Autism and Facebook


How Autism and Facebook Work Together


Many people with autism spectrum disorders often have trouble communicating and relating to other people in face to face situations. This is often caused by anxiety disorders or other struggles that come with autism. Before the days of social media, this may be something that a person with autism may have to struggle with for their entire lives. Now thanks to social media sites like Facebook, people with autism spectrum disorders are finding ways to communicate with others in ways that they are comfortable with. When first starting on Facebook, people with ASD's may find it overwhelming because of the amount of things going on on the site. There are so many pages and groups available, some larger or smaller than others, that it may be difficult to find one that is just right. With the help of someone who has used Facebook in the past, users with ASD's can find their own place on the web and in conversations.

One way that Facebook has been helpful to people with autism spectrum disorders is that it takes away that potential scare that face to face communication brings. Many people with ASD's struggle to keep up face to face conversations due to things like keeping eye contact, standing too close to the person, or attempting to keep the conversation moving. Thanks to Facebook, this is no longer necessary. Facebook takes away the natural scares of body language, but it also takes away the need to keep the conversation moving. People can converse when they want to. If someone communicates with them, there is no need to reply right away. They can find a time when they are comfortable. This has helped people communicate better because they are more comfortable in the situation.

Facebook also helps people with ASD's find others with similar interests to talk to. Often times, people with ASD's are told that their interests are "too weird" to talk about. Facebook eliminates this problem because of the amount of users it has. Users can simply search for an interest of theirs on Facebook and can quickly find groups or pages based around that interest to contribute to. This takes away the feeling that no one has the same interest as them, and it gives people something to talk about with others who like to talk about the same things.

References:
https://www.autismspeaks.org/node/110116
http://autismdigest.com/the-social-magic-of-facebook-for-adults-on-the-spectrum/