5 December 2018

Dear friend,

Last night I couldn’t sleep. This time I wasn’t laid awake worrying about one of my boys, something I said wrongly, what to make for dinner tomorrow or the washing I forgot to take out of the machine. I was actually thinking about an exchange on social media.

I proudly display the following quote on my blog:
“Don’t be afraid to tell your story because your voice is important and your story is unique” Meredith Levitate

But this exchange left me wondering if my voice was important or indeed relevant...

In the 4 years since I started blogging a lot has changed.

The autistic community is demanding acceptance and challenging the deficit model. It feels like autism has finally come of age, along with a wave of children who were diagnosed as being autistic.

Autistic people are strong and capable self-advocates shouting from the rooftops about what it means to be actually autistic. Fighting the stereotypes, demanding to be recognised as neuro-divergent and not less and for basic rights to good health care, education and access to services and activities.

There is a welcome shift in thinking towards a more inclusive society that celebrates neuro-divergent people. We are seeing a massive movement towards real change. Starting at the person rather than at the cure.

Writing started as a sort of therapy for me. A place to open up about my concerns and to share experiences. It made me feel less isolated at a very difficult time when I felt like I was drowning in my emotions.

It is an indictment of mental health provision for parents of autistic children that so many have to turn to an online world for help.

I hope that anyone who has read my blog knows that I have always approached my writing from a place of love. That I want acceptance and understanding for my son. I don’t want to change him. I want to challenge the stereotypes and provide a positive space for parents of children with autism.

I am open to learn and to engage in healthy debate. But I am extremely uncomfortable with the extent of the negativity, towards parents of children with autism.  Lately, I have witnessed several extremely aggressive exchanges on social media and some very intimidating behaviour.

A few weeks ago, an autistic person challenged my thinking and questioned my right to speak about autism on a social media platform. They demanded that I '...stay out of...'  certain hashtags.

I took on board their comments. It caused me to re-evaluate, to change some of my language, think more carefully about the hashtags I use and also make it clearer on my social media profiles that I am the parent of a son with autism and not a mum with autism. All positive changes.

But the experience played to my insecurities...

Has my voice grown weary?
Do I have the right to share our experiences?
What will my son think?
What do I want to achieve?
Are autism parents 'watering down' the voices of actually autistic people?
Are autism parent blogs becoming obsolete?

Last night I couldn't sleep. Is now the time to stop?

A huge thank you to everyone who has supported me over the last 4 years. I wish you all a very happy Christmas. 
I will be taking a Christmas break, having a good think and hope to be back in the new year. 

A glimpse into autism is a series of short letters that explore the impact autism has on our family on a day to day basis. Disclaimer: this is our experience not all autistic people are the same.

More autism awareness posts...

#PointShoot December

4 December 2018

Do you love making photos of your family? Do you like to record the everyday memories you are making? Then #PointShoot could be the linky for you. Come and share your photo story posts with me. 

You can share days out snaps or a fun, special, or touching moment from your week. It can be one photo (including Instagram posts) or a series of shots with words or without.

This Month's featured post comes from @myrealfairyblog

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A photograph is the pause button of life.

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Photography @My_Dutch_Angle

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