Sunday, April 20, 2008

Social Autistics

We spoke in class about how new Internet technologies can provide critical social connection tools for groups with very specific interests, such as support networks for families with specific medical conditions. I read an inspirational article in Wired about how individuals with autism have been using blogs and even Youtube to to network with other autistics, researchers and the public, and further pursue information campaigns and political agendas. Recent scientific publications are challenging the conventional wisdom that the majority of autistics score in the mentally retarded range on standard intelligence tests. The article makes the point that autism is increasingly viewed as involving developmental differences and not necessarily a disease that results in a defective brain. The opinions on this matter vary greatly, as do the levels of disability that result from autism. Nonetheless, autistic individuals who are able to employ social networking technologies are now reaching out in novel ways and redefining the way we view and relate to them.

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