Meet Isabella - 2020
Bella was nominated by her parents, who write "Isabella is a wonderful and happy girl. She was diagnosed with Autism when she was three years old. She is now ten years old and non-verbal but still finds a way to express her personality and love for others. Most recently she was diagnosed with Epilepsy after some scary seizures. She is having a bit of a hard time in the midst of this pandemic. Socializing is so important for her and she is missing being with her peers and friends. She has also gained two little sisters in the last two years and it has been a bit of a rough adjustment for someone who is not a fan of big changes. She is the best big sister she can be. She is patient with her little sisters and very rarely gets upset. She absolutely loves to touch people and try to connect in her own ways. She loves to clap with people and she loves to hold hands with her friends and nuzzle them. She loves to listen to music and she has the cutest little chuckle when she is happy. She is really a sweet, gentle, girl with a stubborn streak. Once she loves you there is no turning back you are her person forever. I can not imagine how hard it would be to live in a world where you can’t communicate to those around you what you want or need, but she does it with amazing patience and kindness."
Her mom describes Bella perfectly above. She immediately walked up to me, grabbed my hands, and proceeded to make me clap with her. No introduction, no social anxiety, just strolled up to me and I was her friend. Her two-year-old younger sister was extremely jealous that Bella got a pretty crown and she did not, so her mom decided to take the babies about halfway through the session and leave me and her dad and Bella for the rest of the photos. Bella immediately relaxed a little bit once screaming baby sister was out of hearing range, but kept looking for them. You could tell that she was relieved to not hear the yelling toddler, but she missed her sisters and mom. Bella is nonverbal, but I think that we bonded a little bit over music. She definitely prefers something with a good beat to it. Favorite photo I got of Bella is the one above. It's rare to get such uninhibited eye contact from a person with autism, and this photo is just stunning to me.
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