The needs of an Autistic child can be photographing them very difficult. They can have a hard time sitting in one position, or have sensory issues with bright lights. Here are my top ten tips for getting the perfect picture of your Autistic child.
1. Let the photographer know. If you are going to a photographer make sure you let them know ahead of time your child is Autistic. Let them know of any issues with bright lights, or problems sitting still. This will give them time to make some changes if need be.
2. Take pictures of your Autistic child at home, or on outings. A picture does not have to be taken by a professional to be good. If your child has a hard time sitting still get a picture of them while they are sleeping.
3. Know their good time. Take your child to get their picture taken during good times of the day. If you know that afternoons are usually filled with temper tantrums ad meltdowns make the appointment for first thing in the morning, or another time your child is more relaxed.
4. Allow their comfort object. If your child has a special toy that helps them feel relaxed take it along to the photo session. It might help the child to remain calm while having their picture done. If your child insists on holding the toy ask the photographer to include it. If your child does not like to look directly at the camera have their picture taken while they are looking up.
5. Take photos in their space. Have a photographer come to the house if you do not feel comfortable taking the pictures. They can capture your Autistic child in their natural setting. This might make your child feel more relaxed. Consider taking the pictures outdoors.
6. Let your child be the director. If your child can not sit still for a picture allow them to stand, or lay down if they choose. Do not try to force them into a position they are uncomfortable with. This could lead to a meltdown. Allow them to direct the photo shoot. If the photographer does not want to cooperate find someone else that will.
7. Ask around. Find out where other parents have taken their Autistic children. They may know someone who has experience with special children.
8. Wear comfortable clothes for pictures. There are no rules that say every picture must feature your child in formal wear. Uncomfortable clothing can really bother an Autistic child with sensory issues.
9. Do not push so hard for a perfect picture. Pictures of children laughing and playing can be just as good as them sitting posed. If you keep pushing for a perfect picture you might upset the child to the point of getting no pictures.
10. Time. Give the Autistic child time to warm up to the camera. Let them see how it works if they have not had their picture taken before. This can make them more relaxed and calm.
Try and make the experience as calm and relaxing as possible. This will allow your child to feel at ease. The pictures will turn out better by letting your child be themselves. Sometimes with Devon I have to show him something he might want or a favorite toy and he will calm down enough to let me take his picture. He also loves saying cheese, so most of the time I can get a good smile from him.