7 Inspiring Photos Highlight the 'Super Powers' of Special Needs Kids (PHOTOS)

Judy Dutton | Aug 17, 2015 Being a Mom
7 Inspiring Photos Highlight the 'Super Powers' of Special Needs Kids (PHOTOS)

super power baby projectEvie was born with a rare chromosomal condition that left her unable to walk, talk, or survive past the age of 2 and a half. Yet her mom, Rachel Callander, didn't see her daughter as disabled or disadvantaged. Her daughter had super powers, which she celebrated in a series of photos called the Super Power Baby Project.

"We talked about her 'super powers' as a response to her unique abilities," explains the mom, a photographer who lives in New Zealand. "We noticed she was experiencing the world differently: She cried when she went through electric sliding doors, or on roads where there were a lot of pylons. It was as if she had an electromagnetic sensitivity."

This is where the "super power" language emerged, and carried over into the empowering photographs Callander snapped of her child. 

"It really helped balance the negativity we constantly faced with the 'what's wrong with her?' questions," she says. And even after her daughter passed away in 2010, Callander continued working to change people's beliefs about special needs kids by photographing others in ways that show their strength and power. 

"One parent told me her child had a 'ripple of influence' everywhere she goes and everyone she meets is changed by her for the better," Callander says. "The parents loved being able to tell me about their children using positive language and then have photos supporting those sentiments so other people can see them too."

These photos, posted on her website, quickly went viral, and have since been compiled in a book.

"Our hope and aim is to change the language around disability, and give hope to families and to encourage people to see the potential in all people," Callander says. "I think the images are so popular because they reflect the spirits and characters of the children. They are so full of happiness, potential, and LIFE! That's how we see these kids."

Check out some of her inspiring photos in this slideshow.


Image via Super Power Baby Project

  • Annabelle


    Annabelle, 5, has Autism Spectrum Disorder, which lends her an aura of mystery. "Annabelle is ethereal and mysterious," says Callander. "She is highly intuitive and aware. She explores the world with a beautiful, adventurous spirit."

  • Ayda


    Ayda may have Down syndrome, but everything she touches turns to gold. "People can't help but be moved and changed by her," says Callander. "People become better for knowing her."

  • Romy


    Romy, 3, has Kabuki syndrome, so called for its tendency to cause abnormal facial features -- arched eyebrows, long eyelashes, protruding ears -- that resemble stage makeup in traditional Japanese theater called Kabuki. But this just makes Romy more breathtaking to behold. "Romy draws out love in people," says Callander.

    More from The Stir: 10 Inspirational Life Tips From Moms of Kids With Special Needs

  • Kaahu


    Kaahu has Prader-Willi syndrome, a genetic condition characterized by weak muscle tone, feeding difficulties, and delayed growth. But you'd never know it watching this 2-year-old command a crowd. "Kaahu is outgoing and friendly," says Callander. "She is a show-stealer and loves being the center of attention."

  • Patch


    Patch has Costello syndrome, a genetic condition characterized by delayed intellectual and physical development, unusually flexible joints, and loose skin on the hands and feet. But these differences don't stop this outgoing 18-month-old for one minute. "Patch is a people magnet," says Callander.

  • Adam


    Adam has chromosomal abnormalities, but they're barely a blip in holding him back. "Everything he does is celebrated," says Callander.

  • Evie


    Even though she passed away at the young age of 2 and a half, Callander's daughter Evie displayed a number of unique gifts early on. "She could communicate complex emotions by using the tone of her voice, and expressed her happiness with her entire body," Callander says. "She drew out love and care in people."

    More from The Stir: Mom Turns Kids With Special Needs Into Superheroes in Breathtaking Photos

developmental delays

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