“He looks fine to me, you’d never know” was a comment that really struck, when Stanley was diagnosed with autism aged three. “I realised that the total invisibility of autism was going to make it extremely difficult for other people to understand Stanley and the complexities of his condition. So I set about creating an easy to digest, accessible book, not a text book, but a book that would really draw people in.”
“Pictures can speak to people at an emotional level in a way that words alone cannot, which to me is a far more potent outcome and gives people something much more powerful to take away with them”.
“I wanted to reach people who are not already steeped in understanding about autism. These people are the ones who we really need to reach, the people who are never going to sit down and read a text book about autism to find out more. My motivation is to raise awareness and understanding – the foundations upon which acceptance and support can be built. Without understanding, you have nothing.”
The response has been overwhelming, not only with families but with schools, students, therapists, hospitals, police, social services and adoption agencies wanting to see more of the work. Understanding Stanley has the potential to really make a difference to peoples’ lives. It helps the reader to feel, not just to think.
To buy a copy of Understanding Stanley, please visit www.rosiebarnes.com/shop
Photographer and Stanley’s mother
“Autism and its cousin Asperger’s Syndrome are extremely complex conditions and their effects can be very difficult to put across. Even those affected themselves can find it almost impossible to explain how they feel. Rosie’s pictures are not only beautiful works in their own right, but sensitively convey some of the alienating differences of perception that those with autism have to live with, and she manages to show us – through some deceptively simple images – just how much the rest of us take for granted in the way we interact with the world around us"
Jane Asher, President, National Autistic Society