Disability as an Ability Toward Success: Moms on the Move
Faces of Autism Campaign
3-year-old Montgomery, AL resident Jaxson Jordan was diagnosed with mild-to-moderate (Level 2) Autism with language impairment and sensory anomalies in 2018. Montgomery, AL Artist Braxton Baker free-hand sketched Jaxson’s pictures. In the sketch, you see Jaxson lining up his toy trucks. This is a typical, repetitive behavior of children on the spectrum. Jaxson’s mom, Ashley Bell says color coding, stacking and lining up objects is a calming mechanism for him. While he is improving, Jaxson has poor eye contact and often gazes into space, as you see pictured. He usually makes little no effort to connect with others, like many kids on the spectrum who struggle to develop the social skills needed to interact successfully with others. Bell says Jaxson has to be on a strict schedule and has a very hard time with certain textures and activities. "I don’t let autism define him. When he focuses on something, he learns everything about it and retains it,” Bell said. Jaxson is one of dozens of children on the spectrum who will be featured during DATS MOM Faces of Autism Campaign. Please head to our Facebook page to see more Faces of Autism and help us spread autism awareness.
15-year-old Montgomery, AL resident Cameron Washington was officially diagnosed with autism in September of 2019, at the age of 14, although his mother Sophia Washington knew he had it. “It was a struggle to get an autism diagnosis. I felt the doctors related his behaviors and delays to ADHD, but I didn’t give up,” Washington said. Artist Braxton Barker free-hand sketched Cameron’s pictures. In the sketch, you see Cameron’s social awkwardness and staring depicted. Many people on the spectrum may not understand conventional social rules and seem unengaged in a conversation and not understand the use of gestures or sarcasm. Washington says Cameron doesn’t like to initiate conversation and responds to questions with short answers. He still has a speech delay and often does not make eye contact. “He loves engaging with his electronic gaming system, I-pad, and cellphone, but does not always readily accept time restrictions. He is very good at basketball, but doesn’t want to participate in team sports because he says it makes him cry to lose,” Washington said. She said those who encounter Cameron and others like him should open their hearts and minds. “He loves to learn about history, new vocabulary words and he’s an avid speller. Although Cameron can be reserved at times he usually wants to participate in activities and events, but may not express that desire,” Washington said. Cameron is one of dozens of children on the spectrum who will be featured during the Faces of Autism Campaign. Please head to our Facebook page to see more Faces of Autism and help us spread autism awareness.
6-year-old Montgomery, AL resident Conner Dantzler was diagnosed with moderate-to-severe Autism Spectrum Disorder at 20 months old. Artist Braxton Baker free-hand sketched Conner’s kindergarten school picture and two pictures in his home environment when he stims. In the sketch, you see Conner hand-flipping, which is a form of stimming. Rocking, spinning, repeating the same words and phrases are also common forms of stimming you may see with children on the spectrum. Stimming behaviors include tactile, visual, auditory, olfactory and vestibular. Conner stims with vocalization when he is overstimulated or understimulated and it’s mostly associated with his visual sensory inputs when he’s on his I-pad or watching TV. Conner is one of dozens of children on the spectrum who will be featured during the DATS MOM Faces of Autism Campaign. Please head to our Facebook page to see more Faces of Autism and help us spread autism awareness!