Social Media and Asperger’s/Autism: Help or Hindrance?

Considering my blogs so far have focused on the detrimental aspects of social media, I decided to finish off on a positive note this time. I was chatting to a friend of mine recently, whose daughter is on the Asperger’s/Autism spectrum, and she was telling me how useful Facebook has been in helping her daughter interact with others. I thought this was extremely interesting, given my previous blog topics, and I was curious how social media was helping people living with this condition.

One of the most common issues that people on the spectrum have is experiencing sensory overload when trying to interact with people in person. There is just so much information to process that they have difficulty focusing on having a conversation. Social media removes this problem as conversations online can be thought out and there can be a pause between responses. While not only does this take away some anxiety, it also helps to teach social, conversational, and relationship building skills in a safe environment.

Facebook also allows for people with similar interests to find each other. People who are on the spectrum can easily find groups who are dealing with the same challenges, instantly connecting them to a support group of peers that can understand what they are dealing with on a daily basis. As people on the spectrum can also tend to have very obscure or specific interests/hobbies social media also allows them to connect with others that may share this specific interest.

By being able to build relationships online and work on their social skills in a low pressure environment, this can enable those on the spectrum to feel more comfortable interacting with these people in real life, as they have already gotten to know them online, alleviating a lot of the pressure that would otherwise exist.

There are always risks involved, and monitoring and limiting usage as a parent would be even more important for these children, as there would be an increased concern that it might cause more isolation and inhibit efforts to develop in person relationships. Despite this, as my friend explained to me, social media has been an invaluable tool for her daughter to be able to increase her confidence, make new friends and overcome some of her daily social challenges. The benefits for her have far outweighed the risks, under the right supervision.

[cycleofsilence] (2014, 11 June) Asperger’s Syndrome: Social Media [Video File] Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fo_3wYiD-14

What do you think? Is social media a valuable tool for people who have challenges with social interaction, or is the risk too great for those of us that may be more vulnerable to online dangers?

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Social Media and Asberger’s/Autism: Help or Hindrance? http://bit.ly/2m4PdrY #autism #asbergers #HelpOrHindrance

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Is social media a valuable tool for people who have challenges with social interaction, or is the risk too great for those of us that may be more vulnerable to online dangers? Social Media and Asberger’s/Autism: Help or Hindrance? http://bit.ly/2m4PdrY

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