I just came back from attending a federal Summit on Self Advocacy for those with developmental disabilities. (My daughter and I have autism.) Pretty much every state team had its goal, building a website / using Social Media and using it to build online communities. There is a big push for us to begin to look past government to make connections, develop professional relationships, etc, and for that to happen, I know that having quality websites is a must.
There are a small handful of us self advocates with some technical skills. We believe that it is very important that people with disabilities learn how to create and manage our own sites (to the greatest extent possible). In my community, a group of self advocates recently spent over $300,000 on having a website built in Flash. Hardly anyone uses it, it's awkward, and it has the appearance of accessibility without really being accessible. (I discovered that screen readers won't work on it.) Those of us living with disabilities understand accessibility better than anyone. Also, we need to have enough technical knowledge to administer the site after it is built, especially an online community. Even if an outside firm assists with design/construction, having clients who understand a little more about webdesign basics would be invaluable with design specs and QA.
I think WordPress is a good platform for us. I'd like to know more about accessibility to make sure that it is the best choice. I've been evaluating CMS's over the last year, slow going because I'm not a web designer. I had ruled out WordPress early on as being too limited for a community, but I've come back because of BuddyPress. I've been working without funding up to now, because I'm on SSDI, but now I've got some big opportunities. If I can get a demo site up and going quickly to show them what is possible (and to totally and completely pwn that other site), then this will snowball into very serious money. Most importantly, this work has the potential to improve lives for thousands of individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities around the country. With all the budget cuts going on, it is desperately needed.
I don't know how to find the right connections for this and I know this is way bigger than what I can do on my own. Ideas, suggestions, good links...would be welcome.
thanks, Cinder McDonald