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.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

In the autumn of 1939, Chiune Sugihara was sent to Lithuania to open the first Japanese consulate there. His job was to keep tabs on and gather information about Japan's ally, Germany. Meanwhile, in neighboring Poland, Nazi tanks had already begun to roll in, causing Jewish refugees to flee into the small country.

When the Soviet Union invaded Lithuania in June of 1940, scores of Jews flooded the Japanese consulate, seeking transit visas to be able to escape to a safety through Japan. Overwhelmed by the requests, Sugihara reached out to the foreign ministry in Tokyo for guidance and was told that no one without proper paperwork should be issued a visa—a limitation that would have ruled out nearly all of the refugees seeking his help.

Sugihara faced a life-changing choice. He could obey the government and leave the Jews in Lithuania to their fate, or he could disobey orders and face disgrace and the loss of his job, if not more severe punishments from his superiors.

According to the Jewish Virtual Library, Sugihara was fond of saying, "I may have to disobey my government, but if I don't, I would be disobeying God." Sugihara decided it was worth it to risk his livelihood and good standing with the Japanese government to give the Jews at his doorstep a fighting chance, so he started issuing Japanese transit visas to any refugee who needed one, regardless of their eligibility.

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