Scott Endersby, a photographer and father of two sons who have autism, knows how important it is to spread awareness about special needs. Through his photography business, Scott has made it his mission to celebrate children with special needs, and his Harry Potter-themed shoot is no exception.
"When my wife Nicole and I started photographing special needs families six years ago, it started as Autism awareness," Scott told POPSUGAR. "We kept getting told [by] other special needs parents that either it was too expensive to get family photos done or they did not have any luck in finding a patient photographer to be able to get any photos taken. We wanted to spread awareness for our two sons who have autism. We felt at the time that autism needed more acknowledgment in the world around us. It's about seeing inclusion not difference."
For Beth — mom to 9-year-old Lucy and 8-year-old Ethan — getting the chance to partake in the shoot meant the world, especially for Ethan, who has autism and is nonverbal.
"As parents, we were honoured to be given this gift to make our kids feel 10 feet tall," said Beth. "There was no communication hurdle for my son to have to jump or uncomfortable social setting that he couldn't sit through. They were just invited to have fun and we let the photographer do the hard work. Life with special needs kid is challenging and expensive. These pictures would likely not have been something that we elected to have paid for, due to the other support supplies, devices, and therapies. This moment that he captured, this flight that they were given, this was the gift of a true wizard."
"This moment that he captured, this flight that they were given, this was the gift of a true wizard."
As for choosing Harry Potter as the theme? The reasoning is quite simple: "Harry Potter is a magical escape with great friendships, amazing creatures, life lessons, and comedy. The friends support each other, despite their quirks. That's an inspiring message," explained Beth. "The kids got Quidditch jerseys and the flying Snitch last year, and even our poodle has dressed in Hedwig the owl's wings. The kids love seeing things from the television screen come alive and were so excited to see their action hero photos."
For Scott, this is only the beginning of the projects he has coming down the pipeline centreed on kids who have special needs.
"Through a new project called #EndersbysHeroes — where children with special needs and and their siblings dress up as superheroes for pictures — we wanted to bring awareness that children with any sort of disability are true superheroes, as well as their siblings," he said. "They're there through all the therapy appointments, the special education, doctor appointments, and the list goes on. They deserve these memories through photography to showcase them as their favourite superhero."