Friday, March 25, 2011
Top 12 Autism Resource Websites
I just found this article. I've worked with many of these groups and wanted to share this list.
Savvy parents turn to the Internet to help them find answers and strategies for helping their children with autism. The problem is, the Internet is a huge repository of information about autism, sometimes helpful, sometimes not.
We wanted to "cut to the chase" and figure out which websites represent the best resources for parents looking for information. After reviewing hundreds of websites (there are over 16,000,000 hits for autism in a typical Google search), we've identified autism spectrum disorders sites that we think more than adequately cover the world of Autism. Of course there are hundreds and hundreds of excellent sites available and over time you may want to visit many of them.
Our Top12 list is a good starting place.
This site is dedicated to educating parents and professionals about how to recognize, diagnose and treat autism. It contains easy-to-use milestone lists, monitoring tools and lots of very practical advice. There are tools available that you can provide to professionals who may need extra coaching on how to handle or deal with your child's autism. We like the fact that this site is based on up-to-date clinical research.
This site is great for with recently diagnosed children because it specializes in the provision of bridge services while awaiting publicly funded programs. Their Early Intervention Network attempts to increase public awareness of Autism's early warning signs with its 'Red Flags of Autism' campaign. And the program 'More than Words' helps parents develop the special skills required for an Autism Spectrum Disorder child.
Interactive Autism Network
This is a fascinating website that matches children and families with researchers in the field. The site includes an active forum, a great deal of excellent background information and many, many useful articles. We appreciate that this site is very active, frequently updated and relies on scientific sources for its information.
We liked this site for two reasons. First, it offers a mentoring service, matching experienced parents with families who have a newly diagnosed child. We don't know how well the service works for any specific situation but it's a wonderful idea. We also found information for emergency care professionals on the site, something that we haven't come across too often. This information is very valuable and worth downloading from the site. We were excited to find a directory of services by state with listings such as autism-friendly . However, we found that there aren't too many listings available in the directory. We say A for effort and hope that the work continues and the directory grows.
This is a slightly quirky site which seems to be blog-based. It's a bit difficult to follow and there are a lot of commercial distractions going on (probably to pay for maintaining this site run by the parent of a child with autism). However, we liked it because there was a real ring of authenticity to the material there. Plus, the site owner publishes and updates a list of top ten fun sites for children with autism and that seemed like a great service.
This site consolidates blogs about autism. The blogs cross all areas including adults with autism blogging about their lives, political issues, parents blogging about their experiences or documenting their children's experiences and so on. The material can be controversial but it's a real up-to-the-minute view into autism in daily lives. The left hand side of the homepage lists all of the blogs it indexes by category. You can use this site as a jumping off point to find blogs you like.
Awe in Autism
Using the world of art this unusual and captivating site conveys its message in its mission which states "through original works of art, music, literature, poetry, photography and video, as well as many other resources, Awe in Autism seeks to provide inspiration and encouragement to those affected by autism." It's worth coming back to this site on a regular basis!
Autism Speaks & Autism Speaks Canada
While this may seem to be primarily an advocacy site, it has some of the best resources we've seen including links to local chapter websites that provide specific local information. There's a "science" section which is easy to read but very in-depth, with enough information to satisfy the need to understand the science behind autism. There's also a video glossary that covers words and terms that are useful in working within the autism world. The section titled "Autism and your family" has wonderful advice and the section titled "Your Child's Rights" is a succinct description of the services your child is entitled to under the law. One of the most valuable tools we've seen anywhere is the "First 100 Days" eBook that helps parents organize themselves in the first 100 days after receiving the of autism.
This site specializes in the genetics of autism. It's not necessarily useful for general information but it's one of the few sites we've seen that provides such an excellent look at the scientific thinking behind the genetic research. The site is very up-to-date and will give you a very clear look at the state of the art in this area. And this site will probably not be your first stop in your information gathering but it's definitely worth marking as a favorite and visiting from time to time.
The National Autistic Society
The United Kingdom's National Autistic Society site is an excellent resource for everyone. We particularly liked their sections with advice for grandparents, siblings and employers. There's also a section where you can sign up for research studies, participate in research surveys, contribute articles to the site or volunteer to work with authors interested in writing about autism.There's even information available for professionals such as architects to help them create autism-friendly spaces. This site is a treasure trove of interesting and less common information that transcends national borders.
Autism Society Canada
There are several large Canadian autism sites. We like the Autism Society Canada best because of the extensive practical information provided. We especially appreciated the section on how to evaluate treatment programs which gives parents the tools to stay in the driver's seat, even when they are the only non-professionals in the discussion. We also found the section for adults with autism to contain very useful information. Finally, the resources section has a huge number of links covering everything else you might need to know about autism and autism services.