2014 Photographer Index2015_sebring_logan Seshadrinathan_Skanda
The journey has been long. But this year Abbey turns sixteen and recently said, “We will have a big party at this house. It is my decision. I get to choose. I am sixteen now, like Liesl from The Sound of Music.”
I can't say there is an upside to autism. For Abbey, she has explained to me that, “My brain won't do what I am telling it to do,” and, “I want someone else's brain.”
She has often asked, "Why did God do this to me?" and "Can I have a second life?” So from these statements, I have learned how hard it must be for her to live in acceptance.
I also learned what a deep thinker she is. Whether verbal or not, I wish people could understand that these kids have so much going on inside. Abbey is so aware that part of her is a typical teen and the other is an autistic girl. She often says after an impulsive reaction or autistic behavior that, “It wasn't me, it was the little girl that lives inside my throat.” And I tell her that she needs to teach that little girl to behave but that she also has to forgive that little girl because sometimes she can't help it.
She is so pretty, getting stopped all the time about her beautiful blue eyes. She sings none stop and once asked, "Did Miley Cyrus go crazy? Can I take her place?"
She is often loud with no social filter and has no problem demanding what she wants. Once, when meeting an older film actress, Abbey asked, "Are you a senior citizen?" While ordering at In and Out Burger, she said, "I'll have two fries, please AND NO GREASE.” She tells me not to sing because I'm not that good. She sneaks chocolate when I'm not looking but forgets it is all over her face. She is absolutely adorable and makes everyone laugh. Her younger brother once said, "Mom, if they found a cure for autism, I wouldn't want Abbey to get it." "Why?” I asked. He said "because then she wouldn't be Abbey anymore".
Christine, mother of Abbey
Sherman Oaks, CA