Lauren Casper is the founder of the popular blog, laurencasper.com, where she shares her thoughts on life, parenting, and faith. She contributes regularly to the Autism Speaks website and The Mighty website, and has had numerous articles syndicated by The Huffington Post, The Today Show, and several other publications. Lauren takes great joy in her family: husband John, son Mareto, and daughter Arsema.
We recently talked to Lauren about what she’s up too today…
Kerry: Hey Lauren! Can you tell us a little bit about how you started LaurenCasper.com?
Lauren: Yes! I started my blog back in 2009 as a way to just share our life with family and friends. I had no idea that it would eventually reach a wider audience, so it’s been fun to watch it grow. And now it’s given me a platform to share things I’m passionate about such as autism, adoption, and family life in general. I love to write, so I’m incredibly grateful for my readers!
We love all the photos you post of you and your family! Has photography always been an interest of yours?
Not particularly… I’ve been more interested in graphic design and the layout and presentation of websites. After I’d been blogging for a few years I noticed how much I loved the photos on some of the blogs I read. It’s amazing how much a good photograph makes a difference in the visual appeal of a post. So a few years ago my husband, John, bought me a DSLR camera for Mothers Day and I took a couple online courses to learn enough to do an okay job. The real photographer in our family is my son, Mareto. We love to see what catches his eye and the unique perspective he has. We’ve noticed he’s particularly drawn to light and the way it reflects onto other objects. He takes beautiful photos and it’s a joy to hand him my camera and let him explore his world.
What has been one of your favorite blogs you’ve written so far?
It’s so hard to pick a favorite! I have posts that are particularly special to me for different topics. I loved writing “The Hardest Part of Autism” and the response really beautiful. So many parents could relate and it made me realize how connected we are as families and how even though our experiences can be vastly different, there are still common threads between us. I love how our community stands together to support one another.
What is one thing you wish every knew about autism based on your experiences with your son Mareto?
I wish everyone understood what a spectrum autism is. The phrase, “if you’ve met one person with autism you’ve met one person with autism” is so popular because many people don’t understand the diversity found within the autism community. And even one person will shift on the spectrum in one area or another. My son is very high functioning in some areas and extremely low functioning in others. The spectrum is wide, unique, and full of surprises. While one person with autism might not like to be touched, another might crave deep pressure hugs and touches. I wish more people wouldn’t assume that they know about my son just because they’ve known others with autism. I wish more people would take the time to ask specifically about him and what makes him unique and special. He’s an incredible little boy with so much to offer this world.
One of your pieces “To The Trader Joe’s Employee Who Noticed My Family in the Parking Lot” that was posted on the inspirational website The Mighty became an overnight sensation! How was it to see the response from our community on your piece?
It was so surreal and overwhelming to see that post take off the way it did! I had no idea it would go viral and I was blown away by the response it received. I loved hearing from parents who had similar experiences. But the best thing to come of it was getting back in touch with the woman who gave me the flowers. Joann and I text occasionally now and I am just so grateful I was able to truly thank her and show her what a special person she is. And the world joined me in that!
What’s next for you? Any fun projects coming up with your writing?
I’m working on my first book, which is very exciting for me! In it, I talk more about the lessons I’m learning from my son. Mareto has a number of mantras, scripted phrases that he says over and over. They might seem silly at first, but as I’ve thought about it further, I realized that he is actually sharing important life lessons that apply to all of us. “It’s a job-a-doo!” He cries out in joy when told to wash his hands or pick up his toys. Such a simple phrase reminds me to take joy in my work no matter how mundane or unimportant it seems. Another day he groans, “My batteries is all gone.” And I know he’s reached his end so it’s time for a rest. Why is it so hard for me to come to the same conclusion about myself? Every day I learn something new from Mareto’s simple yet profound wisdom. It’s a joy to be writing about how Mareto encourages us to live outward while looking inward.