This is our family, a picture taken on Christmas Day last year. It's a rare shot of the five of us together - the two girls sharing a laugh, and the rest of us a little nervous about what that might lead to.
This is B, our oldest. She is 14. She developed normally until she was 2, and then over a six month period lost her speech and many other things in an autistic regression. She lives in permanent residential care about 30 km away from us. We go and see her often; I took this a week ago. She likes to move her hands rapidly in front of her face, but I caught one shot of her looking at me clearly.
This is U, our youngest. She is 9. She likes to sing, always in tune, and goes to the special school that B used to go to (and which is the reason we live where we do, rather than closer to my work in Brussels). Unlike B she was late developing in some ways from the start, and very late talking; she started saying a few words - names and songs and common actions - just a year ago soon after she turned 8.
This is F with his sisters. He is 12, and goes to normal school. He enjoys being with them and they enjoy being with him. (I should note that B only uses the wheelchair because it is sometimes difficult otherwise to persuade her to go where other people want her to go; and U only uses the sledge if it has been snowing.)
I was going to write something deep and profound about World Autism Awareness Day, but I think I will leave it there.