Social Network Site for Parents of Children With Autism Launched
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is one of the fastest growing developmental disabilities today. According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism affects as many as 1 in every 110 children in the United States. ASD affects an estimated 1.5 million individuals in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide. Yet many parents still struggle to find the resources and services their children need. MyAutismTeam connects community members with support and personal recommendations from other parents in their local area—a resource lacking in today's world of social networks.
MyHealthTeams today announced the launch of MyAutismTeam, its flagship social network for parents of children on the autism spectrum. MyAutismTeam is the first social network specifically for parents of children with autism, making it easy to connect with others who have had similar experiences.
The network is a Facebook-meets-Yelp style place for parents to share recommendations of local providers, openly discuss issues, share tips, and gain access to local services that they may not have otherwise discovered on their own. Since the summer, the site has rapidly grown from 30 to over 12,500 members, underlying the growing need of parents seeking support and an easy way to find the team of providers that best meets the needs of their children. MyAutismTeam today also officially unveiled an ongoing partnership with the world's largest autism science and advocacy organization, Autism Speaks.
"Parents of kids with autism constantly worry whether they are doing enough, or are doing the right things to help their children thrive," explains Eric Peacock, CEO and founder of MyAutismTeam. "The one thing we've learned from parents is that it can take years to build the right team to help your child. We focus on making it easy for parents to learn from others who have been in their shoes, so they don't have to start from scratch when looking for providers that are highly recommended."
On the MyAutismTeam site, parents create their own "team" by sharing providers who help them care for their child. The typical team consists of more than just autism doctors and specialists –they include restaurants, schools, piano teachers, babysitters and more. Parents can then communicate and post status updates, generating conversation threads around daily activities like dentist or doctor's visits, and the not-so-routine like swimming or taekwondo classes. Members can also post on each other's walls and use the site's searchable database to find autism-friendly providers near them. For each provider or business on a team, the site lists contact information, and recommendations to make selecting a provider easy.
The largest autism advocacy organization, Autism Speaks, recognized the value of MyAutismTeam before it was built and has established a partnership to provide feedback on the site based on their years of engagement in the autism community. Autism Speaks helped seed MyAutismTeam's database of local autism providers with data from its own family resource database. Parents on the site can also add providers they use that may not already be listed directly to MyAutismTeam. Today, MyAutismTeam has a directory of over 30,000 autism providers.
"Parents often say they have learned so much from other parents who have already experienced the joys and challenges that accompany life with a child with autism," explains Lisa Goring, Autism Speaks vice president of Family Services. "Providing access to local information and resources is an important part of the mission at Autism Speaks. Partnering with MyAutismTeam is one more way we can help empower families with reliable information they can use right now."
"Someone in the community will have faced the challenges you are facing today and can recommend a great provider, or share tips on what worked for them," explains Sharon Esch of Albuquerque, who is mother of a 5-year-old boy with Asperger's. "The great thing about MyAutismTeam is that you find you're not alone."
To build own your team, visit myautismteam.com.