This content was created by Max Taylor, as part of our 'Disability pride starts here' project.

Disability pride is very important to me. As an autistic and mentally ill young person I experience my share of challenges, but I also have many positive experiences specific to my neurodivergence.

When I was getting my autism diagnosis one of the questions asked about a common autistic trait of not being able to see the ‘big picture’ in situations, meaning that autistic people are more likely to focus on small details than an overall idea. This is normally talking about things like focusing on small elements of a conversation, but of course as an autistic person, I took the question literally and thought the question was asking about looking at small things around me instead of my entire environment.

My whole life my eye has been drawn to small things other people seem to miss, a bee on a flower, a plant growing in a pavement crack. It brings me joy to notice the world around me in a way my not showing signs of autism, ADHD or other neurodivergence.neurotypical  peers might not.

Image of a yellow flower next to a pavement 20230215 092116  

They say the eyes are windows to the soul. As someone who avoids eye contact, I’d rather you not look into my eyes, but I would love to show you what I see through them.

You might have seen the adorable video of a dog wearing a camera that took photos when his heart rate was elevated. I wanted to do something similar by taking photos of all the small things in my life that bring me Happiness that comes from sensory experiences or special interests for autistic people.autistic joy .

As someone with a lifelong special interest in birds, it’s no surprise that the bulk of these photos are of different birds I see around the Darebin creek area. 

A tree with a bird on it 4 birds flying in a suburb area

Something that brings me extra excitement is seeing birds of different species hanging around together, like a group of waterbirds at Darebin Parklands or even just pigeons and seagulls outside a shopping center.

Bus timetable on a pole 3 snails on the ground

Another common theme in what draws my eye is small bugs and other creatures. I love snails and always move them off pavements in wet weather, and my eye is always drawn to native bees buzzing around plants.

A black and white cat with fuzzy tiny paws The swirling of colours from a bath bomb

Little things at home bring me autistic joy too, the swirling of colours from a bath bomb, tiny fuzzy cat paws and my growing collection of small ceramic animals.

2 small ceramic animals next to a plant A ceramic dog hanging next to a pot plant

Being autistic doesn't make me a master photographer, my special interest in birds and nature doesn't mean I know every bird call I hear on a walk. But my attention to detail and my way of viewing the world through wide, curious eyes is something unique to my neurodivergence, something that brings me the purest form of autistic joy, and something I feel is worth celebrating.

Meet the creator

Max (they/them) is a 23-year-old autistic nonbinary young person whose special interests include neuroqueer identities, birds, photography and horror novels. 

They have two cats (Lana and Harley) who support them in all their endeavours.