“AutismWeb: A Parent’s Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorder”
Website link: http://www.autismweb.com/index.htm
Reviewed By: Anna Chan, Special Educator & graduate student at Hunter College
This website is very user-friendly and informative. For any parent of a newly diagnosed child who has little prior knowledge about ASDs, this website will help provide a wealth of knowledge that will set the foundation for understanding and further learning about ASDs. Autism Spectrum Disorder is clearly defined and explained. I like how they talked about “Warning Signs”, so first-time parents can begin to understand and relate to symptoms their child may display and decide whether to seek professional help. There are abundant resources provided to connect parents to opportunities to attend conferences, to communicate with other parents in blogs and forums, to read about the latest medical news in the field, and to purchase or download materials and books to assist in supporting children with ASD at home and at school. Most importantly, it provides links to authentic sites such as Autism Speaks, Autism Society of America, First Signs, and the CDC website.
Although the home webpage is simple in design, it provides just enough information to urge first-time visitors to continue exploring and navigating through the website to find answers to questions, to seek more knowledge, to provide further support and resources, to provide an outlet for communication with others, etc. The menu tabs on the home webpage provide the framework and structure for the website, allowing for easy navigation into subcategories on related topics. I like the availability of a message board forum and contact email, so first time visitors can communicate and connect with the community of other parents of children affected by ASD. The Autism Blog was very interesting to read- as they posted entries of real-life stories, suggestions and advices for parents. In addition, both parents and professionals can gain more knowledge on the different variety of teaching methods when working with children with ASDs and can learn more about the diet/supplements options for children with ASDs.
The shock of learning that your child has just been diagnosed with ASD can be very painful and traumatic for most parents. During this initial stage, parents need the support and the appropriate information from professionals and other parents to help them understand the process, so they can hopefully be able to accept the truth and build the courage to deal with the reality of raising a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The wealth of information and the numerous resources provided on this website are very reassuring and optimistic. At the same time, medical news updates on the site provide information on the ineffectiveness of certain medical treatments and the issue of bullying. Overall, this website is an excellent beginner’s resource intended for both parents and professionals! By the time I finished browsing though the site, I already felt like I was a part of their community.