History of Social Media & Special Needs Advocacy

Special Needs Advocacy Parallels History of Social Media

The History of Social Media on the Internet includes the Maturity of Special Needs AdvocacyIn many ways, being a special needs parent is a very isolating experience — we slowly lose friends and family over the years because they can’t keep up with the constant state of crisis and need we bring to the table.

I don’t mean that we literally lose friendships or even family, but that life goes on, friendships become increasingly more one-sided when all your energy and attention is spent dealing with one crisis after another in your own house. It makes it hard to be a good friend to others, even while you need the friendship they could offer to you. So you drift apart.

Life goes on.

But in many ways, being a special needs parent means that you have to find ways to connect with others, especially if you are active locally or virtually as an advocate. And most parents are at least advocates for their own children.

How the Internet has Affected Special Needs Advocacy

The internet has allowed us advocates to connect in even more amazing and dynamic ways, though. I was reminded of this when I had a chance to study CopyBlogger’s latest infographic on the history of social media on the internet.

Social media, he says, hasn’t really changed over the course of the Internet’s short life – the internet was always about finding ways to make those connections too.

I agree, and I think it extends to special needs advocacy and parenting too. At first there were usenets and emails to connect with others who shared a specific diagnosis, and as the internet matured that became emails and blogs and virtual support groups. It meant information was shared. Resources were shared. Advocacy and activism was shared.

I highlighted the section of CopyBlogger’s infographic I found most fascinating, and you can see it here. I think you can easily see why.

The story of Carly Fleishman is one I know well already, as I saw in this nonverbal girl with autism the hope I have for Logan to someday find his voice. Carly’s family helped Carly discover that she could use a keyboard to type and communicate – and now she has her own blog and is a noted advocate for autism.

Advocacy from the mouth of someone with autism – so powerful, as we’ve see from Temple Grandin and others who have come before Carly. This is the power of the internet, of social media, of advocacy in the age of social media and the internet.

And I think it is exciting, humbling, and even a little terrifying.

There is so much advocacy we can yet achieve, that we can strive for – who wants to reach for it with me?

A History of Social Media [Infographic] - Infographic
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Katrina Moody

Katrina Moody

Graphic Designer, Wordpress Addict, Blogger at Kat's Media & More
I'm a special needs parent before just about everything else in life, but also a passionate advocate for my three boys and husband, who all have a bit of awesomeness about them. Awesomeness = Axenfeld-Rieger Syndrome, Autism, Epilepsy, Dyslexia, Cerebral Palsy, and more. It all adds up to some awesome kids and an amazing family.
Katrina Moody
Katrina Moody


  1. says

    The article “History of social media and special need advocacy” was interesting, informative and thought provoking too, i never ever have seen the history of Social media in a very precise, simple and straight way. I appreciate Katrina Moody for putting things together in a understandable way for every kind of person in the world. i would say keep it continue.

    • says

      Appreciate the sweet comments Mohammad. But the Copyblogger put most that information together already – I was just pleased as could be to see how the special needs advocacy impact was included!

  2. says

    Katrina, thanks for sharing that amazing infographic and putting the history of the web in such a concise way! It is really amazing how far we have come and how accessible it is for everyone, especially people like Carly, to find their voice and express it. Awesome post! I love how, indeed, it does connect us all.

    • says

      Sherie – When I saw Carly’s inclusion in Copyblogger’s infographic I knew I needed to share it and speak about it just a little further! We are so deeply ingrained in a social media mindset and internet-focused world that we don’t always stop to think about how pervasive that influence has become — literally to the point of providing a voice to someone who, 20 years ago, would have struggled to find a similar way to connect with the world around them. It’s exciting and surreal to think about it, I think! Thanks so much for reading!

  3. says

    I love Copyblogger; I was surprised how far back social media goes; in a different method but social media existed for sure. I always have seen my own dad as the biggest example who had a little bakery in a little town, but ALWAYS listened to his customers.

    • says

      Exactly, Olga! At the end of the day social media is this extension of the internet but more so an extension of how humans connect with one another. And when you bring business into the equation, customer service and attention to those details are important, regardless of whether you are a brick and mortar store or based solely online. Thanks for dropping by! (Ps I love Copyblogger too! I think he’s one smart cookie!)

  4. says

    Wow! Incredible information!My view on social media is split to be honest. While it has definitely opened more ways to connect I also see it responsible for a lack in the value of in person communication skills…ie:body language and facial expressions that are so important when conversing and understanding one another.

    • says

      You’ve brought up such a great point Denny, and I have to agree to a point as well. Body language and facial expressions are an integral part of conversation and learning how to read those and interact (and react) to them is part of growing in our social and interpersonal relationships offline. Especially as so many of our young people (and adults) are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders – these skills won’t be getting any easier for these kids!

      I love my social media, but I’m with you … I really do think it is part of the reason why communication is in decline and relationships are too.

    • says

      Oh Suzanne you are in for a treat! Copyblogger is an AMAZING blogger and he has the best information there! You’ll love that site I know! My favorite part about social media and the internet for that matter is this amazing ability to connect with one another, even if, as Denny said, it can also contribute to a lack of personal relationships. :(

    • says

      Love that Cindy! Our youngest, Logan, has CP as well, though it is milder. I think the power and knowledge we can put to work for is bc of social media and the internet is amazing!

  5. Elizabeth Maness says

    Social Media has come a long way and is continuously changing. It connects us to so many people. It is amazing how many people we have the opportunity to meet and the lives we are able to help and the lives that inspire us. I love social media. Thanks for sharing !

  6. Julie says

    What a wonderful story of how the internet and social media have formed bonds among people who share a need for support and information. Thank you for putting such a personal touch on it!

  7. says

    What an incredible infographic and in fact I’m listening to Carly’s Voice on audiobook on my ipod this week! Such an incredible story. You are such an inspiration because you take special needs advocacy to another level. For me, it’s the emails to the teachers, the IEP/ETR meetings, the therapy sessions, (and I don’t get paid for any of it but do it because I HAVE to!) but then when the kids are asleep, I’m back to my business life which has nothing to do with the world of autism.


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