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Autism in photos and one mom's definition of success

by Dawn Grosvenor

One piece from Michalynn's photo story“It’s tough. There’s not a day where we don’t get frustrated, but there’s also not a day where she doesn’t do something that just amazes us.” – Erica Sanchez, on her daughter Michaelynn, who has autism.

Erica Sanchez is the mother of 4-year-old Michaelynn, or “Munchie” as her family calls her. Michaelynn was diagnosed with autism as an infant, and she was recently featured in a poignant photo story by photographer Clay Lomneth that captured aspects of her everyday life.

Not only were the results of the photo story beautiful and striking, they also created a space for Michaelynn’s mother to speak to her family’s experiences with autism.

After Munchie’s photo story was published, Erica Sanchez was interviewed by the Huffington Post. In an emotional moment, she expressed how important small successes are in her family’s household, and especially for Michaelynn.

“I have crayons all over my wall, and that's success in my household,” Sanchez said. “She picked up a crayon and she drew circles and lines on my walls, and they will stay there because I'm proud of that.”

She also shared her pride in the many obstacles that Michaelynn has overcome in the last four years. Sanchez explained that almost since birth, Michaelynn would not make eye contact with others and did not want to be close to people. Now, she says that Michaelynn shows affection and gives her siblings hugs and kisses.

Michaelynn’s successes, Sanchez says, not only make her proud, but give her more self-confidence to go forward. She says that her daughter has taught her that she has more patience and strength than she could have ever imagined.

For more on this story, watch Erica Sanchez’s interview and view Michaelynn’s photo story. Michaelynn’s family also runs an autism awareness page on Facebook, which you can follow at Raising Autism, Raising Awareness.

If you are the parent of a child with autism, consider turning to our helpful resources below. These titles and many more are available now in the Future Horizons’ book store!

Early Intervention & Autism

Early Intervention & Autism
By James Ball
Temple Grandin 2014 Presentation DVD

Temple Grandin 2014 Presentation DVD
By Temple Grandin
1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism or Asperger’s

1,001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism or Asperger's
By Ellen Notbohm and
Veronica Zysk

Photo courtesy of Clay Lomneth.