CARY: Autism community turns to social network site for support - WNCN: News, Weather

Social network an invaluable resource for autism community

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The National Autism Network createdv a social networking site specifically for the autism community. The National Autism Network createdv a social networking site specifically for the autism community.
CARY, N.C. -

For parents of autistic children, there is no shortage of resources and information available on the Internet. But finding exactly what you want and need takes time.

The National Autism Network created a new social networking site just for the autism community to helpful simplify that process.

"There's so little time in the day and you want to spend as much time as you can with your child," said Cari Decandia, co-founder of the National Autism Network. "Up until now, a lot of people used Facebook groups; but there was not a way for parents to search out other parents by geography, especially for individuals on the spectrum."

Currently the social networking site is about 10,000 users strong. Parents like John Anderson, of Raleigh, is one of them.

"A lot of times it can be, 'Wow I've never thought of that,'" Anderson said.

Anderson's daughter Sara has autism, and he has been using the site for several months now.

"If I've got an issue that I'm having, I log in, find out that somebody else has consulted this provider, this type of therapist, or this type of company, used this type of product," he explained.

Even Sara likes to log in to her father's account to connect with other autistic teenagers.

"We talk about basically anything," Sara said. "We talk about school or what we're doing over the summer."

Parents like Anderson said the site is more than just a place to post status updates and find local resources. It's about being plugged in to a close-knit community, one that relies on each other when they need it most.

The social networking site couldn't have come at a more crucial time. The autism spectrum disorder is the fastest growing development disability in the United States.

The site also has a secured HIPAA portal where parents can upload documents, and select the therapists, specialists and doctors they want to give access to.

To learn more go to www.nationalautismnetwork.com

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Eileen Park

Eileen joined WNCN after years of working as a foreign correspondent. During her time off, she enjoys relaxing with her dogs, reading, and exploring the Triangle. More>>

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