When discussing the special needs community, its constantly being brought up how vulnerable this population is to individuals who may wish to do them harm, either physically or take advantage somehow. However, when it comes to services, activities, anything that sole purpose is to help and serve the special needs community, it is a constant that a organizations word can be trusted that they "have" to show these individuals having fun. For the most part this is a double standard, since most time the general population rarely has to sign their rights over for pictures used as promotional material. Instead, they use actors or individuals that work for the organization as fill ins, so they do not have to go through that trouble. With most of these services being only for the special needs community, it also means that HIPPA regulations are not being held in mind for this population. Example: If your a business that caters directly for individuals with special needs, automatically someone can guess a good portion of confidential medical information for an individual in the picture. Add that a business has an address, and I hope I do not have to do the math for you to know how easily a predator could end up taking advantage of someone just due to that little information. But, Wait, don't you have pictures of a couple of your clients? Yes, I do but these clients, without giving away anymore info, are the least I would worry about being taking advantage for reasons that I will not go into. And no, I don't just follow the rules because of Autism. I have on many counts broken rules. But this is definitely a integral piece of my business, that whether it helps or hurts me, I will stick by keeping my athletes information closed off as much as possible to the general public.
I guess I will sum this up by saying that if your signing a media form for an individual, put a little more thought into what all that could be at stake, just for people to see that they are having fun. HIPPA should be sacred for everyone, not just the general population and only held up to the proper standard by only doctors offices.
This also applies to parents/caregivers that are trying to spread awareness of their loved ones by constantly sharing videos and pictures of the everyday lives. I know I would not appreciate it if my parents did that when I was growing up.
Mark Fleming- Person on the Autism Spectrum