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2016 Photographer Index

2016-evans-hammerheads 2016-hansen-caeden

Gretchen Hansen
Gigi's Joy


Aaron is 13. Aaron was my first child with autism. I never thought there was anything wrong until he was almost three. We were on a walk one day and a lady tried talking to him. She asked him some questions, and when I explained that he didn’t talk, she suggested that I have him tested. I called a doctor and he recognized the signs of autism.

Aaron was different than other kids. He screamed a lot and played alone. At the time, he had cousins and he only played with them. He went to daycare and sat in the corner and cried. He didn’t want to play with other kids. He wanted to be left alone.

When he would play outside, if the civil defense sirens went off or a train was blowing its horn, he would run home crying with his hands over his ears. He would need to be consoled and calmed down.

We made great progress with therapies in school until he was just about to turn four. That was the week his sister died. She was two months old. Aaron locked himself in his head and regressed greatly. He stopped talking again and I felt like I lost two kids that day. She to the heavens, and one to grief. He couldn’t understand emotions.

Aaron wouldn’t talk and he was “gone” for about three years. We had to rebuild everything that he had learned. He continues to work and make progress daily. My hope for him is to live a happy life in whatever he does.

Liz, Mother of Aaron
Racine, Wisconsin