Review by Caitlin O’Donnell, Special Educator & Hunter College Graduate Student.
The Wrightslaw website is a single source containing multiple resources. It is geared towards parents, educational professionals, and legal professionals such as lawyers and advocates, by providing information based on the laws surrounding special education and information on specific disabilities, including Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). The information is provided in English, however, in the upper left corner, there is the option to translate the website immediately to Spanish. “How do I know if this has latest information?” one may ask. The latest update is documented at the bottom of the home page. The most recent update was made on 09/18/12.
The home page to Wrightslaw is divided into borderless sections. All resources are accessible via website links. The left hand side provides links to upcoming training programs throughout the U.S., links to both advocacy and law libraries, and links to specific topics ranging from Autism to IEPs to procedural safeguards. The right hand side provides resources, such as published books and CDs that can be purchased through the Wrightslaw store. There is a link to “Yellow Pages for Kids” which is a guide to find attorneys, advocates, and therapists in one’s state. The center of the homepage shows connecting links to new legal decisions from recent court cases, recent blog topics, and free flyers.
At first glance, this website can appear to be overwhelming. However, if you take your time viewing the home page links, you will be able to discover the wealth of information it provides to viewers. Unfortunately, you may come across many advertisements, but they are mostly directed to children, the law, and special education. For a parent who is new to special education, this website may be too much to handle. For example, for a parent, whose child has just been diagnosed and is learning to come to terms with the diagnosis, this website may be a whirlwind of reality too soon. A parent may need direct guidance to the Autism Spectrum link that would give the parent a clear definition of the Autism Spectrum Disorders, an insight into early intervention, and recommended reading materials and articles. The most parent friendly link from this page is the Autism Speaks 100 Day Kit, which is a PDF that offers parents with information about Autism, how to manage the diagnosis with their family, how to locate and start the available services, and a glossary of jargon terms.
The Wrightslaw website is rich in resources, but could benefit from reorganizing the home page to make it more user friendly for families and professionals. Below, I have given my own rating of the site based on appearance, décor, and services.
Puzzle Piece Ratings: (Out of 5)
Wright, P. W. D., & Darr Wright, P. (1998). Wrightslaw. Retrieved from http://www.wrightslaw.com/
Wright, P. W. D., & Darr Wright, P. (1998). Autism, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), Asperger Syndrome (AS). Retrieved from http://www.wrightslaw.com/