New Photo Series Shows What Autism Is Really Like For Families

Jason Hales | Marcus Autism Center
Jason Hales | Marcus Autism Center

Autism can be devastating for the families it affects, but a poignant new photo series aims to show that the disorder isn't what has to define those children who have it.

The photos — titled "This Is Autism" — showcase five kids who frequently visit the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta's Marcus Autism Center, and according to the center, they serve to highlight each child's greatest achievement after undergoing therapy, whether it's an ability to handle sensory stimulation or engage with siblings.

"For kids with autism, every milestone matters and should be celebrated," a representative for the center told POPSUGAR. "So we set out to capture those special moments — the little things that they're now able to do as a family."

Get to know all five featured kids below.

Quinn, 3
Jason Hales | Marcus Autism Center

Quinn, 3

"Before going to therapy, I had a difficult time dropping Quinn off at daycare. Most days, I would be late for work and stay with her because she was so upset. Now, she initiates the hug and kiss when I drop her off." ― Quintin Harris, dad

Jason Hales | Marcus Autism Center

Ainsley, 7
Jason Hales | Marcus Autism Center

Ainsley, 7

"Last year, trips to the grocery store were hard for us. The lights, crowds, and noises would be too overwhelming for Ainsley. Since completion of the Feeding Disorders Program, she now loves shopping trips ― particularly the macaroni aisle!" ― Mary Mullikin, mom

Jason Hales | Marcus Autism Center

Gavi, 9
Jason Hales | Marcus Autism Center

Gavi, 9

"Gavi has come a long way. We couldn’t function at home prior to treatment. He didn’t acknowledge his younger brother, and they never played together. Now, they are best buddies and have a really sweet relationship." ― Lauren Surden, mom

Jason Hales | Marcus Autism Center

Ethan, 4
Jason Hales | Marcus Autism Center

Ethan, 4

"Ethan struggled with communication and understanding his family. After just seven months of therapy, he can now understand me. He is starting to ask for things he wants, and his vocabulary and expressiveness grows day by day." ― Haley Lindau, mom

Jason Hales | Marcus Autism Center

Isaac, 7
Jason Hales | Marcus Autism Center

Isaac, 7

"At this time last year, Isaac wouldn’t ask for things. Instead, he would take my hand and lead me to what he wanted. I never knew what he was thinking or feeling because he couldn’t express himself. Today, it’s like he’s never met a stranger. He interacts with everyone he meets and loves to order food from his favorite restaurants." ― Keely Wright, mom

Jason Hales | Marcus Autism Center