Autism Hub

9 Feb

I’ve instigated a new project today that I’ve called Autism Hub.

The idea is very simple – to aggregate blog feeds regarding autism in one place. Its very difficult sometimes to extract meaningful information from the huge sea of data that comprises the Internet and there’s so much we’re in touch with now that we wish we had been when we first began this journey that it seemed a good idea to try and unify some of the pertinent content out there.

Obviously, my beliefs being what they are about autism, I’ve set a ground rule that all the blogs that form the Hub membership must adhere to the central concepts of a) respect for the condition of being autistic and b) not promote a ‘cure’ mentality. That doesn’t mean the blogs that form the Hub don’t discuss interventions such as speech therapy, PECS etc because some of them may well do.

Basically, what the site does on a technical level is to periodically grab the RSS or Atom Feed of the members blogs. It then extracts the latest post from that feed and enters the details of that post into a table in a database on my server. Whenever someone accesses the Hub site, they access the data in the database.

There’s also a directory listing of all the member blogs on the site as well as a link to their Feed. There will also shortly be a dedicated RSS feed for the last 10 posts across all Hub members.

The Hub site itself is at a very basic level of functionality right now to which I hope to add over time. In the future it may be that visitors become users and can create their own aggregated content from the feeds provided which they can pick and choose from and save their preferences.

In the meantime, go have a browse around – there’s about 14 members signed up so far. If you know of any blogs who you’d like to see added to the Hub or you yourself maintain an autism related blog you’d like to join, please let me know as per the instructions on the site.

For those interested in the technical details of how the code works I expect I’ll be discussing that in a separate post under the Right Brain category at some point in the near future.

9 Responses to “Autism Hub”

  1. David N. Andrews BA-status, PgCertSpEd (pending) February 9, 2006 at 08:38 #

    Another for BC’s collection: MOLAR SHITE

    I needed a laugh this morning 🙂

    I like the Hub, incidentally…

  2. elmindreda February 9, 2006 at 11:33 #

    Hmm, what if the blog is mostly, but not exclusively, related to autism?

  3. Kev February 9, 2006 at 12:08 #

    No problem – my own blog is a case in point :o)

  4. Jemaleddin February 9, 2006 at 14:09 #

    Thanks for your work on this, Kev. This will be a great resource for those of us trying to stay informed about our children’s autism while steering clear of the “fix-my-kid” types.

    Just curious, but could you change the feed to include either content summaries (first n words) or full entries? Pretty please?

  5. Kev February 9, 2006 at 21:08 #

    Hi Jemaleddin, glad you like it :o)

    You’re right I should do those things but I’m afraid that I have two technical issues to overcome. Firstly, the feeds are fetched by a script run by a Cron job on the server and I want to keep a close eye on it for awhile so I can see how much it affects the processing.

    Secondly, I’m not sure how popular this will become. If it become really popular than the bandwidth costs of fetching the whole feed might be prohibative.

    Basically, I’m ruling nothing out – I just want to monitor how its going for awhile :o)

  6. Jemaleddin February 10, 2006 at 15:22 #

    Point well taken – keep up the good work.

  7. Estee February 13, 2006 at 00:21 #

    It’s a great idea!! There is so much of that “other” information out there, as you said…info that purports to cure autism. Ugh.

    Thanks for being an instigator 🙂


  8. Joseph Mele April 8, 2006 at 04:36 #

    Hi kev

    looks good

    when are you going to add my blog?

  9. Kev April 8, 2006 at 05:20 #

    Hi Joe :o)

    Did you meail me? Sorry, it must’ve slipped my mind.Can you mail me again with the details?

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