My child has Asperger’s.
I only feel free to say that because this is an anonymous post. I haven’t told most of my friends. I have never mentioned it on Facebook. I don’t write about it in my blog.
I am not ashamed of my child’s Asperger’s. It’s part of what makes her the person she is: intense, sensitive and quirky. There’s a lot I could share about her. But something always stops me.
To me, it’s her business. If she wants to tell everyone she has Asperger’s when she grows up, she can. And if she doesn’t want to, it can remain private. I don’t want her to one day realise that kind of information about her is available online for other people to see.
Asperger’s might be almost cool right now, because of all the TV characters who have it, but who knows how people will see it in the future?
I have wondered at times whether I'm being overcautious. But recently I read an opinion piece by Australian writer Carly Findlay. Carly wants to see less of parents showing their child's disability on social media until their child can give permission.
"In truth, parenting blog posts about children with disabilities being burdens or inspirations, or full of detailed information about the child's condition, make me uncomfortable," she writes. "I say this as someone's (adult) child with a disability. I would be mortified if my parents shared my condition at length (and publicly) as a child or an adult. I am glad I can make the informed educated choice to tell my story my way."
As Carly points out, there's been a flood recently of "well-intentioned yet saccharine" blogs written by parents of children with disabilities.
"I understand parenting children with disabilities is hard and isolating, and that parents need an outlet. And so many others will relate to their stories - so that is positive. (I know firsthand just how cathartic and supportive blogging about disability can be.) But is airing such personal, complex details and feelings about a child's disability online the right thing to do? It is a fine line between awareness raising and oversharing."