I want you to know that Atypical is OUR Normal.
Three years ago (2012), I attended my very first BlogHer conference. It was an exciting time for me. Even though I had already been blogging for two years and spoken at 2 conferences – I was just starting to really think of myself as a “real” writer. I had just been recruited by Ellen (of Love that Max) to start writing for Parents.com and I remember thinking of BlogHer as an investment in myself. And when the 2 day conference was over, I was inspired and more determined than ever. (I have two blogger goals: for one of my posts to be syndicated on Blogher and become one of their Voices of the Year.)
For those of you who don’t know what BlogHer is – it’s like the mother of all blog conferences.
BlogHer is the world’s largest conference for bloggers and content creators.
And I am so proud to be a BlogHer 15 panel speaker and sharing my special needs parenting journey.
Last year, my blogger friend, Miz Kp of Sailing Autistic Seas, attended BlogHer 14 in San Jose, CA. When she returned she wrote a powerful Call to Action post – Why Minority Voices Matter in the Autism Community.
As I looked around the room at the [special needs] mini con, I was the only black parent. In fact, I could count the number of minorities on one hand and not even use all of my fingers. We were in a room of 20 plus parents. Is this a problem? Yes. How did I get to this conference? I won a giveaway. I would not have been able to attend otherwise and there would have been no black parent representation in that room.
I remember sitting with Miz Kp at BlogHer in 2012 during the Special Needs mini-con. In a room of maybe 60-80 women, Miz Kp was the only black woman and I was the only Latina.
There are so very few minority voices in the autism blogging world.
I mean, that’s the reason why I started blogging in the first place. Those first few months, years of autism were so lonely for me. I turned to books for some kind of companionship, for knowledge, for hope. But it became frustrating reading book after book on autism parenting written by white women. Raising an autistic kid and being a working mom in The Bronx was so completely different from the books I was reading. Not a single book reflected my reality.
I started blogging and sharing our autism journey because I was so desperate to connect to another mom who understood. And slowly I found my tribe. I found other moms and bloggers like me.
And for autism moms searching for comfort and advice – my blog, my words, our autism journey became what they needed.
If you’re at BlogHer 15 – I’d love for you to attend our panel! This isn’t a session just for special needs parents – it’s open to everyone.
Storytelling Builds Bridges: I Want You To Know Me: Storytelling about Special Needs Parenting and Disability
Friday, July 17th at 11:30
In our lives, we tend to most often connect with those who are similar to us. We form groups and connections based on various similarities. It’s easy to get stuck where we are known, where we are comfortable, but we have the opportunity to broaden our experience and increase empathy when we make an effort to connect with those outside our tribe(s). In this session, we let the power of storytelling take you inside someone else’s world and experience. Listen. Learn. Relate. Understand. And ultimately bring that understanding back to your everyday life. You may not be parenting a special needs child or living with a disability yourself, but you can support the needs of those who are. Find out how to amplify the needs and stories from this community and meet them right where they are.
Session Intro: Bridget Foley, HUGO & ROSE