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This Is How Our 10-Year-Old Autistic Son Photographs the World He Sees

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Our 10-year-old autistic son cannot yet read, write or tie his shoes. We wait breathless minutes for him to say a word or phrase that marks the highlight of his day. How desperate is the family whose autistic boy disappears, is found hours later, and cannot retell where he has been?

The language is all there, wrapped inside his brain. He can tell his best friend, Watty, a Playmobil doll, everything. His smile hangs through Bugs Bunny, he falls on the ground laughing when we use an app to make our family dog sing. He hears, processes, and understands the world all around. He categorizes the minutest of details. But ask him in what country or which street we live on and he cannot tell you. Ask him what “two-plus-two” is and he will say, “two.”

However, give this boy a camera, heavy and sturdy, and walk with him through a festival or a market or on a family trip and he will see things no one else sees. As a father who is terrible at photography, I do not instruct nor guide, only make sure that he watches where he’s going. My son will photograph patterns, dizzying imbalances, everyday objects. He will also document vendors on cell-phones, children alone, people in active solitude. This is how our 10-year old boy with autism records the world he sees.

All photos copyrighted by K.K. Raschke. More photos can be found on Instagram.

blurry arm with child peaking through

little boy sitting outside a bouncy house

inside a grocery store

watermelon in a bag

couple sitting on a bench

little boy holding up a placemat

base of a tree

art installation

Originally published: October 3, 2016
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