Can the internet be your virtual internet consultant?

Each semester at Hunter College, the ECSPEDE graduate students from my Autism class are asked to look at internet resources for families of young children with Autism. If you type Autism Spectrum Disorders into google you will get two million hits, but if you type in Autism you get close to 75 million hits. The challenge that continues to face families is finding appropriate, practical, accessible internet based information. Who do you follow on Twitter? What face book page is appropriate? Which youtube video show true evidence based practices? Which internet site do you refer to to help you create social stories? The comments below are a review of some of the current internet resources to assist families and teachers in finding resources.

 

18 Comments

  • Joshua Baez says:

    Joshua Baez

    The two (2) video websites are:
    1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VA6Q3vTC_o
    2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=nMKQCE5CZK8
    The first website provides general information for parents that have children with autism. The video clip is titled, “How To Recognize the Early Signs of Autism.” It provides parents with essential guidance to obtain resources for their child with autism (i.e., seeking an IFSP, IEP, Doctor consultation). During one of the clips the video displays a warning banner states to not assume your child has autism because their behavior reflects a behavior associated with autism spectrum disorder. That is vital as some parents may over analyze their children not realizes that certain developmental domains may advance at a quicker pace than others (i.e., social-emotional, communication). It also provides key information that parents should recognize developmental milestones in their child’s life. Monitoring eye contact when baby is 6-9 months and noting behavior of focusing on fixated objects, while resisting from change in their daily routines. The information on the video is current and advises to continuously stay aware as practices are continuously evolving. It is fantastic that the video concludes on a positive note. It has explains to parents that research has shown that intelligence levels of individuals with an autism spectrum disorder has been underestimated and can excel in multiple work environments. The language used on the video is parent friendly and can be easily understood from the perspective of a parent that has little prior knowledge about ASDs.
    The second website is also beneficial as the first video. The video is titled, “How to Help a Child with Autism.” It is another parent friendly video that uses appropriate language when providing general information for a parent to understand key steps and resources to seek to support their child with autism. It also provides strategies for parents to consider (i.e., medical workup and therapy). It further addresses that a casein and gluten free may aid (some children with ASDs) in relieving gastrointestinal pains the child may endure. Sensory integration therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, applied behavior analysis and verbal behavior intervention are a few of the recommended resources the video provides for parents who may have minimal knowledge about ASDs.
    Both videos were geared toward individuals that had minimal knowledge about Autism Spectrum Disorders. The content, illustration and language used in both videos were parent friendly, simple and instructionally appropriate. The videos do not specifically state websites, organizations, or agencies that can directly guide a parent. However, the website uses key terminology (i.e., IEP, IFSP, PT, OT, SLP, EI) to guide parents to seek appropriate support for their child. Overall the presentation on both video were easy to understand and useful in gaining general knowledge about ASDs.

  • Max Valle says:

    After reviewing many websites, I have chosen the following:
    http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/students/earlycld/ea400.htm

    This website talks about a critical issue: meeting the diverse needs of young children.

    The increase in racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity in American schools is reflected in many early childhood classrooms. These classrooms also are receiving increased numbers of children with disabilities or developmental delays. The diverse composition of early childhood classrooms brings many challenges as well as many opportunities to educators. With knowledge of effective practices, and with the support of administrators, colleagues, families, and the local and global community, teachers can create classrooms that are responsive to the diverse needs of all children.

    In this site one can learn how diversity and inclusion can benefit your child by incorporating high expectations and focusing on each student’s unique strengths. This is an authoritative source and an author is identified along with his credentials and more than 90 references to support his view in the article.

  • Max Valle says:

    I also wanted to mention that the website had many great features that made it easy to navigate with plenty of information based on actual research. The website provided not only an overview on how today’s schools have an increased awareness of the need to acknowledge and address issues of diversity but there were other tabs to click on making this particular website a site of interest for those that are interested in learning more about the diverse needs of young children.

  • Zofia says:

    In the time where obtaining any information is at our fingertips, the task of learning about autism seems easy. Nevertheless, finding sites that are credible, user friendly and current, takes time.When looking through many websites I found sites that were not up to date, or hard to navigate. One website that I liked is the: http://www.autism-society.org. This site is designed for family members, individuals on spectrum, professionals and advocates.
    The site has a valuable information about causes, diagnosis and treatment of autism. It features common family issues and stories that people can post on the blog. This site also provides information on autism through the life span. Among many other topics one can find the facts and statistics about autism, learn what is new on the topic and become involved and take an action in advocating for more research and programs that help children with autism. A tool that I find helpful on this site is “Find Resources Near You” that can navigate the users to links with resources close to their residence. I find this website easy to use and reliable.
    Another site that I also would recommend is: http://www.helpguide.org. This is a nonprofit resource for parents. The site has a choice of different topics about mental and emotional health. Provided are articles about autism and learning disorders. Parents can obtain information about symptoms, diagnosis and ways to help children with autism. There are many links to guide parents through early intervention, treatment and therapy as well as tips on haw to support and advocate for children with autism. This site may be little less organized than the first one and little more overwhelming but it presents a lot of useful information.

  • Meghan Clemens says:

    After looking through many websites when searching for Autism Spectrum Disorders, I came across a few websites that, from my perspective, would be helpful for parents, teachers, friends and caregivers of children with Autism. Although many websites came up to view, it was clear which websites were user friendly and which ones seemed more like a puzzle to figure out.

    The first website I thought would be helpful was The Gray Center for Social Learning and Understanding (http://www.thegraycenter.org/). Just from viewing this website from the homepage I could tell it was going to be easy to navigate. I really liked that the homepage also gave a quick synopsis of what the Gray Center is before anyone would have to go clicking around to find out that information. Then if the reader wants to know more, the website provides the organizations mission and vision. This sites focus is on promoting social development and helping those with Autism and those who they interact with better their communication with one another. The tabs on the top give great information about social stories and the social response pyramid. These are both tools that can be used to promote positive social interactions. Parents of children with Autism can benefit from this website if they want to learn what social stories are or how they can write their own at home. Also, there are links to videos people can click on that explain about the center and show you some of the techniques they offer in use. Finally, this website has a tab that says get help. This section gives contact information if anyone wants more information about the Gray Center.

    The second website I found to have a lot of great information and resources is The Cody Center(http://www.stonybrookmedicalcenter.org/codycenter/) which is a part of Stony Brook Hospital on Long Island. Being from Long Island, I thought this website was great for families and educators of those with Autism. Like the Gray Center, the Cody Center also has a statement of what the organization has to offer and what they focus on. On the side there are many tabs that can be viewed. What I really liked about this website is that it provided information on trainings people can attend as well as workshops that focus on many different topics relating to Autism. This would be a great way for parents to learn more about ways to support their child’s needs. Also, this website does not just discuss early childhood, but it gives information on many different programs for school age children, college programs and adult services. Lastly, the Cody Center offers support groups for parents, grandparents, and siblings. I thought this was very helpful for families who need extra support.

  • Jill Wallerstein says:

    The website helpguide.org (http://helpguide.org/mental/autism_spectrum.htm) has an entire section devoted to autism spectrum disorders. This section is easy to use and lays out the signs and symptoms of autism spectrum disorders. What is great about this website for a parent is that it explains the evaluation process. It goes into great depth into the different personnel and kind of screenings that go into getting a diagnosis for an autism spectrum diagnosis. The website also lists other related signs and symptoms that a child on the autism spectrum might be suffering from. Finally, at the end of the site the authors give lots of other different sites that parents can go to for more information. These sites are very credible and also very helpful. The only negative of this site is that there are not really any techniques for parents whose child already has an autism spectrum diagnosis. This website is best for parents who are questioning whether their child might have an autism spectrum disorder. It’s a great first place for a parent to go when they are not sure what might be going on with their child.

    The national institute of health (NIH) (http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/asd.cfm) also has a great website that is very easy to use. The autism spectrum disorder section of the website is very easy to navigate for parents who have children with autism spectrum disorders. What is especially interesting about the national institute of health website is they have the most cutting edge clinical trials on autism and the newest scholarly journal articles. This is a very good place for parents to go for new interesting research. The NIH is careful to explain that they screen all of the work before they put it on their website so one can be confident before they go on the website that what they are reading has been read and screen by scholarly minds. That being said, the language on the autism site of the NIH is easy to read and very clear and helpful for parents looking for a foundation of autism. There is also a PDF that can be downloaded free of charge that goes into greater detail on the different treatment methods for autism spectrum disorders. This PDF is through and in-depth. It gives a foundation of the origins of autism and the current treatments for autism. It is easy to read and understand and great for parents.

  • Jennifer Weber says:

    National Autism Resources is a website that I use frequently in my work with young children diagnosed with PDD-NOS. The website is excellent for parents and educators alike as it contains an extensive array of tools, teaching materials, books, therapy products, sensory integration products, toys and games for children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Additionally, there is a specific family corner that contains information for everyone in the family ranging from sisters to grandparents so there is something for everyone. The website also addresses a child’s needs from very young through puberty and adolescence. National Autism Resources also provides a wealth of information and materials in Spanish as well. The website is very straightforward to navigate and it is very simple to find what you are looking for if you have something specific in mind. The sections range from sensory and oral motor to teaching emotions and social skills. Parents can also find information about different intervention options and what questions to ask any professional. The website provides an extensive amount of information and is great for just browsing in addition to seeking out specific information.

    http://www.nationalautismresources.com/

  • Laura says:

    Website: http://www.autismweb.com/
    This website is extremely informative and offers a wide variety of information related to Autism including an explanation of warning signs, teaching methods, books, and even a message board to connect with others. While the website is mainly geared towards parents, it also provides a range of resources for professionals who may want to expand their knowledge about specific teaching methods such as Applied Behavior Analysis, Applied Verbal Behavior, Floortime, Relationship Development Intervention, Sensory Therapy, and TEACCH. Under the description of Autism, the website also includes “Tips for Teachers” who are looking to learn more about intervention methods. Additionally, the website features a decent amount of excellent resources to help parents answer their questions, many of which provide free materials and guides. The resources also include links to organizations such as the Autism Society of America, which has chapters in many different regions.
    While the website is easy to navigate as topic headings are clearly listed at the top of the homepage, fonts are clear, and all of the links appear to be working, the one thing I do not like is the emphasis on a GFCF (Gluten-Free, Casein-Free) diet that the website seems to support. A portion of the website is dedicated to the heading, “Special Diet” and cites specific references such as Karyn Seroussi, an author who claims that due to this diet her son has no traces of Autism, as well as several research studies. Although the website does state that the GFCF diet has not gained widespread acceptance in the Autism community as of yet, in my opinion the information it provides implies otherwise as it lists positive results of research studies that could potentially misinform parents of its success. Additionally, a portion of this section is dedicated to advertisement as several mail order and online retailers of GFCF foods are listed. Therefore, while this website is an excellent resource for parents and professionals overall, the information in this section should be explored with caution.

    Website: http://www.autism-society.org/
    This website is extremely easy to navigate as it features colorful pictures, readable text, and organized headings. Furthermore, I really liked the fact that the page provides specific information for family members, individuals on the spectrum, professionals, and advocates as it has different sections for all of the above. Additionally, the website provides useful resources such as research articles, facts and statistics, and agencies available in many different regions. Additionally, the website features real stories of children and adults living with Autism and allows parents to submit their stories to be shared.
    Although the website provides many sources of information for family members, individuals, professionals, and advocates, a large portion of the site is dedicated to donations and funds, as to become a member and gain access to additional information you must pay a forty dollar fee. Furthermore, I did not like a lot of the language used on the site to describe living with an Autism Spectrum Disorder as I felt it was disheartening and pessimistic. For example, the section of the site devoted to family members talks about how having a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder will place multiple strains on the family and lists “Understanding Autism for Dummies” as a credible source. Therefore, while I think that this website could be utilized by professionals and parents interested in learning more about resources and recent research, I think it is inappropriate for parents with a newly diagnosed child who want to learn more.

  • Joyce says:

    I chose a web page from Pyschcentral because it is very detailed and provides a general overview of Autism that was supported by research. The language that is used is easy to understand. I would recommend this website to parents and anyone who wanted to learn more about Autism because it described the disorder and its effects in practical matter. The web page focused on what is autism, its causes and related co-morbid disorders. Although the website was an informational site on autism, it also provided readers with a sense of hope and support. A section in the page was devoted to providing information on agencies, books and coping strategies for families. The website also provided a list of characteristics of autism and cautioned the reader that a diagnosis can only be made by a specialist. The site used references as appropriate and was organized into easy to find sections. Although the webpage is very useful, the rest of the site is a database for information on many other disorders. Being that this is a database, it may be difficult to find the webpage unless having a direct URL. The web page is simple and easy to navigate because the user can get through the entire website by scrolling on one web page. .http://psychcentral.com/disorders/autism.htm#aut15
    I also reviewed a You tube video titled “My little brother has autism,” that in my opinion can be a great resource for parents and educators. A little girl describes her little brother who has autism. She describes the communication, social skills and sensory related difficulties in a clear and simple way. While providing basic information about the disorder she also requests compassion and acceptance. She makes it clear that she is not requesting special treatment for him just for people to give him a chance. I think that this would be a very impactful video for children so that they can learn to be accepting of children with autism and reflect on how they should treat others who are different. Parents can use this video for siblings of the children who have been diagnosed with autism. It is often difficult for parent to understand what children with autism are going through; therefore it may be even more difficult for young children to understand. I would recommend that parents use this video to explain to their typically developing children about Autism. Although this video does not have research support, the information provided is accurate. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbgo8AZKZcc

  • It can be extremely overwhelming when searching for the term Autism on the web. With all those hits coming up it is certainly hard to pick one when all seem appropriate. With just a few minutes of navigating around sites, I did however find a website that caught my eye as useful. It’s a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, with a whole section on Autism Spectrum Disorders (www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/living.html). What immediately got my attention was the column on the left side that let you indicate your relation to Autism: families, people with ASD, healthcare providers, educators, etc. I find this extremely beneficial because depending on who is searching, the information sought for can vary. I also liked the large amount of information on emotional support as well as the in-dept overview of all the possible treatments. All in all this is a very well rounded and useful website.

    Another website I’m choosing to point out as helpful is First Signs, which is a site solely about Autism Spectrum Disorders (www.firstsigns.org/delays_disorders/asd.htm). The link I supplied brings you to a screen that has a list of all different types of questions one could think of to ask about ASDs. This site seems more geared toward families and friends of those who have Autism as opposed to the previous site, which had information for everyone. I liked this site though because the top of it has different tabs that you can click all relating to different topics, and within each tab are subcategories that allow you to attain more detailed and specific information. Unlike the other website, there is a substantial amount of information pertaining to screening, diagnosis, and treatments which can really help a parent who suspects their child of having an ASD.

  • Ashley Abelson says:

    http://www.theautismproject.org/

    As a professional who works with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) it is pivotal to have a helpful website to reference when needed. Therefore, when ‘googled’ ASD, an innumerable amount of resources came up. The first thing that jumped out at me about the website is that it has an “.org” address, which I’ve been taught to equate with more credible information than may be found at a regular “.com” address. A legitimate, website is a useful tool in order to assist my needs as well as a website that I can pass along to parents of children with Autism for reference. Overall, there was a lot to learn from this website, moreover, I believe the most important thing that I learned from was the “mission statement.” These words were inspirational words of encouragement and hope. To read such positive and encouraging words help to begin my navigation through the website an enjoyable experience.
    There was ease of navigation through the website with a clear table of contents on the left hand side of the website. The information to choose from ranged from En Espanol, Events, For Parents, For Professionals, etc. The tabs were both easy to understand as well as functional. The presentation of the website was clear and easy to access. This websites intended target audience seemed to be for parents and professionals that work with children with autism. One thing that stood out about this website is that it is based in Rhode Island. I was a little apprehensive about that at first, however, then I realized that the ease of the website and organization and information provided was essential for many parents will be extremely helpful and I thought that was more important. Overall, finding a good website about Autism Spectrum Disorders was not an easy task, however, sifting through the mediocre websites lead me to find a website with a wealth of information.

  • Stephanie Parra says:

    Autism Speaks
    http://www.autismspeaks.org/

    Autism Speaks is one of the largest Autism awareness organizations in the nation. This web source proves to be an exceptional tool for the public to better inform themselves on what exactly is Autism. The Autism Speaks website provides a clear mission statement that aims to raise global awareness about Autism and the effects it has on individuals living with it and on their families. The easy to navigate through website provides resources for families on where to seek intervention, treatment and how they can get involved in helping the Autism awareness cause. Autism Speaks website provides up to date news on the latest developments surrounding Autism.

    Autism Society
    http://www.autism-society.org/

    The Autism Society website much like the Autism Speaks website proves to be an exceptional resource for individuals who are looking to educate themselves on Autism. The website provides a clear and reader friendly definition of what is Autism and what are the signs/symptoms related to the neurological disorder. Another pro is the section of the website that provides facts and updated statistics with supporting references surrounding the disorder. Autism Society is also supported by the latest popular social networks. Listed on the website are popular social networks, Facebook and Twitter. This web source also had a function tap that can translate the entire website into Spanish to cater to Spanish speakers, a function that is not found Autism Speaks.

  • Reem Mamdouh says:

    “The Egyptian Society for Developing Skills of Children with special needs”, is an organization based in Egypt. It was created by parents of children with special needs and then gained support by professionals. Their website (www.advance-society.org) which can be translated in English and Arabic, is geared towards parents and organizations. However, it seemed to be more focused on targeting companies/organizations. I can see that they are trying to gain support, as a big part of their website is how one can contribute to the society.
    In the “what is autism” section, there was an extensive definition of autism that includes how autism affects young children, statistics, signs of autism and interventions. I found this section very informative. In addition, I liked that it was written with a positive attitude towards early intervention and described different interventions used to treat autism. This information can be very beneficial for a parent who has just found out their child has autism.
    I especially liked that this organization offers parent workshops twice a month for parents whose children are enrolled in the program. This shows that the organization values parental involvement and gives them opportunities to learn more on autism. I was glad that “Advance” was affiliated with international well known organizations. However, I didn’t understand why the websites weren’t linked. These websites should be easily accessible to parents/funders so they can get additional information on autism. It is evident that the website is credible, as it provided a list of current, well known private sponsors.
    Though I thought the website was informative, I did not like the way it was organized. In the “what is autism” section, they included red flags to autism and information on the organization. I felt those should have been put in separate sections and there should have been more of a focus on how to identify autism in young children. I also think they could have done a better job catering to the parent population. For example- The first tab should have been information on autism, as I believe parents would want to know more about autism first. I also think providing a list of activities used with children with autism could be useful to parents. I was also interested in what specific academic subjects they taught in the program and what recreational activities they offer. For instance, Do they offer music and art classes? What does their curriculum look like?

  • Stephanie says:

    Kidshealth.org is a unique website that is geared for all ages. There are parents, teens, and kids sections. In each section the language and the length of the articles are changed appropriately for its targeted audience. Kids Health has a fantastic feature on their web site that I have never seen before. By every article there is an option to have it read aloud while the program highlights each sentence and each word when it is read. This is a very helpful feature for those who have difficulty reading long articles on a computer screen, or for those that have learning differences, or impaired vision. Two other features that make this site very user friendly are the option to make the text larger and an option to change the language to Spanish on the main site and on specific articles as well. The only part that I would change is the navigation between the parent, teen, and kid’s site. When the tabs for each of them are pressed it brings you to that sections home page, instead of staying in the topics that one is researching and changing the information available. I was also shocked to see that in the educator’s section, when searching autism or autism spectrum disorder no results were yielded.
    The Mayo Clinic’s website, MayoClinic.com, is very professional looking in terms of the organization and color choice, and has very easy and clear navigation. This site also has the option to increase the text size but the button for it is placed far away from the article so it is harder to notice. The Mayo Clinic’s website’s information is very thorough and is geared towards parents who suspect that their child is developing atypically. The most helpful part of this website is a section that lists different possible questions the doctors will ask the family and questions for the family’s to ask the doctors when bringing a child for evaluations. Going to a doctor can be very unnerving; this enables the family to go to the doctor more prepared with useful information and important questions. Unlike the Kids Health website this web site has separate articles about Asperger syndrome and autism, which gives the reader a greater understanding of the differences between the two.
    Both Kids Health website and the Mayo Clinic website show that the articles are written and reviewed by experienced medical professionals, which is comforting to know that what is written is accurate. For further information both sites offer resources, the mayo clinic provides links to the Autism society of American and Autism Speaks. Kids Health offers those two sites and many other links to different organizations as well. Each site also provides related articles for the readers. Kids Health’s articles give particle advice, some titles are “How can I help a classmate with autism?” and “I have Asperger syndrome. How do I make new friends?” The related articles that the Mayo Clinic offers are mostly about the different treatments and therapies, such as “Can special diets help?” and “Can chelation therapy help?” Other articles further explain what was written in the extensive overview. Both websites offer useful information and advice but cannot be one’s sole provider of information.

  • Allison DiMarco says:

    Personally, I enjoyed navigating through Autism-Society.org more than Nationlautismassociation.org. I felt that AS.org was more user friendly and geard towards people living on the spectrum, family members and professionals, whereas NAA.org was geared more towards advocates and encouraging people to donate and become sponsors. The way NAA.org displayed their information almost felt hopeless for families reading it. AS.org had many up to date resources unlike NAA.org, and AS.org’s informtation was more hopeful and empowering to people living on the sepctrum, as well as family members. Overall, I preferred navigating and visiting Autism-Society.org

  • Trish says:

    The website http://www.autismweb.com is a resource that gives a general overview of autism spectrum disorders. There is a toolbar at the top of the main page that presents information by category. The categories that are outlined include autism spectrum disorders, treatment options, special diets, further resources, and books. A message board is also available which provides a sounding board for parents to connect to other parents. I liked the ease of navigation on this website and thought that the information that was available was helpful and informative, especially for parents/people who are not highly familiar with the disorder. The material was well organized, however the design of the site was not overly attractive. Overall, I thought this was a good resource.

    The website http://www.autism-society.org also gives a general overview of autism spectrum disorders. This website has a toolbar that is very easy to navigate. The information that is provided on this website includes a general overview of autism, treatment options, research, resources for the family, and how to get involved. Each broad topic, when clicked upon, reveals further subtopics providing helpful and useful information that is easy to access. For example, under “about autism” there is information regarding living with autism, navigating services, autism services, autism in the lifespan and family issues. This website would be best utilized by a parent who has little to some knowledge of autism spectrum disorders, as it provides introductory knowledge as well as some links to research and news. I think that the content and ease of navigation make this a good resource for families.

  • Liz Jonckheer says:

    Autism Society of America
    http://www.autism-society.org

    The Autism Society’s thorough and helpful website accommodates and includes everyone, as evidenced by the features on the home page. Directly under the headings on the home page, there is a column that identifies the person browsing the site to prioritize information according to that person’s relationship to ASD. The home page features six rotating images and personal stories of people living with ASD, helping to connect real faces to ASD. The site is well organized and easy to use because the layout is consistent and the content is brief yet sufficient. Navigation is easy because the seven main tabs at the top of the site exist on every page and the column on the left side of the page changes to correspond with the current page. On the ‘I am a Family Member’ page there is a short paragraph introducing the many challenges parents face, along with links to information about ASD within the website, local resources and free downloadable materials (requires creating a password and entering a name and email address). The Autism Society’s website is a valuable resource for parents to gather information about ASD, seek support, and take comfort in knowing there is help and hope for their child’s future.

    Autism Web
    http://www.autismweb.com

    Autism Web is a basic website that offers relevant information for parents to learn more about ASD. Essential information is accurate and readily available, particularly under the “What’s Autism?” and “Autism Resources” tabs. ‘Autism Resources – Resource Guide’ features an extensive list of excellent resources in sections that begin with, “Where Should I Start?” and end with, “Keeping a Person with Autism Safe”. For parents new to ASD, the first section offers a link to Autism Speaks’ free “100 Day Kit” and other reputable websites concerning ASD, including the Autism Society and a free online course on Autism through Yale University. This site reflects and responds to the nature of ASD, in that it features current articles and links to the best websites therefore spreading the most recent and relevant information to parents. The layout and organization of the site could use improvement and the advertisements can be distracting or misleading. Due to the overwhelming amount of information, it is recommended that parents use this site when they have some time to explore, if they are looking for ASD related books, new resources, current articles, or when they have specific questions.

  • Corinne Fazio says:

    Corinne Fazio

    The Autism Speaks website (http://www.autismspeaks.org/) is very user-friendly and easy to navigate. There are tabs which clearly label the different information that the website discusses. The website shares information regarding the definition of autism, the prevalence rate of autism, the evidence-based research describing the possible causes of autism and the symptoms of autism.

    The target audience for this website is mostly for parents. This website is beneficial for parents because it explains what autism is and the symptoms of autism. It also provides parents with information regarding the red flags of autism and when parents should take their child to be evaluated. It is great that the website describes the developmental milestones that children reach at specific ages and the red flags for autism because parents can have their child evaluated if they suspect something is wrong developmentally. Also, some parents may be unaware of the typical developmental milestones, so the website gives them a good reference tool for learning about this information. This website is helpful for parents because it describes how autism is diagnosed. It discusses the specific criteria used to diagnose autism using the DSM-IV as well as the different screening instruments that a therapist and early intervention specialist can administer to a child suspected of having a developmental delay. One specific screening tool recommended to parents is the Modified Checklist of Autism in Toddlers (MCHAT). The website also provides a link describing previously asked questions about the diagnosis of autism. Furthermore, this website is targeted at parents because it describes certain programs that are used in the classroom environment or other specialized centers to help children with autism. For example, there is a link that describes Applied Behavior Analysis and the Son-Rise program. The website explains to parents that there are different programs used, and parents must decide which intervention(s) would work best for their specific child. It is helpful that the website lists many options for parents to research. This website is also useful for parents because it explains the legal rights for their child as well as the family. It describes early intervention services, special education services, extended school year services, and how a child can begin receiving these specific services. This is especially beneficial because many parents are not aware of special education law, and what services their child should receive.

    I specifically like how the website provides families with a resource guide for any state they may live in. The resource guide provides parents with information on where one can get an autism diagnosis, early intervention services, schools for children with autism, related services, advocacy/financial/legal resources, and community support networks. I also like how the website offers videos that parents can watch to observe the red flags of autism. The video shows the slight differences in typical developing children versus children with a developmental delay. This is helpful because parents can have their child screened or undergo a diagnostic evaluation if they suspect their child may have autism.

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