Shine a Light on Autism with Christine DeSavino Photography…

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.



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

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