Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
There seems to be a trend within the autism community. Have you noticed advertisments through google about autism materials? I was surprised the first time I clicked on a link to find that websites are charging membership fees to gain insights into autism.
I wonder how many newly diagnosed families of a child on the autism spectrum have spent money thinking this is the only way to access data in relation to autism. Who are these people running these sites and who benefits from your membership dollars?
I am a whiz at using google for many odd terms to find information about autism. I have yet to come across any of these so called articles that are on the fee-based sites in any search I have utilized. In fact, there are some interesting terms used on this site's search engine that readers have entered!
food for autistic children
reading about autism
whats the behavior of autism
pecs and pics
I will use these searches on this site as an example to help find material easier. There is a section at this site entitled, food items reviewed. For reading I would suggest looking under book reviews. There is an entire subject devoted to behavior issuesand the same for PECS.
There are keywords that sites use to get into searches and help people find their articles and websites. I would have never considerd these four examples as keywords for any of my articles. When looking for information you will need to be a bit more broad in your wording to find suitable matches.
While it is your money to spend how you please, I really urge families to use google to their advantage to find information that is out there free for all to peruse and benefit from. Take the time to set up a google alert on the subject of autism and get your news and media stories in one daily email to save in a folder for set times to review.
Why should anyone pay for autism resources that can be found online for free in a matter of minutes. Feel free to post in our Forum any questions you may have.
These websites tend to have a sample area for guests and visitors to read through before plunking down hard earned cash or input a credit card number. Please use caution before you consider utilizing a website that has a subscription fee. Remember the autism experts are those who have lived with autism, speak around the world on the subject and study it as well. I classify those people as Temple Grandin, Stephen Shore, Donna Williams, William Stillman, Dawn Prince-Hughes and Jerry Newport. Many of these adults have columns in autism publications and can be seen at autism conferences around the world. They are easily accessible.
I share these with you, not to promote them, but to keep all within the autism community aware that these exist and if we bypass them maybe they will stop charging people to learn about autism.
Autism Inspiration "an on-line resource for parents and teachers of children with autism spectrum behaviors." Their google ad states it is for Autism Teaching Materials. I thought teachers were at the low end of the payscale. So besides targeting parents these companies also seek teachers to pay premiums for the information. Some of the departments include - book reviews, reading skills, sensory ideas and holiday activities. There is a forum too. Content is added every week, access is 24/7. Sample Content
Prices - $14.95 per month, $39.95 quarterly, or $149.95 per year! There is no clue to who is running this site and what their qualifications are.
Autism Tree " is a unique membership site developed to provide all the strategies and information you need to maximize the potential of your child." This site updates each month. "It brings together all the best and current autism information and resources into one easy to navigate site, saving you valuable time and energy." Does this not seem like subscribers pay for reading material others can get online for free?
You will get to comment on every entry and seek ideas from others - for a price. The cost for this is $9.95 per month with many online options to take your money each month. If you were a newsletter subscriber you get the first 30 days for one dollar. This site started in August of 2007.
The site covers - daily autism news, glossary, personal stories, potty training, floortime and speech therapy. There does not seem to be any sample content and Rachel Evans does not list her qualifications before you pay for site membership. You need to be a member to read the disclosure and FAQs!
Schafer Autism Report "We monitor all the major news sources, websites and the latest research for important and practical news and developments with a balanced, no-spin presentation" at a cost of 20 cents a day. The cost for a one-year subscription that gives you 200 issues is $35.00 per year. There are scholarship subscriptions as well.
Personally I would not pay for a compilation of the news of the day when it is free. I used to get these reports before the price was introduced and there is a spin. I have numerous issues in an email account that prove this. My articles from this site were even posted on there a few times without my consent. I find the calendar hard to read as well and can gather my own information just fine.
If you are curious as to the contents, check out the yahoo group where they are archived. I look through it once every month to make sure my articles are not stolen.
Feel free to share with me your experience with any of these websites and I can mention it in a future newsletter. This article is based on my opinion that no one should have to pay to obtain information that is found on the internet for free. I do not like to see new families, teachers or therapists being taken advantage of in having to shell out more money to learn about autism spectrum disorders. There are books you can get at the library for free as well.
***UPDATE*** - www.autismspot.com is now a FREE SITE.
" In the beginning AutismSpot had a premium level membership. This membership helped offset the tremendous costs involved in producing content and running a site such as AutismSpot. We worked hard to continually drive down the price. We planned for it and, with the help of our partners and sponsors, have made AutismSpot completely free. Please support their services and products as they help make AutismSpot available for everyone."
Ask Stephen Shore
Autism - The Way I See It - Temple Grandin
Donna Williams autism articles
Demystifying Autism from the Inside Out William Stillman
Jerry and Mary Newport
Q&A with author of Songs of the Gorilla Nation
Online courses on autism