Abstract

An online survey compared the perceived benefits and preferred functions of computer-mediated communication of participants with (N  =  291) and without ASD (N  =  311). Participants with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) perceived benefits of computer-mediated communication in terms of increased comprehension and control over communication, access to similar others, and the opportunity to express their true selves. They enjoyed using the Internet to meet others more, and to maintain connections with friends and family less, than did participants without ASD. People with ASD enjoyed aspects of computer-mediated communication that may be associated with special interests or advocacy, such as blogging, more than did participants without ASD. This study suggests that people with ASD may use the Internet in qualitatively different ways from those without ASD. Suggestions for interventions are discussed.

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