On the occasion of World Autism awareness Day, ‘Through Her Eyes’ a view into the challenges of raising an autistic child.
Report by Devindree Pillay
Thursday, April 5, 2012
This was a heart-melting presentation by Ms Shai Ginott, an Israeli nature photographer, who is also the mother of a 17 year old daughter, affected by autism. Autism is a complex neurological condition that affects people on all continents. Autism inhibits a person’s ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by extreme behavioural challenges. Shai’s presentation combined brilliant photography, storytelling and social commentary. She demonstrated, in a very intimate way, what it is like to raise an autistic child. A highlight for me was the explanation of the photograph inserted above. Shai, made many and varied efforts to assist her daughter to integrate into leisure time activities, as she really felt that they could be used as a springboard for acquiring life skills. One of these initiatives, was facilitating the process and supporting her daughter whilst participating in the Moran Children’s Choir. She saw this as a chance for communication and social integration. Her daughter loved being part of the choir, however it required ongoing patience and tolerance on the part of Shai was well as the music teachers. There came a point when Shai was seriously considering cancelling her daughters participation in the choir, and she turned to nature for guidance. As you will note in the photograph, there are tiny green saplings which are emerging from the cracks in the dry desert earth. This was an indication to Shai of “growth potential” and “windows of oppurtunity” that can be found in places you would least expect. Shai thus arrived at her decision to persevere and keep her daughter in the choir. The depth, profound wisdom, sensitivity and compassion of this mother, was very inspiring.