I just read a story about an autistic young woman who is enabled to communicate through social networking. The “inspirational” framing of the story is a bit problematic, but I like the emphasis that is finally being placed on the way modern technology can enable autistics who are thought to be unable to communicate, to express themselves in a meaningful way. Besides, this once again dispelas the myth that those who can write coherently on the Internet, must be otherwise verbal.
Even though I can speak, the Internet, starting in 2002, opened the door for me to further communication and interaction, the latter of which was pretty limited at the time. I remember how the Internet enabled me to connect to and learn from other people with similar experiences to mine, which I was before pretty much unable to.
Still, till this day, I find it easier to communicate via the Internet than face-to-face. People in my off-line life sometimes find it annoying that I don’t tell them things that I do put on Twitter or on this blog, but it is the way I express myself the easiest.
Of course, ideally speaking, a person with a disability who communicates via the Internet, should not have to be portrayed as connecting mostly to people interested in that disability. Therefore, I’m a bit annoyed by the fact that the story says Carly Fleischmann communicates mostly with people who want to learn about autism. If autism is her interest, that’s fine with me, but disabled bloggers or Tweeps are not there to educate or inspire. There is a possibility that we may want to connect for friendship, too.