Smiling inside out
I must have a thousand pictures in my phone. They’re just in there – probably never coming out. Many of them are of the kids, including lots of blurry ones and the same shot over and over that I never deleted. Today I took some pictures of Emma while we were sitting on the couch and I could tell she was in the spirit. She seemed to be posing a little more than usual. I knew she was really trying – concentrating not only on looking, but smiling. I took a few shots, showing her and asked her if she liked them.
Emma : yes
I was delighted to get her feedback about how she thought she looked. It’s one of those little things that sent me over the moon in two seconds.
“Oooh, this one is cool!! I like it”, I said. “Do you like it?”
“Really?!! Why not?”
Emma: I think I look sad
It occurred to me then that it was not the look she was going for. And I was reminded of what I guess I’ve always known, but never had really thought about before. Normally, I have just expected that Emma would have whatever expression in a photo – I just wanted her in it! It’s really hard for her to create or control her facial movements. I happen to love this mysterious side gaze. But I never expect a “say cheese” kind of photo from her, although I’m fortunate to have captured many smiling photos of her. And it doesn’t hurt that my good friend, Renee, is a photographer and has taken so many wonderful pictures of her and Hayden both. So yesterday on the couch I became aware that, yes, not only does she have a hard time with facial expressions, but she didn’t like it when she felt the face in the photo didn’t match how she felt inside. Many people with autism have a difficult time controlling not only body movement, but simple facial expression.
We tried it again and I could see her try so hard for that simple thing most of us take for granted – a smile.
We talked some more about it and I told her we could work on those pesky facial expressions if she really wanted to. And honestly, she couldn’t be more beautiful when she’s NOT smiling!
I don’t think I’ll be thinking in quite the same way when I’m taking pictures of her from now on. I’ll be shooting for the smile inside out.
This post was brought to you by Hipstamatic –LOL! Just joking (unless they want to pay me)