Disability Related Resources via the Internet:
Email Lists

 

This is to introduce people that have access to a computer how Email can be used for the purposes of support and information sharing within the disabled community. Use of Email requires a computer with a modem and a connection to the internet.

What is Email? Email (Electronic Mail) is how people that have access to an Internet Service Provider (ISP) share letters to each other. Some Internet service providers are America Online, Pacific Bell Internet and Prodigy, just to name a few examples. Perhaps you have access to a computer but don't want or aren't able to pay monthly services charges just to use Email. One service that provides free E-mail service is Juno. Call 1-800-654-JUNO for a disk to get the free email service. (In return for the free E-mail service, they hit you with advertisements, which is how they make their money).

Ok, so I have Email. Now what? This is where we learn about Email Groups, or discussion groups, or mailing lists as they are often referred to.

What is an Email Group? Quite simply, it is an Email-based mailing list for a whole bunch of people who share similar interests.  Programs they run such mailing lists consist of LISTSERV, Yahoo Groups, Majordomo to name a few.   Anyone can subscribe to a mailing list by sending a SUBSCRIBE command to the Email Group administrative address. (It doesn't cost anything to subscribe.  That is just the command that is used in order to join that list, hence the term "Subscribe to a list").

Any Email letter sent to the list address is copied and mass-mailed to the Email box of every person subscribed to the list.  Everyone else on the list can then reply to that letter , and then ... well, you get the picture. Email lists give you a way to have open discussions with dozens or even hundreds of people on a myriad of topics.  Best of all, it is all done through Email, in the time you define!

A Email Group has a Administrative address, which is the Email address where commands to subscribe, unsubscribe  and set options are mailed to.  A LIST address which is the Email address you write to send messages to. That is how a the software for mailing lists can run several list's.

There are really thousands of mailing list's serving just about every topic imaginable. There are well over a couple of hundred that serve the disabled community and parents/caregivers of disabled persons. Some of the largest and most popular lists that provide support and information are:

Autism, Down Syndrome, ADD, CP Parents, and Our-Kids which is a generic support and information list for parents of children with disabilities.

Some of the more specific and technical lists include:

ADA (American with Disabilities Act), Rare Disorders, Heart Disorders, Fragile X Syndrome, Spina Bifida, Cancer, Blindness and Vision Impairment, sign language, special education, etc.

Ok, so how do I subscribe to a list? In order to subscribe to a list you need to know the Administrative Email address of the list you wish to subscribe to. Then you write to that Email address with the proper command to subscribe in the body of the message (The subject line is not used for most email list software programs).

Places to Find Email Groups:

Family Village, http://www.familyvillage.wisc.edu.

LISTSERV Lists, CataList Search Engine, http://www.lsoft.com/lists/listref.html 

Topica Discussion Group Search Engine http://www.liszt.com/


Popular Support Lists on LISTSERV and
Subscription Instructions

 

Our-Kids, Support and Information for Parents of Children with Disabilities
Send E-mail to: listserv@listserv.syr.edu
Subject line doesn't matter. In the body of the message type: subscribe our-kids your_name

Autism, Autism and Developmental Disabilities List
Send E-mail to: listserv@listserv.syr.edu
Subject line doesn't matter. In the body of the message type: subscribe autism your_name

Down Syndrome
Send E-mail to: listserv@vm1.nodak.edu
Subject line doesn't matter. In the body of the message type: subscribe down-syn your_name

CP Parents, Parents of Children with Cerebral Palsy.
Send E-mail to: listserv@listserv.syr.edu
Subject line doesn't matter. In the body of the message type: subscribe cpparent your_name

ADD Parents, Parents of Children with ADD/ADHD
Send E-mail to: listserver@bdtp.com
Subject line doesn't matter. In the body of the message type: subscribe addparents your_name

HIJOS-ESP, Foro sobre hijos con paralists cerebral
Send E-mail to: listserv@rediris.es
Subject line doesn't matter. In the body of the message type: subscribe hijos-esp your_name

*your_name means you need to enter at least 2 words for your name.

These are just a very few of the many available lists available that offer support and information for the disabilities community.

Randy Ryan
Dad of Sean, 5yo CP Spastic-quad and Daddy Manipulator Extraordinare!

I am also the Listserv Administrator for the Our-Kids Listserv, which contains over 600 subscribers and represents over 27 countries. The list also contains some Doctors, therapists and other professionals and organizations that contribute to the list periodically. My interest in writing this paper is to help educate parents to the vast resources that are available on the internet as I have in general found particularly the E-mail lists within the disabilities community to be an invaluable source of information sharing and support.

Written 2-21-97
Updated July 7, 2002


This is an introductory paper I wrote for my son's school. Please feel free to modify and use this paper as appropriate. It would be helpful if you would make yourself the point of contact for assistance, but I will be happy if you are not able to do that.