There are many millions of pages on the Internet that Google links to “autism”. The second highest on that list of “autism advice” (@ the time of this post) Advice to parents who discover their child is autistic, which is from a 1996 listserv.
The first question, “I just discovered my son is autistic. What should I do?”. The answer is a list of comments from parents of autistic children who offer their advice! And book titles. Not too much has changed, even on the web, in 15 years. The top hit on today’s list was Berkeley Parents Network: Advice About Autism.
Where the best information should be found on the web for any medical condition is at the American Academy of Whatever – “whatever” being the specialty in question.
There is no formal autism academy per se, but the American Academy of Pediatrics does have a fairly substantial website that provides a great deal of useful information. Dry? Yes. Boring? Definitely. Informative? Only to the extent that a great many of the answers are, “You should speak with your pediatrician…” Well, if you could’ve spoken to him or her about your concern about the child’s development, you wouldn’t need the web! Especially if you are getting “kicked out” of the physician’s office because you had the temerity to inquire about vaccination safety.
This blog is produced in order to offer the advice of an experienced physician who has cared for tens of thousands of newborns and followed them until 3 years of age, and hundreds of autistic people, including infants, children, teenagers and adults. I have explained to my webmaster that I DO NOT want to set up any advertising channels at this time, nor do I wish to have readers be required to log in before they can access the information. In short, I want this site to be easy to navigate and provide brief, to-the-point posts. The goal is to get useful information out to everyone in the most painless manner possible.
Somehow, if I spend “X” amount of money getting my site “higher” on the google list, more people may visit the site. Geez, isn’t the information enough to bring readers here? I am going to listen to my webmaster and take more positive steps to enhance theautismdoctor.com’s web presence. This weekend, we are embarking on a video series which should help attract more viewers to get the word out. We are also figuring out the most effective way to include a “Chat” section.
My patients say, “I read on the Internet that XYZ is better than ABC.” Now, neither XYZ or ABC are even on my radar as far as providing real help, but I always look up such pages in order to understand a patient’s question. Most of the time, I’m sorry to say, what that website is offering is marketing, plain and simple. If a vitamin has the word “SPEAK” or “FoCuS”, well, it must be true, right? If a practitioner has a “cure” with testimonials detailing miraculous results, parents want the same for their kids.
I am only venting about this because I am eager to inform. I will continue to write about my experiences for several reasons. First, I am quite enthusiastic about this material and this practice of developmental pediatrics is “just what the doctor ordered” – for me. Second, I really love to write, so this work provides a valuable outlet, even if no one visits the site. Third, thinking about and documenting my experiences actually helps me organize my thoughts about this condition, and makes me a better doctor. Also, I am anticipating a compilation of all of my experience into some kind of text to help teach professionals about the condition, and this is a great place to start outlining what I plan to do.
Finally, I won’t stop writing because, for every opinion and piece of advice that is either no help or harmful, there will be someone to give the correct point of view. Mine.