As promised we have put up a new blog site that is, in a word, yours. It’s AMFAS: The Blogs and meant as a vehicle to help tell your stories about the military, life, family and autism.
Blogging is a great way for helping to deal with the stressors of raising an autistic child. Your experiences can also help other family members worldwide dealing with the same issues. It comes down to community and helping each other out. Even stories that aren’t autism-related help remind us all that there is more to our lives than just dealing with the hardships we’ve all experienced.
If you’d like to have your own blog but don’t have the means, we can set one up for you on a wordpress platform. If you have a blog, we’d like to share it through our community. If you know of someone with a blog please tell them about this and invite them to join in. Tell your stories and join in the conversation by commenting on the contributing bloggers posts. To get involved send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most Americans think in terms of the calendar year — January 1 being the start of their New Years Resolutions. However, the beginning of October marks something important for military members. This is the start of the 2011 Fiscal year, how our government funds the military. For some units it means a replenishment of funding for operational budgets that had dwindled over the last several months of the year.
This is not lost on our autism mission of military families trying to bring information and support to military families. While American Military Families Autism Support is a direct support project without regard to finances, this is a good time to conduct closeout for FY10.
It’s been awhile since the last update and a lot has happened in the last few months. How amazing the way a permanent change of station across the country with an autistic child can adjust your priorities and time lines.
For some time now we’ve been trying to get some traction and finally get the AMFAS website online. In fact, that was supposed to go up shortly after AMFAS project was established in late November 2008. Our Web design team has had a real busy year with deployments to Afghanistan and several PCS moves. Hopefully in the next month there is more time to finally get the support site finished. If you want to assist with the project in any way please send an e-mail to email@example.com.
While the site is delayed, the official American Military Families Autism Support Facebook page is now over 775 friends. Please invite anyone who could use support or information (or who has it) amongst our military family communities.
In February we launched the AMFAS wiki installation resource at http://amfas.org/wiki. We’ve had some friends pitch in to add local resources at the bases/posts/stations they reside at. We have a long way to go to make this complete (over 500 locations worldwide are on the site) and without all of you taking just a little time to contribute, it will be tough to help make a difference for all military families stationed worldwide. We don’t use contractors or interns to put this together, we have the support of military families to make a difference for military families.
Remember that this is your project, here only for you and needing your contribution. No matter what your thoughts are regarding diagnosis, treatment options, research, etc., we are here to share all available avenues of information, from military medical facilities to biomedical options and how Tricare applies to you. If you don’t believe in something that’s OK too. Responsibly sharing all options is important.
So goodbye FY2010. It’s time to start anew with a new budget of ideas and motivation, with new priorities on how to spend it. This is the year we make a difference.
It’s now been 15 months since we started work on the American Military Families Autism Support project and much of it has been spent dealing with frustration. That said, we are happy to finally offer our military community initial operating capability of the AMFAS Base Resource, http://amfas.org/wiki a wiki-based endeavor that is part of a multi-step communication effort for families. This is the first phase of this Web 2.0 project.
The idea is simple: build a resource that has information on every base worldwide that families can reside at with their autistic children and provide information about what is available there.
Like many military families dealing with autism, priorities of life, family, military service and all that you scrunch into your day can become overwhelming. A lot of things have taken place in the last few days that led to pushing this out.
You see, this is the time of year when people in the military are getting their summer assignments for permanent changes of station, commonly referred to as a PCS move.
Because of this impending deadline to bring people into the fold and start assisting families with information, a decision was made to launch the first phase of this project, even before completed. At a forward-deployed location building a new headquarters, one commander referred to this process of standing up initial operating capability as trying to build an airplane while it is already in flight.
Your first question will probably be, “Where is all the content? I thought you were providing a resource.”
These days people are used to Googling information and having everything at their fingertips without any cost or effort. This mindset will disappoint temporarily, because this project is based upon people at all of these locations.
The short answer is that we are the content. The concept of building community is everyone being a part of and contributing to its growth. The military uses this concept to accomplish missions and we’ll use this to accomplish ours, but only if you are a part of it.
If you are at a base, you can tell people what’s there. If you need information, someone else can help you. This way we all help each other as a community, providing contact information for base and local services covering a full spectrum of treatment and support options for all ASD families. An example of what we want to accomplish can be seen on the Lackland Air Force Base page here.
In much the same way as our families hand-crafting GFCFSF baked goods or finding what works for our children, this resource isn’t premanufactured. It is built with love and hope and commitment to make lives better for our military families with autism.This Web 2.0 concept will ensure that all of us are part of the solution, specifically for military families and covering anything autism related with locations we are living.
If you’ve ever used Wikipedia then you’ll have no problem navigating this Wiki. Simply register and take part in making this living, breathing resource something that any static Web site will never match. You can edit and add content in an open free flow of information.
Keep in mind that this is the first iteration of this until we get pages updated and add more information. As we get the Web site up soon and add all the functionality you will see the idea turned to reality.
Please send any feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit the AMFAS Facebook page at http://bit.ly/b8HHWb
Follow AMFAS on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/AMFASnews
AMFAS Update site at http://update.amfas.org