You know what? I believe that I was the only autism blogger at the Blogging While Brown (BWB) conference this past weekend. Another blogger told me that this could change later. I welcome this because it means that we are talking about autism more in the black community. Approximately 250 black bloggers attended the BWB conference and it was a great experience to be among them. It was held at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem.
During the conference several bloggers asked me what I blog about and each time I responded: “I blog about autism parenting and I focus on raising my son who is on the autism spectrum. I also provide resources, event information, and support for other parents raising children like my son.”
Quite a long elevator speech but I am working on it.
Here are some of the comments that I received:
“That is awesome.”
“I know someone with autism.”
“My child has autism.”
“It is not something that we talk about in the black community.”
“It is great that you are blogging about it.”
“Some people don’t talk about it because they are embarrassed.”
“Why do you do it?”
The last question may seem like a simple one but it is a deep one for me. Why do I blog about autism? Why did I start this Web site? After Angel was diagnosed in 2011, his diagnosis was hard to talk about. When I got the idea for this Web site, I started to use it as a means of self-therapy. Now, it is evolving into so much more. My goal is to make it into a movement.
I am very passionate about how autism is discussed in our community. The truth is, it is not discussed as much as it should be.
A recent study released by the journal Pediatrics on June 17, 2013 revealed that: “Racial and ethnic differences exist in age at diagnosis and early access to mental and behavioral health services among children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs).”
This reiterates the disparity in the age at which black children are diagnosed with autism and how or if they receive care. What does this have to do with blogging? It amplifies the need to discuss autism more in our communities and that I can use my Web site to encourage dialogue.
The BWB conference gave me the tools that I can use to make Sailing Autistic Seas a comprehensive online destination that promotes autism awareness. Yes, there were a lot of tech stuff covered at the conference but in this digital age; you cannot bypass tech and social media to get the word out.
We need more black and brown voices spreading autism awareness. Autism does not discriminate based on skin color. We need to acknowledge that.
Check out my previous posts on how autism can be addressed more in minority communities:
How is autism discussed in your family and culture?
Please share your thoughts in the comments.