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Introducing myself - John Prototype

John_prototype_brigadoonTo get this blog rolling, I'm going to start by introducing myself.  My real-world name is John Lester, and I run BrainTalk Communities.  In the virtual world of Second Life, I go by the name John Prototype.  That's a pic of my avatar to the left.  Yes, my avatar looks very similar to me in "real life," but not everyone creates an avatar that looks like them.  Everyone has the freedom to create an avatar that looks however they want.  Some people even make avatars that look like animals!  In my pic there, I'm wearing an official "Project Brigadoon" T-shirt.  In Second Life, you can create clothes and upload images from your PC to use as textures.

I have been involved in creating and managing online communities since 1993 when I started BrainTalk, a project originally based out of Massachusetts General Hospital (where I work as the Information Technology Director for the Neurology Department). Braintalk is an Internet-based online self-help support environment providing online resources for patients and caregivers to find and communicate with each other around the world. 

In 2004, I started a non-profit organization called BrainTalk Communities Inc. The fundamental mission of Braintalk Communities is to foster online communities of self-help support groups, giving patients and caregivers the ability to communicate with each other using a variety of Internet technologies such as web-based bulletin boards, chatrooms, and new virtual-world environments.

Brigadoon is our private virtual island in Second Life, and I'm the owner/manager/janitor. :)  All the members of Brigadoon are free to build whatever they like on the island.  Most people have built homes and beautiful gardens, and we also have a number of meeting spaces where we gather and sit around and socialize.  Here are some photos of a a few group gatherings.



The island of Brigadoon is accessible only to members of project Brigadoon.  The idea is to create a private haven where people dealing with Asperger's/Autism can practice their socialization skills in an  environment where everyone knows everyone else.  People dealing with Asperger's/Autism sometimes have real difficulty dealing with social situations, and they are often filled with great creative ideas.  Brigadoon gives them a place to meet other people also dealing with Asperger's/Autism, a place to socialize with each other, and a place to build and create their own word filled with wonder and beauty.

The island of Brigadoon is about 16 acres large.  Here are some panoramic shots of the whole island.  In some of these pictures you'll see me sitting on or inside what looks like a Greek Temple.  I build that myself as a fun meeting space on Brigadoon.  The mosaics you see in the temple are real photos of real mosasics I found on a museum website.  I uploaded them from my computer into Second Life and used them as textures for the temple.  Panorama_brigadoon_03


Finally, here is a picture of the first thing built on Brigadoon.  It's a stone monument with an embedded plaque commemorating the creation of the Island.


I will let the other members of Brigadoon introduce themselves on their own and let them share additional images of the amazing things they have created.  All the members of Brigadoon can use this Blog however they like, to share with the general public their experiences and thoughts about Brigadoon, Second Life, Asperger's/Autism, or anything else that comes to mind.  I will be posting my thoughts as well here.  Please check back again soon!

Posted by John Lester on January 10, 2005 at 08:46 PM in John's posts | Permalink


Too bad you didn't take a pic before I got rid of all those trees next to my place. It was so pretty.

I am back so I will be re-doing the yard. If anyone from Brig. is in-world... please IM me to let me know you want to visit.

Posted by: Jamison Read | Jan 12, 2005 10:46:35 AM

Whoaaa cool to be reading this! Synchronicity! w00h00 good to meet you John, and this is very informative and enlightening... and heck, it just touches me to know you're doing this.

Rock on. ^_^

Posted by: Torley | Jan 13, 2005 6:21:01 PM

hi. I am a kid with Aspergers and I would like to become a member of the Brigadoon Community. Can someone please tell me how to get access to it and register so I can start.


Asher Pole (account name)

e-mail: [email protected]

Posted by: Asher Pole (account name) | Mar 4, 2005 6:24:04 PM

My son is going on 15 and has Aspergers. I would like for him to have a chance to become part of the Brigadoon Community. Please let me know how to access the island for him to become a member. Thank you!

[email protected]

Posted by: Cheryl | Mar 5, 2005 9:43:42 PM

Can you please advise me how my 12 year old son could become a member.

Thank you


Posted by: Donna | Mar 6, 2005 7:29:12 PM

I, too, would like my 13 year old son to be a member if possible -- thank you!

Posted by: Julia | Mar 6, 2005 9:21:32 PM

My borderlineAS/ADHD son is only just seven - would he be too young?? He can be very socially inappropriate.

Posted by: Marilyn | Mar 7, 2005 8:17:53 AM

I would also like this info for my seven year old.

Posted by: Madmartigan | Mar 7, 2005 3:46:24 PM

Can you please contact me with information on how to help my 10 year old son become a member of Brigadoon?
Thank you

[email protected]

Posted by: Lisa | Mar 12, 2005 6:59:43 PM

I'm interested in becoming a member with my almost 10 year-old.

Posted by: Heidi | Mar 13, 2005 10:19:14 PM

Wow...I feel like I am copying the last several posts. John, nice to have met you in SL over the weekend and yes, I too have a 10 yr old son with AS who wants to become a member of Brigadoon as do I.

Posted by: Gina | Mar 14, 2005 9:26:53 AM

You can tell by our address how proud we are of our Lucas, who's 15, but he has his challenges and your project sounds like a godsend to these parents. Could you please contact us with a chance for membership? Thank you and God bless you for doing this.

Posted by: Karen Thode | Mar 19, 2005 10:41:59 PM

Wow, this is incredible. Other people with kids like my son. He's 14-1/2 and struggles like the others to make friends and "know what to say and when to say it." Please let me know how he and I can join this site. Thanks for caring about AS kids!

Posted by: A. Kramer | Mar 24, 2005 1:21:38 AM

Like so many before me, I too would like information on how to join with my 10 1/2 year old son. Thanks so much!! Shana

Posted by: Shana | Apr 6, 2005 2:35:06 PM

Can I please have more information on this? This could be helpful to myself and a friend of mine. Thank you.

Posted by: Mike | Apr 8, 2005 10:01:15 AM

My son Michael is 11 years old and struggles with ADHD and Asperger's. Please let me know how he could participate in the Brigadoon project. It sounds fabulous and maybe just what he needs. The computer and video games are a real good outlet for him. It would be nice to know it was a productive endevour.
Thanks! Beth

Posted by: Beth Mann | Apr 15, 2005 2:13:34 PM

please send more info about how to access this island. My daughter is 13.

Posted by: lily | May 2, 2005 9:08:15 AM

Please send me more info on the project and how to participate. My son is 17 with HFA. He is the typical "little professor" with many keen interest areas. He loves the computer,including flight simulation and the Sims.

Thanks for your consideration,


Posted by: Gayle | May 11, 2005 11:21:14 PM

My son's greatest happiness and escape from hyperlexia/asperger's is his video games. This would help him immensely. Please forward information for him to use this new technique to gain social comfort skills. Deborah

Posted by: deborah | May 31, 2005 11:30:11 PM

I have a 21 year old son trying hard to live life independently. Could you advise me further on how he gets to Brigadoon.

Posted by: Joyce Mac | Jun 26, 2005 2:54:14 PM

Please send me information on how my 15 year old daughter can access Brigadoon. She has great difficulty with social interactions and loves computer games. Brigadoon sounds like the perfect match for her!


Posted by: Ann Bussone | Jun 29, 2005 8:08:29 PM

My son has Asperger's. He is 16 yrs old and I'd like to know how to get him involved in your project and become a member. I'm very interested in seeing him develop in the social arena.

Nere Mabile

Posted by: Nere Mabile | Aug 2, 2005 12:41:40 AM

This would be so great for my daughter 9,with AS. How do we get involved? Thanks so much for this .

Posted by: Sue Cremonese | Aug 8, 2005 11:25:48 AM

I have 2 kids with autism, a 6 yr old boy and a 4 yr old girl and I am interested in joining if they are already allowed. Thanks!

Posted by: Maria Nieto | Aug 26, 2005 12:31:42 AM

I have a 10 year old son with AS. I would like to know a little more about this project.

Posted by: Elizabeth Moura | Sep 20, 2005 4:55:26 AM

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