Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Autism Awareness Month - Get The Word Out - Links to Valuable Resources

Even though World Autism Awareness Day on Friday, April 2nd, 2010 has passed, Autism Awareness Month is all month long!  Let's get the word out!

As I pledged at the beginning of April, I will be advocating for Autism Awareness and creating a new post every day this month at

Although the majority of my blog postings so far have had a personal / family based slant, today I want to provide a few resources for those who are looking to support Autism Awareness but might not be sure where to go.

If you type "autism" into Google, you'll come up with over 15 MILLION results.  Talk about overwhelming!  Where do you go?  Which links are reputable?  What organizations are the best to donate to?  Where can I find information about helping my child, friend, parent, colleague that is either on the spectrum or suspected to be?

If you are curious about autism in general, the first website I like to direct people to is the Wikipedia page about Autism:

I think it provides an in-depth overview, although their diagnosis prevalence statistics need to be updated.  In early 2010, the CDC announced that the new figures for autism diagnosis changed from 1 in 150 children (2007 publishing) to 1 in 110 children and approximately 1 in every 70 boysThese "new" statistics are based on studies of eight year olds in 2006 or children born in 1998.  Our two kiddos aren't even part of that statistic pool.  It makes one wonder what the current "real" numbers are and how that is going to be impacting our society over the next couple of decades.

We have found the Autism Society of America to be a useful resource for our family.  Our business, Count Your Beans Dolls & Bears will often place charity auctions for the ASA at eBay, although there are many other valuable autism related organizations to donate to as well. As of this writing, I believe we currently have about 20 listings at eBay where we are donating 10% of each sale to the ASA.

I also like Easter Seals.  They do a lot here in Washington state and throughout the USA.  I invite you to sign their current Act For Autism petition.  It will only take a minute of your time!  Our family thanks you!

Having been affectionately nicknamed the "Google Queen" by my husband back before Google became popular (yes, I'm a computer geek and proud of it), I can tell you that I have been to hundreds of websites linked with Autism, Asperger's Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, ASD, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder and related comorbidities and have spent thousands of hours online reading since our 3 year and 10 year old sons were diagnosed in 2008 with Autism and Asperger's Syndrome respectively.  Inspired education and empowerment definitely go hand in hand.

Regarding which links I recommend to visit to make yourself more aware of autism, I wish I could give you the answers that are right for you and your situation! I will include a few recommendations below to get you started, however you will find as you research that there are many conflicting theories on what might cause autism, how to treat autism, how to deal with the diagnosis of autism and so on.

In our case, when we look at therapy options, we focus on what do we think is right for each of our boys in their individual situations at the present. We live with our kiddos every day and God entrusted them to our care.

On a personal level, if you know a woman or girl on the spectrum, you have to check out the Autism Women's Network.  Their mission statement is to provide effective supports to autistic females of all ages through a sense of community, advocacy and resources.

I also like the resources provided by the Autism Support Network.  They are a free support community allowing one to connect with thousands of families and individuals touched by ASD. Find out what’s working for others, coping strategies, and life guides from others living in a similar situation to what you’re going through now.

Another community I wasn't too familiar with until very recently is the Autism Community website in partnership with DynaVox Mayer-Johnson.  I am still navigating my way around here but so far I like what I see.

If you're looking to find a place to read debates on current topics related to Autism, the Wrong Planet is a popular web community designed for individuals (and parents / professionals of those) with Autism, Asperger's Syndrome, ADHD, PDDs, and other neurological differences. They provide a discussion forum where members communicate with each other, an article section, with exclusive articles and how-to guides, a blogging feature, and a chatroom for real-time communication with other Aspies.

These are just a few websites that I've been to and found personal benefit.  There are of course many more and if I didn't list a site, it doesn't mean I don't value it but I think the sites I referenced might have more of a universal appeal than a segmented appeal.

Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to read my writing!

Graphic courtesy of ~ Be sure to check them out!

Remember Aspierations visitors,
Come As You Are and Let Your Light Shine!
~ Karen

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