Sunday, January 27, 2013

Eric Peacock

Autism Light #256 is Eric Peacock.















Eric Peacock is an Autism Uncle from San Carlos, California. He is the CEO and Co-founder of MyHealthTeams. In May, 2010, MyHealthTeams created their first social network site for a chronic disease community called MyAutismTeam. Eric's nephew has Asperger's Syndrome and he and his family inspired the creation of MyAutismTeam. Eric Peacock is an Autism Light for establishing a place where autism parents can connect with other parents and share recommendations of great autism providers.

Education: Eric Peacock graduated from Stanford Graduate School of Business and Harvard College.

Business Experience: Eric Peacock's business includes leveraging health related resources to users through the power of social networking. "Peacock incubated MyHealthTeams with his team while General Manager at InsiderPages - a leading local search site owned by IAC / City Grid Media (Source)." His previous experience also includes positions with Perlegen Sciences, where he grew and developed pharmaceutical and academic partnerships conducting genetic studies of chronic diseases. He also was a VP at E*TRADE and a Partner at Oliver Wyman / Mercer Management Consultant.

MyAutismTeam: MyAutismTeam is a social network community. As of today there are 36,000 registered parents and 40,000 registered service providers and that number is growing daily. Many autism families use it as their new Facebook to connect specifically with others who understand about the challenges of life with autism. The following is a video of how MyAutismTeam operates.


Vision for MyAutismTeam: Eric Peacock shared this vision he has for MyAutismTeam via Autism Light.
We've grown from 30 to 36,000 registered parents in about a year and half. That is great, but we've got about another 1 million families out there who don't know about MyAutismTeam yet. So we'd like to really get the word out and grow the base of parents sharing their wisdom on the site. We are continuing to improve and evolve both the website and the mobile app offerings based on feedback from parents. We are now starting to leverage the power of our numbers to negotiate special offers and autism-tailored services on behalf of our members. It's amazing how responsive service providers will be when you tell them you are negotiating on behalf of 36,000 parents.
Mobile App: MyAutismTeam has a mobile phone app that may be downloaded from iTunes.

Eric Peacock said this about MyAutismTeam, "Our basic belief is if your child is diagnosed with autism it should be easy to find the best people around to help you and often those are other parents."

The following is an interview that Autism Live had with Eric Peacock.


MyBCTeam: Because of the success of MyAutismTeam, in September, 2012, MyHealthTeam created My MyBCTeam to improve the social networking for women dealing with breast cancer. Additional sites for different diseases are planned in the future.

Advice to Parents: Eric Peacock gave this advice to parents via Autism Light. "You are heroes. Please remember that you're not alone, and you don't have to reinvent the wheel. Connect with other parents who have been in your shoes, learn from them, and share your wisdom."

Social Media: You can follow MyAutismTeam at the following social media areas.
Other Information: More information about Eric Peacock and MyAutismTeam can be found at these articles.
Special thanks to Eric Peacock for being an Autism Light. The social networking opportunities through MyAutismTeam have the potential to help thousands of autism families find local service providers and encouragement from other parents.

Related Posts: If you like this post, you may enjoy these others on people who founded other autism social networking sites. Like MyAutismTeam each fulfills a unique niche'.
Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

Photo: The photo in this post is used with permission of Eric Peacock.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Ole Ivar Lovaas

Autism Light #255 is Dr. Ole Ivar Lovaas.


 



Dr. Ole Ivar Lovaas was born in Lier, Norway on May 8, 1927. He was a clinical psychologist at UCLA who spent 40 years in autism research and pioneered a treatment for autism known today as the Lovaas treatment. Lovaas is also regarded as the Father of Applied Behavioral Analysis as it applied to people with autism.  Dr. Lovaas passed away on August 2, 2010, in Lancaster, California. Dr. Ole Ivar Lovaas is being named an Autism Light posthumously and added to the Autism Light Memorial Roll because of his contribution to the field of autism treatment.

The New York Times obituary for Dr. Lovaas states that he was "a psychologist who developed one of the most widely used therapies for children with autism, and in doing so helped change the treatment and the public perception of the condition (Source)." The following is an early interview done with Dr. Ivar Lovaas. In addition to it's historical value it provides a background into the approach for treatment used by Dr. Lovaas.


Dr. Jacqui Wynn, a former student of Dr. Lovaas and the director of the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, gave this tribute to Dr. Ivar Lovaas:
He gave hope and opportunities to children and families who really had no hope or opportunities before him. It was all based on Ivar believing what at the time was thought to be impossible--that these kids could learn and change and lead normal lives. He stuck with that belief doggedly (Source).
Early Life: Dr. Ivar Lovaas worked as a farmer in Norway as a young man during the Nazi occupation of his country.

Education: Dr. Ivar Lovaas earned his undergraduate degree from Luther College in Iowa where he earned a scholarship in music for his skill in playing the violin. He went on to earn his doctorate of psychology from the University of Washington.

Career: Dr. Ivar Lovaas became a Professor of Psychology at UCLA in 1961. At the time of his death he was an Emeritus Professor of Psychology at UCLA.  The Los Angeles Times said, "At UCLA, Lovaas' class, Psychology 170A: Behavior Modification, was among the most popular undergraduate courses. In a booming voice, he entertained students with stories of Norway and played the song "Dust in the Wind" to introduce a lesson on human malleability (Source)."

Research: Dr. Ivar Lovaas was influential in showing that some children with autism could benefit from treatment.  His paper called, Behavioral Treatment and Normal Educational and Intellectual Functioning in Young Autistic Children was important and spreading that message to the autism treatment community.

Quote: Dr. Ivar Lovaas' said regarding research, "If we lose or minimize the importance of peer-reviewed outcome data, we abandon the defining feature of behavioral approaches to social problems (Source)."

Lovaas Institute: In 1995, Dr. Ole Ivar Lovaas founded the Lovaas Institute and they continue to carry on his work today with partners around the United States who utilize the Lovaas approach for autism. The following is the announcement the Lovaas Institute shared about the passing of Dr. Lovaas in 2010.



More information on Ivar Lovaas is available on these many sites who recognized his life accomplishments:
Special thanks to Dr. Ivar Lovaas for being an Autism Light. Your work was not in vain and its impact continues to this day to help brighten the lives of children and families with autism.

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

Photo: The photos of Dr. Lovaas in this post were used with permission of the Lovaas Institute.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Matthew W. Shaw

Autism Light #254 is Matthew W. Shaw.



Today we honor a young man who had autism and brought joy to others in both his work career and personal life. Matthew Shaw was born on July 2, 1974, in Portland, Maine. Matthew Shaw died on September 16, 2012, from the effects of a pulmonary embolism he suffered on August 24, 2012. Matthew Shaw is an Autism Light posthumously for the joy he brought others and the way his life accomplishments served as an inspiration to others with autism. Matthew Shaw will be added to the Autism Light Memorial Roll today. The tribute below to Matthew Shaw from his obituary summarizes how his life was an inspiration.


"He was admired for his strong work ethic. He overcame his autism with determination and a positive attitude. He never complained. He accomplished more than anyone thought possible." 


Vincent Shaw said about his brother's life:  "Matthew proved everyone wrong. My mother believed in him. My father believed in him, and Matthew believed in himself. He was so successful in everything he did. He was truly amazing (Source)."

Education: Matthew Shaw was educated at the Spurwink School and also graduated with honors from the Portland Regional Vocational Technical Center.

Work: Matthew Shaw had worked full-time for the Maine Medical Partners -- Endocrinology & Diabetes Center in Scarborough, Maine, where he scanned and labeled medical records in their data system. Audra Buschagen, practice administrator at Maine Medical Partners, said Matthew Shaw "was 150 percent qualified and did the job perfectly (Source)."  Prior to that Matthew worked in a similar role for 13 years at Maine Cardiology Associates. When he was in school he worked part-time for the City of South Portland, Maine in their Finance Department.

Hobbies:  Matthew Shaw had a keen interest in music and could provide the title of any song and it's artist from the 1970s to the 1990s period (Source). According to the Portland Press Herald, Matthew's "hobbies included trips to Beech Ridge Speedway, music, playing the guitar and his computer. Matt was a sports enthusiast and particularly liked the Nascar racing, Boston Celtics, and the NBA basketball. Matt mostly enjoyed spending time with his family (Source)."  He also was known to wear a Christmas hat for the entire Christmas season, because of his affinity for this holiday.

Funeral: Matthew Shaw's Funeral Services were held on September 20, 2012 at the Hobbs Funeral Home in South Portland, Maine. The family asked that memorial contributions be sent in Matthew's name to the
Maine Autism Alliance, 65 Patterson St., Augusta, Maine 04330.

Obituary: An obituary for Matthew Shaw is available at the Portland Press Herald. This was selected by the Portland Press Herald on September 18, 2012 as a Featured Obituary which was titled, 'Amazing' Matthew Shaw, 38, overcame autism, loved music (a photo of Matthew is included with the feature).

Special thanks to Matthew Shaw for being an Autism Light. His life accomplishments remind all those with autism and their families that the journey of life can be great for all regardless of one's disabilities.

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Joshua Bennett

Autism Light #253 is Joshua Bennett.


Today on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day we want to honor a fantastic up and coming young poet of our day who like the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is using his peaceful words to speak out for both social justice and autism justice. Joshua Bennett is a poet from Yonkers, New York who has three disabled siblings. His younger brother Levi has Autism, his older sister is deaf, and his other brother has schizophrenia. Joshua Bennett wrote a poem called "Levi" in order to honor his brother and to draw attention to the plight of all those who are living with autism in our society.  Joshua Bennett is an Autism Light because of the autism awareness his poem "Levi" brings to the collection of the world's greatest social poetry. 

The following is the graduation speech that Joshua Bennett gave in 2010 for the College of Arts at the University of Pennsylvania. In the speech Joshua Bennett shares the simple piece of wisdom his mother shared with him that, "People learn how to treat you based on what you accept from them."
 
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Education: Joshua Barnett's website lists his extensive education this way. "An alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania, Joshua graduated with the distinctions of Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude, after double majoring in English and Africana Studies. In addition to receiving a Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship, Joshua was also awarded a Marshall Scholarship and earned his Masters of Arts in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Warwick in the UK. He is currently pursuing a PhD in English from Princeton University. Joshua thanks God for his gift, and is grateful for, and humbled by, the opportunity to inspire others (Source)."

The following is the Joshua Bennett presenting the poem "Levi" that he wrote for his brother who has autism.
 

Bennett concludes the poem "Levi" with these piercing words: "Tell them Levi is just shorthand for levitate. That your calling is is to the clouds and you would pay them a lot more attention but you are simply too busy having a conversation with God right now. Then smile for them. Smile big. Smile pretty. Teach their wounded souls how to fly because you were made that way. A genius with jellyfish for words. A divine poem destined for the sky (Joshua Bennett)." 

Poetry Experience: The Strivers Row lists the varied venues where Joshua Bennett has presented at:
He was a featured poet on the HBO series Russell Simmons presents Brave New Voices. He has recited his original works at events and venues such as The Sundance Film Festival, The NAACP Image Awards, The Kennedy Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Poetry Africa and President Obama's Evening of Poetry and Music at the White House. He has also performed on BBC Radio Oxford, alongside former U.S. Poet Laureates Billy Collins and Rita Dove, at the Du Bois Institute Panel as a guest of Henry Louis Gates, and opened for Dr. Cornel West (Source).
Opened for Dr. Cornel West: Joshua Bennett performance when he opened at Martin Luther King event with Dr. Cornel West at the Rochester Institute of Technology is available on YouTube at this link.
Website: You can read more from Joshua Bennett at his Tumblr Blog

Booking: Joshua Bennett is represented by The Strivers Row artists management who specialize in spoken word artists. For booking email info@thestriversrow.com.

Social Media: You can follow Joshua Bennett on the following social media areas.
Joshua Bennett is a prolific user of Twitter. This is one of his recent Tweets where he shares and inspires.

Special thanks to Joshua Bennett for using his amazing talent to be an Autism Light. We look forward to hearing more poems from him in the future as he speaks out for social justice and autism justice.

If you enjoyed this post you may wish to read about the other Autism Lights with the label Siblings. These people share the special perspective in their story of having a sibling with autism. Also, if you are interested in additional information on autism and Martin Luther King, Jr. day please read our Martin Luther King, Jr. day feature in 2012 on King Richard

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

The photo of Martin Luther King, Jr. in this post is in the Creative Commons of Wikipedia and is from the National Archives and Records Administration.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Jennifer Pacht Goodman

Autism Light #252 is Jennifer Pacht Goodman.





Jennifer Pacht Goodman is a music therapist from Watchung, New Jersey who is utilizing music to change the lives of people with autism.  A former child actress and Broadway singer, Jennifer Goodman opened her music therapy business called Jammin Jen in 2009. Jennifer Goodman is an Autism Light for the help she is providing those with autism through music therapy.

The following is a video of Jennifer Goodman providing music therapy. Dozens of other videos are available on her YouTube Channel.



Early Career:  Jennifer Pacht Goodman explains her early career via Autism Light in this way:
As a child, I was an actress, I auditioned for Broadway shows, commercial, and movies. I decided as a young adult to go to school for Musical Theater thinking I could be a Broadway star. I loved the theatre and after graduating the Boston Conservatory of Music, where I studied theatre, I immediately was cast on Holland America cruise ship as a cast member for their shows. IT WAS FUN! I was young and I was living what at the time, I thought was my dream. I also traveled throughout Europe doing Broadway tour shows.
Jennifer Pacht Goodman reflected on how her life was changed at age 25 when she took her first Music Therapy class at New York University. She said, "I literally can remember, like it was yesterday where in the classroom I was sitting when I knew in my heart, that I wanted to be a Music Therapist."  At that point her plans changed from seeking the lights of Broadway to being a music therapist and an Autism Light for children with autism.

Education: Jennifer Pacht Goodman graduated with the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in theater from the Boston Conservatory of Music and earned a Master of Arts Degree in Music Therapy from New York University.

ABA Certification: Jennifer Pacht Goodman is an Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapist who is trained in three forms of ABA (Source).

  • Applied Behavioral Analysis: Discrete Trial Testing (DTT)
  • Vincent Carbone's techniques of Verbal Behavior
  • Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
Jennifer Pacht Goodman finds that the combination of Music Therapy and ABA principles is the most effective approach.

Jammin Jen Music Therapy Program: Approximately 50 children receive one on one therapy at Jammin Jen's studio. In addition, they lead programs in 10 private and public schools in New Jersey that reach dozens of additional students.

Here is one of the many testimonials from a parent with a child in Jammin Jen's program.
Jenn has truly helped James find his "voice". He has such a great time singing, dancing, and playing instruments, it doesn't seem like the hard work it is. Since starting with Jenn, his speech and coordination continue to improve and his learning skills that will bring him a lifetime of enjoyment. If only therapy was this fun (Source).--Linda M. Autism Mother

Contact: You can find out more about Jennifer Pacht Goodman's music therapy at her website at www.jamminjenn.com. Or you can email her at Jenn@jamminjenn.com or call (917) 922-3227. 

Other Programs: Creative Speech Solutions, Inc. describes some of Jennifer Pacht Goodman's other accomplishments beyond Jammin Jen like this. "Jennifer created the Music Therapy Program at the McCarton Center in New York City, where she enhanced the lives of numerous children. She is also co-creator of a special needs music class at Tumble James in Scotch Plains, NJ. She skillfully combines her theatrical and multifaceted clinical training into an effective, unique, and energetic approach (Source)."

Value of Music Therapy: Jennifer Pacht Goodman states her belief in the value of Music Therapy this way via Autism Light.
The value of music therapy to those with autism is extraordinary and unique relative to other therapies that children with autism commonly receive. Music is special in a way that humans universally can appreciate, of course including those with with special needs. Music is a medium that transforms those subjected to it. It affects our mood, our processing, our sensations, and our abilities. It is a tool utilized to enhance progress, processing, and goal attainment. As we all know music can generate joy, recreation, and fun for example. As certain music is played/chosen, it is used to deliberately evoke certain responses. Often progress transcends what might be other wise possible in other therapies or settings. Please understand that I think other therapies like, ABA, occupational, speech, and others are crucial. Their importance, if not emphasis should not be discounted. It's just that I understand the power of music. I see it at work every day.
Incorporating Music Therapy into Everyday Life: Jennifer Pacht Goodman has this suggestion for how to incorporate music therapy into the life of those with autism.
Working with a seasoned and talented music therapist is a terrific idea.  But by no means is that the only way an individual with autism should experience music.  The best thing about music is that is is everywhere!  It is inexpensive to buy and readily available.  Listen, move, play, dance!!!!  Let it impact you.  Parents can use melodies of simple, familiar children's songs to get their children to accomplish something that might be difficult.  An example might be, a child is having a tantrum because they do not want to put their PJs on for bedtime ritual.   Instead of the parent becoming frustrated, they can help their child by making the situation less of a struggle, by singing.(Sung to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle " It is nighttime and it's time to go to sleep.  Pj's on, Pj's on we must put our Pj's on.  It is nighttime, it is time to go to sleep."  Musical repetition, allows for security so I encourage all caretakers of a child with special needs to try this, and tailor the lyrics to fit your child's unique needs.
Social Media: You can follow Jammin Jen on the following social media areas:
Special thanks to Jennifer Pacht Goodman for her work in music therapy. She is truly an Autism Light, changing autism one life at a time.

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

Photo: The photo in this post is used with permission of Jennifer Pacht Goodman


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Michael Gibbons

Autism Light #251 is Michael Gibbons.



Michael Gibbons is a prizefighter/boxer from Birmingham, Alabama. Michael Gibbons has a brother with autism. To honor his brother, Michael Gibbons has supported Alabama's chapter of the Autism Society of America through one of his fights. Michael Gibbons is an Autism Light for raising awareness for autism through his platform as a fighter.
 
Boxing Career: Michael Gibbons (A.K.A. "The Godfather") is a prizefighter who made his debut in 2007. Wikipedia describes Michael Gibbons as a: 
left-handed lightweight prizefighter known for his uncanny ability to make people miss him with punches. He is the reigning Southern Championship Boxing Council Junior Welterweight Champion and as an amateur won the 2004 Alabama State Golden Gloves title, 2005 Alabama State Golden Gloves title, 2006 Alabama State Golden Gloves 132-pound open division championship. He also won the 2005 Southeastern Association Championship (Source).
Here is a video of Michael Gibbons announcing a fight he was planning for February 27, 2009 vs. Mike Williams to support the Autism Society of Alabama. He also shares how autism has impacted his family. 


Other Media: You can learn more about Michael "The Godfather" Gibbons in the following online pieces:
Special thanks to Michael Gibbons for raising awareness for autism. His brother can be very proud of the efforts he is doing to support the cause of autism. If you enjoyed this post you may wish to read about the other Autism Lights with the label Siblings. These people share the special perspective in their story of having a sibling with autism.

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

Photo: The photo in this post of Michael Gibbons is in the Wikipedia commons

Friday, January 18, 2013

Byron Dafoe

Autism Light #250 is Byron Dafoe.



Byron Dafoe was born in Worthing, Sussex, England. At two months of age he moved with his mother to British Columbia, Canada. Byron Dafoe has a son with autism and he is a retired National Hockey League player who helped found Athletes Against Autism. He lives in British Columbia today. Byron Dafoe is an Autism Light for his dedication as an autism father and for his efforts to raise awareness for autism through Athletes Against Autism.

Hockey Career: Byron Dafoe played as a goaltender for the Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals, Los Angeles Kings and Atlanta Thrashers between 1992 and 2004. In 1999, Byron Dafoe was inducted into the Portland Pirates Hall of Fame (Source). His nickname was "Lord Byron". Byron Dafoe's career statistics are available at Hockey-reference.com.

Athletes Against Autism: In 2006, Byron Dafoe joined fellow hockey players Olaf Kolzig and Scott Mellanby as one of the original founders of Athletes Against Autism. Athletes Against Autism is now associated with Autism Speaks

Wikipedia Page: You can find out more information about Byron Dafoe at his Wikipedia Page.

Special thanks to Byron Dafoe for being one of the founders of Athletes Against Autism and using his notoriety to promote autism awareness. Autism Light wishes Byron and his family all the best in their ongoing journey with autism.

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Phillip Wills

Autism Light #249 is Phillip Wills.



Phillip Wills is an Autism Father from Truro, United Kingdom near Cornwall. Phillip Wills' son Josh is 12 years old and has severe autism. Joshua Wills has autism so severe that he has harmed himself and needed to be institutionalized for his safety. However, there is no suitable facility close to Joshua's family, so he had to be sent to Birmingham 260 miles away from his family (a 5 1/2 hour trip). Phillip Wills is an Autism Light because he is advocating for the need for a treatment facility to be developed closer to Cornwall to help those with severe autism like his son Josh. Even though it would be constructed too late for Joshua to use, Phillip Wills hopes Josh's story and his advocacy will make a difference in the lives of other autism families in the United Kingdom who may face similar challenges in the future.

Phillip Wills has created several autism awareness videos about his son Joshua that are all posted on his YouTube channel. Here is one of the videos that Phillip Wills developed about his son Josh's journey in 2012.



Phillip Wills said about his advocacy for an autism treatment facility near Cornwall, "It's too late for Josh, but if I can come close to stopping another father and mother having to make the decision to send their confused, upset hurting boy 250 miles away from their family then I feel I have done a good job for somebody else (Source)."

Phillip Wills offered this advice to parents of children with autism via Autism Light.
To other parents, don't give up, keep fighting, cherish the good bits, concentrate on them (My films "The Adventures of Joshua Wills" are about the positive side, watch them if you need reminding that it is not always bad). Look after yourselves and keep strong and healthy! Make time for yourselves as well, either as a couple or with friends or both! Whatever life throws at you, keep your child's smile in your mind. Take what it throws and then step forward stronger. REMAIN POSITIVE. ALWAYS.
Here is another video on Joshua Wills that Phillip Wills created called "The Further Adventures of Joshua Wills." 



Social Media: You can follow Phillip Wills' advocacy for his son Josh and other children with autism at the following social media pages. Phillip Wills provides regular updates on Josh and his advocacy with the government about the need for a closer autism facility.
For more information on Phillip Wills' advocacy for autism see these news articles.
Joshua Wills is blessed to have four very special adults in his life. There is his father Phil and his StepMum Gill as well as his mother Sarah and StepDad Gavin who love him very much. Special thanks to Phillip Wills for being an Autism Light. We look forward to following the ongoing developments as Phillip Wills advocates through the government and community channels to get an autism treatment facility in the United Kingdom closer to Cornwall.

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

Photos: The photos in this post were used with permission of Phillip Wills.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Joel Manzer

Autism Light #248 is Joel Manzer.



The first Autism Light post of 2013 is about an individual whose light has shined brightly for the autism blogging community for several years and his efforts and passion are poised to continue to light the way in the new year. Joel Manzer is an autism father from Norfolk, Virginia. His son whom he calls "Short Stack" has autism. Joel Manzer serves as the Lead Editor for Autisable, a blogging community with Xanga.com that was created in May, 2009, and is dedicated to sharing real blogs from people tackling the puzzle of autism. Joel Manzer who describes himself as "just one person among the thousands sharing their stories online" is an Autism Light for his dedication as an autism father and for his vision in leading Autisable today to be a helpful resource on the voices of the diverse autism community.

The following is a presentation where Joel Manzer explains Autisable and his passion for the work.

Joel Manzer writes this about the mission and origins of Autisable. 
When my son was diagnosed with autism, we searched online for an open source blogging community that we would show daily life with autism.  By open source, I mean one where someone didn't have to sign up to join to read information.   I've been blogging on Xanga.com for many years, and one day I was in a discussion with the people at Xanga.com and through that was birthed Autisable.com. Our mission is rather basic, to promote discussion of autism. We don't take a stance on a specific viewpoint or concept about it, but want to provide an environment where people can share their ideas and journey. Like our tag line says, "Real blogs from people tackling the puzzle of autism" (Source). 
On August 6, 2009, About.com "Parenting Children with Special Needs" chose Autisable as their site of the day (Source).  In the past several years Autisable has continued to grow in it's reach. Joel Manzer told Autism Light that they reach over 30,000 people on average per month at Autisable and have over 70,000 pageviews per month. They are a profit site that is part of the Xanga Network of Blogging community sites - owned by Xanga.com, Inc. The partnership with Xanga means that the technical side of the site is taken care of by Xanga, while Joel and two other editors manage content and social media outreach.  Joel Manzer told Autism Light that the goal of Autisable is "to unite the Autism Community and give back to the community."

Joel Manzer's goal for Autisable is "That Autisable will become the premier hub of all families and individuals and organizations that deal with Autism." Autisable is poised to do just that as a blogging community site where anyone can join, share, friend and subscribe to each other."  A list of autism organizations that share blog posts on Autisable includes Autism Speaks, Autism Today, and the Autism Society of America. 

Joel Manzer is a contributor on Autisable just like any other member, but he recently explained Autisable in a post called, "Its a Community..Its NOT my Blog." If you would like to blog on Autisable you can sign up for free at www.autisable.com and create your blog site TODAY!  If you are an aspiring blogger let 2013 be the year you accomplish your dreams of sharing your story with the autism community. Your story may make a difference for others trying to make sense of the autism puzzle.

Autism Today Leadership Conference: Among his other leadership roles in the autism comunity, Joel Manzer was a featured speaker in an Autism Today Leadership Conference.



Advice for Parents:  Joel Manzer gave this advice to parents of those with autism, "I'd like for them to know that they are not alone.  That wherever they are, there is help.   But beyond that I'd encourage them most that although their child may have a diagnosis of Autism, it should never define who their child is."  

Advice to Autism Bloggers: Joel Manzer gave this advice to autism bloggers, "Speak the truth, write from the heart. Be respectful and understanding. We're all in this together trying to understand one of the most complicated topics out there in the world: Autism. It's their stories of struggles and victories that can help thousands of others. Keep sharing."

Social Media:  You can follow the work of Autisable at the following social media sites.
Special thanks to Joel Manzer for being an Autism Light. His efforts to add to the voices of autism bloggers through the organization of Autisable is making a difference to thousands of families. We look forward to updating this post as his vision for Autisable grows and develops in the months and years to come.

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

Special Note: While the Autism Light blog is non-commercial, we have had a long standing arrangement where Autisable can repost any of our blog posts that the editor's wish to spotlight. This gives some of our selected tributes to autism heroes a larger audience. Over 100 Autism Lights posts have went into syndication on Autisable since September, 2011.  The mission of Autism Light is similar to Autisable in that we don't take a stance on a specific viewpoint or concept about autism, but tell life stories of those making a difference for autism and let the passions of Autism Lights provide content for the diverse resources and viewpoints that are shared on the Autism Light blog. 

Photo: The photos in this post are used with permission of Joel Manzer