WEBSITE REVIEW: Autism Spectrum News


Anne Carpenter

A few years ago I reviewed an online newsletter about autism that was interesting, but times have changed and so has the understanding of ASD and its many complexities. I found another site that has actually been in operation since 2006! Autism Spectrum News is a quarterly online newsletter that runs circles around the other ones I have reviewed. Sponsored by Mental Health News and based in California, it features autism luminaries such as Ami Klin and Fred Volkmar of the Yale Child Study Center.

When you go to the home page you are greeted with the current issue; in this issue the focus is on how people with ASD deal with law enforcement and how police can and should learn how to work with people on the autism spectrum. Articles in this issue cover such topics as teaching children with ASD to interact with police officers more appropriately so that they don’t get in trouble in the first place, training first responders to help people with ASD handle emergency situations such as a house break-ins or a fire, and teaching boys to use the restroom safely to avoid trouble.

The articles cover a variety of topics relating to this theme and each one has a list of references at the end. In addition to the current issue, one can click on the “Back Issues” link to find issues dating all the way back to 2008; each issue focuses on a specific subject such as housing for adults with ASD, relationships/social skills, autism in the workplace and scientific research. The format is the same for every issue and I was impressed with the comprehensiveness and thoroughness of each issue with the article being carefully researched and written in clear, easy to understand language. Each article has a picture of the author too which really adds something to the credibility of the subject at hand. The navigation is a bit awkward. To get to other articles in an issue; you have to scroll all the way to the bottom and most of the all articles are continued on another page so you have to click on to the page that the article is continued on. These are minor quibbles compared to the overall nature of the site. This was a happy accident that I stumbled on when searching on Google for new websites and boy, am I glad I did! I had found some hidden treasure!