Autism and the World Wide Web

What you see above is a screen capture from Ethan’s website.

Yes, his website.

The one he set up by himself, in direct defiance of a parental decision to the contrary.

Let me explain.

About a year ago – or about the time he started watching iCarly – Ethan bounced into the living room with a question:

“Can I make my own website?”

Of course, the rational answer for the parents of a then-eight-year-old child dealing with Autism is no. So, we offered that up – with the olive branch of his own email address (with limited access) attached.

He took it, played with it some and then started to ignore it – much like his video camera and Facebook page.

So, the website issue was dead.

Or so we thought.

Zoom ahead to last Sunday, a lazy, NFL-heavy day at the Capps’ house. I’m lying on the sofa, watching football, when Ethan walks over and drops a note on my chest.

This is not uncommon.

So, I look at him and he’s wearing his impish grin, which means that he’s done, or about to do something, that I might not care for very much.

Nervously, I grab the note and give it a read.

“Check out my website at circlepad.com/ethancapps”

Uh oh.

“Take that to mommy,” I said, grabbing my laptop.

Shanna reads it, her jaw dropping.

Our little boy, while away at Granny’s for the weekend, created his own website, complete with name, age, hobbies and the first and last names of a few of his fourth grade friends (a list that continues to grow as he shares his site and takes requests at school, by the way).

Shan and I are conflicted.

On the one hand, we’re not happy that he deliberately ( and with very little obvious remorse) defied us in the creation of this website. I had to interrogate him for the log-in and password, after which I removed the last names and preserved the privacy of a few preteens in the greater Four Oaks area.

But, on the other hand, it was such an impressive feat – and an obvious attempt to connect with the world around him, especially at school, that I find it hard to be terribly angry.

As you can see, the site is still active.

We did decline his request to add video to the site, one which I’m sure the boy will find a way around sooner or later.

So, that’s a glimpse into the world of Autism – interesting, confusing and never dull.

There are only two days left before the Triangle Run/Walk for Autism.

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