The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Twin Cities 2012, March 24-25

ANSWER(Aspergers Network Support for Well-being Education and Research)

Paired with PHP Nerds - Beta

ANSWER currently provides parent advocacy and connections - support groups for parents, caregivers and professional. We provide resources including a website with links, resources and Aspergers information. ANSWER has successfully run their "Transitions for Life" program which is a life skills curriculum for young adults with Aspergers Syndrome. We partner with Friendship Ventures by developing programming and providing training to staff for Aspergers Camp at Camp Friendship and Camp Eden Wood. ANSWER is currently developing programming to help individuals with Aspergers Syndrome with supportive housing and employment connections.

What new functionality we are looking for

Our website was built in 2007 when our organization was starting from a very grassroots level. We've come to the point where we need to project a more "corporate" and larger presence. As our constituent group has aged and expanded we need to update our mission to include the additional challenges they face as they mature and look for a more independent lifestyle. We're looking for help with an update that reflects the accomplishments and revised vision for our organization. We also need the website to be more graphically interesting, more user friendly and more connected to social media outlets.

How the new functionality will help

We need our website to reflect the accomplishments of our organization. Having a more professional image will move us from the grassroots movement that we started to an accomplished, organized and more "corporate" presence.

This will help us fulfill our mission by allowing us to reach a larger audience. Also, if our website were more connected to social media and more user friendly we can make a more positive impact on families, individuals, caregivers and professionals effected by Aspergers Syndrome. It may also make foundations take us more seriously and possibly help us acquire more funding for the programming we need.

We also need our website to allow us to collect data from it users so that we can be more efficient with addressing their needs.

How our organization will use the technology

Who will use the technology

Before & After Snapshots

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21 Messages from Supporters

2012-02-15 14:59:01 UTC
Terry Hitchcock

I am so thrilled to have known Answer and the people that support and surround the organization. It does "magic" for Aspergers and I am honored to support Answer any way I can. Bless all those who both support such a wonderful organization as well as those who work tirelessly to bring relief to those with this disease.

2012-02-15 16:14:32 UTC
Cindy Nollette

ANSWER provides a unique and critical resource for those with Autistic Spectrum Disorders and their families. The founders of ANSWER have designed the services to meet the needs of what families ask for and want. They provide guidance as they address the critical questions, within a framework of education and support. The network at ANSWER are on the cutting edge of development and foresee the needs of those impacted by the disorder not only now, but in the years to come. The supportive housing and employment initiatives are cutting edge and MUCH needed in our community.

2012-02-15 17:38:06 UTC
Chris Chiles

ANSWER has been an answer to our prayers! ANSWER provided the resources and support we needed so much. We've connected with other families, attended conferences, and learned so much. This has made life saving and life changing impacts for our son and our family.

2012-02-16 16:38:44 UTC
Mary Beth

I did many internet and community searches about Asperger's before finding ANSWER when they first started several years ago. I wish I had had more - ANY - support when my son first started dealing with this. If I had known the right way to address Asperger's, my son might not have denied his disability, and we may have had a more positive outcome. Now out of his teens, my son still struggles with college and work and life issues that I believe ANSWER could haved minimized if he would accept the help.

A more visible website is critical to helping people find ANSWER sooner in their struggles. It is difficult for people to open their lives to others, and a website can help provide anonymity while still providing important information. I hope ANSWER receives this website. It would truly be a great service to our community!

2012-02-16 17:15:35 UTC
Lori Heater

ANSWER has been a invaluable resource for my family. At each challenge my son goes through, I have gotten resources and support from the caring and understanding facilitators and parents involved with ANSWER.

2012-02-21 01:09:37 UTC
Michael Stern

I so appreciate ANSWER. It is for me mostly about caring people getting together to learn from one another about the best ways to help our kids. But it also has provided social opportunities for one of my sons. It is the first place I go for advice on medical, psychological, social and legal issues. Thank you ANSWER.

2012-02-21 02:24:58 UTC
Bernette Finley-Drawe

For several years, I have enjoyed ongoing suppport form the Answers Program. Answers has given me a place to share about my family's needs and brainstorm strategies to help my child be successful.

2012-02-22 03:10:47 UTC
Debbie T

We see people attend the support programs with varying challenges and needs, looking for ideas, suggestions and strategies to benefit them, family, friends, educators, employers and community. ANSWER provides information, resources, program options and understanding in a sharing and caring environment. What a valuable asset to the Asperger’s community.

2012-02-22 03:40:20 UTC
Theresa Namie

Being the Director of ANSWER has opened my eyes to a wonderful world of incredible people. I only hope to be able to give back as much as I have received. This village has helped my family immensely. Thank you!

2012-02-22 04:06:35 UTC
Gail Gleason

I am so lucky to know one of the founders of ANSWER, an amazing woman who would not take no for an answer! When Theresa couldn´t find the information that she needed to help her son, she pursued the issue unrelentlessly and shared everything she could with others. I live in Mexico and there are virtually no support groups here. I have taken more than one Mom to this website to find the help that they need for their children. There is not another more deserving non-profit. Period.

2012-02-23 16:34:06 UTC
Brian Lindstrom

I Found ANSWER in an unusual way, I was sent by my job to install phone service for a customer. Upon arrival I noticed a sticker on the door alerting all visitors that an Aspie lived there, and please be mindful of the door as leaving it open could be disasterous. I struck up a conversation with Theresa (one of the co-founders) imediately, and have been friend, loyal supporter, and benefactor ever since as I also have children with Aspergers. ANSWER is tireless in it's constant support, and never ending pursuit to find and get critical information to all who are affected by Autism spectrum disorders. In my eyes, there is not a more deserving non-profit out there!

2012-02-23 17:25:30 UTC
Sandra Cross

I was intoduced to ANSWER by my fiancee Brian Lindstrom. ANSWER and it's members have become my extended family. I know I could not have endured the difficult trials of both of my sons Aspergers diagnoses with out their continued support. Both of my children have had the great fortune of participating in events, camps, and skills building classes supported by ANSWER. I have also benefited immensely through it's continualy growing support group, and events! I cannot express in words how deserving ANSWER is!

2012-02-24 21:00:57 UTC
James Namie

You have just received the shocking news that your child has been diagnosed with Asperger's. Your first reaction after the numbness wears off is how will be able to help my child? What is Asperger's syndrome, where do I go, who do I see, how can I get the information I need to make decisions? That is what ANSWER is all about. We have been there and walked in the shoes you are now having to wear. We strive to provide the best information and support for newly diagnosed families and continued support as your child becomes an adult. I thank the other board members for their dedication to our "little Engine That Could" but special thanks and love to my wife Theresa for her endless devotion to make sure ANSWER continues to serve all who ask for help.

2012-02-25 19:00:11 UTC
Dawn C

I became involve with ANSWER after a local psychologist told me about challenges that face the population with Asperger diagnosis. Given that the Asperger population is increasing at a dramatic rate, it has become more important that ANSWER continues their mission to provide support and guidance to those people and families. Both of my sons have more than one friend with Asperger's and our understanding of their challenges can be crucial to their success. While many of these young people have sensory and social challenges - they also have many strengths and gifts. ANSWER has chosen to help these people and their families by being a positive force of support in their lives. I know that an updated website that integrated a new resource guide for parents and better social media connections would help them reach more people and carry out their mission more effectively!!!

2012-02-25 20:05:51 UTC
Kathy H

What a lifesaver ANSWER has been for me and my family. Knowing you are not alone on the ASD journey helps us keep putting one step in front of the next. My 20 year old son on the spectrum has made amazing progress over the last few years. Thank you ANSWER friends!!

2012-02-26 01:49:33 UTC
Tom Wasmoen

We are in total support of Answer's mission and the support it gives to families with childern with aspergers. Theresa has worked tirelessly to make Answer be the best supportive organization it can be, planning special events, camping trips, training and support groups, its amazing how much they have done with never enough!

They could do so much more with the power of a new website! Please help them expand their reach!

2012-02-26 02:18:44 UTC
Deborah Arndt

ANSWER met a need in my life a few years back when my son was newly diagnosed (at age 15) and I was struggling to understand what that meant and what we could do to help him. The support and education I received from them was invaluable. I only wish the meetings were closer to my home so I could continue to participate.

2012-02-26 22:21:39 UTC
Melva Radtke

It is estimated that every 20 minutes, a parent is told that his/her child is on the autism spectrum. The news is inevitably followed by a tsunami of questions -- "NOW WHAT?", "What ASD issues are specific to my child?"; "What kind of services does my child need?"; "Where can I find those services?"; "Can I afford to pay for those services?"; "How will my child cope in the neurotypical world?"; "How do I find parents who are going through the same thing, so we can compare notes and offer mutual support?" That's just for starters.

ANSWER is a vital resource for the parents of ASD children who are seeking information, support -- and ANSWERS -- to questions about their child's diagnosis. ANSWER offers unique networking, resources and programs for parents. It gives parents a way to move forward when the way is anything but clear. Just as importantly, ANSWER was founded by parents who know parents' needs because they too are charting a path for their own children on the autism spectrum.

An effective website is critical to the work ANSWER does. A website provides a focal point and a platform for the parents of ASD children who are geographically scattered and overwhelmed by the scheduling demands which go hand in hand with raising an ASD child.

I urge you to select ANSWER for the website challenge.

2012-02-27 18:15:22 UTC
Tess Georgakopoulos

I am so thankful for the day I first heard Theresa's voice on the other end of the phone inviting me to come to the ANSWER parent support group! We had just moved from Canada where our son with Aspergers had all supports in place. Having to move to a new city and a new country and start over was so difficult. ANSWER has not only provided ANSWERS and SUPPORT, they have become our extended family. I needed answers...they were there. I needed support... they were there. I needed a friend...they were there. I needed direction or advice...they were there. I needed a shoulder to cry guessed it...they were there. They are people who relate to all our challenges, who have experienced all that we do on a daily basis. People who care and fight to continue to make a difference in the lives of families living with Aspergers. People who bring a laugh and a smile into any situation. A ray of sunshine into the darkest places when there seems to be no way out. If I can be there for them in any way, I will be. Thank you Theresa and to all at ANSWER!!!

2012-02-28 04:00:41 UTC
Jessica Namie

Answer is awesome! I've seen them help so many people in need. Thanks mom for everything you do!

2012-02-28 23:38:12 UTC
Theresa Gustafson

You don't always realize what you need till there is nothing there to help you. This is how Theresa N & I felt when we became friends while our sons were attending a social skills program for kids with Aspergers. We had both been filling in the blanks as to how to navigate this journey we were now on as parents of kids on the autistic spectrum & found together we both had a lot of the same questions. Armed with our passion as moms to help our kids & other families, we founded ANSWER. Today ANSWER offers parent support through groups, transition support for young adults, camp programs that are specific to Aspergers (w/Friendship Ventures), & a considerable amount of information on resources available to families in Minnesota. Going forward ANSWER is working on projects that will continue to fill in the gaps. ANSWER is committed to asking questions & finding the answers to best help families navigate this part of their life journey. For me personally & my family it has made ALL the difference in the world knowing we are not in this alone. Thanks to all our ANSWER families!!

Our Mission

We are a network that advocates for community awareness, furthering research, better education and support of individuals and families living with Aspergers Syndrome. We are an informational channel where ideas and resources can be shared utilizing public relations, the web and parent networking. We support training for educators in the areas of Social Skills, Daily Living Skills, Relaxation and Transitional Skills. We facilitate support groups for families and acquire funding to support research. We are currently expanding our programming to include developing supportive housing and employment connections and initiatives.