BrotherWhen her daughter was diagnosed with autism, Arabella Carter-Johnson did not expect that after six years, they would be able to travel the world together.
Arabella Carter-Johnson, a mother of a daughter with autism, lives in Leicester, England. Arabella and her child, Iris Grace, 12, explore forests around the world.
“I believe that travel is the best teacher, coach, psychologist and friend for each of us. I have witnessed the amazing transformation that travel brings to my daughter. She is more sociable, confident and adventurous”, Arabella shared.
When doctors diagnosed Iris with autism at the age of 2, Arabella could not believe that 6 years later she would be able to go on adventures with her son. The journey started when Arabella decided to let her child learn the things she loves, learn to live fully in the present, observe and listen to understand how she sees the world.
Through each trip, Arabella teaches her daughter life skills, self-care… Practical experience helps Iris easily integrate with the present, become flexible and free.
Iris has a love and interest in nature. That’s why her mother started trips to the forest, down to the sea. The places Iris went through became the inspiration for her to draw many beautiful pictures. And traveling the world, according to Arabella, is the best school for girls.
One of my favorite mother-daughter trips is a two-week hike in Greece. Here, they visit the forests, take pictures with the big oak trees, old in Europe, ancient ruins, beaches, olive groves and historic cities.
Like many autistic children, Iris needs quiet and a repetitive daily routine. But the love of travel always aroused in her. “Her heart was filled with curiosity that pictures and books could no longer satisfy. The homeschooling system for autistic children with Iris was no longer suitable. And I discovered that the method of giving Traveling helps Iris develop at her best,” Arabella said.
In many ways, Arabella realized that Iris could cope more with the changes in her life, thanks to her travels. The girl became more free, happily playing and socializing with new friends. Arabella is happy to see her daughter open, sociable, trying out new activities and meeting many people. Not only that, Iris became more confident and overcame her fears.
Currently, Iris can read and speak, but her ability to converse and socialize is limited. Iris’s reaction when things don’t go her way becomes difficult to handle as she grows taller and stronger. But Arabella wants to make it easier for her daughter to cope with an already difficult life.
Autism is a way of living, functioning, and seeing the world. Autism is not curable. Arabella understands that the journey has many challenges ahead, but she wants to capture the memories of her daughter to inspire others in similar situations.
She wants everyone to see the beauty in the world and raise positive awareness about people with autism. “Follow your child’s lead, and help them develop their strengths instead of just looking at their weaknesses,” says Arabella.
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