Study shows computer messaging helps adults with autism communicate better

Leiden, Netherlands — A study conducted by Aske Plaat of the Leiden University in the Netherlands found that adults with autism communicate better through computer-aided messaging such as text messages, e-mails, instant messaging, and others.

According to the study, adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) prefer conversations being done over computer-aided messaging because they are given more time to think about how they will reply, and because it allows them to answer at their own pace. Researchers also believe that computer-aided messaging is a lot easier for individuals with autism compared to having real-life conversations because it eliminates the need for them to process body languages and facial expressions. 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. They still do not reach the level of satisfaction of controls, but the difference is smaller than in the other aspects of life, and on average, they are on the positive end on the scale.”

The study conducted by Plaat and his group involved a set of 100 high-functioning adults with ASD and about 70 individuals without autism who were used as the control group.

The orignal article on the MIT Technology Review website can be read here