Zoom Autism Magazine Issue 7 - Page 42

CUMMINGS AND GOINGS T his issue’s main topic is passion and whatever that may be or mean to you. What I learned through my life, and what my son Conner has shown me, is that passion truly has no timetable. Your passions can change, and you can have numerous passions simultaneously. When Conner was little, he loved many things, but a few stayed with him. Conner loved to play with toy cameras. It didn’t take long, though, before he was asking to use our old cameras. He would wear several different cameras around his neck and take pictures or tape his day. What I noticed was that when we were in a room with large crowds or unfamiliar surroundings, he utilized the cameras even more. Since he had the desire, we got him his own camera and arranged for lessons. Fast forward to present day. Conner’s photography skills are now so good that many people have hired him to be their event photographer. In fact, he has been one of the photographers at the Autism Society’s national convention for the past two years as well as many other charity events. Conner also has had numerous photos published in a book about gardens, and he currently has several of his works hanging on the walls of our State Capitol Building. One of my passions is watching Conner work. We go on “road trips” so that he can capture his surroundings. We will be walking, and all of the sudden Conner is rolling on the ground or moving his body in ways I cannot explain in order to catch a certain angle or that magic he sees from a leaf on the gravel or a shadow on a wall. It can be anything! Of course his favorite 42 ZOOM Autism through Many Lenses place to take pictures and to film is Disney. Conner films every ride we go on and provides commentary on how he feels and what he sees. Those pictures truly are magical. Conner also has passion for activities I never imaged he would. Growing up, he was never very interested in sports, but a few years ago he asked if he could take ice skating lessons because Disney characters like to ice skate. Conner started lessons in 2013 and also signed up for the local Special Olympics. To date, Conner has moved up 3 levels and has won first place ribbons in each Olympic competition. Conner added playing the piano to his list of passions. As a child he tried the guitar as part of his therapy, but it never clicked. One day at Target, I heard a Disney song playing from the portable organs aisle. I looked, and it was my son. I asked him how he knew how to play that. He just looked at me and showed me his fingers. We bought that organ, and Conner self-taught himself dozens of songs. Years later we graduated to a piano. With lessons, Conner has learned how to read music; although, I think he still prefers to play by ear. Conner has shown me that passion can come at any time, any place. Once you recognize it, you can build on it, and more importantly, like Conner does, enjoy every minute of it! Warmest regards, Sharon Cummings Executive Director/Co-Publisher & Founder zoomautism@gmail.com Conner taking picture s in Disney World ZOOM Autism through Many Lenses 43