Internet communities are springing up throughout cyberspace, offering visitors diverse opportunities to obtain a wide range of news, information and support in one place. Disability communities open (and close) with some regularity. Although disability communities offer convenience, we haven’t found any yet that take the place of good online research. In fact, it is apparent that most of them have been developed as venues for disability advertisers and shopping malls. That said, the disability communities listed below have received fairly widespread publicity and/or have significant depth, cover a wide range of disabilities, are updated very frequently, and include at least three components (original information, opportunities for interaction, and links to other resources).
Offering news, articles, resources, forums, etc., this site has grown considerably since we first visited in February 2001, but the news is not as timely, some of the sections remain fairly sparse, and the forums are not well used. It’s worth watching. Kudos to the webmaster for the text-only option.
This community closed not long after it opened in 2000, but was later resurrected as a “nonprofit” site. The news and articles are interesting and timely, the message boards are used though not heavily, and the resource lists (links) are extensive though not necessarily selective. There is an extensive list of “partners,” though it is not clear what they do.
The online companion to one of our favorite disability magazines, the New Mobility Cafe features timely news and articles, selections from the magazine, message boards and chat rooms (you’ll have to register for both), “Ask An Expert” columns, well-organized community and commercial links, and more.
Much like its print magazine counterpart, We Media, this fairly extensive site focuses on mainstream disability lifestyle articles with news, links, sports, home, money and related sections. Look here for lots of disability-related shopping.
This British-based community has grown considerably in content and class since its days as “Disability Net.” Look here for news and lifestyle articles (with a British focus), pen pals, forums and discussions. The shopping area features discounts on conventional (not disability-related) products.