My contribution for “Public Record” features portraits of young adults with spectrum disorders who are striving to find their way in the world. Known as Aspies, my subjects are diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a mild form of autism. Despite their difficulty in interpreting social situations and sensory issues, they want to contribute to society and live independent lives. The ability to express themselves is especially challenging, so better understanding and more help is needed in connecting their unique skills and gifts to a meaningful vocation. Although many are highly intelligent and posses a keen attention to detail, a majority of adults with Asperger’s do not have jobs. My portraits and accompanying audio introduces 6 young adults from the Pittsburgh area that want to tell you about what they want and need so they can thrive.
Martha Rial is a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her work can be found in the permanent collections of the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Newseum in Washington D.C., as well as numerous private collections. Rial previously worked at The St. Petersburg Times and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.