I noticed the arrival of the site Autspot about a year or so ago, possibly closer to two years. I was thinking about Autspot again when someone emailed the website Disabilinet, a new social networking style site marketed as a "safe" place for people who are "less able," requesting my thoughts. Dutifully, I went to the site and looked around, and these are my first impressions, some of which are shared with my impressions of Autspot.
a.) It was envisioned by non-disabled people, which instantly raises a red flag.
b.) They use ableist language, like “less able.” Another huge red flag.
c.) It’s supposed to be “safe?” WTH? Only disabled people get to determine what are “safe spaces.” From a non-disabled person, that just reeks of paternalism and infantilization.
d.) It’s intended to be a segregated community for disabled people, created by non-disabled people (see a.), which flies in the face of either intentional communities created by disabled people as safe space of our own OR integrated spaces welcoming and accessible to all. For example, there are already vibrant disability and disabled communities on mainstream sites like Facebook and Tumblr and in the blogosphere.
e.) Despite a claim to serve all people with disabilities, it seems to be focused on people with physical disabilities, though perhaps not necessarily.
Autspot is only different in that a.) it focuses specifically on autism, and b.) rather than directly paternalizing or infantilizing Autistic people, it pretty much actively excludes them as the last time that I checked, the site interface claimed to be a community for the "autism community," which seemed to mean pretty much anyone with a connection to autism except Autistic people. Like Disabilinet (and no, I am not providing direct links to either site; you can find them easily on your own), it was conceived and created by non-disabled people as something almost charitable to benefit disabled people (or, apparently, our poor families.)
Don't you love segregation and infantilization? Yeah, me too.