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In an unprecedented initiative, a group of parents of autistic children created the "Revista Autismo" (in English "Autism Magazine") . This is the first magazine published on this subject in Latin America and the only one in Portuguese in the world. All this was done only thanks to volunteer work and donations. The magazine is free, being circulated throughout Brazil and the first copy was published this month (September 2010).
Publishing this magazine was not only an achievement,considering the expensive and complex publishing market, but actually what could be called a true miracle, as the magazine also innovates by using, in its printed version, QR-Codes (encoded stamps for media integration, that can be read by camera phones ) to expand the discussion of topics by referring the readers to additional material such as texts, videos and other sites. Every article or story that has extra material has its QR-Code.
The group of parents who created the magazine does not know each other personally, just through the internet, where they participate in e-mailing lists of discussions about the syndrome that affects their children: autism. "We have a parent who is a publisher, in Santa Catarina, and when I suggested the idea of the magazine, he asked his suppliers to donate paper , which was promptly offered," says the publicist and artist Martin Fanucchi, founder of the "Revista Autismo " (Autism Magazine) about the moment he saw the viability of what had just been a dream till then.
Waldemar Casagrande, nicknamed Zinho, put his publishing company in Santa Catarina, the Otomo, at service for the publication. "When the journalist Paiva Junior agreed to be the chief editor of the magazine in April this year, that was just what was needed to begin the project in time and with professionalism," Fanucchi celebrates this event with the first copy of the magazine in hand: the number zero.
The entire production process of the magazine was made thanks to one hundred percent volunteer work, from the articles written by reknown professionals in the field, to the reviewing process, and distribution of the magazine.
The magazine had a significant amount of printed copies (5000), however, the demand was more than double of what had been produced. There were not enough magazines. This demonstrates the success of this "enterprise" even before people knew whether the content was really good. This is also a portrait of the thirst for information on autism spectrum disorder in Brazil.
The cover story of this first issue cites the disturbing statistics from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), of the United States: one in every 110 children has autism - many more than the number of children having AIDS, cancer or diabetes. And yet the headline on the cover asks: "And here?", referring to Brazil were there are no official numbers on autism - not even in the current census of the IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) is there any question about the syndrome.
The aim of the journal on Autism is to bring serious and quality information to parents and professionals all over Brazil and even abroad - the online version of the magazine will be translated into English and Spanish, and there are partnerships to develop and launch the content in other digital formats, such as e-books (electronic books) - there is already a version in PDF format, compatible with several digital book readers - and applications for smartphones and tablets, as well as a version already in development for Apple’s IOS ( iPhone and iPod Touch ipad). It is worth noting again that all this is free and is being produced without any financial investment, only thanks to voluntary work.
The website is RevistaAutismo.com.br (hosted by the sponsor Hostnet.com.br) and is published in full, unfettered, and with lots of extra material.
Translation: Sérgio & Ana Muniz (Brasil)