Tag Archives: autism photographer

Naperville Senior Photographer, Downers Grove photographer

I had a wonderful time photographing this senior from Nequa Valley High School.  She is the youngest of their children, but may be the one who shines brightest.  Grace is a varsity track and field, as well as cross country, runner.  She is also a gold medalist with the Special Olympics.  Grace has high-functioning autism and competes with the special needs athletes, as well as the rest of her high school peers.

It was a beautiful (if slightly chilly) day on our day together, but she was a great sport.  The only thing she made me work for was getting a natural smile.  She has a gorgeous smile, as you can see, but many times, it was just frozen in place.  Well, I learned that if you get her talking about her cats, she lights up.

Autism photographer

 

Npaerville senior photographer

 

I love this black and white of her.

Downers Grove photographer

 

Hinsdale photographer

 

Elmhurst photographer

 

 

Plainfield photographer

 

St Charles photographer

 

After graduation, Grace is planning on attending District 204′s transitional school at Indian Prairie. Many of the district’s students with special needs receive linkage and instruction for post high school transition to the community through the Supported Training Experiences Post Secondary program (STEPS). They wanted to be sure to get a picture of Grace in a shirt from there. 

Naperville special needs photographer

 

I loved meeting Grace and her parents and hope she has a wonderful senior year and wish her the best as she ventures on after high school.

Firefly Nights Photography is nationally known for our work with special needs children, especially those with autism spectrum disorders.  Both Megan and her assistant have children with special needs and love to work and give back to other parents.  Firefly Nights Photography is located in downtown Naperville, but our clients come to us from all over Chicago, especially the western suburbs.  We provide portrait photography both in studio and on location outdoor sessions for maternity, newborn, babies, children, seniors, family, and athlete sessions.

If you are interested in a session, you can see more of our work under Galleries.  We look forward to working with you!

Naperville Photographer, Chicago Special needs photographer

Well, I am done editing the last of my special needs mini-sessions. It was a great year with so many familiar faces, and welcoming new families as clients, as well.  I’m so happy we were able to offer these specials to such deserving families.  I asked families to share about their wonderful children, so you can meet them.

First up is 11 year old Alex.  At two years old, he had a speech delay.  A speech therapist recommended he be evaluated by a developmental pediatrician.  He was then diagnosed with autism at two and a half years old.  Subsequently, he got early intervention for five months.  At four years old, the words starting coming.  He is now highly verbal with a large vocabulary.  He loves to read and go to the library.  In fourth grade he was diagnosed with ADD.  He now attends mainstream middle school in co-taught classes with a special education and general education teacher in each class. He also receives speech, occupational therapy, and social work services in school.  Alex was a very happy boy for me and loved giving hugs and placing my hands on his ears while smiling at me.

Naperville special needs photographer

 

Autism photographer

 

Next up are these wonderful siblings – older brother, Aidan (12),and twins Connor and Ashley (9), though you would never know they are twins.  Each child is unique and has enriched their parents’ lives.  They started on this adventure thinking they would be the teachers of their children, but so far, their kids have actually taught them much more.  Aidan is academically gifted and mature beyond his years, with a dry sense of humor he saves for those closest to him.  Connor is an elite swimmer and has an altruistic soul, with the kindest heart towards all people and animals.  Ashley can warm your heart with her hugs and smiles, turning the worst day into a great day simply by being there.  Ashley has Down Syndrome with a severe speech delay caused by verbal apraxia.  She is also a cancer survivor (diagnosed with Leukemia at age two).  Even though she has what society calls a disability, she is strong, social, funny, compassionate, and has so many abilities that her parents can’t possibly list them all.  While she is delayed, and with that comes many challenges, her entire family has learned so much about patience, humor, priorities, kindness, perseverance, acceptance, and compassion from Ashley.  Her mom’s hope is that these pictures not only show her adorable children, but also capture their inner beauty and allow others to see the very special bond that exists between them..  Each day, she looks at her three kids and feels like the luckiest mom ever.

Plainfield children's photographer

 

Wheaton special needs photographer

 

Next up is 8 year old Bella who is a high-spirited little girl that was diagnosed with Autism at 33 months.  She also has apraxia, which impedes her to verbalize orally. The sounds that come out of her mouth are sounds which occur mostly spontaneously when she is excited and overstimulated. Instead of recording of Bella’s first words, her mom has a recordable frame in which holds the sound of her laugh from the age of 9 months instead of her first words or emerging sounds.  The words have not came traditionally, but the spirit of her special language with her mom is breathtaking.  Her spirit and love to be in the community is heard from miles away, running into stores, and other days holds her mom’s hand, putting it over her mouth.   Bella utilizes an AAC (Augmentative Assitive Communication)  device that provides output from a computer generated voice. Bella’s voice with this communication device is still emerging, but she is able to express her wants and needs especially her love for cheeseburgers, pool, playground, Target, Chickfila, McDonalds and pictures to just name a few.  Her mom hears, ” I want cheeseburgers” on a daily basis.   Bella’s spirited personality can bring challenges like running care free and without thought.  Bella attends Alexander Leigh Center for Autism, a therapeutic day school in Crystal Lake.

Downers Grove photographer

 

Hinsdale photographer

 

Next up is Georgie and his little brother, Jackson.  I have been photographing Georgie for years, and he has come such a long way!!  Georgie was diagnosed with Autism when he was 3 yrs old.  He had no words when I first met him, but now he can communicate with us, and asked his mom about seeing all of his classmates (one by one) during our session.  These brothers have a wonderful bond – they are best friends.

Elmhurst photographer

 

Burr Ridge special needs photographer

 

I’ve been photographing these twins for years, as well. Born 8 weeks premature at 2.5 pounds (Philip) and 3 pds. 12 oz. (Emily,) they had a rough start. Philip then got ill shortly after birth and spent 90 days in the NICU. They had speech, OT, physical, developmental and feeding therapies throughout the last 6 years.  They were both diagnosed with Autism around 2 1/2 years old.  Through long days of therapies, the amazing district preschool, and hard work and persistence, both kids are thriving. Both are in mainstream classrooms and doing great.  Life at home is crazy, busy, but fun!  Both kids have recently started swimming lessons.  Emily started Daisies (Girl Scouts) this past year, and Philip plays baseball for the Miracle League.  They have really come a long way since I first met them, especially Phillip.

St Charles special needs photographer

 

Chicago autism photographer

 

 

The last session of this wonderful day was, unfortunately, the hardest. Three year old Cole came in the door crying.  He had fallen asleep in the car and was woken up and just beside himself.  Cole has Autism. He started preschool last October and has made a ton of progress. He started school with maybe five words and had to use a communication book to speak. He now has 100+ words and is starting to speak in 2-3 word sentences! Successes like these make all of his parents’ advocating worth it! His favorite things in the world are Netflix (so he can watch Ninjago wherever he goes), his Thomas trains, and his daddy.  While in studio, he just clung to his daddy and cried with the sweetest sing-song voice.  It was heartbreaking.  I had them go sit on the bed while my assistant and I ignored them.  They watched some Ninjago, which at least got him to stop crying, but if he saw me looking at him, he would start saying “nooooo”.  I took pictures at this point of his parents and his body, not worrying about his face.  Then later, they were tickling him, and I was able to get some of him smiling.  It only lasted a few minutes before he was upset again.  But through the magic of PhotoShop, we have family pictures with everyone smiling.

Aurora photographer

 

Chicago autism photographer

 

Naperville Photographer, Special Needs Photographer | round 1.2

Here are the rest of the families from my April 6th special needs mini-sessions.  Every year, I offer mini-sessions with no session fees for families with special needs children as a way to give back to these wonderful families.  I love seeing families return year after year, as well as meeting new ones.  This year was especially great because we didn’t have a single child this year who had a meltdown or was extremely anxious or overwhelmed.  Success!!

This first family was new to me this year, and just made us smile.  This happy 11 year old has Down Syndrome. She loves books and movies and was super polite and loves to make people happy.  Before Sarah turned 1, she had open-heart surgery and also two eye surgeries.  She is legally blind as she had cataracts, and they had to remove her lenses and cannot put permanent lenses due to glaucoma.  She has been through 10 surgeries all together, however, has been a trooper through them all.  She could not have been a happier person – and this family has NEVER had a family portrait!

special needs photography

 

Naperville family photographer

This next boy is one that didn’t go so well last year.  Last year, he was very overwhelmed and just couldn’t stop crying.  I am SO happy that this year we had success! Jeremy is a wonderful boy who has the most gorgeous eyes and smile.  His favorite thing in the world is playing with toy cars and watching car races.  Unfortunately, Jeremy suffers from Autism and Landau-Kleffner syndrome, a rare type of epilepsy. Although his behavior has improved significantly over the years,  he still has trouble communicating  and over coming his eating disorder.

Hinsdale photographer

 

Downers Grove photographer

 

This last family I remember well from before.  Their twin boys both have Autism, but man, have they really grown developmentally!  They did a great job listening this year.  They are such handsome, funny boys, so I am thrilled that I can showcase that for their family.

Wheaton photographer

 

Burr Ridge photographer

 

If you have a special needs child and would like to have your child’s picture taken, choose a photographer who understands how to work with such wonderful kids.  Firefly Nights Photography loves working with special needs children and would love to work with your family.

Special Needs Photographer, Naperville Photographer | round 1

April is Autism Awareness Month.  Every year,  I offer special needs mini-sessions for all families with special needs children.  Having a son on the autism spectrum, and my assistant has a son with cerebral palsy and epilepsy – we offer a unique understanding to these families. Something you won’t find everywhere else – personal understanding, no judgement, patience, and best of all – acceptance.  I look forward to these sessions every year as a way to give back to these families who work so hard for their children – the countless hours of therapy, battles with schools and teachers, social skills.

These are the first half of the first special needs mini-sessions.  I adore all of these smiles!

I believe it is the third year I have been photographing these brothers.  Both boys have Autism, and I was amazed at the older brother’s progress since last year.  It is great to see them progress and overcome challenges and obstacles.  I can’t wait to see how they are next year!

autism photographer

 

Naperville photographer

 

Now this next family and I go way back.  I have been photographing them since their son was only 3 months old!  He has speech problems and developmental delays, but is hands down one of the funniest kids ever.  His sister has always been very shy, and so I was so pleasantly surprised when she was instantly ready to smile for me!

 

downers grove photographer

 

I met this next family in the fall for my fall mini-sessions.  Their son has Autism, and in the fall, we struggled, as he would not leave the basketball court to go where we wanted.  This time, I heard him say some words, and he did a great job of being where we wanted him.  And I totally loved his green shoes!

Hinsdale photographer

 

Elmhurst photographer

 

This next family was new to me, referred from a friend.  At ages 4 and 3, both children have Autism without much language, which makes communication difficult.  Both currently attend special education classes through their school district and are doing so well!  They also have sensory issues, which make things like large crowds, loud noises, and bright lights very overwhelming – but they did great with the studio lights.

St Charles photographer

 

 

It was a wonderful day, and I look forward to editing the rest of this session and the wonderful kids involved.  If you have a special needs child, please contact us, as we would love to work with your family and provide not only wonderful pictures, but a wonderful experience.

Chicago Special Needs Photographer, Autism Photographer | Soaring Eagle Academy

About three years ago, I was asked to photograph Soaring Eagle Academy, a special school for Autism in Chicago’s western suburb of Burr Ridge.  It had recently opened and had four students.  The pictures were used as marketing for the school.  Now, about three years later, they have 45 students and about 75 staff members!  They needed updated marketing photos to showcase their amazing school, and I was honored to be asked back.

Soaring Eagle Academy offers a new look at children with Autism and related disorders as individuals with great potential for interacting, communicating and thinking. It is the first school in the Midwest to integrate Developmental Language Models and DIR®/Floortime approach principles and is dedicated to providing its students ages 5 through 21, with a nurturing social and academic environment which respects their individual differences.

You can see the devotion to these children, the love.  If you are moved, please check out their website, as they are always in need of donations.

Autism photographer

 

Naperville special needs photographer

 

Downers Grove special needs photographer

 

Wheaton special needs photographer

 

Hinsdale special needs photographer

 

Elmhurst special needs photographer

 

Burr Ridge special needs photographer

 

Plainfield special needs photographer