Moochers helping autistic kids in the UK

February 10, 2008


I received an email recently from Michaela at the England-based charity ASDFriendly.

They are one of the charities on BookMooch who get books they need at no cost, thanks to point donations from other members. (their BookMooch account).

Michaela gave me permission to reprint her email, which is below:

I had to email you to let you know just what a difference BookMooch is making to families’ lives.

Living with a child with a mental disability is a strain and the comments and daily judgments that people can endure is truly awful. Yet the Bookmooch community seem to not only understand, but to genuinely care.

We have had such acts of kindness in the past few months that it has reduced many of us to tears. From people donating all their points to us, letting us know that they have a relative with Autism and want to help, to people who give us a couple of points here and there to send a bit of joy across cyberspace.

Our latest ‘mooch came back with with a note that of course we could have the book, she’d throw in another couple of chick-lit books for the ‘harrassed mom’ and gave us three points as well.

People like this truly are saints – and it makes me glad beyond all telling that I stumbled across you and the site last March. You have no idea the difference you have made, but I think you should know.

A huge thank you to you personally and to the community as a whole for those little smiles and gestures and a book parcel in the mail to look forward to that keep us going.

– Michaela of ASDFriendly

If you look at the charitable gift points they have received from individual members, you’ll see that I started them off with 50 points from the fund “Charities for Children and New Mothers” (other charities that fund has given to), and since then they’ve received hundreds of points directly from other members. I love it when that happens.

p.s.: “ASD” means “Autistic Spectrum Disorder” and is well explained at

16 Responses to “Moochers helping autistic kids in the UK”

  1. Marshall said


    Thank you for sharing that. I seen that link about giving to charity, but never gave it much thought. Reading Michaela’s email makes me aware of how valuable those points can be.

  2. Denise said

    Welcome to Bookmooch! As a person with ASD with a child with ASD it is always good to have an opportunity to assist those with an ASD as well as their caregivers.

    It is interesting in the U.S. ASD is regarded as a neurological/neurobiological disorder rather than a mental condition. Perhaps that is what is covered in the ‘mental condition’ category in the U.K. Cultural differences are always very informative.

    Moochers – contribute!

    Best wishes,

  3. chunnie said

    Thanks for sharing this John, it is wonderful to see bookmooch supporting charities across the globe. It makes me feel all squidgy inside 😀

  4. Sprixie said

    I think this is great.

    John – would it be possible for you to create a list of the charity organizations such as this one so individuals could see all their options for donating?


  5. Jessica said

    This is just great. My adopted brother is autistic and any support for these kids and their caregivers is very much needed!

  6. Elizabeth said

    As a mother of an ASD child here in the US, I am so happy to see that my BookMooch is so generous. We are a global community of families and I am so happy to learn that BookMooch is a helping part of it.

    Thanks John for sharing this!

  7. “would it be possible for you to create a list of the charity organizations such as this one so individuals could see all their options for donating?”

    Such a page already exists. If you go to the “Charity” page at BookMooch, you can click the “charities” button next to each charitable fund, and they’re all listed there.

    Here’s the url:

  8. Ilene said

    As the mother of a son with autism, I have been treated to piercing stares and snide comments from strangers.

    How nice to be treated to books instead. Thank you.

  9. Tina said

    I think it’s awesome! And just a note, I think using people-first language is the way to go: “Moochers Helping Children with Autism in the UK.” just my opinion…the children are not the disorder, the person should alawys come before the disorder.

  10. Elizabeth said

    THANKS so much for pointing out that! I always try to remember to say “my daughter has autism,” not “she is autistic.” I’ve found the best way to explain this difference in meaning is this: You do not say someone is cancerous, you say they have cancer. This seems to really make the point for many people. I love your “people-first” concept as well!

    Thanks again!

  11. fishie said

    FYI, “has autism” vs. “is autistic” is a personal preference. I’ve found that most parents prefer “has autism,” whereas most autistics themselves (including me) prefer “is autistic.” Autism is such an ingrained part of who I am, that without it I wouldn’t be myself.

    Regardless of how it’s worded, I think it’s great that so many people are being generous and donating books and points to groups such as these. I can’t even begin to say how much having access to books has helped me in life. Thanks, everybody.

  12. Laura said

    Hi there,My nephew has aspergers syndrome.Does anyone have any usefull web pages I could look at.Also,I am unable to donate points to your cause as when I sign into bookmooch(I’m in Oz) it only displays American charities.Do you know a way to fix this?

  13. Elizabeth said

    Hi Laura,
    Look under “Charities for Children and New Mothers.” Even though it says “USA:CA” you will find the link there. Just scroll down.

  14. chunnie said

    John, is there any way you can make the charity page more user friendly? It took me months to realise that there are actually more than 4 charities registered as bookmooch users and not all of them are US based. When I first accessed the page I saw 4 titles each with USA next to them. I thought the titles were the names of organisations and the “charity” link next to them were URLs to the organisation homepages so I never thought to follow them.

    It wasn’t until I was ready to donate points to charity that I decided to follow what I thought were homepage links to find out what the charities were about that I discovered the listing for other charities. The thing is, seeing four titles on that first page leads some of to believe that those are the names of the organisations and not types of organisations, and as they all have USA next to them, this kinda makes some of us think they are all USA based which is not a bad thing, but if a member isn’t a US citizen and they are looking to donate points to a charity in their own country, they might be a bit put off.

    Anyway, just a thought based on my own initial confusion with the page.

  15. Denise said

    Laura, there are so many sites now about autism/Asperger Syndrome but I can recommend two for now

    one of the leading authorities on Asperger Syndrome is Tony Attwood, who is Australian, ( I think you wrote you were in Australia) his website is something like :


    both of those will lead you to many other sources.

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