When Phoenix Lucterhand is happy, there’s no question that she’s filled with joy. Her eyes light up and a wide smile fills her little face.
But when frustration hits, she’s often overwhelmed — her limbs thrashing and hands fluttering as she tries to process her anger. Sometimes, she curls up in a ball on the floor, crying. Sometimes she bites or scratches her arms.
This is Phoenix’s world — full of big emotions and unexpected changes.
“Everything is very intense for her, everything brings a feeling,” said her mother, Savannah Filip. “You have to be sensitive to that.”
Diagnosed with autism when she was in preschool, Phoenix is mostly nonverbal, which limits her ability to communicate.That’s caused her mother; her father, Keith Lucterhand; and her teachers at school to abandon their perceptions of what’s typical and try to see things from her point of view.