Photographer Debbie Rasiel spent two years taking pictures of children with autism spectrum disorders all over the world. She discovered that "while living conditions, resources and treatment vary by region, autism presents the same."
Mother to a 23-year-old with autism, the New York-based documentary photographer started her project because of a desire to bridge the gap between two of the things she's most familiar with: autism and art.
"I wanted to offer those not familiar with autism an opportunity to see what autism looks like, a safe space where social mores would not prevent them from staring," Rasiel told The Huffington Post.
Her project, titled "Picturing Autism," was recently exhibited at the SOHO20 Chelsea Gallery in Manhattan. The stunning photos of children with ASD from areas of New York, Mexico, Peru, Indonesia and Iceland are still available on Rasiel's website.
Rasiel connected with many of her international subjects through the Global Autism Project, an organization that provides services to individuals with autism worldwide. She met others through families who needed a photographer for personal portraits. But with each of her photo shoots came newfound awareness of what autism means to each community.
"No matter the cultural experience or socioeconomic divide, the educational circumstance or language barrier, everything falls away when two mothers talk about their concern for their children's future," she said.
Check out some of the "Picturing Autism" photos below and see Rasiel's website for more.