Mom + Friends: Meet Spectrum Inspired Co-Founder Sarah Driscoll, A Special Needs Mama We Love.
Name: Sarah Driscoll
5 words that describe your "job":
Momma, Co-founder of Spectrum Inspired, Photographer, Writer and Autism Advocate.
Your Kids names and ages:
Jackson (age 11), Delaney (age 7), Luke (my spectrum kiddo, age 5), KerriClaire (age 3)
How do your children inspire you?
All of my children inspire me in different ways. Jackson reminds me that the world is fragile and should be seen gently and tiptoed upon as to not miss a moment, Delaney inspires me to see the light and beauty in everything around me, Luke is my consistent reminder that endurance and patience are two of the greatest qualities one can have and KerriClaire inspires me to be fierce and bring passion to everything I do and love.
What is an activity your whole family loves to do together?
Our family loves to go to the lake together. We enjoy the sunshine, riding in the boat and swimming. We spend a few weeks every summer in New Hampshire and we have the greatest memories made there.
What’s the one thing you wish people knew about your special needs child?
I wish people understand the depth of him. I think far too often people dismiss him as not "getting it" or not being in touch with what is happening around him. But Luke has deep senses and instincts. He is a sponge, constantly soaking in the emotions around him. If he feels happiness around him, he feels that happiness with every ounce of his being. When those around him are stressed of angry, he knows it and he mirrors those emotions. He is much deeper and more connected than people believe. Just because he doesn't say too much or is more of a wallflower, does not mean he doesn't FEEL.
How do you survive a tough day of parenting?
Man, have I had some tough days. We all have. My key to surviving tough days is with laughter. When I am literally about to lose it--- my mind is exploding, I am sweating from the chaos and the tantrums and the wants and the needs, I just try to remind myself that, "I am going to laugh about this later." This usually allows me to take a deep breath, let out a giggle and see that the madness is only temporary and the chaos is actually beautiful if you just allow yourself a enough grace to see it.
What is the one thing in your play space your children can't live without?
We have a few wooden dollhouses that my children are completely in love with. They spend hours together making up stories and creating worlds within the walls of those houses.
What's the one thing you can't leave the house without when you are out with your kids?
Water. Is it just my children or do your children suddenly become desperately thirsty (like they may pass out if they don't drink THAT SECOND) whenever you are not home?
Luke's favorite toy?
Luke's favorite toy changes often but he does tend to perseverate on certain items-- which is fairly common for kids on the spectrum. He has loved everything from a tiny Lego figure (Emmet from The Lego Movie), Woody from Toy Story, a plastic play kitchen knife (that was interesting in public), wine corks (that was also interesting in public), and currently he loves his Thomas the Train. He holds it in his hand constantly and loves to play with it all day long.
His favorite app?
My Play Home. He has a thing for houses so this app is pretty much his dream come true.
The clothing item he always feels most comfortable in?
Sweatpants. Can't live without them. No jeans for my boy.
Three Moms you follow on social media that inspire you?
Oh LAWDY, this is a hard one. There are SO many. I am a huge advocate of adoption so I love following @kristinrogers on Instagram-- she is incredible. @shannanwrites is also incredible with words and deeply inspiring to me. And lastly, OF COURSE, we share incredible autism parents over on our IG weekly, @spectrum_inspired and we share stories of regular, everyday, strong autism mommas and their kiddos from their sessions on our blog often as well. When we share the Spectrum Inspired Sessions on our blog, we include the words of their parents. Our incredibly talented photographers, who donate their time to this cause, document their stories so authentically that we hope, most of the time, the images speak for themselves and you can feel the strength and love and beauty just by scrolling through and seeing how lovely they are. SO the mothers who inspire me most, are the mothers who we document and who live their lives for their children and are in the trenches daily just trying to be the best mother they can be and give everything they can to their babies.
What is the last thing you purchased for yourself that made you really happy?
A Nena & Co. backpack. It is large and unique and lovely and holds everything I would ever need inside. They are on Instagram, run over to check them out. They will blow you away!
What advice would you give to a (new) special needs mom ?
"Follow your heart. Trust your gut. And never, for one single second, let anyone else's story define or determine yours. You and your children are unique. From the moment you became that kiddo's mother, YOU knew what was best for them. YOU and only you. Trust yourself and let your heart lead the way."
What quote do you live by? "You're mad. Bonkers. Off your head...but I'll tell you a secret... all of the best people are." - Alice In Wonderland
Spectrum Inspired is a global community that connects, supports and uplifts individuals and families touched by Autism Spectrum Disorders. In order to educate the general public, our team uses Lifestyle Photography to document a diverse group of children on the spectrum and their families across the globe in effort to normalize and de-stigmatize ASD. It is our mission to give families a platform to voice their struggles, celebrate their victories and share their story; all the whole, removing the stigma and stereotypes of what is thought to be representative of Autism and show the world just how broad and beautiful the spectrum is.
All photography courtesy of Sarah Driscoll. All Rights Reserved.