June 11, 2007 by Marj Hatzell
Bug Boy likes his gadgets. Then again, what child on the spectrum doesn’t? He is seriously obsessed with computers, video games, my iPod, cell phones, clickers*, you name it. He wakes up in the morning and the first thing he says is, “May I please play video games/computer/Leapster?” Such good manners! Yup, I taught him. GO ME! (Never mind that we have this conversation daily, as I remind him we do not play those games on school days and they are only for a reward). Is it any wonder that my digital camera falls into that territory?
A friend of mine, who also has children with ASDs, mentioned she was buying her son a very cheap camera. She read that cameras help children with Autism focus on their subject and to deliberately seek out things to photograph. They have to maintain eye contact or at least glance at their subject to get a good shot. It does require some higher-level skills and thinking but is basically a great exercise for children lacking social skills and appropriate eye contact. A win-win, in my book.
I am on the hunt for a cheap, decent digital camera for Bug Boy. He loves to use mine and takes some VERY interesting shots. Like, head is cut off or flash is off or he moves the camera while the photo is recording and it ends up looking like some artsy-fartsy photograph in Time or National Geographic, except there aren’t any Mayan Ruins or African Tribal Women in his shots, just the back of his brother’s head and the guitar or Mommy trying to drink her tea in the morning with a scowl on her face. His pictures are smeared, dark and unfocused. They also usually cut off people’s heads. But he is so proud of these shots! I let him loose with my camera last night and he took about twenty shots of his brother playing guitar and bouncing on the couch. At least, I think that is what they are. It is difficult to tell because they look kinda like this:
Kinda makes you feel like putting on your glasses, eh?
Ouch. They hurt my eyes…
This is why I need a digital for him, so that we can set it up on the computer and delete what we don’t want to keep (I know, I am a mean mommy.). Otherwise I would be developing about three rolls a day that consist of shots of my dirty bathtub, stuffed animals with Star Wars figures taped to their backs and a bagel sitting on the table waiting to be consumed. Or pictures of Bugaboo peeling his diaper off. Or Mommy and Daddy sleeping. Or his video games and toys. Because, you know, you cannot have enough pictures of action figures and stuffed cars.
That’s what this world needs! See, when they are this blurry there is NO WAY an AP Photog could doctor these bad boys! NO WAY! Blurry-out-of-focus shots are the new pink! You can’t see what’s in the photo, but that’s ok! Trust us! It’s a picture of Binladen! See? He’s hiding in a cave in Portugal. It looks like a swing set, you say? Nah. That’s an aerial shot, believe me. I was there. Can’t you make out the boot of Italy in that one? A tree? That’s actually a satellite photo from, er…uh…space? Yeah, that’s it. And it is an actual unretouched photo of, lessee, the redwood forest? Yeah, that’s it!
See? Bug Boy has a great career ahead of him.
*Clickers: What normal people refer to as a remote control.