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Three short stories about three special children.


He prefers to be half-naked at home. He is unwilling to wear pants or underpants at home for long time.

Marcus has a congenital heart defect – single ventricle heart, and is also diagnosed with autism and intellectual disability.

His everyday life is determined by his own rules, customs and rituals. Anything new causes him unrest and fear.

His family aims to adapt to him. Because of Marcus’s heart problems they are very careful not to upset him.

His room means peace and security for him, where he spends most of his life. It is the place where he watches the world from.

A few times a week a psychotherapist helps to strenghten the boy’s muscles.
Marcus is willing to eat only baby food, which is a big cost to the family.

His grandmother lives just a few meters from the family so she can come over every day to help.
He prefers to be alone, but his twin brother Mathias often seeks his company.
His room means peace and security for him, where he spends most of his life. It is the place where he watches the world from. As soon as he hear a car coming or the gate opens, he looks runs to the window.
His heart problem affects the function of all his organs, his skin often turns to yellow due to liver disease.
The courier brought the package while the family was on a walk. Monika and Jozef ordered one more Christmas bedding, so boys could sleep in identical beddings.
Lights calm him down. One of his favourite toys is the kaleidoscope projector.


Dorina (3) was born with glaucoma and exophthalmos (bulging eyeball). Due to her cleft palate and laryngeal incision, she can’t eat or drink, her mother feeds her through a stomach catheter using a special machine. Because of her weak immune system, her mother doesn’t dare to take her outside much.

Supplies for survival in daily life. Melinda had to learn to perform the operations necessary for her daughter to survive.
Grandmother and mother are watering her through a stomach catheter.
With one of her favourite toys.
She can walk only with help.
Melinda believes that her daughter would be able to live a full life one day.


Jakub (8) is a first grader, trying to find his place in the world. His everyday life is permeated by constant fear of the outside world, change, unknown things, and unexpected events. Predictability is important to him—he’ll feel safe only if he knows daily schedule in advance exactly.

At the age of five, he was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). His family moved to Nové Zámky from Eastern Slovakia to allow him to go to a special school.

A visual schedule is very helpful to him, because it can relieve him of the stress of having to remember what comes next, makes for smooth transition between activities.
Even simple, casual things like a haircut can be frightful to him.
At home, with his mother.
It is difficult for him to form relationships. His teacher is trying to get his attention with a plush toy.
Walking in the city with her sister and father. If they don’t walk his usual track, Jakub gets disturbed.


András Á. Cséfalvay (b. 1987, Dunajská Streda, Slovakia) is a photographer and photojournalist. He holds a teaching and design degree. Over the past few years he has won several prizes in the Slovak, Czech and Hungarian Press Photo competitions with his documentary projects about special people.

Created with the financial support of the Fund for the Support of the Cultures of National Minorities.

Previous series


Ágnes and her brother József live in a small village in South Slovakia, just few kilometers from the Hungarian border. József is spending his life taking care of his mentally and physically disabled sister, who is unable to walk or talk since childhood. They live in modest circumstances.

Because of her disease Ágnes cant sit in wheelchair. The old pram is the only
place, where she feels comfortable.


Vivien is a 16-year-old girl from Western Slovakia, diagnosed with a rare type of autism spectrum disorder. Her behaviour is extremely aggressive – besides hitting her own face she kicks or punches anybody (including her parents) who tries to approach her.

Vivien’s aggressive, self-injurious behaviour began at the age of 4–5 by hitting her head against the furniture and wall. Before, her parents were not aware of their daughter being different from other children. Her condition gradually worsened. The only way her teachers manage to control her self-injurious behaviour is pulling Vivien’s finger backwards. After school, Vivien spends the rest of the day at home, bound to a chair. At night, she can only sleep after taking drugs.

“András Á. Cséfalvay is documenting lives in which relationships, the delight of movement, and the support of the family are much higher appreciated.

Lives in which different things are unreachable, faith has different meaning. Different families, different personalities—but the joy in their eyes is common.

Photographs of András Á. Cséfalvay are taking us closer in to the intimacy of three families.”

(Viktória Salgó, art historian)

Lili and Emili

Lili and Emili are twins. Emili is healthy, Lili developed cerebral palsy after delivery. Their parents do everything they can to improve Lili’s condition, strengthen her muscles, thus, help her be able to sit, crawl, stand and walk on her own.

Lili’s physiotherapists take regular measurements, so that they can follow the development of the states of her muscles
Fine motor therapy in Hlohovec.


Tomi is an 11-year-old boy diagnosed with xeroderma pigmentosum—a rare incurable genetic disorder, that causes extreme sensitivity to sunlight, and a very sensitive skin prone to developing scars and cancer spontaneously. When he wants to go outdoors during daylight, he has to wear protective clothing and face shield that offers sufficient protection from UV light.

The greathest threat in Tomi’s life is sunlight
He can go outside only wearing protective clothing and face shield, that protects from UV radiation.
Christmas, candle light
Celebration at the end of the school year with classmates
Playing with classmates in the schoolyard
Tomi will probably undergo several surgeries, that would probably improve his condition but will not fully cure the disorder.


“What is too loud? Only the quiet. The quiet in which one bursts as though in a vacuum.

E. M. Remarque

Instead of words, Réka communicates with her eyes. Due to cerebral palsy she is unable to speak, move independently, and needs her mother’s help in everything. Her thoughts are locked up in her body. She is a very smart and gifted girl, her abilities are excellent compared to her condition. She managed to learn to read and count. Currently, her mom is teaching her at home in various creative ways. In addition to learning, they exercise every day to strengthen Réka’s muscles. With her best friend, Zoé—with whom they have known each other since they were little girls—they are playing board games, painting, and having fun.

She can move independently only using a special frame.
Homeschooling. During the pandemic, her mother, Éva teaches her at home.
Éva writes an exercise on the whiteboard, then she gradually points to each number. When the right answer is pointed to, Réka sends a signal with her gaze.
Éva asks a question about the text Réka has read, then gives her two possible answers. Her left hand symbolizes one, her right hand the other. Réka chooses the one she thinks is the right one with her gaze.
Glowing night sky wall of the bedroom.
Her friend, Zoé, visits her every week.