Autism, autonomy and privacy

Imagine meeting someone, you really like, getting up the courage to ask them out and them saying yes, only to later be rejected for no apparent reason. Imagine applying for jobs and never hearing anything despite having a good CV that you’ve worked really hard on. Or imagine, walking through the playground at school and noticing people looking at you, looking away and then giggling with their friends? All entirely different incidents, but all stemming from a single action.

There are dozens, maybe even hundreds of blogs and articles written by the parents of autistic children, about their ‘child with autism’. Many of these are personal, explicit, hurtful and even worse are outright cases of doxing. Many autistic children grow up to have partners, careers and independent lives, this can already be a struggle but having your name smeared across the internet by your own parents could be both very hurtful and could destroy many opportunities for advancement as an adult. Imagine the hurt you would feel if your own parents told their friends every day, how hard work you are, that they hated integral parts of your identity and that they wanted to cure you of who you are?

There are dozens, maybe even hundreds of blogs and articles written by the parents of autistic children.

Even if a parent blogger avoids using their child’s name, unless they also change their own name and avoid posting any photos and videos, then it would be very easy for people they know to find them. The adage of feathers in the wind is as relevant to the internet today as it ever has been; with internet archiving projects, social media and internet scraping bots a small blog under your control could easily be duplicated and end up out of your power, even if you delete the original.

If you really feel the need to write about your journey as the family of an autistic child, think about them at every step, keep it anonymous, keep it productive and try to see it from your child’s eyes. THink really hard about whether you are writing something unique that needs to be published publicly, could a private diary be the therapist you need?

I decided to write this blog as an antidote to the many so-called Warrior-Mom blogs that are out there. These blogs are causing hurt to the many autistic adults who have grown up being made to feel less by parents who denied them, tried to cure them and belittled them to the point at which many of their problems are now due to a lack of confidence.