Breaking the Ice
This is part 2 of 2 from the series is to help you get to know more great parents on MyAutismTeam. When making valuable connections and friendships, the first place to start is with oneself (see part 1 here). The next part is even easier.
What brings you here?: Before saying ‘hi’ to someone on the site, consider why you want to connect with others. Parents on MyAutismTeam are initially drawn here out of curiosity and hope. They want to tackle the everyday challenges of being a parent of a child on the spectrum. To do this, they want to get perspective on what others go through by reading updates, they want to support others, share their day and feel supported, too. The bonus scenario would be that they find other parents in their neighborhood or others (across country, even) who share their interests. All of these things are great foundation building blocks for connecting with other parents on MyAutismTeam. Knowing what you want out of MyAutismTeam makes it easier to break the ice with others.
Find parents near you: Here is a quick shortcut to finding parents within 50-miles of your town. On the left side of your profile, where your photo, name, and city is located, click your city name. This will take you to a search results page for parents near you. Go to your page to try this.
Find parents whose kids share similar diagnosis or age with your child: Using the Find Parents feature on the site, you can filter search results for parents by location, their children’s diagnoses, and even age group. Aspie parents can meet other Aspie parents. PDD-NOS parents of school age kids can connect with other PDD-NOS parents whose kids are teens to ask about transition. Once you find others like you, take a moment to read their story. When you click on a person’s name on the site, you’ll be taken to their page. On the left side of their page click “Story”. There you can learn more about each person. Give it a try.
Read and like someone’s story: Have you ever read someone else’s account of what happened to them, and said “that’s happened to me before?” And by reading the story, you realized that it made you feel better, not because it solved your problem, but because you found someone you could relate to. By “liking” another parent’s story, you’re letting them know you ‘get it’ or that you appreciate the time they took to share their personal story.
Connecting by acknowledging: The most effective connections we see on the site are made when parents comment on each others’ updates, or “like”, or “hug”, or all of the above. Another level of connecting is “saying hi”. But saying hi in a way that shows you have taken a moment to learn about the other person through acknowledging what they’ve already shared about themselves on the site through their story, comments or updates. Another way: share what you have in common with the other person. Post on someone’s page on MyAutismTeam or comment in the activity stream. See what happens.
Welcoming new parents to the site: You’ve seen them, you’ve been them…the new parent on the site who gets the nerve, and shyly writes in their first update, “This is my first post, I’m new here…” Welcome them! Boy it sure takes guts to write that first post, doesn’t it feel good to be received and warmly welcomed by others? It’s like being at a housewarming party where you’ve been invited, but not sure who to talk to. If you’re reading this email, you’re practically a veteran of MyAutsimTeam. Definitely feel good about welcoming new parents to the site. It’s a great feeling.
Adding Parents to Your Team: Anyone can add anyone else to their team. This is a simple way to keep track of parents you’d like to get to know better or would like to keep track of whenever they post updates. It’s also a nice gesture between parents. We’re all on each other’s team, but adding a parent to your team is an extra bit of support.
How do you like to connect with parents on MyAutismTeam? What ways have worked for you? You’ll be surprised how effective sharing a little bit about yourself can go with building trust among other parents in the MyAutismTeam community.