When I write posts for this blog I have four ‘audiences’ in my mind’s eye.
It was actually not quite knowing how I would be able to ‘cater’ for these different audiences that prevented me for quite a while from writing about things in the first place. I actually love to write and after all my counselling training am well aware of its therapeutic benefits. Blogging is taking the therapeutic benefits of writing to a whole new level!
The four audiences I have in my mind are represented by four actual people. In respecting privacy I will change their names (denoted by a *). The first person is Matt* and he represents for me all the people who read my blog that are unaffected by autism. Matt does not personally know anyone with autism. Matt is a nice guy in his early 20’s and is married but has no children. Matt represents an audience that is both male and female, but I really find a sense of satisfaction from knowing that the men are reading my blog. A bit weird but the truth! I think it is partly because autism affects 5 times more males than females, and also because men are under-represented in the early intervention therapy scene and the early years teaching profession. It just makes me happy that Matt is learning a bit more about autism and is getting to know my kiddo. I’d like for all the Matt’s of the world to know and care about someone with autism!
The second person is Annie* – the mum who has a child who has recently been diagnosed with autism. She has other children and her hands are full. I tread lightly and with the utmost care for this audience. This audience includes mums and dads. Their hearts are fragile. They are tired. The rollercoaster of emotions is so difficult. I want Annie to find some hope and strength. I do not pretend it’s an easy road, but for your children you are prepared to go off-road as needed.
The third audience is people who actually have autism. They can be people with autism who blog, go to college, have jobs and beautifully articulate what their lives are like and how they feel. They can also be people with autism who will never read or speak. The young man I picture with autism is named Aaron* (in his late teens) and is from a counselling appointment I observed while doing my Masters internship. I am mindful that I write respectfully as he is deserving of this. I speak for my own situation, but I do not have autism and I am careful of trying not to misrepresent people who do.
My final audience is actually one person. My son. He does fall into the above group of ‘people with autism’ but given that he is my boy he gets a category in my mind all of his own. I picture my son as a 25 yr old (I don’t know why that age but that’s just the age I have in my head). I picture him reading what I have written. I ask myself whether or not he will be proud of what I have written. Will he know from what I have written how much we love him. How we thank God for him. How darn proud we are of how hard he works. How joyous we are when he laughs and how sad we are when he struggles. How he has made us better people. How my hubby calls me up to say “I just love our kiddo” and that’s the only reason he rang. He just had to tell me that! I hope my future 25 yr old son will get all that from what I wrote about him as a 4 yr old.
Matt, Annie, Aaron and Kiddo. I’m thinking about you.