Two autism efforts worth your eyeballs (and one that I hope will open your wallet), with a caveat coda:
We've needed an autism social network/Yelp! hybrid like MyAutismTeam (www.MyAutismTeam.com) for just about ever. So I'm pleased that it's finally here:
From the press release: MyHealthTeams today announced the launch of MyAutismTeam, its flagship social network for parents of children on the autism spectrum. MyAutismTeam is the first social network specifically for parents of children with autism, making it easy to connect with others who have had similar experiences. The network is a Facebook-meets-Yelp style place for parents to share recommendations of local providers, openly discuss issues, share tips, and gain access to local services that they may not have otherwise discovered on their own. Since the summer, the site has rapidly grown from 30 to over 12,500 members, underlying the growing need of parents seeking support and an easy way to find the team of providers that best meets the needs of their children.I encourage you to explore the site, and then send the team feedback about your experience as well as what you'd like to see in the future.
Autism Science Foundation's Recipe4Hope
I admire the Autism Science Foundation's dedication to and streamlined effectivenes in "funding outstanding science," so I encourage you to participate in their December fundraising drive, Recipe4Hope:
It takes lots of snow, and some helping hands, to build a snowman. It also takes all of us, working together, to support the research needed to understand autism.----
Your donation to the Autism Science Foundation, combined with those from families around the world, will snowball into lasting hope for children, teens and adults with autism.
Every dollar you give to ASF’s Recipe4Hope campaign goes directly to fund pre- and post-doctoral autism research fellowships to encourage the brightest young scientists to devote their careers to autism research.
By donating you are fueling scientists’ discoveries into the causes and treatments of autism. You are giving parents and teachers new ways to change the lives of children, teens and adults with autism. Through a gift to ASF, together, we are mixing up a recipe for hope.
I think both of these efforts have the potential to benefit Autistics and their families. And I would also like to see each of these agencies include Autistics (plural) on their boards or in official advisory capacities. Autistics have autism insights and investments that even parents, partners, or family members couldn't possibly share, and the range of those autism experiences cannot be represented by a single Autistic individual.
These organizations have power and influence and the ability to shape future policy, attitudes, and opportunities for Autistics and their community -- and so could only benefit from heeding the self-advocate mantra "Nothing about us without us."
Disclosures: I have consulted with MyAutismTeam on two occasions, and have been the recipient of an IMFAR travel grant from the Autism Science Foundation.