The Faces of Autism: Meet Peyton

Meet Peyton, a sweet 10 year old boy who has just recently been diagnosed with Autism.  He was really quiet during my time with him, but he was excited to pick his favorite spots for photos and quick with the smiles! The Heritage Center is one of his favorite places and he knew exactly where he wanted to go.  He even easily helped me out of the maze from the room we were in! 

dear me photography bismarck faces of autism boy wearing baseball cap

His mom noticed that Peyton often kept to himself and didn't really play with other kids.  He has always been behind his peers developementally, since about the age of two.  Peyton also has the tendency to rock back and forth.

Peyton works great with his hands and is really good working with legos and tools.  He loves 4-wheeling, riding his bike and helping his dad in the shop.  

dear me photography bismarck faces of autism boy sitting on bendh

Peyton has a hard time with group settings and large crowds.  Too many people tend to agitate him.  Loud noises and flashing lights are a problem for Peyton. He has a hard time with tasks and has to be walked through step by step.  

Although parenting a child with autism isn't easy, Peyton's mom said it is completely worth it.  Everyday is a different day with a different challenge.

dear me photography bismarck faces of autism boy standing by model train

Rocking back and forth is a fairly common stim (self stimulatory behavior) for children with autism and sensory issues.  This can be the child trying to calm themselves down , a sign of sensory overload or underload, a burst of emotions (people stim with both happy feelings and negative feelings), or even because they are in pain.  Stimming is actually a good thing (as long as the stim is safe) for people with autism to help regulate themselves.  If you see someone stimming, don't try to stop them, unless it is unsafe, and instead try to figure out WHY they needed to stim.  Are they under stress? Is there too much noise or too bright of lights?  It is more helpful to get to the root of the stimming behavior, and help lessen the triggers, if it is a negative reaction, rather than try to stop them or judge.  Of course this was a quick synopsis of stimming, so if you would like to learn more, reach out in the comments and we will all do our best to link some more helpful information! In the meantime, HERE is a pretty well written article on stimming.