The Melville Family | Arizona | Tawn Smith Photography

This beautiful Spectrum Inspired session was documented by Tawn of Tawn Smith Photography. Thank you Tawn for volunteering your work and time and helping us document this beautiful family and their journey.

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Words from Nicole, Lucas and Ethan’s mother:

“When I heard the doctor say that Ethan had Autism, I wasn't sure what to think. My husband BJ and I already knew that something wasn't quite right, but hearing it put into words was something entirely different. On the ride home I kept glancing at my sweet, happy two year old. I was running everything I knew about autism through my head, and I was only getting more worried. When would he talk, if ever? Would he get to have a normal, happy life? What does this actually mean - for him? For us?

On the advice of our pediatrician, we reached out to the Department of Developmental Disabilities. While they were here doing Ethan's evaluation they observed our 4 year old son, Lucas, and suggested we take him for an evaluation as well. I was surprised because they were so different from each other, how could they both have autism? Lucas had been challenging as a baby and toddler. He cried all the time, was moody and had a hard time sleeping, but he reached all of his milestones ahead of schedule. We were told it was colic, acid reflux, even just boys being boys. Ethan had been quiet, sleepy and didn't reach any of his milestones on time. It wasn't long before Lucas was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome and we started to learn exactly what they meant by a spectrum disorder.

It has been six years since our kids were diagnosed with autism. Ethan is still happy and caring. He loves taking care of the people and things around him, especially his cat and stuffed animals. He loves crafting and is always raiding the recycling bin for materials. He started talking when he was four, and will chat about his favorite topics with anyone willing to listen. Lucas is smart and reserved. He is funny and strong and quite the daredevil. He loves riding his bike, climbing rock walls and mountains, and playing Minecraft. He is very creative, and enjoys drawing. They are so unique in their strengths and challenges, but also alike in wanting to be loved and accepted.

Watching them grow, change and overcome obstacles has been a rewarding journey. We are so grateful for the services and providers that have blessed us with their care and knowledge. We are ready, and looking forward to what comes next!”

Spectrum Inspired