Amber Cummings’ life has been touched by autism. Her 12-year-old son, Dacotah, doesn’t have an official diagnosis, but Amber knows he’s on the spectrum. Her four-year-old daughter, MiKynna, was diagnosed at 15 months old.
“MiKynna doesn’t look autistic, and truly, there is no ‘look’ to autism,” says Amber. “That prompted me to show people what autism looks like, and show them that in a picture, you’d never know someone has autism.”
So three years ago, she started a project called “Faces of Autism.” Amber photographs kids with autism and shares their photos and stories on her blog, Dear Me Photography. The first year, she featured 12 kids, as well as siblings and therapists. This year, she featured 28 kids on her blog and the project has grown beyond Bismarck and Mandan. This year Amber photographed a subject from Minot, and her blog has readers across the world.
“My goal started with awareness, now it’s about acceptance. This project is an outlet for families to tell others what their life is like and it gives them a chance to highlight their child’s strengths, their hobbies; to show others that they’re really just kids.”
Amber starts planning for the Faces of Autism project in January, and the blog posts run each April. Learn more on her blog, dearmephotography.com/blog.