Saturday, November 17, 2007

Foundations: Brigadoon, the Brigadoon Explorers, and Dreams

The Sojourner entered Second Life (SL) via Brigadoon and BrainTalk in 2004. Brigadoon was a private, online community created and inhabited by people with Asperger's Syndrome (AS) and their caregivers. It was a virtual home and fully customizable physical place for a small group of people who were exploring and learning to live in the Second Life environment in hopes of improving their real life communication and social skills.

Funded by Braintalk Communities, Inc., this project assisted AS individuals interact and work with each other in a completely new way since its inception in July 21st, 2004. It recently was taken off line in SL even though its purpose lives on in the Brigadoon Explorers and the individuals in the original Brigadoon Community.

Brigadoon was part of a project devised by John Lester (then of the Neurology Department at Massachusetts General Hospital) to create a community of people interested in Asperger Syndrome. The community consisted of adult individuals with AS and teachers and parents of children with AS. It was a closed environment meaning that the residents could travel through the rest of Second Life but others could not join them in their space, maintaining a safe, comfortable environment. As the community grew and progressed with interests beyond the Brigadoon island, the need for interaction with SL mainland increased.

(Note: The living areas of Second Life include islands and the mainland. Both consist
of sims which are landmasses but there is more seclusion for the island sims.)

When The Sojourner (Soj) started her stroke survivor group (ShockProof), she did so with the assistance of a number of the Brigadoon crew. John Prototype, Coos Yellowknife, Amalthea Blanc, and Rainmaiden Fairplay were essential to the beginnings of what would become Dreams. It didn't take long before Soj realized that the need for a group involving the mainland contingent with AS also needed a home.

The Brigadoon Explorers group was formalized in April, 2006, when Ariel Miranda agreed to host the weekly meetings. Currently, they are held on Wednesday evenings from 5-7 pm Pacific Standard Time. These meetings are often lively discussions of what it means to have AS, social situations, how to deal with work and family, how to support family members with AS, and just discussion in general.

The Brigadoon Explorer Parent/Teacher Group is just forming under the leadership of Dorie Bernstein and Golda Stein, a daughter/mother team not only with family experience but an educational background as well. Tenatively, these meetings will be held on Mondays from noon until 1 pm PST.

Feel free to visit our blog and hear some of our invidual voices at:

If you are interested in the Brigadoon Explorers, please contact Ariel Miranda or The Sojourner in Second Life.

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