Research finds computer-aided communication helps adults with autism

Leiden, Netherlands — A group of researchers from the University of Leiden in the Netherlands have attempted to conduct research on a theory that has long been speculated by many. The group, headed by Aske Plaat, made efforts to prove that computer-aided communication such as entails and instant messaging have a number of advantages for  high-functioning individuals on the autism spectrum when it comes to socialization.

The study conducted by the Dutch researchers involved over a hundred high-functioning individuals, and about 70 individuals without autism. The group extracted data from the participants’ answers from questionnaires that they were asked to fill out.

The data they gathered suggest that adults on the high functioning end of the autism spectrum perceive their online social life ‘better’ than their actual real life. The data also suggested that these adults prefer online communication and socialization because they are given more time to think about how they would like to respond; while other factors that may add to the difficulty of processing communication, like body language and facial expressions are completely eliminated.

According to Plaat:

“People with autistic spectrum conditions are relatively satisfied with their online social life; more so than with their social life and their life in general… All in all, [they] name and value advantages that help to mitigate their autistic impairments, while for controls aspects of convenience seem more relevant.”

The original article on the MIT Technology Review website can be found here


Contributed by Althea Estrella Violeta