So I’ve been in this for a few months now.
When I started this page, my hope was that I could find support from other parents, vent when I am struggling, get advice from those who have been there, share my victories and my challenges, and help and support others looking to do the same.
I was welcomed by the vast majority in the community, especially other parents of autistic children.
However, I’ve also seen a some animosity directed at bloggers like me from some of the autistic community.
I was actually pretty shocked at some of the negative responses.
One person questioned why I would post about my son and autism already when he has only recently been diagnosed and suggested that I shouldn’t be “plastering my kid’s struggles all over the internet.” They suggested using anonymous places like forums or chat rooms when seeking advice or venting.
Basically, here is a summary of the negative vibes:
Autism parents like me post about autism in such a negative light. Like it’s a “tragedy” that my kid(s) are autistic, and therefore part of him is some sort of “tragic” puzzle piece.
It’s HIS journey, not my journey. He is autistic. Not me. I am callously negating his feelings by displaying “our journey” for the general public.
I am trying to garner up as much pity as possible for my “
diseased child with autism” in the hopes that he will one day be cured.
I am grossly invading his privacy without consent. He will be humiliated when he grows up. If, at the least, he doesn’t grow to resent me, he will NEVER grow to respect me.
I am using my child as “like bait.” I am trying to win a popularity contest using my autistic son as fodder for the masses.
I’m sure the list goes on. This is what I have seen thus far.
But they are valid points.
I could simply post questions in forums for advice and support, true. But I have found a lot of people tend to be disingenuous in forums and many times, questions you post go unnoticed and you are forced to either repost your question or “bump” it to get noticed. It makes me feel needy or cloying.
When you run a page that people “like” or “follow,” that means that your followers have a vested interest in what you are posting and you will have a more meaningful dialogue, Although there are also pitfalls to running a Facebook page.
But the more I think about it, the more I’ve come to realize that the main focus of my blog is NOT “dealing with autism.”
I don’t know what it is like to be autistic. I don’t pretend to know what it’s like to be autistic.
But having 2 young kids, I do know a little bit about parenting. I blogged about parenthood long before I blogged about being an “autism parent.” So autism is something that just “came with the territory” for us at that point.
I don’t blog because it’s SUCH a struggle for us and I need to display the “awful behaviour” to the world in the hopes somebody will feel sorry for me/my kids (though, honestly, at times, it is a struggle, and sometimes, I will vent about it, should I feel the need).
So why do I do it?
This from a follower:
“…your page made me smile and laugh and feel hopeful on a day where I felt rockbottom and terrified about my son’s future. You have a great attitude and a wonderful way with your son and as we seek a diagnosis here I will definitely be an avid follower.”
That is why I do what I do.
If I can help a handful of other parents looking to figure a few things out, or inspire them to be better parents, better advocates, or just better people…
That is why I do what I do.
Do I need to expose my kids to be “plastered all over the internet” to accomplish this?
Honest answer? Probably not.
So why then?
- I am ridiculously proud of my kids. I love who they are and who they are becoming as individuals. I celebrate the small victories. I celebrate their milestones. I celebrate their funny quirks and their little nuances. I celebrate their accomplishments. I invite others to celebrate with us.
- Blogging functions the same for me as a parenting journal or diary. Oftentimes, I will look back at where we were 5 years ago from previous posts and marvel at how far we’ve come. How far I’ve come as a parent, and how far my children have come. It freezes moments in time (the good and the bad) that pass by too quickly and are forgotten.
- I understand the importance of a visual connection to the intended audience. Describing my son smiling after playing with our cat does not capture the same feeling as SEEING my son smiling after playing with our cat. I think that in order for people to truly grasp what I am trying to communicate, many times they need to SEE what I am communicating.
If, in the future, my kids want me to stop posting about them or to take down the posts or blogs, I will do so.
outweighs my need
to record their happiness.
I try to be positive, though I am not always positive. I try to uplift and encourage, but sometimes, I’m the one that needs to be encouraged. I try to focus on the good and not the bad, but sometimes, life is not good, or happy. Sometimes life does not turn out how you expect. I just try to be authentic.
If what I am doing ends up damaging or humiliating my kids, I will apologize profusely and try to reconcile with them.
I don’t claim to be a perfect parent. I will make mistakes. Perhaps this is one of them. If what I do offends you, I apologize. I will just have to take the bad with the good.
But I like that what I do is helping other people. I see THAT as the main reason for doing what it is that I do. And so far with my journey in blogging, I have only had positive experiences. So I will try to continue helping.
Thank you to everyone in this Ausome community for accepting us into your world. We’re still bumbling through this journey, but I will try to do my best to contribute positively to the conversation. Thank you for your advice!
And to those outside the community or new to it, I will do my best to spread Autism awareness to you as well through our experiences.
I will try to be supportive. I will try to be encouraging.
But in the end, what I will try to be… what I will ENDEAVOR to always be… is real.