I had the privilege of meeting the Forgeron family at their home for Eva's Spectrum Inspired session and was greeted immediately by 5-year-old Eva and spunky 3-year-old Lily. The girls were both curious about my camera and said "cheeeeeese!" to get me to take their photo, then asked to see what I got right away. I could tell that this was going to be a fun and energetic time together!
Little brother, 1-year-old Seamus, joined the fun once he was finished with his snack and, oh my word what a ham! He is a cutie pie and he knows it!
I let the girls show me their room, then we tried to play one of the family's favorite games but there was just too much excitement! So we took advantage of the beautiful weather and went to the backyard for some bubbles and water play!
Once Eva was done with the pool, she made it VERY clear that she was ready to go back inside and get dried off. I love how she verbally and clearly expresses herself and her parents are doing an amazing job encouraging her communication skills! The girls had been promised cookies at the end of the session and while they enjoyed their tasty treats, Seamus showed off how he can almost walk!
I could have spent all day hanging out with this sweet family, but before I knew it, our time was up.
It is my honor to introduce you to Eva and her family through my photographs, and to share their story in the words of mom, Emily:
"My daughter Eva is 5 years old - my first baby. She’s absolutely a little beauty with bright, blue eyes, rosy cheeks and gorgeous, wavy, long curls. She’s playful, mischievous, sweet, set in her ways, intelligent, and quirky. I look at her and I see so much potential but I know she has it way tougher than most kids her age. Eva is on the autism spectrum, diagnosed a few months before her third birthday.
Two years ago I was fairly uneducated about the signs of autism, though looking back she was developing on track when I ran through all the checklists. But I wonder if I somehow missed something. The summer before her third birthday unexplained meltdowns began, repetitive runs down our house hallway ensued and a lot of jumping in place were the norm, and I soon learned about the term echolalia when Eva would bring phrases and conversations up over again and again out of context. Soon we had her evaluated and when she was diagnosed it was very devastating for me, not knowing what challenges we would be facing and how this would change the life I envisioned for my oldest daughter.
It has been a long road - some days were very difficult and some days are still very challenging but she is working hard and I’ve become a better mom and parent because of her diagnosis. I’m dedicated to helping her make her way. I’ve become more patient. I celebrate the small victories and put things in better perspective, counting my many blessings. Shortly after she turned three, we began therapies - ABA, speech and OT - and she is making tremendous progress, though there is still a lot of work ahead. I see the rewards of her therapies and my education - parent training - often. Today she attends TK in a general education classroom with an aide supporting her and loves going to school. She also attends a social skills playgroup on the weekends and has made new friends. I’ve learned to live in the present and count my blessings. My daughter has autism but she is more than that. It doesn’t define her. Autism surely makes life harder for her but I will do everything in my power to help her learn, grow and be the best she can be. And in turn I’m working on myself to be her mom who supports her, does her best to understand her, comforts her, fights for what she needs and has her corner - always. I’m so proud of who she is and will continue to support her in any and every way that I can."