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A little Autism Hub catchup

19 Apr

Thanks to some generous donations I’ve been able to extend the life of the current scripts a bit longer and feel more confident about adding in more members.

To that end, I’d like to welcome you to our latest ‘batch’ of members:

Big White Hat keeps a blog where the good guys where white hats. He has an autistic son and often discusses autism on his blog.

Asperger Square 8 is a site run by Bev where she discusses her life as an Asperger’s adult.

And last, but by no means least, is One Dad’s Opinion – a very new blog started by regular LB/RB commenter and all round good guy Steve D who you might know better as Friend in California.

Welcome all – good to have you aboard! If Hub readers would like to welcome them either here or – even better – on their own blogs I’m sure they’d very much appreciate that.

Oh yeah, if you’re wondering why I’m announcing this here rather than on the Hub site as I usually do, its because the list time I tinkered with the scripts I managed to delete the whole WordPress database. Good going eh? And did I have a backup? No. Truly I am the techno-wizard. Not.

Update

The Bain blog is now authored by Alex. Check it out.

Support Autism Hub, Come out as evil ND

10 Dec

As I mentioned awhile ago, in an effort to fund the Autism Hub website I created some T-Shirts which you can buy in both the US and Europe. Doing this saves me from putting ads on the site or in the feeds, both of which I hate.

Anyway, I thought it might be amusing to play on a, ahem, certain sections perception of the Hub and the Hub members are and create a range of T-Shirts to play on that image. They’re not pricey, they’re good quality and they help me devote money to keeping the Hub afloat.

The European shop is here and the US/North American shop is here.

Below are the latest products added. As you can see, there’ a bit of a theme ;o)

European Shop (inc UK)

Male

Female

US/North American Shop

Male

Female

Site Housekeeping

8 Oct

A bit more site news on a general scale.

Firstly, concerning the Hub, following consultation with my fellow Hub members the strapline has now been changed. It was felt the old one (we don’t need no stinkin’ cure) whilst nice and pithy and punchy wasn’t really representative of _all_ of the ideas, beliefs and concepts the Hub membership had so a new one, written mainly by Dad of Cameron, has taken its place. It reads:

Autism Hub promotes diversity and human rights, with ethics and reality as the core guiding principles; aspects include empowerment/advocacy, acceptance, and a positive outlook.

which is much more comprehensive.

Secondly, I’ve made two changes to this site. The first change is the new ‘media’ page which I’ll use to collect interviews/articles etc as they happen.

The second change I need some help with. Your help Constant Reader.

I’ve introduced a wiki (see link in main navigation section at top of page) which will be used to collect, collate, explain and centralise a lot of the issues surrounding autism from both an anti-quackery standpoint and an advocacy standpoint.

Myself and a few others have made a start in bringing this material together but the more people we have contributing, the faster this project builds. Anyone who’s interested in exposing quackery relating to autism or interested in advocacy for autistic people to lead the autism community should please email me for details of how to edit the Wiki.

Autism Podcast Interview

28 Sep

Autism Podcast Interview

Michael from Autism Podcast interviewed me yesterday. It was the first time I’d been interviewed via Skype or trans-atlantically which was a novel experience. I was a bit concerned at how well the connection would hold up with VOIP still being a technology in its infancy but I think both Michael and I were pleasantly surprised at the quality of the voice connection.

The interview itself was very interesting and thought provoking (for me anyway) – its always good to examine (or re-examine) your own ideas and motives I think and Michael asked me some good questions on the purpose and aims of the Hub as well as asking me about Megan and how we approached raising her.

I tried to lighten my voice and flatten my local accent for US audiences (my voice is stupidly deep and Midlandsy) but I still come off as a cross between Robbie Williams and Barry White. Bah.

Also, here’s a little snippet of Meg :o)

Autism Speaks: Don’t Speak For Me

17 Jul

Following on from the furore created by the very misleading Autism Every Day film, I’ve set up a petition to make sure that the film-makers realise that not all parents of autistic people, or autistic people themselves, or professionals who work with autistic people are harbouring thoughts of murder. Neither do we appreciate our lives being intentionally misleadingly portrayed in order to gain a pressure group a bit more money.

Signatories will be stating that they:

Utterly repudiate the notion of murder being an acceptable response to disability.

Vehemently deny that most parents of autistic – or otherwise disabled – children harbour thoughts of murder

Testify that the false ‘reality’ concocted by Autism Speaks film ‘Autism Every Day’ is not a true reflection of the reality of parenting an autistic child.

Call for a public apology from Lauren Thierry for increasing ignorance regarding autism.

Please sign the petition.

Autism Hub Updates

9 Jul

I’ve introduced a few changes to the Hub over the last few days.

Firstly, the whole site has had a substantial redesign. This has (I hope) made things a bit easier on the eye, a bit easier to read the content you’re interested in and generally behave better across a wider range of devices.

There’s still some ongoing backend work which needs to be completed before I start accepting potential new members and there’s a few more front end tweaks to get slotted in to make users lives even easier but these won’t require any substantial aesthetic alterations or any downtime at all.

Secondly, I’ve introduced a range of t-shirts that you can buy via the Hub. Its a very small range at the moment but I’ll be designing and adding more over time.

The reasons I’ve done this is mainly due to the unexpected success and popularity of the Hub. It took me very much by surprise how quickly it took off and the long and short of it is that the Hub needs to start paying for itself fairly quickly.

There are several ways I could’ve gone about getting revenue but I despise adverts on sites (or – even worse – in RSS feeds) and I ‘m very much against the idea of paid-for content in this context so this seemed the best solution – the buyer gets something and I get a cut to go towards the cost of running the site.

I’ve no idea how (un)successful this idea might be as I’ve never done anything like this before but if I do make any money beyond the requirements of the site to sustain itself then I’ll be donating the excess to pro-neurodiversity websites and projects at the end of each year.

Lastly, I’ve just set up a new part of the Hub which is free for anyone to use.

It’s called the ‘autisticus’ and it works in exactly the same way as del.icio.us – it allows you to save interesting stories and blog entries to a central location.

All you need to do is head to the autisticus site, create an account and then add pages/stories/blog entries you want to bookmark. You can tag entries in exactly the same way as del.icio.us and there’s even a draggable bookmark shortcut for your browser. Over time, as more entries get added and tagged, there’ll be a big resource of searchable tags and entries to read and research at your leisure. You cn even add any existing del.icio.us entries you may already have.

So, go join up and start adding entries!

Autism Hub News

7 May

You may remember that earlier this year, I launched Autism Hub in an effort to centralise the blogging efforts of people who blogged along themes associated with autism – what they all have in common is no interest in curing autism. Some bloggers are parents, some are autistic people, some are scientists – some are all three!

However, I was totally unprepared for how successful the Hub would become in such a short space of time. There are now over 30 members whereas the Hub began with less than 20. I have at least 4 applications sitting in my inbox right now waiting for me to deal with them. The Hub sends each of its members a simply mind-boggling amount of traffic. I don’t know if any of the other Hub members are as obsessive about stat tracking as I am (and seeing as not a few are with Blogger, that would prove to be tricky) but every _week_ sees an increase – and from an increasingly diverse audience. Personally, I’ve had referrals from a .uk.gov source, a .nhs.uk source, the CDC in the US, the FDA in the US – what _seems_ to be the Canadian autism association – the Times, Guardian, Daily Mail (snigger) and erm, The Sun newspaper in the UK and a variety of US newspapers I don’t know very well aside from the New York Times and (I think) the Boston Globe.

And of course, there’s the ever-watching, ever-silent mercury militia. Hi guys :o)

In terms of numbers, I (_this_ site) get(s) around 1000 unique visits a day via the Hub. Its difficult to tell how many visitors the Hub itself gets because its not the sort of site that _gets_visitors, more the sort of site to _distribute_ visitors, but just about every Hub members places a small (less than 5kb) graphic on their sites. So far this month (7 days) this graphic has processed 86mb of data – this means that single graphic has been seen by 17,613 people. that works out to about 75,000 unique visitors a month, or 2,500 per day. And that’s not counting the over 400 people who access the feeds direct from the 2 feeds the Hub has.

This has all happened in less than 3 months. Incredible.

And yet, the Hub itself has become a victim of this success – its not a very flexible design and is begging for a decent bit of information architecture applied to it. I’ve recently expanded both the front page and the RSS feeds – this is just the beginning of what needs to be a fairly substantial overhaul.

I am delighted that so many people are interested in a more ‘no need to cure’ point of view than some people (ahem) might feel comfortable with – it gives me a sense of hope that our children and our adult friends and colleagues may have a slightly less judgemental future than was previously feared.

The Hub bloggers are doing a great thing – they are disseminating truth, respect, positivity, objectivity and tolerance. I thank each and every one of them and I promise to continue developing a site worthy of their efforts.