Autism Spectrum Disorder is the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States, affecting 1 in 88 children, according to the CDC. As more families struggle to find answers and make sense of a diagnosis, National Autism Network announces the launch of an innovative, HIPAA-secure social network designed specifically and solely for the Autism community. This fully integrated social network offers features not currently found on any social network and was created to fill a void in the community.
"For twenty years, I've watched the plight of parents who spent hours talking to different providers for their children – from behavior analysts speech therapists to occupational therapists to dieticians," said Denise DeCandia, a behavioral therapist whose focus is serving the autism community. "Naturally parents want their child's providers to be well-informed and all on the same page, but time and again providers like myself have had to decline Facebook invitations and other requests to connect from parents because of ethical and privacy concerns."
With the rise of social media, DeCandia knew there must be a better way to connect the autism community. "That's when the lightbulb went on," she continued. "What if we could use the power of social media to connect parents, providers, and individuals on the spectrum in a safe, HIPPA-secure environment? The end result would be time savings for parents and better care for the child."
The social network is the last piece in the puzzle for National Autism Network's comprehensive online resource, which is the largest online resource for the autism community and offers a nationwide provider directory, discussion forums, autism news, and many additional resources.
The unique features of the social network allows parents to not only connect with other parents, family members or individuals on the spectrum, but also to create a HIPAA secure private network for their child where they can invite their child's therapy providers and caregivers to access real time updates along with shared files and therapy notes. In order for this community to truly thrive, National Autism Network also saw a need to facilitate interactions with industry professionals. Providers have the ability to create a business profile page where they can build a following of members, provide updates, network with other professionals, provide insight on key topics and have the ability to be listed as a preferred provider by parents.
"When our son was diagnosed with autism, my wife and I wanted to learn everything we could but we felt overwhelmed by the information we found online. National Autism Network saved us time and provided peace of mind in narrowing down the treatment options available, finding providers, and also providing encouragement knowing we're not alone in this journey," said Shane Thomas, whose three year old son was recently diagnosed with ASD.
Every individual who registers with the National Autism Network will have the capability to create a social network profile, participate in discussion forums, share success stories, view local events in their community, research local providers, and much more – all in one central location.