When my 11-year-old son, Taylor, was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in 2011, I didn’t want to believe it. I became overwhelmed at the thought of raising an autistic child, and I had trouble facing reality. But over time, I learned to cope with my son’s diagnosis, and I was eventually able to come to terms with his autism after I monetized it through blogging.
Accepting Taylor’s autism was a long and emotionally draining process. I remember the early days when teachers didn’t know how to handle his behavior in the classroom, and when I started my blog, “Raising Taylor,” shortly after his seventh birthday. It was difficult. It was hard. But eventually, when advertisers started reaching out to me about purchasing space on my WordPress, I was gradually able to accept Taylor’s condition.
With every passing month, I learned to stop seeing Taylor’s autism as a “disorder,” but rather as a source of pageviews and millions of unique monthly visitors. I learned to stop seeing my son as “disabled,” but rather as a source of untapped ad revenue.
And with a potential advertising deal with Autism Speaks in the works, I couldn’t love him more.
Over time, I connected with a wonderful support network of other like-minded parents in the blogging community. They not only provided me with great parenting advice, but with cross-promotional opportunities for my blog as well.
I honestly never thought I’d get to this point. But in that moment when my post, “Saying ‘I Love You’ When You’re Nonverbal” raked in over $3,000 in ad revenue alone, on top of the $1,500 a month I was already making from brand-specific promotional deals, I knew just how lucky I was to be Taylor’s mom. And with a potential advertising deal with Autism Speaks in the works, I couldn’t love him more.
This isn’t to say that things are perfect now. For instance, Taylor still resists my affection on occasion, and going over blog analytics has been difficult without a formal business education. But these are issues I believe I keep getting better at handling each and every day.
It’s been a long, emotional road to get where I am, but it’s been worth it. For all you parents out there raising an autistic child, I know it’s tough. But when you start monetizing your blog like I did, you’ll realize just how special your child really is.