By Hannah Schenker
Photographer and mother of two, Kate Miller-Wilson, has put her photography skills to a new use – capturing the realities of her son’s life with autism. Her small photography business in Minnesota, USA, had been focussed on families and children, but now she primarily photographs her own kids. Her portraits of her son Eian are intimate, honest and touching, as she explores how he sees the world in his own unique way. The photographs draw you in to his world, invoking a kind of magic but also witnessing the struggles. We spoke to Kate about her touching photographs of Eian; you will hear in her own words what life is like for Eian and the family who love him.
“We realized Eian had some challenges when he started missing milestones as an infant. There were lots of small things, but the biggest was probably not turning to his name. We started working with him intensively on our own and with therapists at 12 months, and he made huge strides in the first year of our work. My mom is a speech pathologist, and she worked very hard to help us formulate a plan to reach him. At about 19 months, I felt he finally noticed me and began to connect a little. Early intervention is so important, and I firmly believe that is why he has a high functioning level. He was officially diagnosed at age three.”
“Life with him is full of a lot of challenges, interspersed with unexpected joys. Little things are hard – going to a restaurant, trying a new food. He’s very smart and very confrontational, especially if he feels something is unfair. Seeing other perspectives is really challenging for him, so that means a lot of things really seem unjust about our parenting and about the world in general. We can go days without getting a real interaction with him (one that includes back-and-forth communication and emotional connection). Then suddenly, he can be present, offering a beautiful, unique perspective. His observations about the world and about people can be absolutely profound.”