Connecting Caregivers

August 16, 2011

Photo of John Thornton EventLast Friday I had the privilege of attending an event in Cincinnati that brought parents of children with autism together. The event was put on by John Thornton, former Defensive Tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals and Tennessee Titans, co-founder of JockBiz and all around great guy. John raises money for autism and throws events like this one as a way for parents to have one night to themselves, among other people with similar circumstances. I volunteered to be there to talk with anybody interested about ways social networks and social media can be used to connect with people around health topics. like autism.

Prior to the event, I went online to put a cheat sheet together that highlighted some lists, as well as people on Twitter that had identified themselves around the word autism. I also found some links of great resources from a Google search, that made it on the cheat sheet as well. Check it out below:

Over the course of two hours, I hit everybody up and used the cheat sheet to spread the good word about the power of social media with regards to health topics. What I learned was that, in general, people who have children with autism are looking to connect with one another in the real world. Something else I learned was that I live in a bubble. Everybody in America doesn’t love the Internet as much as I do.

So the big take-away for me was that the on-line world is great, for a lot of people… but the digital divide is very real. I personally feel that the Internet is at its best when it’s used to find and connect people and information around topics of interest. Now I find myself thinking about how that all applies to people with either no connectivity or no interest in the Internet.

What do you think?

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