ARTIGRAPHS PHOTOGRAPHY: Chris & Sandy Colter 772-879-7902
Hello and thank you for visiting our website! We began this photography journey in 2004 and have enjoyed traveling from Florida to Alaska photographing some amazing families who we now call friends. In 2013, we became a "little family" when our son Bryce joined our adventure. After he was diagnosed with autism in 2016, our lives shifted. We now walk down a new path, as we continue to learn about his world and also teach him about ours. Our hearts have been called to share our message and to create more Autism awareness with our photography. We want to tell stories with our images, especially for families who also live "on the spectrum" or in a world of special needs. We understand it. We live with repetitive behaviors, poor eye contact, limited communication, and sensory issues that come with a child who has ASD. God has chosen us to be Bryce's parents, and He has given us an extra portion of love, compassion, and patience. We have also been blessed with photography skills and great big love for children. Just like Jesus, we love ALL the children of the world. We feel called to use these talents for all kinds of families ... And we especially want to be available for ASD families who wish for professional photographs without the stress and hurt that come with stares, comments, and confusion that tends to happen when others simply do not understand their precious children.
CREATING AUTISM AWARENESS
If you're like us, your first thought when you heard the word "autism" was the movie "Rain Man". This point of reference can be misleading about so many who are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Rain Man's character was on the end of the spectrum requiring him to live in an assisted facility for his care. His behaviors were pronounced which made it more visible that he was neurologically different. At the time, we found humor in the story of his need to watch Judge Wopner every day at 4pm and when he needed his underwear to be purchased at K-Mart in Cincinnati, Ohio. We also felt compassion and sadness when he had outbursts at the airport and the hotel when Charlie couldn't understand his fears and needs. This is not Hollywood material and very real for many families who have loved ones on the the spectrum.
And now we see some similar behaviors in our little guy. We have learned that autism is a neurological disorder that affects development and behaviors. He remains behind in his language and cognitive development but continues to learn at his own pace and is developing into the beautiful person God has created him to become. We are very grateful that we had early intervention for Bryce at age two once he began to regress. Although he is generally a very happy, loving little boy, it doesn't break our hearts any less when we watch him struggle with his thoughts, anxiety, and behaviors.
While we are teaching him ways of thinking that don't come naturally to him, he is in turn teaching us how to this world through his beautiful, fascination, complex mind. He is not conversational but is quite verbal and loves to talk. He frequently echoes what others are speaking to him or scripts something he's memorized from a video. His actions are very expressive of his joy and his love - We are extremely thankful that he LOVES to have group hugs with us and give kisses. His actions speak "I love you" sufficiently and warm our hearts every.single.day.
We will be using this website to share our Parenting Autism Podcasts and also blog about our personal adventures. We want this website to provide education to those who want to learn more about autism. The value of sharing knowledge and experiences is valuable on this journey. At times you feel so alone until you meet other families who live on the spectrum, too. While every person is different, it helps to hear each story. It's kind of like snowflakes. They all have the same label. They are all created in the same manner. They all have similar qualities. And yet when it comes to the details, each one is completely different and beautiful in their own special way.