About Me

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An occasionally belligerent mother of five and an autism parent / advocate who believes that traveling, good food and good company are vital to keep one sane. I've worked as a news writer/newscaster, a quality systems auditor, a ISO9001 consultant, an FM radio DJ, a Filipino tutor, TOEFL reviewer and have gone into the food industry both as an entrepreneur and as a mommy chef, giving a sponsored demo on healthy cooking in a mall and on local TV. My favorite job however, is being a mom and a wife.

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Sunday, November 4, 2018

Think Twice Before You Press "Post"

You may have met our son, MAX, from my previous blog posts. For those who have not, let me tell.you about him:

He's a sweet 10 year old boy who loves his sizzling beef pares and going grocery shopping. He's funny, clever and handsome. He's also under the spectrum, specifically Autism. Two of these descriptions are key to my tale.

It was around noon, when we brought MAX to his favorite barber, whose barbershop was located across from a supermarket, and beside a little restaurant, where, you've guessed it, MAX orders his sweet and spicy chunks of sizzling brisket, known to us as pares.

After his usual undercut hairstyle was completed, without event, if I may add, we walked across the building's cool hallway and did our grocery.

MAX was every bit his usual helpful self, as we would pass items to him to put into the grocery cart, and at the end, he'd arrange the said items at the checkout lane, to expedite payment.

The supermarket is one floor below the road level ( as well as the parking lot), so we decided to ask assistance from the grocery bagger to help put the groceries in the car first, before bringing MAX back down to eat at the restaurant.

People with Autism often have a set of rules unique to them. They're creatures of habit, brought about by their desire to find comfort in routine. Our MAX didn't understand that we were just going to put aside the groceries and that we had not forgotten about his meal.

Not being able to properly express himself verbally, he started to whine, stomp, cry...show his displeasure that food was not coming to him when it was clearly his lunchtime, and that he had done nothing but be a good boy, prior to everything else.

Now this went on til we got to the car. His father and I were quietly assuring him that food was coming, but at this point, he was well into a meltdown. Not a bratty tantrum, but a meltdown, where processing sights, sounds and sensations become next to impossible for someone with Autism.

We had to ride this out with him - His dad, baby brother and I...one family, living with this condition with only love, understanding and hope to help us get through the worst times.

Unbeknownst to us, a man, hanging around the balcony in front of the parking lot, started filming this scenario.

We were just in a hurry to bring Max back in to eat, that we missed the fact that a total stranger was capturing our son and our family's daily battle with Autism.

Our day to day struggle for normalcy, despite how this condition affected our 10 year old son, was being filmed, without our knowledge.

You're probably wondering how we came to find out that our 10 year old son with Autism was being filmed, together with his baby brother and us, his parents.

We found out, sadly, through social media.

About two weeks ago, an older cousin of MAX sent me screenshots of the scene that transpired in my narrative above. The Facebook post comprised of a video and screenshots that were captioned "When you think you've had a bad day, remember, this kid just got a haircut 😊" .

She further asked if I knew or had given permission to the person who posted it, to which, I answered, we had not.

This cousin of our sons (a doctor, who's just a few years older than the person who filmed and posted the video) told me that upon recognizing MAX in that post, she immediately called out the guy (an acquaintance of hers), asking him to take down the video. She wanted us to know that this happened, before we find out from other people and that she was on top of the situation.

She went a step further (thank you dear) and told him that this was a violation of RA 7610, that her cousin MAX had Autism and that there was not anything remotely funny about his attempt to create a viral video.

Said person apologized, took the post down and went on with his Adult life.

The thing is that it's been over a week and I still can't shake that awful realization that our child's privacy had been violated under our watch.

My heart breaks to know that no matter how much we protect MAX from the world, we can't do so forever and that we have failed him somehow because an adult man somehow managed to film our son and post it on social media, with an attempt to poke fun at a situation he knew NOTHING about.

Despite having laws that should stop these things from ever occurring, not everyone is aware or mindful of them.

Instead of focusing on how to help our child further, the thought of this happening again makes me feel wary - concious of how we parent our son and interact with him in public.

It's been over a week and I am still livid. For the record, to the person who tried to make a viral video out of our son's disability and make a mockery of his appearance by making him a meme, not only did you violate Ra 7710 ( Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act) but RA 7277 (Magna Carta for Persons with Disability) as well. In this situation,  you could go to jail for trying to be funny, which, by the way, you were not.

We have forgiven, but this thing you did to our son, will never be forgotten.

It is our hope that you have learned your lesson and that should you ever have children, that you are never made to feel that you have failed to protect them..made to feel that they are unsafe or to ever find out that they have been ridiculed.

No parent should ever feel that and no child should ever go through what you did to our MAX.

From  TMW, may all you wanderings be better than ours.