John and Mom, Rebecca

John and Mom, Rebecca

About this Project

In the spring of 2014, I participated in advocacy training, “Partners in Policymaking”, through All About Developmental Disabilities in Decatur, Georgia. This training taught me how to be an effective advocate not only for my daughter but for others living with a developmental disability. One of the points that was repeatedly made in the training was the need to educate the public and policymakers about developmental disabilities (DD) and the importance of funding to support this population.  Resources are available to promote the development of individuals with a DD in early childhood and the educational system provides significant support while children are in school.  However, these supports go away when a child with a DD finishes high school.  Continued support through a Waiver would ensure that the investment made in the early years of life remains intact. Furthermore, post-high-school support would enhance the likelihood that individuals will become active, contributing members of society and realize a meaningful life. In the absence of support, many of these individuals suffer isolation, depression and a deterioration of their acquired skills. Over time they lose their sense of self-worth and become increasingly dependent on others for their care.  Without support, parents and caregivers are often overwhelmed with the responsibility of caring for their loved ones. As a photographer and storyteller, I realized I could be the voice for parents and individuals living with a disability. Their stories, their struggles, their triumphs are what inspired this project, “Real Stories, Real People.”

 

About Me

I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Music from the University of Southern California in 1983 and a Certificate in Physical Therapy from the University of California, San Francisco in 1989. I discovered photography in my mid-forties and became passionate about visual storytelling. As a photographer, I have found it most rewarding to photograph people in their familiar environments and to record their stories. I work part-time as a physical therapist while pursuing my photographic interests. I live in Decatur, Georgia with my family (husband Tim, son Peter and daughter Christine who lives with a developmental disability and her very lovable canine companion).

Beate photographing in Tallahassee, Florida  

Beate photographing in Tallahassee, Florida