Social media and the blogosphere can be an incredible life line for parents learning about and coming to terms with autism. The problem is that the sheer vastness of the internet can make it incredibly difficult to find like-minded people with whom to share your journey.
With that in mind, I’d like to take this opportunity to share some places to start looking. This is by no means a comprehensive list (in fact, I am sure I have left out some incredible writers and will come to regret doing so), but once you take a look at some of these blogs and sites, you can see who comments there and follow them to their own blogs. Check out their blogrolls and notice who they link to. With a little exploration on your part, you just might be able to find your tribe.
There are many places to start your search for like-minded people in the online autism community. The brand-new Autism Blogs Directory is a fantastic place to find a wide range of blogs by parents and people on the spectrum. They include autism blogs of all types and opinions. Alltop’s autism directory is a similar site although—unlike the Autism Blogs Directory—there is an editorial hand in choosing who is included. The same is the case with the more controversial Autism Hub.
Collaborative special needs sites are a wonderful way to read a variety of viewpoints about a diverse group of special needs individuals. Hopeful Parents (a site I contribute to) and 5 Minutes for Special Needs are two such sites.
Just as parents of autistic children use the web to create meaningful online communities, so do people on the spectrum themselves. There are many people with autism putting their voices out there, which is a really valuable way to gain insight into your own child. Square 8, Ballastexistenz, Whose Planet is it Anyway?, Sharon daVanport and her Autism Women’s Network, author John Elder Robison’s Look Me in the Eye blog, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, and WrongPlanet.net are all interesting places to start.
As for parent blogs, well there are too many to list here. Frankly, just the ones I read are too many to list here. It takes some time and effort to find the people you connect with and who are willing to connect back. One thing you’ll find in these parenting blogs is that not every post is about autism. Many of them are about life, one aspect of which is autism, which is often how life is.
One of my favorite autism bloggers is Shannon des Roches Rosa who writes at BlogHer.com as well as her personal site, Squidalicious. MOM-NOS is one of the grande dames of the online autism community. Her posts are consistently touching, educational, and high quality. She is the author of the incredible “A hair-dryer kid in a toaster-brained world” series, about which I wrote earlier this year.
A few of my favorite online autism moms and blogs include Niksmom, Joeymom, Kristin Spina, The Karianna Spectrum, Adventures in Extreme Parenting, and Autism Twins. If I may, I also recommend my personal blog, Stimeyland, which not only discusses autism issues, but the wonders of life with three children, a slew of pets, and a belief that if you have a choice between laughing and crying, you should always try to choose to laugh.
Kristina Chew is a brilliant woman and classics professor who writes compelling stories about being “Aut” with her son Charlie. When I have questions about the science behind autism and its various theories, personalities, and discoveries, I turn to Emily at A Life Less Ordinary. Susan Senator is a published author, whose stories about her son Nat are always incredible.
Mother of Shrek, Whittier on Autism, and Kyra Anderson also write blogs that educate me every time I read them. While not specifically autism bloggers, two other bloggers, Attack of the Redneck Mommy and Love That Max are both writers who really get how wonderful it can be to parent special needs kids.
If you are a DC-area autism parent and live on the Maryland side, consider checking out my resource blog, AutMont, on which I list and write about all the autism-related events I can find in Montgomery County. If I do say so myself, the AutMont calendar is full of fantastic events to find information about all aspects of autism and special education.
I am already ruing the many fantastic writers that I read daily whom I haven’t put in this list because I don’t want it to go on forever. Hopefully, this selection of links will give you a starting place to find someone you connect with. Tell me who I missed. What is your favorite autism blog?