Here it is. Yes, this is snarky, so stop reading right now if you are feeling offended.

I communicate with many people each day via this little blog, social media, the workplace, texts and phone calls. I follow a number of social media pages and Twitter accounts. The beauty of the Internet is the equality it offers. Anyone can open an account and post away.

Yeah. Anyone. About anything. It’s no secret that I’m involved in Autism Awareness. This area is probably the one that gets me riled up the most. People come onto pages and ask questions like “my 11 yo son won’t get up and go to school. Is this Autism?” Or, “I think my 8 month old baby has high functioning Autism because she doesn’t sleep through the night.” How about “do Autistics prefer to wear blue clothes?” A personal favorite…”how do I get my 20 yo son to stop playing video games?”

Seriously…learn about the disorder before you post. Many 11 yo boys don’t want to go to school. Babies have unusual sleep patterns. Autistics are like everyone else when it comes to preferences. And, may I suggest parenting the 20 yo son?  That is frequently seen as being cold, just so you know. If you’re supporting the kid, you do still have a say in what their life looks like. Want to check out that theory? Tell the kid they have two weeks to get it together or they will be supporting themselves. Miraculous things happen when boundaries are set.

Yes, yes. These are my opinions. I am past the point of being amused by people who think social media is a triage room. One person came on a diabetes support page and asked if insulin was really necessary to stay alive. In case you didn’t know, the answer is yes. Bodies make insulin as part of keeping things balanced. You need it to survive.

How about this gem…”I think I have gastroparesis because my stomach rumbles a lot.” Ok, well, gastroparesis is a condition many know nothing about. However, if your stomach is rumbling, it’s moving. Gastroparesis literally means paralyzed stomach. You take it from there.

I could go on rambling, but I’m hoping you get the idea.

So, the challenge. I grew up with the saying “open mouth, insert foot.” Given our unprecedented access to information, there is no reason to ask the types of questions listed above. If it’s medical, ask your care team, Social media is not the place to get medical information. If it’s an Autism question, there are many, many resources available that can provide better answers than a social media page. Oh, and before you post that question? Ask yourself why. What is it that leads you to believe that x is related to y? You might just discover that your perceptions need adjusting.



No, Really?

In the business world, they use the acronym “subject matter expert” or SME to describe a person who seems to know a lot about a particular topic. But what about outside the business world?

Take parenting. I’ve successfully launched three young adults on their chosen career paths. Twenty-one years of parenting does provide a certain level of expertise, at least about my own children. I have to keep my chortles to myself when I read about women who have these absolutely perfect ideas about bringing a tiny human into this world. I remember being one of them…21 years ago. I have since learned, as many of us do, that things rarely go as planned.

Doctors are another group that doesn’t seem to think anyone except them could be a SME. I live with my multiple disease processes. Every. Single. Day. I didn’t learn about them in a semester long class. I didn’t write a research paper or capstone project. Actually, I might have done the equivalent trying to learn about the 1:50,000 occurrence rate diseases (translated: rare) that no one seems to know how to deal with. But even with that knowledge about a single disease, I still have to consider what domino effect is triggered in my body when one of them acts up. So, yes, I am a SME on myself. Don’t look at me like that….when you live waiting for the other shoe to drop because you know it eventually will because you have studied everything available to you so you can educate others…yes, that’s a fair assessment.

Yes, it absolutely is hard not to laugh sometimes. I struggle to keep a straight face as I watch people learn about life’s curveballs and see their surprised expressions in photographs when the plan changes. Maybe it’s mean, rude or otherwise unkind. I really do try not to do it out loud. I call it controlling my inner snark.

And I apologize in advance if you catch me with a little grin sometimes.