Faces of Humanity
Autism is hard to diagnose before the age of 1,5, as symptoms usually don't occur until that age. Parents are frightened by emerging problems and they don't know what to do next. Fathers are far from always ready to share the responsibility and take care of a special child. Often mothers are forced to sacrifice themselves to find the right specialists, earn money to pay for treatment and learn to live with the circumstances. While Russia has not yet created conditions for a fulfilling life and treatment for such children, the question of their education and further opportunity to become an independent person remains unanswered. When my child turned 4, we were sent to a psychiatrist for a consultation. He revealed the disorder bordered on disability. That was the first time I heard that term... It felt like being pushed off a cliff - you're flying and you can't see the bottom..." - Elena, mum of a child with ASD. After having recently become a mother, I realised how much work and patience it takes to bring up and care for any child, particularly a special one. I am amazed by the strength of women who are constantly around their children, their sacrificial love, which gives them the energy to fight the diagnosis against all odds. I photograph autistic teenagers in spaces where they are comfortable. Each of the boys is unique. Each family is a story of love and patience.