Jaime Lackey: Photographing Autism, Maddux's Story

Last year, around Christmas time, Cat and I decided that it would be really fun to start a blog that featured great and inspiring family photography.  As research, I started combing through images on Pinterest, looking for work that moved me.  That is when I first saw Jaime Lackey's work.  The image I found was the first one in the series we have up today.  A mother and a daughter sitting on a bed, their backs to the camera, leaning on one another.  This photo stopped me in my tracks.  It made me cry (still does).   I followed the link, and found Jaime's blog, Photographing Autism, the story of her daughter Maddux.  I've been a huge fan ever since.  I have so many emotions about Jaime's work.  I have a son with a profound speech delay.  I know how painful it is to watch our kids struggle.  And how we want so badly to have the world be able to see  them the way we see them.  Both as a mother and as an artist, Jaime's work inspires me.  I think photographing Maddux and sharing her story is so very important and makes me so grateful for this blog and the opportunity it's given me to share work like hers with all of you!

-Sandra Coan

From Jaime:

"Our journey began when Maddux had her first visible seizure cluster at 15 months. After an EEG, her final diagnosis was a rare type of infant seizures called Infantile Spasm Epilepsy. Commonly misdiagnosed as reflux. Her prognosis was that her physical and mental state would not be above mental retardation. After months of trying to find out what was wrong with Maddux, a mother's intuition, we finally had a diagnosis. We were happy to finally have a label so we could start her treatment. After 3 years of different seizure meds, hospitalizations and a special diet, her seizures are now gone. But we consider her in remission. We will never forget the shots of ACTH, the blank, over-medicated stares or the first day she went without 100 seizures. Every night we thank God for giving us another seizure-free day. Even though that was the hardest part of this journey, she was still our Maddux!But it was our own eyes that saw these great things the Lord has done. Deutoronomy 11:7
During our battle with Epilepsy, Maddux began to slip away from us. Her words stopped, her smiles stopped and she acted as if she were the only one in the room. The toys stayed on the shelves. I would have given anything to have toys to clean up. It was like the love was gone from her eyes. Maddux used to not answer me because she was having a seizure and her brain couldn't "hear" me. Now she was not answering me because she just didn't know the answer. When Maddux turned 2 years old she was diagnosed with Autism . Devastating, yes, but now we could take this diagnosis and find her and bring her back. Even with that label she was still our Maddux.He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. Job 9:10
Maddux started therapy at 18 months. She began her treatment with in-home OT and PT and as she got older she graduated into Early Intervention. She was in a full day program at Pediatric Therpay Network in Torrance, CA where she had one on one OT, PT and SLP classes as well as group sessions. Words can not express the miracles that happened behind the doors of that center everyday. Maddux was able to work with the most wonderful, caring and knowledgeable people who changed all of our lives. I dedicate all of her progress to these wonderful people who I hold dear in my heart. She has come so far and I can not wait to see what lies ahead for her! She is still our Maddux!I will remember the deeds of the Lord, yes I will remember your miracles... Psalms 77:11"

About Jaime: based in Raleigh, NC / website / contact / facebook

Scroll down to the end for Cat’s take

From Cat:

I would like to honor this post by simply asking the viewer to stare at these photographs, very hard. Stare at them and think about how many different kinds of children there are, who turn into different kinds of adults. Soak up these incredible views of a gorgeous little girl, and think about what she is like at her core.

- Cat Thrasher