Dear fellow Special Needs parent

By | July 5, 2013

#autism

Haven’t our children had a great few weeks at school?

Sports Day, the Proms performance and Tuesday, when the team they were both in won a silver medal, competing against other mainstream schools – http://www.autismmumma.com/another-medal-tues-2nd-july-2013 – an amazing achievement for every child involved, considering their varied and complex needs.

I proudly shared a cropped photo of D as we’d all been given a team photo. Cropped for two reasons, one: she’s in a PE kit and two: other children are included in the photo and it wasn’t appropriate for me to publish their images.

Unfortunately you didn’t feel the same. Not only did you replicate the photo in full, you named them all. I only found out because a mutual friend put two-and-two together and let me know.

Even though that tainted my obvious pride at what all those children achieved, I’m not blaming you, you were very proud, if a little naive.

I’m not on Facebook but I understand that etiquette dictates that you do not publish pictures of other people’s children and you certainly do not compromise their security by naming them FGS!

Why am I upset by this?

Well, D is a special needs child, she has issues with rights and wrongs, with inhibition and with trust. She also has major stranger anxieties BUT and, this is where it gets complicated, she would not hesitate in thinking someone was friendly if they had her favourite snack (and now I’m not stupid enough to broadcast what that might be).

I can inform her of "stranger danger" and road safety until the proverbial "cows come home", this does not stop emotions or anxieties taking over at inappropriate moments. For example, she knows to stop at the pelican crossing inside the school gates, wait and we look both ways and cross hand-in-hand, this morning she was anxious because someone was behind us so she ran across without looking. That is my life, ever risk-assessing, ever worrying, ever thinking ahead.

You might consider I’m being over-protective but if someone else published and named a picture of your child with not many clothes on, you’d be concerned. I don’t know who’s seen that photo, I don’t know who you classify as your "friends", I don’t know how many people now know my daughter’s name and the school she attends.

Every child you named in that photo has varying issues, every child’s parent was not aware that their child’s image was being posted, in PE kit.

You might think "well, why do you blog J?" "why put up images of your children ?".

It’s to prove that autism is an invisible disability, that first impressions can be deceptive, that the "camera DOES lie".

But look closer, there are no swimsuit photos, very few below the head and shoulders shots and that’s for a very good reason.

You’ve now removed the children’s names and they are referred to by initials, thank you.

The picture is still up, which I am not happy about and nor is the school but your choice, your decision.

Hopefully there will be lessons learnt from this. I needed to blog this all out, to make you see that I’m not being "difficult or stroppy", I have my reasons for vigorously protecting my daughter.

Enjoy the summer break.

Dear fellow Special Needs parent
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5 Comments

Coombe Mill on 5th July 2013 at 11:38 am.

You must do as you feel is right for your daughter and not be afraid to speak up. I am doing school sports day for Country Kids tomorrow and have blocked all the faces of those I don’t have permission to use. On the farm I always check with the parents before snapping away and using their pictures on my website and social media sites, most parents are fine but the choice must be given to say no thanks. Popping over from #PoCoLo

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Karen on 5th July 2013 at 11:40 am.

I am glad the names have been removed now J, and I can understand why you were upset. And yes, you are very careful about what photos you post – a responsible parent and blogger. Sadly there are people in this world who cannot be trusted.

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Emma from over at LIFE AS IT IS on 5th July 2013 at 1:40 pm.

It’s shocking isn’t it, but unfortunately living in the social media climate that we do, there are times it happens. I feel for you #PoCoLo x

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Jaime Oliver on 6th July 2013 at 2:21 am.

regardless of special needs or not i would be furious if a picture of my child is on Facebook that i had not agreed to previously, in fact i even asked my own sister to remove a couple of innocent shots of my daughter as she was in her PJ’s … your child your say so! x

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Verily Victoria Vocalises on 7th July 2013 at 11:35 pm.

This is a really difficult situation and one that is so hard to police when there is so much social media going on out there. Well done for speaking your mind in such a constructive way without throwing spears or being negative. Thanks for linking to PoCoLo xx

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