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).