Review by Erika Flores, Special Educator & Hunter College Graduate Student
When families are told the news that their son or daughter is diagnosed with autism, the first thing that might cross their mind is “Now what?” There are many resources out there for families that have children who are diagnosed with autism but it could be a bit tricky to find. It is very important for parents to be informed about what autism is and about all the new developing research out there but how do they know which websites are reliable and provide accurate information? In this blog I will be discussing a website that I found to be informative and reliable. I will be discussing the pros and cons of this website and how to tell that it is a valid and reliable source.
Particularly I will focus on the area of New York. I came across the New York Families for Autistic Children when looking for resources for families. There are many support groups that have created blogs for families dealing with children with autism but I was searching for something a little more informative in terms of a website that provides resources and events that families can attend to. This website stood out the most to me because on the homepage it has information on how this organization started. It is written in a way that families can relate to and in a very positive attitude. This organization started when five families joined together to make a difference and support other families that were going through similar experiences with their children. They created this organization to provide parents and families with resources and events around New York.
The website appears to be user-friendly and easy to navigate. The home page includes a statement of how this organization started and three links to their mission statement, their vision statement and an overview of their services and programs. Their mission statement is based on helping each and every family that has a child with autism. Their statement talks about dedication, quality, the support they will give the families, the networks that that they will provide, working alongside with other related organizations and most importantly to protect the rights and confidentiality of all the individuals that they work with. Their vision statement is a statement about what they will be able to provide help for the families.
On the top of the page one can find different options to navigate around the website. These options include a blog in which parents and other families can write on and have a discussion on the topic of choice. Also on the top selection they have an option to look at the board of members of this organization and some have a link to their email. There is also an option to look at events, news, products, resources, workshops and programs and a “Contact us” link which of course can be used for further questions and comments. On the side of the homepage there are a few advertisements. It is important to keep in mind when looking through websites the advertisement that is presented because it could say a lot about that website that one is visiting. In this website in particular they have links to NYFAC training institute and autism awareness products. On the right side of the page there are a few links to photos of the organization and events that families can sign up for.
What I preferably liked about this page was how they facilitated the menu to explore the website. It is not a hard website to get around since everything has its own section with related links included. I like that it includes events and workshops that parents can attend to but those events haven’t been updated since July. This website is centered around helping families and providing support. This website includes a newsletter that the family members can sign up for which is a step further to providing them with more information and resources. One thing that I think might need some improvement on the website is to continuously updating the information special for upcoming events. According to the website the last update on events was on July 2012. Providing continuously support and resources is essential to keep the families up to date. Lastly I like how this website provides and combines outside related information and resources to their website that families can easily go to. By doing this they clarify that NYFAC is not necessary part of the views and the opinions of the external information.
In a city like New York it could be hard to choose from many different services and informational website that are out their for family support. I think a website should not only provide their own knowledge and resources but also resources from other related websites and organizations to make sure that the families are given a good overlook of the resources that are out there for their use.