The Faces of Autism: Meet Alayla-Mae

Meet Alayla-Mae, a 3 year old animal lover that was diagnosed with autism very recently.  This girl was such a sweetie when I met her.  When I first arrived she wasn't thrilled with me throwing her schedule off, but didn't take long to warm up!

dear me photography mandan nd photographer girl sitting on rug in front of toys

Alayla-Mae wasn't engaging other kids during play. She has to have things a certain way, for example: sitting at a certain table at some restaurants, going a certain way coming back from visiting family and so forth. She spends most mornings screaming and wakes up that way.

Alayla-Mae loves animals and does very well with them. She memorizes certain things and will randomly bring them up. She also loves to sing to calm others.  Alayla-Mae likes to be outside and play with the family dogs and enjoys going sledding. She loves to help with cleaning as well as baking. She absolutely loves Daniel Tiger and Peppa Pig.

dear me photography mandan photographer girl laying on rug with toy car in her hand

Alayla-Mae struggles with potty training, behavior and keeping hands to herself. She also has a hard time with the big feelings and letting others know she needs space.

Alayla-Mae's parents want others to know that telling a parent that their child doesn't look like they have autism or questioning the diagnosis is not helpful.  It is hurtful and harmful.  It does not help spread acceptance. These children are resilient and they try to keep their feelings contained while out in public, it's a lot more complicated than just telling them to listen.

dear me photography mandan photographer girl in white vest sitting on rug in living room