and as wide a range of stimuli as possible. With this in mind, it is important that we understand, and our son understands, what he doesn’t enjoy, equally as much as that which he does. It gives a valuable lesson in likes and dislikes as much as stimulating the mind.
One of the activities our son has watched as I develop my own hobby, is photography. We use the pictures to create social stories, memory boards and reminders of things we have done, and places we have seen. Increasingly our son has shown an interest in ‘telling’ me what pictures to take.for him. The idea grew to set up his own camera, together with a tripod holding his own camera in a position that he can use from his wheelchair and operate the shutter all with one hand.
This photography kit comes with us each time we go out now as well as the much loved ‘picnic’ and now has his little piece of independence to take his own pictures. I leave these pretty much as captured and just crop and title them so he can use these images to create his own social stories.
It is another lesson for me that ‘there is always a way’ and enabled to share in an interest together with me. It may not last, but for now, it encourages him to get outdoors into the fresh air, and to learn the basics of a new skill. Other than in this blog, I’m looking to see if I can find somewhere for his work to be used (once he has become more prolific) so he feels there is also a greater purpose behind it.
For those contacts who follow my own work on ‘Flickr’ I owe a huge debt of gratitude, for getting behind our sons work and giving him the encouragement to keep it up.
I will in time create a gallery based on his work to share his journey with you here.