Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Forum

It has been said that strength lies in community. And so it is with the online autism community.
Online can be found any number of media in which autistic individuals, professionals who work with autistic people, and parents of autistic children can go to for information, conversation, debate, humor, support, and sharing. Those of us in the world today are the beneficiaries of what still seems to me to be amazing technology that facilitates this communication.
And each "movement", as it were, has its leaders. A man who I view as a leader in the community of autism acceptance is Kevin Leitch. Kev has been a visionary in defining formats for discussion online about all things related to autism, and one of his most recent efforts has to be considered one of his best. I am referring to the Autism Parents' Forum.

Before I go any further in describing the forum, I must also give accolades to another leader in the autism community - Estee. Estee made the APF possible by dedicating space on the TAAP server. Thanks, Estee! And readers - please take the time to look at Estee's blog and The Autism Acceptance Project's website - they are wonderful.

Back to the Forum. It is divided up into numerous topics, including areas of discussion such as education, current media that focuses on autism, "Ask Autistic People", and medical issues, to name a few.
Want to discuss Home Education? Look here.
Care to talk about something clever, cute, or funny your child has done or said? Check this thread out.
Would you like to discuss a recent news article on autism? Post comments here and see who joins you for discussion.
Some of us proud parents just want to post a picture of our adorable child. That's what the gallery is for (members only!).
Want to talk about a cure for your child's autism? Then find another place, because the Forum is not geared towards this type of discussion.

After 1123 posts to date, there has yet to be found any rancorous debate on the APF. It was founded by Kev to be a "safe haven" for positive, productive discussion to the benefit of all autistic individuals in society - and to benefit parents who are more worried about their children having a positive outcome in life than whether or not they are autistic. Myself and two wonderful ladies - Sharon in Ireland and Bullet in England - moderate the forum, and will strive to maintain a positive, productive environment in which comfortable discussion of many topics can flourish.

Looking forward is this bit of good news. Having successfully established the Forum, Kev's next ventures include the Autism Parents Hippodrome (where parents race wild-eyed stallions on an oval track - wagers are welcome) and the Autism Parents Coliseum (where parents pit their gladatorial skills against one another in battles to the death).


Sharon said...

Now here's a net saying I'm too squeamish to write usually, but LOL!

There's another, now quiet, corner of the web, that was established by Kev. I have been meaning to post a link to it on the Autism Parents Forum for a while. It's the Autism Science Forum, and it's a good place to have a look through the archives.

Yet another part of the evil neurodiverse empire, is the Autism Wiki. I don't think it has been updated much recently, but again, it's a good source of information on many of the science controversies.

Club 166 said...

In the "Autism Parents Coliseum", can the format be change to have parents fighting against school administrators?

I'd be glad to throw my hat in the ring for that!

Club 166 said...

Oops! typo. Should read "changed"

mcewen said...

How big is the biggest trampoline? that way we could get on with our kids.

Estee Klar-Wolfond said...

Thanks for citing me. I feel honoured in being in this company.

laurentius rex said...

Rather NT centric of you to say what you have?

I happen to believe in the promotion of the case of autism from an autistic viewpoint contra mundum and in spite of everybody.

This is Cosa Nostra, our thing, autism advocacy will only ever be advanced by ourselves speaking for ourselves and so I don't go a bundle on NT's even if they are on our side, being promoted to hero status. Allies yes, useful, yes, but the authentic voice of autism, Not.

Steve D said...

Apologies if I have unwittingly offende dyou by what I wrote, LR.
But I am not sure how I did so. By what you are saying, am I to assume that the only people fit to discuss the welfare of autistic people are autistic people themselves? If this is your position, I tend towards disagreement.
As the parent of an autistic child who is not at an age for self-advocacy, I feel responsibility to help pave the way for a good future for him. In this case, it means adding my one voice to the many others who are trying to communicate the concept that autism is not what it has often been believed to be in the past. I am surprised you would take issue with this, but would like to here more and welcome the perspective.
And yes, it probably is NT-centric, as I am NT.

Steve D said...

Sharon -
Thanks for mentioning the Science Forum as well- I haven;t looked there in quite a while, and I appreciate the reminder.
Club 166 - Having followed your blog for some time, I can certainly understand your sentiments there. I think it didn;t occur to me because we are fortunate to be going through a "good period" with the school right now. Whew!
McEwen - thanks, as always for your comments.
Estee - No, thank YOU :)

laurentius rex said...

The reason why I distrust NT's to speak for us, is because left to there own devices they forget we adults exist and default to the ways things used to be, they have to be reminded all the time.

Your blog which I have commented on talks about parents, it seems to me that neurodiversity has been hijacked.

It seems to, that some of us have been rather too quiet in not reminding "renegade" bloggers, so it is my duty to do so, even if I lose friends in the process.

Steve D said...

Your point is well taken, LR, but I feel may be based on a viewpoint that is not entirely accurate.
You seem to be implying that I, in my post, am attempting to speak for the Neurodiversity community - 'hijacked' is the term you used. I am, in fact, not. I am speaking to other parents of autistic children, many of whom will hopefully benefit from a sense of community that can be found in the APF.
Look - I fully realize that autistic adults exist and, what's more, that my son will count himself among that population not too many years from now. I made the decision as a father to try to learn as much as I can - primarily from reading and conversing online with autistic adults and those who are counted as friends among them -in order to best understand my son and prepare him for his future. If my choice of words or subject matter cause you to place me in the category of "renegade" bloggers, so be it. I have no intention of offending anyone, but do understand that it may inadvertently happen as I express my thoughts.
If you read anything here in the future that causes you concern, that you feel you could offer me some perspective on, please do comment as you have in this case. I place very high value on the input of autistic adults, and hope that you will become a regular reader and commenter here.