Request for photos of children and adults with Autism diagnosis




Dear Families,

My name is Morri-Lynn Buchanan. I have a dance studio called Aer-Elite Dance that consists of 26 families with many dancers who have been with me for over 10 years. Our studio mandate is to offer quality classes to everyone regardless of size, ability or age. I have been teaching for over 35 years and work in the community centers and schools as well. I have a dance troupe comprised of seniors as well as a special needs adult group that I incorporate into my dance studio shows and activities.


Each year we focus on a cause. Sometimes we dance about it, sometimes we fund raise for it. This year we have decided to focus on increasing awareness for Autism.


I believe that things happen for a reason and it’s our job as individuals to do what we can with the things that are sent our way. I was an advanced reader for my age and when I was 12 I began reading psychology books about children. Some of those books were about autism. I did not know anyone with autism at the time, but I was fascinated with the topic. In the early years as a dance teacher I never came across anyone that I was aware of with this diagnosis but I do remember different children that I went to school with that I suspect now may have had it. I now live in Richmond, British Columbia and over the last 4 years I have taught at least 7 children with an ASD diagnosis and a few I suspect without one. My son had an autistic boy in his class that went undiagnosed until grade one. My best friend had her son in my dance classes; I commented on how he spun around under the ceiling fan in the opposite direction for minutes at a time and didn’t get dizzy. He wasn’t diagnosed until 11 years old. Her youngest son was given a diagnosis early because they were able to recognize and understand the behaviors. Recently I approached a mother and told her that her 7 year old son has symptoms of autism. She cried and thanked me. They are now waiting on an appointment for a diagnosis. I went out on a limb by telling her this but she had no information about autism to be able to make those observations herself. I have seen the movie Autism, the Musical and recognize the similarities between that project and what I have been doing for the last 6 years with my RSCL Adults. It is truly about ability not ‘dis’-ability.


All that said, this year I decided that I could do more to help the cause. My dancers will perform a dance about autism that we can take to shows and competitions and perhaps perform for events related to autism. We were given permission from Mark Leland to use his song “Missing Pieces”. During this dance we plan to have two sections where we hope to hold up photos of children who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. We are also going to make giant puzzle pieces that will have your children’s faces on them. We are hoping that you will be willing to send us a head shot of your child that we can use in our dance. It will give you one more voice to let people know that these children have value and ability in our world and help inform other parents who may not know what is wrong with their child.

We would also like to acknowledge the fact that these children grow into adults and that just because they reach the age of majority it does not mean they are “cured”. They are adults with a diagnosis of ASD. If this is you or someone you know please consider submitting a photo for a special segment of recognition.


Although most of our performances are free, if a situation arises that we receive a gratuity for this dance routine we will gladly donate the proceeds to the autism cause. This is a labor of love for me as I watch my good friend deal with the daily battles of having two children with this diagnosis. I can see the need for more public education and this is my small contribution to that end.


Please send a headshot of your child with their name/age and anything else you would like to tell us about them to: aerelitephotosubmit@live.ca


We will in turn send you a DVD copy of our dance when it is performed.


Thank you in advance,


Morri-Lynn Buchanan
Aer-Elite Dance

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