The Higa Family| San Diego, CA| Carol Jean Photography
Ryu, age 6, "sweet, uninhibitedly curious, enthusiastic"
Words by Ryu's lovely mother and imagery by the talented Carol Jean Photography:
"Ryu was born 9lbs 6 oz, a healthy chubby baby. We realized early on that Ryu was not your typical sleepy baby and wasn't going to be pacified with the usual car ride, bouncer seat, or walk in the stroller. He cried often and for long durations, and needed to be swaddled and in constant motion to feel calm. It was a difficult time for both him and for me.
Things started to get better when he learned sign language and was able to be mobile. He reached all his milestones early and was speaking sophisticated sentences at 1 years old. We read to him every night and soon Ryu was receiving whole books back to us like Oh the Places you will Go, and the Giving Tree. We just chalked it up to him being intelligent.
It wasn't until we sent him to preschool at 3 and half that his teacher suggested that we get Ryu checked out, she thought he may have some sort of language delay. We were not too concerned at that point, and went through the testing that would give us some answers as to why his language was not where all the typical 3.5 year children were at.
This is where we got some harsh news in a very uncompassionate way. The psychologist who diagnosed him announced that this was not a language delay it was Autism, and our world changed forever.
It took some time to get through the grief of the diagnosis, but three years later I can say that we have made great progress and really hope that we are honoring Ryu and his beautiful way in the world as well as helping him to navigate, and feel confident in this society that doesn't always cater to his differences."