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The Background Story

Have you ever been somewhere and seen a parent with a child in the middle of a complete temper tantrum? It was hard not to notice. Did you stare a little too long? Did you stop looking when the parent's distressed eyes met yours? What thoughts went through your mind? Did you whisper anything under your breath? Did you think to yourself or even say out loud, "that parent needs to have better control of their child"?

You didn't know the parent or child. And maybe, just maybe, this wasn't a spoiled child not getting their way. Maybe this was a child on the Autism Spectrum who had too much sensory overload because the toilets flushing in the bathroom was scary and the hand dryers were too loud. Maybe this child was having an episode they could not control.

Do you say anything? Do you do anything? From my perspective, a glance of "you've got this" or the words, "how can I help you" would be a God send for that parent.

How do I know? I've been there. I have been that parent. I've heard the comments, I've seen the stares. Maybe they weren't intended to carry harm, but they do.

Words and actions carry weight.

My daughter is on the autism spectrum. It's not as simple as providing "better discipline". Autism is a developmental disorder that can affect the development of social and communication skills. And there's so much more to it.

I set out on a mission to advocate for differently abled individuals. I'm living my mission through the art of photography and am putting my journalism degree from The University of Georgia to good use. I am so thrilled to announce that my book, Spark Acceptance is launching next month and pre-sales begin TODAY! The book features more than 50 individuals with physical and not so visible challenges living in our world in a beautiful way.

Let us think twice about our words, actions and how we make others feel. Let us be intentional - treating exceptional people with kindness, respect, and dignity.


Thank you to my company, Jabian Consulting, for your support along this journey, especially Fred Jewell, who has served on my editorial team! Thank you to YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta, Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, and Great Prospects, Inc. for your partnership!

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