The Autism Society Philippines (ASP) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the well-being of persons on the autism spectrum disorder. We envision a society where Filipinos on the spectrum become the best of their potentials -- self-reliant, independent, productive, socially-accepted citizens of an Autism-OK Philippines.

21 October 2010

Getting Ready to Shutdown on Nov. 1

Before you give up your social media habit for autism on November 1.

Shutdown in an iphone

What is Communication Shutdown?

It’s a global initiative to raise funds and awareness for autism charities in over 40 countries. People around the world have been challenged to go without Facebook or Twitter, for one day, on 1 November 2010.

In the month leading up to Communication Shutdown (1 October to 1 November) people can make a donation to receive a CHAPP (charity app) which signals voluntary shutdown across their networks.

What is the link between communication and autism?

Social communication is one of the biggest challenges for people with autism. By choosing to shutdown their social networks for one day, users will have some idea of what it’s like for people with autism who face this challenge every day.

Rachael Harris, a counsellor and supporter, who herself is on the autism spectrum, put it best when she said, “Electing to shutdown social communication mirrors autistic silence. But it also draws attention to the isolation and intense loneliness experienced by those who are impeded from connecting socially with others. The CHAPP is a powerful way to create a true sense of empathy towards those on the autism spectrum.”

So what will happen to the Facebook and Twitter accounts? Will they be deactivated for the day?

Not at all. It simply shows people that users have chosen to shut down by way of status updates, tweets and profile pictures. When users buy the CHAPP, they are making a donation and helping to raise funds and awareness for autism. If users decide to cheat a little on the day and log on to their account, that’s entirely up to them.

If for some reason people do log on, will it show on their Facebook or Twitter pages?

No, unless they ‘Tweet’ or leave a comment on Facebook, no one will know if they have logged on (only them!). The Shutdown icon is manually uploaded to a user’s profile picture on Facebook and automatically loaded to their Twitter profile on November 01. An automatic message will also show on their feeds to let their networks know that they have shutdown for the day.

Can people still donate and be involved if they don’t have Facebook or Twitter?

Yes, all donations will be greatly appreciated. Users will still receive a screensaver, an email signature and blog buttons to show their support in other ways. There will also be shutdown graphics and messages for them to manually use on other social networks such as MySpace, Orkut, or Hyves. Or they could always open a Facebook or Twitter account!

Will Communication Shutdown happen at the same time all over the world?

Communication Shutdown will start at 12am, local time, on 1 November 2010 and will finish at 11.59pm.

What exactly is a CHAPP?

It’s a Charity App that has quite a few tricks:

1. It connects with a user’s Facebook and/or Twitter account. This shows their support and spreads the word to their friends and followers. It also signals their shutdown on November 1 by placing a shutdown badge over their profile picture (This happens automatically on Twitter and can be manually changed on Facebook.)
2. It also adds the user’s Facebook picture to our global mosaic of supporters where they can see their picture next to celebrity supporters.
3. As well, it gives them other ways to show support through email signatures, blog buttons or screensavers.

How much does it cost to get the CHAPP?

The CHAPP is given to everyone who makes a minimum donation. Depending on their location, this is USD$5, AUD$5, £5 or €5.

Can people choose to donate more than $5?

Yes - USD$5, AUD$5, £5 or €5 is the minimum amount but there is no maximum.

Do people need a PayPal account to participate?

No, they can donate with a credit card through PayPal, without having a PayPal account.

Where will the donation go?

Communication Shutdown is a global fundraiser for autism where everybody around the world can make a donation to an autism organization in their own country. Our global autism partners are listed on our website. We are continuing to add more and more partners so if a country is not yet represented, it soon will be.

How much of the donation will go towards fundraising costs?

This fundraiser is powered by the people. By spreading the word through social networks, we are able to keep costs to a minimum. This ensures the maximum amount possible will go to autism organizations around the world.

As this is the inaugural Communication Shutdown, we are unable to provide a percentage of fundraising costs at this stage. However, we are committed to full transparency regarding costs and these will be published at the conclusion of the campaign.

Who is behind Communication Shutdown?

Communication Shutdown was initiated by the AEIOU Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that provides early intervention therapy for children with autism in Australia. When AEIOU was presented with a fundraising idea using social networks, they realized it was much bigger than just Australia. After all, social networks aren’t bound by geography. So AEIOU decided to create the first global fundraiser for autism and established F.A.N. Worldwide (also a not-for-profit organization) for the purpose of managing Communication Shutdown.

Who is the local partner in the Philippines?

Autism Society Philippines proudly represents the country in this very first global fundraiser for autism. Proceeds will go towards program development, particularly for implement assistive technology in select special education centers and applied theater for autism to help expand social and communication skills for youth and adults with ASD.

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