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Introduction - Invitation to Participate

This is a rough draft of a two page overview "flyer" I created as an invitation to participate, to promote/evangelize wiki use for parents/aspies/auties/concerned, and to use as a "straw man proposal". My local sphere of influence is in Orange County, but those references can be modified/deleted as the proposal is reworked. I encourage others to modify this article. Note: I used OpenOffice Writer to author the draft, then exported the content with the MediaWiki filter.

What is autism.wikia.com, and what is it used for?

This is a site similar to wikipedia, but dedicated to autism. From the site: "Autism Wiki is a place where people with autism and Asperger's, and the people who care about them, can share their stories and build a database of helpful information." The site currently has about 220 articles, only about 20 contributing users, and is (currently) not very active with respect to contributions (I'm hoping to change that).


This overview will cover:

  • How the autism community can greatly benefit from routinely using this site, showing examples of useful content.
  • Why it is good to contribute to the site (being a “read-only” user is still “ok”).
  • What you can do to help
  • Ideas for future “adjunct” projects.
  • Let's stay connected

Some examples of useful content

You can use this site as your “one stop” resource for: autism news, autism research, autism podcasts, O.C. events[1],

By using the RSS feeds (i.e., news, podcasts, blogs, etc.) that are made available on this site saves time since as it's not necessary to traverse numerous sources to obtain information (the feed aggregates and filters them for you, and presents it as "one")[2].

http://autism.wikia.com/wiki/News_RSS_Feeds

On the average there are approximately 200 news articles about autism and Asperger's which are aggregated from multiple sources. Most sites, such as autism-society.org, use the Medical News Today "feed", (that publication currently contains about 20 stories).


http://autism.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Research

Research publication links can be found here for clinical trials that recruit in, and for, California Research centers (links and instructions to over 2,700 free research articles).


http://autism.wikia.com/wiki/California/Orange_County

One way I have extended autism.wikia.com is by adding “regional” sections, adding content at the state and county level. This article contains school links, regional center links, links to (and lists of) events; links to most (if not all) Autism/Aspergers support groups[3].


http://autism.wikia.com/wiki/California

Contained in this site are FREE medical insurance help, letter templates, laws, advocacy, research centers as well as step-by-step tips.


http://autism.wikia.com/wiki/Podcast

Recently added, are about 100 autism only podcast episodes, aggregated from approximately 10 sources. You can subscribe to the RSS feed and download the podcasts to your mp3 player, or computer.


http://autism.wikia.com/wiki/Web_2.0

This site contains articles about: various autism related RSS Feeds, autism podcasts, autism blogs, autism social networks, autism mashups, autism wikis (however, autism.wikia, appears to be the largest and most open), autism video (free), autism usenet newsgroups, online chat (autism IRC channels).


http://autism.wikia.com/wiki/Institutional_Deeming

You will want to find out if (and how) you can obtain Medi-Cal for your child (which will be an insurer of "last resort" to potentially obtain insurance coverage for Speech, Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), Occupational Therapy, etc. and services that may not otherwise be covered (see California/Insurance)


http://autism.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Interventions

Good examples of article content/form; much good information here.


http://autism.wikia.com/wiki/Special:AllPages

Not all articles are navigable from the home page, use this link to browse all articles.


http://autism.wikia.com/wiki/Special:Categories

View all of the categories of the site.

Why it is good to contribute to the site

One benefit to contributing to the site is that there is a networking effect of collaboration – more writers generates more viewers, more viewers generates more writers, more writers means more scrutiny and better quality/reliability. Around 1% of wikipedia users contribute content. I encourage the Autism community to contribute (hopefully at a higher rate), since time is of the essence, and “the cause” is so important. Any useful contribution you make that helps another in the autism community is a generous act of volunteerism. However, being a “read-only” user is still “ok”.


What you can do to help – a few suggestions:

  • Add new articles, extend existing ones.
  • Help categorize the site (adding empty categories is ok).
  • Revise some existing articles to meet article standards.
  • Examine news and podcast sources to confirm quality.
  • Identify bookmarks links in your web browser that are very useful, but not already in the wiki (and add them to the wiki, or send them to a willing volunteer to add them for you).
  • Add biographies of “movers” in autism field (authors, speakers, etc).
  • Add a category for conferences, and an article for each recurring conference.
  • Identify additional news, research, and podcast sources for the existing RSS feeds (and add new sources to the appropriate RSS “list” page).
  • Add to the list of research centers.

Ideas for Future “adjunct projects” (may require web hosting, will probably use liferay for web application.):

  • Create an aggregated RSS feed for all OC. Events. Events web application.
  • Comfort connection documentation project.
  • Meetup.com replacement project.

Let's stay connected

I will start an email group so we can keep in contact. If you were unable to add your info to the signup sheet, please email me at autismoc[at]yahoo.com. I will soon post presentation slides containing more details. Anyone who signs the sheet or contacts me via email will receive an email from me that will point you to the slides.

I'm looking for webhosting donors for the adjunct projects. I'm willing to share costs.


  1. if the events listed are not current, then at least you can find all of the event sources in the O.C. support groups.
  2. Note that RSS aggregations are not really "wiki" content, they are, however, hosted by the wiki, so they are “adjunct projects” enhancing this site.
  3. Of course, one cool feature of wikis is that if anyone notices that a group is missing from the current list, it can simply be added.

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