Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
It seems that I am joining a new community on a daily basis. These communities are great for supporting each other, sharing resources, asking specific questions, learning about systems in various parts of the country, finding a common bond with another parent, gaining insights into different aspects of the spectrum and realizing you are not alone.
1. Foggy Rock was created by Steve and Shannon Johnson. The logo "When autism is your mountain, you will never have to climb alone", is uplifting. The membership is free. You create an account with a user name and update your profile. There are groups to join and other members to meet and connect with. A library is listed for you to indicate what books you are currently reading and give it a review and rating. Members post news articles, blogs and journals. They will email you with notices of their latest posting. I have yet to find a way to turn off those settings so I have resorted to disconnecting with those who are very active as the emails can be bothersome on a constant basis.
Groups can invite members, post events for others to join and post pictures. At the home page you will find a listing of the latest members, activity and postings. The search feature for people can be done by the date they joined and even through common tags. There are comments on journals and replies to news postings. Videos can be posted also. You can find the autism awareness toolbar to download. Here is my profile.
2. Floortime Repository is a DIR/Floortime model Network for parents and professionals to upload videos and sessions. Alexis and her husband created the group where members begin by joining and creating your profile. There is a community chat feature found at the front page you can jump into, find floortime links, add videos and photos and download their toolbar. Members can find out about upcoming related workshops, discuss conferences, share ideas on play themes and what toys their family utilizes and exchange recipes and homeschooling ideas.
There is the option for instant messaging with other members, taking part in Webradio, reading blog posts and inviting friends. Members can leave comments on profiles and learn tips from other family videos. Here is my profile
3. Autism Free Zone is know as "The Autism Community Marketplace" and allows registered members to post links about their groups and to give items away to those who reside in the same State. The emphasis is on passing on a gently used item to another family that needs it. The founder of the site is Randy Abrams along with his wife Royce.
There are other sections of the site that I am not as familiar with and have to do with organizations spreading awareness, those in health care and companies wanting to offer discounts. I hit the button to enter the zone when I arrive at the site. You can also post a wishlist under your region.
There is a section for free items for everyone where you can share downloads and wesbites. You can send and receive private messages and set up links for your signature. I posted in a group section the link for my yahoo group, but I find it difficult to manage my way around the site and find where I posted and have not had any luck in giving away two television sets I posted for giveaway in June. The site boasts 1000 members.
4. Trusera is an online health network where members can share their stories. Here is my profile. Profiles can be set for private or public. Registered members can connect with others through searches of tags and read stories, answer questions posted and comment on profiles. You can choose to click on an icon suggesting what you read was found useful, inspiring and award karma points.
Members can share profiles with their friends through email and send them questions they may be able to answer. You can post journals and photos. Based on your tags you will be shown other profiles and topic. There is also the Trusera Blog.
5. Savvy Auntie was just launched recently and is a site for those who have nieces and nephews and need guidance on what presents to buy them and what to do when visiting a child in various age groups. An Aunt may only see the children a few times a year and have no access to children at other times and can join together at this site to learn about Special Needs and Health & Nutrition.
The registration process is quite extensive with areas to include the ages and names of the children on your shopping list. This is the first online community for aunts, godmothers and other women who love kids. There is a newsletter, articles, blogs, columns to ask questions, activities, games and crafts that can be rated. This includes HopScotch, Go Fly A Kite, Baking Cookies, Activity Books and Greeting Cards.
There are groups, Forum and Gifts according to age range and interests. This is my favorite section as there is a little box that gives hints on why Savvy Auntie likes this toy. There is a gift list you can use for a niece or nephew or someone else. You will also find an Editor's pick for the gifts and the most viewed. There is a message center, virtual gift section and ecards. The profiles have chatterboxes where other members can post comments and you can create a gift reminder for a particular date or event.
Other sites and groups worth mentioning include:
Autism Alltop - this is a listing of the top autism related blogs and their latest postings. You will find Autism Spectrum Disorders listed there in the middle.
Healia Autism Community Group - I am also a member and have answered a few questions. They award points for activity and I won a year subscription to Fitness Magazine.
Autism Bloggers at FriendFeed. I am a member of this group.
5 Minutes for Special Needs - offers support, insight and inspiration.
Global Autism Project - site is available in English, Spanish and French.
Blog Net News for Autism
Video Play List - create your own videos for teaching and sharing with friends and family.
Educational Autism Tips for Families 71 page resourceful ebook for families entering the school system with a recent autism diagnosis. Find out what issues take place over the course of a school day and meet these challenges head on.