When I started writing One Autism Mom’s Notes about a year and a half ago, I had no idea that people around the world would be reading my essays about family life with autism. Thanks to the statistics Blogger.com provides, I know that my blog has been read in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. I’ve even learned some geography as I’ve looked up the exotic locations of Moldova and Turks and Caicos once I saw that people from those places had read my blog. Of course, I’m most grateful to my friends and family who faithfully read my entries, comment on my writing, and even catch typographical errors for me at times.
So how do people who don’t know me find my blog? According to the stats page, the Autism Blogs Directory [Click here to access this site.], which lists my blog along with many others, is a primary referral site, and I appreciate the work of the two autism moms who run this site. In addition, Ed has posted links on his respected and popular blog, One Poet’s Notes [Click here to access his blog.], which has led readers to me. As I tell him, I appreciate whenever he gives me a “shout-out” in his blog, which has a huge audience, and sends some of his readers my way. Another referring site is a favorite blog of mine, Real Housewife of the Bluegrass [Click here to access her blog.], beautifully written by my friend K.C. Wells, who not only posts a link to my blog on her site, but also encourages me regularly through her thoughtful and supportive comments.
In reviewing the most read posts, one of my earliest posts, “Speech Therapy” (July 18, 2010), tops the list as overwhelmingly the most read entry. Considering how important speech therapy is to children with autism, I suppose the interest in this post isn’t too surprising. One of my most recent posts, “What Causes Autism?” (January 15, 2012) has taken second spot on most read blog entries. Since parents eagerly seek a cure for autism, I would guess this post’s title raised some curiosity. This entry summarizes possible causes of autism as suggested by Dr. Shaw’s research. The third entry on this list, “Dr. Oz” (February 20, 2011), has the advantage of a celebrity’s name in the title. Ed, who has been blogging longer than I have, has told me that if I wanted to increase the interest in a blog entry, all I needed to do was to include a celebrity’s name, such as Paris Hilton. These days Kim Kardashian or Demi Moore might pique more interest, but the beloved Dr. Oz’s name apparently sent readers to my blog entry describing an episode of his talk show last year that focused upon autism. Perhaps the most surprising among the favored posts is “Funny Remarks” (October 27, 2010), in which I shared humorous comments Alex has made over the years. Maybe those dealing with autism need something to lighten the mood, and I hope they enjoyed reading about the funny things Alex said as much as I enjoyed reflecting upon and writing about them.
Bloggers often find the search words that led readers to their blogs can be cryptic and even amusing. Not surprisingly, most people found my blog by searching for my name or autism, but a few of the phrases that led them to One Autism Mom’s Notes are interesting. One of the popular search phrases is “autism and haircuts,” which indicates this issue is a greater problem than most people realize. When Alex was little, he had fits at the barber, which led me to learn how to cut his hair myself. Until a few months ago, he was fine with that. Unfortunately, he now balks at having his hair cut; the last time I cut his hair, we had to bribe him with cake. (Whatever works!) Another search phrase frequently used to find my blog is “autism and hiccups” or conversely “hiccups and autism.” Maybe this is a common phenomenon; we have noticed that Alex sometimes gets hiccups when he takes Ativan, which is a side effect of this medication he needs to calm himself with his anxiety is high. A search phrase I found interesting was “annoying autistic”; I’m not sure if this means things that annoy the person with autism or that the person with autism is annoying. Personally, we have experienced both; apparently, others have, as well. The most amusing search phrase probably led the searcher to my blog entry about toilet training; the phrase “moms in toilet” struck me as funny. After spending nearly ten years of toilet training Alex, I did spend a lot of time with the toilet and am thankful that he finally mastered this task. As I continue to write entries for One Autism Mom’s Notes, I hope that readers—whether they be friends and family or people I’ve never met—find our stories helpful and hopeful as we keep working toward helping Alex overcome the obstacles of autism and reach his full potential.
“I rise early, before the sun is up; I cry out for help and put my hope in Your words.” Psalm 119:147