Fighting Against : Interview Part I
Fighting Against : Interview Part I
Eric - You were my first choice, because the other girls were more interested to do the same type of pictures…
Lisa - They were more interested by the pictures than the whole concept ?
Eric- And a lot of them don’t have no content, they just sell their image.
Lisa - Instagram models ?
Eric - Yeah, exactly. They only want to be in music videos, or reality TV and I wanted to do something different, a larger concept. I have a story with everything dealing with health in general. A few people in my family work in health. And since I’m young I heard stories about people losing her abilities, people going blind, one day learning about an illness and they had to change their live, and for those who have one, their family’s live too.
I had two encounters with autism, one was a child and the other was eighteen. When I was younger I didn’t really understand it, I just saw other children teasing the kid, making fun of him, not wanting to understand him. I was the only one who took a stand. When I saw your bio and the link to the walk, that’s why I got in contact with you.
But I think it was very funny that you may think, it was a fake profile.
Lisa - Oh yeah, I was so… not scared, but I was just like : « you imagine I actually go and then it’s not real and it’s fake and they’re going to kidnap me or… You know because there is so many crazy people. And then, I wondered, I’m going through the pictures and okay… There was very old pictures so then I thought okay so maybe this is a real Instagram account ! I mean because you know when it is a fake Instagram they upload 20 pictures in 20 minutes so then I thought Let me give it a try.
E- It was very easy to me to find this concept. Because women, especially now, on internet and social media, just taking pictures of themselves with no content, just them.
L- The photographer where you saw one of my photos, Bruges, she would always tell me why you don’t make your Instagram public ? Do you know how many followers you will get ? How many people will follow you or even able to see you pictures ? And I always tell her that I don’t want my pictures to fall into the wrong hands, I’d rather keep them private.
E- Of course, and actually why doing it that for ? Maybe you don’t need to other people to see you. That’s it.
L- Because you don’t know who is out there.
E- Often people need total approbation or validation from total strangers, and especially girls these days.
L- There is so many of them, out here. I’m not going to make a big difference, there is so many girls. All these girls just want to look like each other, they all do the same makeup, they are all trying to be Kylie !
E - I thought you were about to say Kim Kardashian.
L - Yeah Kim, It used to be Kim and now…
L- It’s all about Kylie.
E- Yeah so, every girls want to look like Kylie, and before it was Kim Kardashian.
For the project, you told me the walk was ?
L- April 10th.
E- Can you tell me more about it ?
L. - Yes, it was very organized. It was my first time assisting that walk, and I was very nervous because it was my very first time going to the walk, and I thought that it would be super crowded or unorganized, that it was going to be all over the place, it began around 9 o’clock and I showed up at 7 : 30 because I was so skeptical, I was hoping everything would come out okay.
My boyfriend and I did not come with our son, because I was scared that it would be too hectic. He likes to be around people, but when he sees too many people he gets jittery. So I had him stay with his behavior therapist, she helped a lot. She is one of the reason’s why he’s improved so much. She helped him potty train, she helped him talk a lot more clearer. She’s helped me a lot.
E- Does your son speak english and spanish ?
L - Yes, he speaks english and spanish. He’s more fluent in spanish, he is being taught to be able to speak both languages. It is very important, that you show kids more than one language. Nowadays, especially in this generation, most parents just let them speak english and then they don’t qualify as much as bilingual people do in jobs.
E - Yes of course. In France that’s the same you know. They teach just french and you have to learn english just to know something but it does not go that far. We are terrible in english and also terrible at other languages.
L- One of the reason’s that my father spoke french was because he was living in Canada and could not just speak spanish or english. He needed to speak french in order to go a lot more further.
E - Can you tell me about your first experience with autism ? It was with your son or you already met someone with autism before ?
L- Well, I‘ve always noticed commercials and announcements about autism, autism speaks, but I never knew what it was. I was a bit unaware of what autism is. And through the years I’ve never really questioned what is autism because I didn’t know anyone with autism, I didn't know nothing about it, it was never something that was discussed in schools, so I didn’t know nothing about it. And then when I had my son, he was perfectly fine.
He was months old, one year old, two year old, and then out of nowhere, when he was two and five months, I took him to a neurologist because he was no longer talking. When he was first born, his first few months he did everything that a normal baby would do. He would walk, he would talk say a few words, normal words and one day after turning two years old, he just stopped. He got completely silent.
And a friend of mine that’s live in Orlando, she has a friend who has a son with autism and she said to me : « you know junior’s mom takes him to therapy. What she is taking him to therapy for ? He’s autistic, he has speech delay, he doesn’t talk though, your son doesn't talk. You know, that could be a possibility, I’m going to look into it ». So I did take him to three different neurologists, the first two said that he was fine, to just give it time, some kids take a lot longer to talk so I was okay.
I was calm about it. I was okay, let me just give it time then but then I was still curious because I would look up online what are the red flags, what does a child with autism do ? And it is very confusing because there are certain things that a child with autism does, that normal toddlers also do.
So you’re reading about it, and you are like : « Oh my God my son has to be autistic because of what this says » but normal kids would do the same things. I took him to one more neurologist,, they did a few tests and they did notice that he’s mildly autistic and after that I took it from there and I tried to get him as much therapy possible.
I would have him with two different speech therapists, two different occupational therapists and at the time he was not assigned to get behavior therapy which is, when a therapist focuses on his his behavior, how he behaves in a outside atmosphere, how he reacts to certain behavior of other people, how he reacts to the care given from a adult and how he reacts amongst other children. At the time he could not get that because he was only two so, that’s when I decided to move to Miami.
And I moved to Miami in 2013, in July, and as soon as I got here I signed up for every single waiting list available to get him all the help available. I took it from there; at the beginning it was very hard but I didn’t have a problem accepting it, I just wanted to be sure that it was true. And after found out that it was true, I was okay. I didn’t think that it was the end of the world. I was just like, okay he’s autistic, now I have to help him.
E- You came to Miami with your son, but where were you before ?
L - When I found out that he was autistic it was in Orlando, Florida. It was a neurologist who diagnosed him. And then from there I went to a few programs with counselors and psychologists, who looked more into it to see what we could work on because he is not severely autistic so it is a little bit more easier.
E - Okay so the case of your child is not severe, that means there is different levels of autism. Can you tell us more about this ?
L - Yes there are different levels of autism. There is the mild, severe and extreme. Mild means that he is still autistic but he doesn’t have the extreme tantrums. Unfortunately autistic children tend to hit themselves, they tend to release anger more amongst themselves than amongst other adults or other children. They tend to bang their heads on the walls, to scream out of anger, out of being uncomfortable or they just feel frustrated that they cannot communicate how they are feeling.
E - How old is your son Lisa ?
L - He is five years old and he was diagnosed when he was two years old.
E - As you said he needed to see specialists, how long does it take to have an appointment ? And do autistic children get treated differently ?
L - Yes I do believe that they get treated differently, sometimes they get labeled because of their behavior, or the way they act. It is not right, if it is in a school environment when they need to be divided from other children because they need more attention, which they do it’s understandable.
Autistic children need more attention than regular students because they need you to explain to them step by step. Some are able to communicate more than others but the great majority need assistance.
I do believe that the specialist’s do try their best but it really depends on the parents. If they do not try to get or go to every appointment it will delay the process of improvement even more, it is very complicated because there is a waiting list for everything, to see the neurologist for example you have to wait for your insurance to approve the appointment, you then see neurologist to receive the referrals for the other therapies and after that appointment is approved you have to wait to receive a phone call from that therapist so he/she can see your son. So it is not something that you do in one moment.