Laura Oppenheimer
Laura Oppenheimer
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Each April is designated Autism Awareness Month. Hundreds of organizations are working together to raise awareness of autism and other disorders on the autism spectrum. From small communities to large, national organizations, people are creating Ning Networks to provide support and information for parents, educators and those who have autism themselves.

Sensory World

Sensory World For People Affected by Sensory Disorders

For some children with sensory disorders, like autism, seams and tags on clothing can be extremely irritating. Sensory World is a “soft social network,” that both promotes the Soft brand of clothing (flat seams, 100 percent cotton, etc) and provides a safe online outlet for parents of children with sensory disorders to discuss issues and ideas. One member blogged about ways to reduce stress during holiday get-togethers. Another blogged about misconceptions about autism in the classroom.

Model Me Kids

For many children on the autism spectrum, learning and recognizing emotional cues is a challenge. Model Me Kids makes a series of short videos that demonstrate social skills by modeling peer behavior at school, on a playdate, at a birthday party, etc. Their Ning Network provides an outlet for parents and other people who use the videos to connect with and learn from each other. Discussion topics range from what to expect in 2nd grade to research studies on autism and pregnancy.

Autism Speaks is a national non-profit organization “dedicated to increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders, to funding research into the causes, prevention and treatments for autism, and to advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.” Their Ning Network enables both parents and caregivers and adults who are on the autism spectrum themselves to share and learn from other members.

Finally, not all people dealing with Autism feel comfortable conversing in a semi-public settings. For those people, Floortime Repository is a fantastic — and private — resource. Most members are parents of children with autism who are interested in learning more about the DIR/Floortime model of treatment.