Monday, August 18, 2014
The combination of autism, intellectual disability and visual impairment almost guarantees that my son's school photo will be seriously horrible. School photo day is always a 9 out of 10 on the stress-o-meter experience for Josh. The lines, the exhausted photographer, the bright lights, the demands to look in a certain direction; it's a recipe for disaster for a kid who has sensory issues and absolutely no motivation to smile. I think that Josh's stress is only to be outdone by my level of stress when I get the photos back and I get to take a look at the snapshot that has been printed on the two 8 x 10's, eight 5 x 7's and 24 wallet sized photos that I had pre-ordered. How can my incredibly handsome child look so . . . special needs in every professionally taken school photo?
And yet, for the past 7 years that my son has been in public education, I have dutifully purchased the incredibly overpriced packages of school photos. Did you know that this year "Package A" is $58? If you combine that with an optional photo mouse pad, travel mug and "touch up" enhancement service, we're talking over a hundred bucks on a crap shoot of a photo. Really? In this age of digital cameras, do people really pay this much money for photo products which you have no option to preview before ordering?
Part of the problem is that the school photo order forms are sent home along with the back to school checklist and the emergency medicine form. It's almost as if these are all absolute necessities for your child to be registered to go to school. The assumption is that all good parents will collect and exchange school photos of their children throughout their years of schooling. And which elementary school parent in America wants to miss out on your child's class photo? You feel like gotta have that unless you don't care about chronicling your child's childhood!
Well, my son is in middle school now. There's no more class photos to be had. I've spent all of the energy that I have for the evening writing this post and venting my frustration about the many years of uncute school photos of my extremely cute child. I'm taking the plunge, people. This year, I'm not going to order school photos. I am relishing the prospect of writing one less check during this back to school season. I'm trusting that the world will not end and that I will still be viewed as a competent, loving parent. If you send me a school photo of your child this year, please know that I will not have one to give you. But I am likely to be a happier, slightly less stressed person and so is my son.