Kids with autism face unique challenges. These 10 glorious pics capture the victories.

Sometimes our smallest victories aren't that small at all.

"This Is Autism," a photo series produced by Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, illustrates that point beautifully. The photos capture the moment that kids with autism reached their biggest achievements after receiving therapy at the hospital's Marcus Autism Center.

"For many families that have a child with autism, even the simplest milestones are something to celebrate," the hospital notes.


1. Quinn had a very tough time getting dropped off at day care before. Now she's ready to play and learn.

‌Photo courtesy of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. ‌

“Before going to therapy, I had a difficult time dropping Quinn off at daycare. Some days, I would be late for work and stay with her because she was so upset. Now, she initiates the hug and kiss when I drop her off.” — Quintin Harris (Quinn's dad)

2. Gavi didn't acknowledge his younger brother before. Now they're best buds.

‌Photo courtesy of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. ‌

“Gavi has come a long way. We couldn’t function at home prior to treatment. He didn’t acknowledge his younger brother, and they never played together. Now, they are best buddies and have a really sweet relationship.” — Lauren Surden (Gavi's mom)

‌Photo courtesy of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. ‌

3. Navigating the grocery store was difficult for Ainsley last year. Now she can't get enough of the macaroni aisle.

‌Photo courtesy of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

“Last year, trips to the grocery store were hard for us. The lights, crowds, and noises would be too overwhelming for Ainsley. Since completion of the Feeding Disorders Program, she now loves shopping trips — particularly the macaroni aisle!” — Mary Mullikin (Ainsley's mom)

Photo courtesy of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

4. Isaac struggled to express himself before. Now he loves ordering food at restaurants and chatting with others.

Photo courtesy of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

“At this time last year, 7-year-old Isaac wouldn’t ask for things. Instead, he would take my hand and lead me to what he wanted. I never knew what he was thinking or feeling because he couldn’t express himself. Today, it’s like he’s never met a stranger. He interacts with everyone he meets and loves to order food from his favorite restaurants.” — Keely Wright (Isaac's mom)

Photo courtesy of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

5. Ethan used to have trouble communicating with his family. Now his vocabulary is growing every day.

Photo courtesy of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

“Ethan struggled with communication and understanding his family. After just seven months of therapy, he can now understand me. He is starting to ask for things he wants and his vocabulary and expressiveness grows day by day.” —Haley Lindau (Ethan's mom)

Photo courtesy of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

April is Autism Awareness Month — the perfect time to spread the facts on autism and celebrate all those living on the spectrum.

Estimates suggest about 1 in 68 children have autism. Autism affects everyone a bit differently, though it usually affects social and communication skills, making seemingly simple tasks much more challenging.

Kids with autism often have unique skills sets. However, it's still worth acknowledging when therapy and the support of loved ones can help them take those small steps forward in everyday life.

Because every victory is worth celebrating.

Courtesy of FIELDTRIP
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The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected diverse communities due largely in part to social factors such as inadequate access to housing, income, dietary options, education and employment — all of which have been shown to affect people's physical health.

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Lack of education and access to those healthy food options is a primary driver of why 31% of adults in Harlem are struggling with obesity — the highest rate of any neighborhood in New York City and 7% higher than the average adult obesity rate across the five boroughs.

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Courtesy of FIELDTRIP
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The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected diverse communities due largely in part to social factors such as inadequate access to housing, income, dietary options, education and employment — all of which have been shown to affect people's physical health.

Recognizing that inequity, Harlem-based chef JJ Johnson sought out to help his community maximize its health during the pandemic — one grain at a time.

Johnson manages FIELDTRIP, a health-focused restaurant that strives to bring people together through the celebration of rice, a grain found in cuisines of countless cultures.

"It was very important for me to show the world that places like Harlem want access to more health-conscious foods," Johnson said. "The people who live in Harlem should have the option to eat fresh, locally farmed and delicious food that other communities have access to."

Lack of education and access to those healthy food options is a primary driver of why 31% of adults in Harlem are struggling with obesity — the highest rate of any neighborhood in New York City and 7% higher than the average adult obesity rate across the five boroughs.

Obesity increases risk for heart disease or diabetes, which in turn leaves Harlem's residents — who are 76% Black or LatinX — at heightened risk for complications with COVID-19.

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So that's neat.

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