Welcome to HealthCentral's community about autism spectrum disorders. Our community is for people with ASDs, their parents, brothers and sisters, and friends. Our goal is to help you learn from others who have personal experience with autism, and for you to share what you have learned. We hope your collective wisdom will help others make decisions large and small for their loved ones and themselves. We want to share successes and support each other through trials and setbacks.
How You Can Help
This community will grow only if you and everyone else who adds their thoughts here are sure you are in a place you can trust, a place you will be respected, and where your identity or other personal information will not be shared outside this community without your choice or knowledge. That is our commitment to you.
In return, we ask you to help make this community a place of warmth and insight. Share your questions, experiences, frustrations, triumphs: what you've tried, what has worked, and what has not. The only thing certain about autism is: it will take the combined strength of our community's millions of people working together to understand autism in its many dimensions.
Starting a community about ASDs is complex. People have very strongly held beliefs about what causes ASDs, whether certain treatments are "cures" or even whether it is right to speak of a "cure" when many find their ASD to be of great benefit. These are extremely important questions, at once personal and existential, but not the ones we want to focus on here.
Focus on Practical Advice
This community is intended to help people in very practical and real-world ways. The journey from concern to diagnosis, and then from childhood to adulthood involves some key, life-changing choices ... and a million everyday decisions from meals to reward charts to going shopping to school issues and how much TV or video games to allow. It means tackling some difficult subjects, like how do you talk to your ASD teen about going through puberty and becoming a responsible young man or woman. And above all, it is a swirl of emotional and relationship joys and challenges.
We want our community to share ideas about techniques, treatments, and strategies that have worked for you, and those that for whatever reason, did not. Together we can find better paths forward. This community is for both moms and dads awash in the confusion of a fresh diagnosis and for people who have gotten through the early years, but wonder now about teen years and beyond. We hope those with an ASD will want to share experiences from their past, what they wish others had understood about the way they thought or felt, and about their moments of joy. This is for brothers or sisters who love their ASD sibling(s) with all their hearts but wonder and worry what it means for their lives. It is for wives and husbands who feel like they're sinking under the weight of work, kids, finances, and marriage pressures.
Share your sources
There is a vast array of autism-related resources online, marvelous insights from those on the spectrum, from moms and dads, and researchers; but the diaspora of choices can be overwhelming. And so we hope, too, to get your recommendations about other resources online or in your towns and cities, great apps, and great therapists, great services, and not so great ones too. We are in this together, and no one website or online community can pretend to have all the answers.
How many ASD children have heard that all-knowing, white coat voice tell their parents, "They will never ...," and then they did, and more. Let's celebrate those moments and successes great and small.
How many of you have heard, "This doesn't work" but it did, at least for you? Also, let's embrace the possibilities that technology is now creating to help people whether they are in Midtown Manhattan or Manhattan, Kansas.
Let's point out what's missing as well. What are the products we want, the services we need? What can we do to make educators, employers, and legislators recognize the talents of people with ASDs?
One of the great joys of each HealthCentral community is that somehow, every day someone is helped by something they read, saw, or did while they were here. Each of you, and your willingness to open your hearts and your minds, make that possible. So, join in, and together let's learn, let's question, let's share, let's laugh, even cry (but not too much). Let's have a great journey together. After all, it's the only one we've got.