I have recently dipped my toe into the social media world of Autism these last few months and I have been really surprised by the complex and political world out there, that naively I knew nothing about.
In simple terms I am just a mum. A mum to three kids, one of whom is Autistic. And a mum who felt alone for many years. As a result I turned to other mums online for help and advice. I suppose more than that I needed friendship and understanding from others who completely got me and my life. Not even necessarily to share stories about our kids but to just be there for each other in a non judgemental way.
So after many years of considering it, I started a blog about my life. And of course because my life is so intertwined with my sons the stories overlap. I have always tried to be honest and share my feelings because I know that the worst thing in the world is to feel alone. My son had been in the forefront of my mind the whole time I have ever written anything.
My kids are my world. My son inspires me daily, and he has taught so much in ways I could never have imagined. He is unique and wonderful and I love sharing his achievements with people on my blog. But there is also a flip side to this. Sometimes for us life is a challenge. There is no way to escape that reality; fighting the system, other people’s perception of my son, people’s general ignorance and having ‘normal’ family life in general to name but a few.
So I write about us, the challenges we face, and our wonderful and crazy family moments. But I have always been conscious of not disclosing my sons’ private details, and have tried to respect his right to not have every element of his life out there in the abyss of social media for all to see. For me it’s more about increasing peoples understanding of Autism, and connecting with other people who want to learn more, and people who really relate to our story on a personal level.
I honestly had no idea that the Autism world out there was so divided; groups of parents, groups of professionals, bloggers, haters....
And most importantly Autistic people writing about their first hand experiences who deserve to have their voices heard the loudest out of all sections of the community .
But sadly I have seen several blogs and articles in the last few weeks that have challenged me greatly. From people offering cures for Autism, abusive therapies that damage children’s perception of who they really are, to blogs that make you feel worse for reading them.
And I have increasingly sensed that Autistic people can feel their voice is being overlooked by well intentioned people talking about their second hand experience of Autism . So as a parent blogger played has played on my mind a lot.
I completely agree that every child deserves their privacy, and no one should be sharing their childs every detail in public for all to see. Because once it’s out there it’s out there forever. But keeping this in mind I also feel I have a right to tell my story and express my feelings. After all we all need to support eachother whatever our personal relationship with Autism looks like. I reckon we should all be on the same side. Fighting for more understanding, and celebrating the uniqueness of Autistic people like my son.
Unfortunately there will always be people that abuse their situation, as there is in every section of our society. There will be honest, insightful and helpful blogs and articles, and sadly there will also be pretty crappy ones that focus too much on the negative, and do nothing to raise genuine awareness and help people through the maze of support out there.
Whether we are Autistic, parent bloggers, ‘experts’ or observers, I think it’s something we should all be mindful of. We need to be honest, celebrate the good, and recognise the challenges out there for Autistic people and their families.
So I will continue to tell my story, and follow a variety of people from all sections of the Autism community who share my ethos of celebrating my sons’ uniqueness and potential. And I will continue to attempt to raise awareness, and reach out to people who may feel alone. I will make mistakes, but I am human and that’s all part of this journey we are all on.
I choose to ignore the negativity out there. The unhelpful side of social media that makes me feel worse about our situation; the disrespectful, unhelpful, and darn right dangerous stuff out there. I choose not to encourage that voice by giving it my attention.
My blog celebrates my son. My blog allows me to discuss the difficulties we face in a world that struggles to recognise and embrace my sons abilities. And my blog helps me know I am not alone in feeling like I do, and helps me be a better mum to my son. That’s why I blog.
And if telling it like it is helps someone else in the process.... well then that’s an added bonus
Mrs M x