The internet is a huge blessing for those of us who are autistic
I am an information seeker and sharer by nature. I do not interact well with others on a face to face social level (too confusing, I can’t follow visual or spoken cues or process information from either source quickly enough. I miss meaning, intent, sarcasm, and so much more). Face to face communication or speaking over the phone can go bad for me.
With the internet, I can seek information and never leave my desk chair. I can save it, print it, and share it with other like minded individuals.
I do not have to speak or try to interpret body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, or deal with background input to my senses that only confuse any issue for me.
I can read and follow directions, I can interact with others on forums and internet groups without all of the hassles listed above.
I can be me without others analyzing or judging my body, my face, my clothing styles or lack thereof ,or my tone of voice and all the other social nuances which I may or may not do correctly in social face to face interactions.
For those of us whose world opens with words, the internet is the perfect media.
I am not visual. I can not “picture things” or visualize them in my mind (aphantasia). I can process charts, maps, drawings and photographs though!
For so many of us whose voices have been unheard because of the struggles of face to face interactions the internet is perfect.
One of autism’s key feature is social struggles. With the internet we avoid many of the social traps and nuances required for face to face interaction with others.
We can interact with each other without having to deal with things that cause us acute discomfort and even pain due to our neurology.
Yes, just Perfect!
The internet world of autism is booming!
Information about adult autism is being shared, compared, analyzed and dissected by groups of autistic people the world over. Many groups have membership from other parts of the world. Many of us have made the study of autism a priority, and we are sharing what we learn.
I belong to a few internet groups, as I have mentioned here before. I find great consolation in finding I am not alone in my struggles, and that many people who are more experienced in autism are able to explain my struggles to me and suggest ways I can cope.
I have hesitated to share the groups I participate in for several reasons.
The groups are private, and the information regarding members and anything they share is private. I honor the commitment to protect other members as I would wish to be protected. Many people have disclosed their autism to only a few select people. There are many reasons to be protective of ID and discussions of incidents that go on in some of these groups.
I know of one group which was immediately overloaded with applicants when it was mentioned in a highly publicized performance of a person on youtube.
The volunteer moderators and administrators as well as the page were immediately overwhelmed with new applicants. A sudden influx of new people into a group will change its nature and the dynamics which have been developing over time take a major shift. It may overload the support of the groups by exhausting ( usually volunteers) admin and moderators) Rapid growth is sometimes not for the good of the group.
At any rate, I decided that my usual habit of refraining from naming names would apply to naming websites or books as well, for the most part. (I reserve the right to reverse my choice at any time it pleases me though.)
I had never joined an online group before seeking out autism groups. My experience was that many were not a good fit. Politics and age groups, social cultures, and other nuances I had never considered were often not a good fit. I had to join and quit several groups before I found the right group for me. Do not be discouraged. There are hundreds of groups out there and the number is growing daily. There is something for everybody. Any basic internet search for autism or Asperger’s social or support groups will bring many links for you to check out.
I have been requested several times to post links, but the ones I like may well not be the ones you can use. You need to do the search for yourself. (tough love! )
Having the internet to help me understand my autism, with all its posts of scientific pages, autism support groups, and so many groups dedicated to educating, helping, and supporting autistic individuals and families, all the social groups and all the information available to the touch of my fingertips has been amazing.
I keep comparing it to my early (olden days!) of the time before the internet, in the days where the library was the primary research option, and am so relieved and feeling so blessed that this wonderful resource is available to me today.