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Three Ways to Raise Autism Awareness
April is Autism Awareness month and sadly it is now reported by the Center for Disease Control that 1 out of every 110 children by age eight have an autism spectrum disorder, and for boys the rate is even more alarming at 1 in 70 having some form of the disorder. Autism is an epidemic that has the potential to affect each and everyone one of us, if it has not done so already.

Paul and Christine on the beach near the time of his diagnosis.

For those of you who don’t know, my younger brother Paul was diagnosed with autism when he was 2 years old. At the time of his diagnosis, in the early 70’s, we were told that he would need to be institutionalized. After many challenging years and unending persistance by both my family and many dedicated professionals, Paul has been able to emerge from his world and come into ours. Though he is now able to lead a comfortable life where he is an active part of his community, it is still a constant struggle for him to keep from withdrawing, and his search for acceptance in our world is a day-to-day journey. Fortunately, the awareness and treatment of autism has come a long way since Paul’s diagnosis. But we need to do more…

And so this month, I want to use my photography as a vehicle to raise both money and awareness for a cause that is near and dear to my heart. To do so, I am very excited to offer the following three ways to help the cause and add some incentive for you as well:

  • 1. I want to celebrate the unique beauty that exists within a child with autism. Too often their potential is overshadowed by their disability, but I want to turn that around and shine a light on their true uniqueness with my camera. To do this I am donating a free photo session and print package to a family who has been touched by autism. This free session will go to the winner of a special drawing on April 30th, 2010. Here are the details:

Shine a Light on Autism: Tell me either about your own family or a family that you know that has a child with autism. Tell me about their unique journey and the hurdles that they have confronted along the way. In order to raise as much awareness as possible, we ask that you be willing to share your story on my blog. I will post as many of your stories as I can during my weekly blog posts. Then, on April 30th at 12pm, one story will be randomly chosen as the winner and announced on both my blog and facebook page. The winner will receive a free 2 hour photo session with me, including 25-35 images posted to your own private gallery on my website and my Astoria Portrait Collection which includes a large wall print or storyboard, two 11x14s and 15 gift prints (total value of $1100). To enter the drawing please see my “Shine a Light on Autism Application Form.” All entries must be submitted by April 25th, 2010. I plan to run this promotion again in the future…so anyone who submits this time but doesn’t win, will automatically be entered the next time.

  • 2. For those of you who are thinking about booking a session with me but have not yet done so, here is your chance to do so and also contribute to the cause:

Book a photo session with me in the month of April, I will make a $50 donation to your choice of either Autism New Jersey or Eden II Programs of New York.  In addition, you will receive a $100 print credit to be used for your shoot anytime before Sept 30, 2010. You need not have a child with autism to take advantage of this promotion.  To book, just contact me.

  • 3. And one last chance to win…and to raise Autism Awareness…

Leave a comment telling me why you think Autism Awareness matters and you will be entered into a drawing to win various prizes promoting Autism Awareness, including:  tote bags, tee shirts, car magnets and pins. To enter just leave a comment on this post, on a Personal Story of Autism post,  or on a post on my Facebook Fan Page that pertains to autism and your email address will automatically be put into the drawing. The more dialogue the better, so each time you leave a comment you will be entered into the contest! Let’s hear from you!

And of course if you wish not to take part in any of these promotions that I am offering, you can still give to the cause by donating directly to an organization. New Jersey has one of the highest autism rates in the country so I suggest making a contribution to an organization that will have an impact right here:

Autism New Jersey

For those of you who live in New York, I highly recommend:

Eden II Programs of New York

And for those of you who live outside of our area, a great place to donate would be:

Autism Speaks

Autism Society of America

And one last thing, if you know of anyone who might be interested in raising awareness with me, please pass this post on to them….every voice helps.

Thanks,

Christine

Please be sure to leave a comment below…simply by doing so you’ll be spreading love, and helping to raise awareness.

~Read Personal Stories of Autism~

~Submit a Story~

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  • Sanna - Christine,
    What wonderful ways to help unlock the mysteries of autism. Thank you for raising our awareness through your beautifully, exquisite photography.
    Sanna04/13/2010 – 1:54 pm

  • Karen - thanks so much for posting this and raising awareness!04/14/2010 – 2:50 pm

  • Susan Pieples - Christine,

    Your aunt shared this with me. My father, son and I all have Asperger’s Syndrome. I do a lot of advocating for families, and wanted you to know that I really appreciate what you are doing. Another really good place to send money is the Autism Society of America.04/15/2010 – 1:51 am

  • marlene Desavino - There is an inspiring aspect of autism. It is their lack of guile. Parenting my child for 40 years and watching him become more and more independent, without pretense and guile, has made me a better person. It is the realization that growth has occurred, despite the fact that his mind processes everything literally, because of his autism, and that it happened in our world, being subject to our daily interactions of wile. This challenges me. People would be more understanding if they knew this. For this reason your site is most significant because most of are just not aware.04/15/2010 – 9:39 pm

  • David - The thing is, most people don’t want to acknowledge the potential for autism to arise within their own lives. But the chances are that it will. That’s why we all need to acknowledge and embrace it. Every voice counts. Thanks for doing this and please post the pics from the winner’s session–I bet they’ll be very special.04/16/2010 – 1:09 am

  • Bea Boxley - I love how you and David find ways to honor these special stories. This celebration of autism reflects your integrity and the integrity of your work. Your photography comes from your heart, and in that precious instant you capture the heart of the one your are photographing.04/21/2010 – 7:34 pm

  • Aunt Pat - This is a wonderful site, Christine! Everyone within the Austism spectrum is unique and special. As a librarian, I have found a number of books that show this to children. We discuss the books we read which enable those not familiar with autism to learn from those that do have personal connections. I am amazed at the musical ability of Paul Michael. How he has grown and developed has resulted from your mother’s love, patience, and determination. It’s easy to see how you are her daughter through this special awareness site and what you are doing.04/22/2010 – 1:29 pm

  • Janice Adelson - Christine, through your excellent site, you have shone a bright and hopeful light on a mysterious, frustrating, and growing problem. My niece Leslie, now 36, was finally diagnosed with autism at age 4 after having received multiple and conflicting diagnoses (and inappropriate “treatments”) beginning at 18 months of age. I credit my sister who, despite her own health problems, persisted in a search for answers that finally took her to Buffalo where she and Leslie found a community of care-givers who understood autism as well as could be expected that long ago. As a shy adult who straddles two very different worlds, Leslie is kind (at times overly candid — there’s that lack of guile), loves and cares for her dog, and takes pleasure in singing, playing the piano, and watching TV news programs. During her moments of retreat, I often wonder how she might have developed given today’s focus on autism. Thank you so much for all that you are doing to keep that focus sharp and steady.04/23/2010 – 9:21 pm

This weekend I’ll be participating in fundraisers for two premier schools in this area.  On Friday night the Saddle River Day School will be holding their annual auction at the Rockleigh Counrty Club.

Saddle River Day School Crest

And on Saturday the Green Meadow Waldorf School will be holding their annual auction on their school grounds.

Green Meadow Waldorf School Logo

So for any of you who might be attending and are thinking about a session with me, here’s your chance to donate to the school and win a children’s portrait session and print credit.  For more info on the events, look here:

www.saddleriverday.org

www.gmws.org

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This was my third time doing a session with this beautiful family, this time for their new baby girl!  As you can see, she is an angel with big, dark eyes and a full head of hair.  (I love that!)  She prefers to sleep in mama’s arms or when she’s wrapped up tight in a warm blanket…so we obliged….

Beautiful newborn girl with dark hair and eyes wearing green tutu and bow

baby girl wearing white bow sleeping in her mother

Here she is bundled up and looking adorable…I love the coloring in this one.  White definitely becomes her…

beautiful newborn girl wrapped in white blanet lying on knit blanket

She looks so serene here…

Serene baby girl sleeping with hand on face and pink bow in hair

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  • Mollie Kendall - She’s soooo adorable!! She’s got that old soul look to her. These images are great, Christine 🙂03/30/2010 – 4:51 pm

  • Haley - what a beautiful little baby– she does look like such a girl 🙂

    these are great captures…. the colors are so warm and beautiful. That black and white tone rocks!03/30/2010 – 5:07 pm

  • Timothy Pham - Wow, she is beautiful!! I love the way her lip is curled in on the 2nd to last one. My favorite one is the last shot. Amazing shots!03/30/2010 – 6:03 pm

  • amy - she is a beautiful baby and you captured her beautifully. oh that hair kills me!03/30/2010 – 8:11 pm

  • Christine - Thanks everyone! She was such a little beauty… then again, so is everyone in her family!03/30/2010 – 9:13 pm

  • Christie Adams Photography - Beautiful job! I especially love the black and white on top03/31/2010 – 9:32 am

This session was a combination of maternity and newborn.   I had the extreme pleasure of meeting this family before and after their baby’s arrival, to share in the excitement of anticipation and the joy that is so unique and special to becoming a parent for the first time.  Their baby boy came a bit earlier than they expected…but he is healthy and absolutely beautiful.    Here are just a few from both sessions…

Mom was in amazing shape.

beautiful pregnant mother expecting child

This is one of my favorites of the baby…

soft and beautiful baby cuddling on blanket

I just love his profile…it’s perfect!

newborn sleeps in beautiful wicker basket with hand knit wrap

This blanket was so soft and beautiful and made for a wonderful prop…

newborn with knit hat sleeps on luscious fur blanket

Here’s the little peanut…I mean PRINCE! 🙂

newborn baby boy sleeps in peanut wrap on brown blanket

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  • Penny Leverman - Christine,
    Your photos of babies are absolutely fabulous. I love to look at them.
    Penny03/27/2010 – 8:54 am

  • kristiana Dass - So adorable in the knits, I love the lighting…03/27/2010 – 9:39 am

  • Sanna - I especially love the one where he is holding onto his hat. I also like that you used the furry blanket ….. touch sensation means so much to these “little ones”.03/29/2010 – 1:32 pm

  • Timothy Pham - Omgoodness Christine! The second to last shot just makes my heart melt!03/30/2010 – 6:00 pm

  • Christine - Thanks so much everyone! You are too sweet!03/30/2010 – 9:11 pm

I just wanted to send out a huge thank you to everyone who participated in my Fundraiser for CARE’s relief effort in Haiti.  It was a great success and together we raised hundreds of dollars that will go directly to CARE’s Haiti relief fund. For more information about their wonderful mission statement, visit CARE.

Not all of my sessions are finished yet, but this is a little montage of some who participated in the promo…

Photo montage of baby and maternity portraits from my Haiti fundraiser sessions

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  • Sanna - This is a great cause ….. and it was great of you to think of others and then to make something generous happen. Thank ou.03/23/2010 – 1:35 pm

Lately, it seems like most of my sessions have been newborns.   That’s just fine with me – with what Mother Nature’s been giving us, I don’t need to venture outside.  Besides, infants are a captive audience, if  you know what I mean.  Not to mention the cute factor…I know I may be repeating myself, but just look at how sweet this little guy is…

I’m lovin’ this turquoise blanket with his eyes.

Photograph of a beautiful newborn boy under a turquoise blanket.

Photograph of newborn infant sleeping on black background

He likes to stay snuggly, too…

Beautiful newborn boy in knit wrap on fur blanket with tie-dyed backdrop

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  • mimi - Awake in his surroundings,
    an infant tires and falls asleep……
    all innocence and peace03/21/2010 – 7:54 pm

  • Cristina - Beautiful Christine! Love the turq blanket!03/22/2010 – 1:47 pm

  • Mandi Nikole - These are adorable.03/23/2010 – 9:53 am

  • Christine - Thanks for your comments. He was a great little sleeper – look how peaceful…03/30/2010 – 9:14 pm

  • Dana - What gorgeous baby…I LOVE the first one!04/18/2010 – 10:06 am

This session was a bit of a drive for me…but worth every minute of it.  How adorable is he?  I knew he would be…his family makes beautiful babies.  I’ve had two sessions with his older cousin and have one scheduled soon for another baby cousin.  From the time I got there, he slept like a champ and was a beautiful model for these little Mamique Design knits he’s wearing.   He could’ve won an award for preciousness!

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  • Leslie - so precious Christine!03/14/2010 – 5:32 pm

This little beauty had the biggest, most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen on a baby.  Through three wardrobe changes and lots of posing, she stayed a little angel with each expression cuter than the next.  Seriously, have you ever seen a face this precious…?


You may be noticing by now that I love to catch a beautiful mommy/baby moment…

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  • Karen - chritine, these are AMAZING! i love them all! she is so beautiful and that light is yummy! wonderful job capturing her!03/10/2010 – 7:16 pm

  • timothy pham - you can stare into her eyes for days! i love the 2nd and 3rd shot christine!03/10/2010 – 10:41 pm

  • Eric Lagstein - Cute-E-Pie!!! Wow, those are are incredable, Christine you did an amazing job capturing her.03/12/2010 – 4:44 pm

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