Expert Group of the Week: Autism/Asperger's/PDD Awareness
How long have you been a group owner, and what made you want to start your group?
I am the owner to the
first Autism message board here at Cafe. I was asked to transfer the
group from Clubmom. I was one of the first board admins over at Clubmom
(before it became Cafemom). I responded to an ad online about a new
website starting. I think they offered us a candybar-lol. I still have
the original Clubmom gifts they sent us: water bottle, cardboard house
and refrigerator magnets :) The first board I ran was called Premature
infants. My son was a preemie. I was home and needed something to do and
adults to talk to. When my son was three, he was diagnosed with
autism. I immediately turned to the message boards and found that
Clubmom's autism board had been abandoned. I asked to take it over.
When Clubmom became Cafe, I was asked to bring the board over. Actually
Pam (ksbondgirl) is an admin on my board. She came from Clubmom to Cafe
What are your top three tips for someone just starting a group?
Make a good set of rules and stick to them. I have rules and rules and rules on the board and they are all from mistakes we made. Mistakes with members are your best rules.
Avoid the drama. Don't get sucked in because it will drain the life out of you.
Surround yourself with REALLY good admins that you trust.
There are going to be days when you just can't answer one more question.
Lean on them to help out.
What things do you think you did to get your group on the Rising Stars list?
We have lots of members because we give REALLY good advice.
Autism is a hot topic right now. It is advertised on TV and the radio.
More and more kids are diagnosed every day. Doctors are giving out the
message board info and telling parents to get support. So I like to
think that we really put thought into what we are saying. It also helps
that every one of the admins is either a professional (psychologists,
social workers, occupational and physical therapists, special ed
teachers) or the parent of multiple kids on the spectrum. What we don't
know, we are willing to look up. We make sure everyone's question is
What do you think your members take away from their group experience while they are a part of your group?
They are not alone.
Autism isn't a death sentence. We are here for them. I've had moms pop
up on chat and have my son get me out of the shower to answer
questions! I know it sounds like overkill but sometimes when we are
there for moms, they cope much better with what is going on at home.
Anything else you would like to share with us?
Have fun on your boards. We have SO many serious posts every day. There are posts about children dying. Posts about kids being abused. There are posts about really sad and depressing issues that parents are going through. Every few days, just post something fun. Remind people that there is a world out there that does not revolve around one single issue. Sure, it will make some of them annoyed because they think that they can't laugh just yet but they will get there.
And try not to take it personally when you have to remove a member for the greater good of the group. People are fragile and very sensitive. Unless you like fighting and drama on your board, try not to absorb everyone else's anger and frustrations. Do what is best for your sanity and the board. Cafe is a BIG place now. Clubmom only had ONE autism board. Now there are hundreds out there. If someone doesn't quite fit into your group, they can find another, or start their own.
Don't worry about competing with other boards. People will try to make it all about how much better their board is over another. Who cares really? It isn't about me. It is about helping them.
Be nice to your admins. They become the sisters you never had and always wished for.
This weeks Challenge:
Owners Challenge- New features? Let's use them! Part 2